Summer holiday

We welcomed the summer solstice last week in our beloved Sandy Hook at the Jersey Shore. Glamping at its best along pristine nature's coastline preserve complete with families of deer, groundhogs, foxes and bunnies roaming freely. While the sea winds blew through most days, our beginning of the summer soared quickly. Our week's stay in a former Sergeant's home behind Officers' Row at Fort Hancock, which sits at the tip of the hook, bay on one side, ocean on the other, and one of the oldest lighthouses south of our quarters, delighted us. What an 
adventure it was to ride along the trail on our bikes for hours on end as the breeze propelled us to notice the haunting beauty and history of the battery and artillery base ruins.

summer holiday, she never ages
she invites us to the shore
and waves family members to come along
in celebration of connection, 
her sunny warmth
comforts and embraces us in togetherness 
a familiar, a pamilyal love
no matter how long it's been
in her hushed and happy as a clam way
she nestles my broken spirit 
and whispers,
do you see the sun (rise, set),
do you feel how sweet the light (life)?


Morning rise

Yesterday was the last day of fourth grade for our gal. So emotional, I've worked with incredible effort to not let the madness of the world consume me alongside the deep exhale I've let go after the past two and half years working to stay healthy and sane as we negotiate learning how to live and learn in this ongoing pandemic. 

the morning grind
the aroma of kapeng robusta
as i press my coffee
i take comfort
in my rise and shine elixir
a necessary treat
amidst the pressure of our collective trauma
this covid pandemic
the endless gun violence
the light rain outside my kitchen window
greets me easily at the breakfast table,
reminds me to breathe
and moves my pen along on a wayfaring journey
as i struggle through my moving mist
and remember it is a brave and radical act of devotion
to set a tender intention and sigh
let me breathe only love
in this moment 
and watch how the tears fall and let go


Love Spring

won't you join me
on this stroll into the woods
along the winding creek
where spring is sprung
the neighborhood fox
sits on the path
determined to have a staring contest with me
the birdsong responds
to the tree frog call
they compose
the backyard trill
i inhale the faintest smell of honeysuckle
as the tulip trees shake off the weekend rain
i lift my face to Spring's breath


Her Greatness

I've absolutely been soaking in as much vitamin D and tree oil during my morning treks with the dog. The best part? No one else is on the trail. It's completely quiet, and I'm alone. 

the woods i visit this morning now bloom
muddy green buds, sky shines Her most radiant
and wondrous blue, tulip tree has yet
to go ahead and blosoom her palest yellow.
all this while we continue 
to stay vigilant
masking to protect ourselves and others
while last breaths still taken, while grievers
ind reason to push through

i stand still and breathe
extra deep for those who struggle 
to breathe
i pray and wonder --
are our hearts expansive enough 
to appreciate Life's beauty and live 
with this ongoing grief
i close my eyes
upon opening them
there she is in all of her majesty
blue heron
She reminds me -- 
our world, WE, continue 
to evolve and progress
stay spiritually woke and aware


That 70s feel

Know those family friends that no matter how long it's been since we've seen each other, the love is still there? The memories of summertime at Cove Beach, writing and acting out plays for the family Christmas party, and birthday barbecues followed by singalongs, mahjong and poker into the wee hours of the morning.

Another family friend has joined the No-Dad-Club. Cancer sucks. Waiting as someone dies with dignity in hospice care at home . . . sucks. The emotional exhaustion and numbness . . . sucks. 

On top of that, this now not-so-new way of mourning through numerous text messages and a Zoom screen to show support for loved ones seems less personal and is not intuitive at all, yet much appreciated, any means of communicating love during a family death in an ongoing pandemic is a good thing.

This afternoon, I attended the celebration of Life of a dear family friend, Tito Lito. My favorite memory of him is as a shaggy banged, long-haired, tall & skinny Tito with wire-rimmed eyeglasses in denim bell bottoms, kinda like a Filipino John Lennon? The Agoncillo Family is a deeply faithful and generous family, always have been. They were present as we waited for my Dad to die, almost 14 years ago. I've remained in close contact with Aileen, their older daughter, as much as texting and voicemail allows between NoVA and Florida. Her tribute to her father at today's service was full of confident love and faith. Having been in touch with her frequently during Tito Lito's hospice care at home, I've been recalling my own journey with my Dad's life with cancer and all the feels around waiting for him to die. There are no words for that period of waiting, knowing that time is precious, that life here on is meant to enjoy the simple things. 

This morning, my trek through the woods included listening intently to the warbling of tree frogs, always a reminder that spring warmth has arrived. New life. And for those Filipino dads, whose sage spirits accompany us on these mindful walks, they joke in joyful banter in the sunlight and beyond with Holly Cole Trio's 1972 rendition of "I can see clearly now . . . " in the background.


How to walk

just a walk in the neighborhood
one foot in front of the other
the dog's leash
entangle my thoughts
through dusky, glowtone grape cotton candy light
oh. my. goddess.
i say to myself
and all that matters
is that this feels good
right now
no matter life's mess
it matters 
that this feels good
right now
so i lean into the moment
tickled pink mixed with razzleberry
hold me in holy stillness
i lift my head . . . and walk



Headed into our first full week of our return in person to learning after our homeschool stint. N. is absolutely ecstatic to finally be with her fourth grade mates. All through our homeschooling adventures, N. would ask at bedtime, Why do the days go so fast? Thankfully, she still believes that the days go way too fast. An amazing sign that she is genuinely happy. Deep, relieved sigh.

Grateful to have kicked off our new year's transition, I recently facilitated a winter attunement mindfulness session with my good friend, Jenn, in Catalonia, and I am even more aware of how I have not paid enough attention to the emotions that the pandemic has pushed aside as we try to live -- in survival mode. Giving ourselves the opportunity to move through our emotions -- grief, anger, joy, and desire -- can be a most grounding gift of confidence. We danced our bodies as we felt called to do in the moment. Feeling my physical body let go in defeat, frustration, cheer and fancy was its own kind of much needed, non-judgmental freedom in year two of the pandemic.

As I work to find my new rhythm, delighting in the delicious quiet of my mid-morning coffee, I notice that it's taking me considerable time to settle down and settle in.

During my trek with the dog on the trail, I notice how the two recent snowfalls have

downed even the largest pine trees, so much so that there's a clearing through the woods. I busy myself hoping to get a glimpse of the deer family or the rusty fox who sometimes cross my path. Instead, part of the creek remains frozen, trunks collapsed, makeshift intermediate crossings for any wild turkeys.

What is exceptionally noticeable is the silence between the birds twittering and the clanking of the dog's harness against her leash, between each footstep that crushes on some patch of ice on the trail or the slightest whipping of the breeze as a runner sidesteps us in his way.

I notice the silence of this bearable winter morning as I try to delight in a moment of stillness without immersing myself in the drudgery of patiently/impatiently waiting for the under five vaccines, feeling for those in my circles with littlest ones or reading every obituary of every young person who has been killed by gun violence every month since the new year.

as i wait for the world 
to right itself
 let me weave in space 
for silent shavings
for truth to transude
that we might notice
the Light skim
through the thickset overcast
of bitter anguish