Monthly Archives: June 2023

In Which I Walk Unchallenged Among the Living

Tuesday began simply enough.  Faced with the prospect of six hours at Stanford being examined and quizzed by a self-described multi-disciplinary team, I needed to be comfortable.  Like all curly-headed women, I focused on making sure that the riot of tangles could be snared if the occasion so demanded.  In the meantime, I strove to pull a clump of it away from a face gone fat with laziness and the inertia born of spending my days in solitude.

I had the claw ready for the capture of the entire mess.  But I could not find a clip for the basic hairstyle that I wanted to accomplish at the outset.  I rummaged in my small make-up bag, in which I have absolutely no make-up.  There I found a tube of arnica gel, a spare ink cartridge for my Lamy converted fountain pen, a blister pack of an unrecognized over-the-counter drug, and fifty cents in nickels.  Then I pulled everything from my Guatemalan overnight bag that I bought at Goodwill for six bucks.  No luck there, either. 

Moving to the secondhand rucksack which doubles as a computer bag, I searched the extra zipper pockets.   Sprawled on the desk, its contents amounted to an elastic, not one but two old pairs of glasses, a box of ink cartridges for the Lamy, a promotional Chapstick from somewhere in St. Louis that must have been left by the person who sold the bag to me on Poshmark, and the six-inch claw which I’d need if I wanted to secure the entire twenty-three inches of riotous waves.  

From my purse, I managed to find yet another pack of ink cartridges, two folded wads of cash, thirty-six cents, and some receipts that I no longer recall saving but which I presume are important.  No barrette.  I stared at my three piles, then selected the elastic which sufficed but just barely.  I stared in the mirror at the shock of grey now clearly displayed at the apex of the small array now piled on the crown of my head.  It would have to do.

When I entered the lobby of the Neuro-science building, I got my first surprise since arriving in South Bay.  Faces.  Complete, whole, unmasked faces, and lots of them.  Apparently we’ve clicked over to a new age, a post-pandemic state of euphoric optimism in which even the medical professionals concede fatigue with fastidiousness.  I slipped my own mask back into my pocket and made a mental note to schedule my fourth booster.  

In the next six hours, I learned something from each of the five professionals with whom I met.  From the occupational therapist, I got tips on how to train my hands to continue clutching objects even with my eyes elsewhere occupied.  That lady decided to add a speech therapist to the line-up, and from the new team member, I discovered that I could possibly reach a happy plateau of eating without coughing.  The physical therapist introduced the idea of wearing foot braces to give the lifting muscles more stability. 

By the time the neuro-muscular specialist joined the parade, I had begun to tire but my enthusiasm had not yet waned.  We discussed my most recent testing which he conducted himself a few weeks ago.  The mysterious new neuro-muscular ailment that started a couple of years ago defies diagnosis.  This young and talented professional has disproven each of his theories about its origins.  We agreed that as long as he’s ruled out anything actually treatable, we don’t need a name for the troubling set of symptoms.  We only need to follow the guidance of his team to stave off my inevitable decline.

I left their suite feeling weirdly optimistic.  I have no reason for unbridled hope; and yet, the morning had inspired that attitude.  Thusly buoyed, I made my way to what must be the mostly poorly designed building in the Stanford stable, where I had to cajole, beg, and finally bully assistance from the distant parking lot to the door.

No matter; I refused to be stifled.  In the comfort of Suite F, I studied my fellow hematology/oncology patients from behind a book while waiting to be summoned to a review of my lab results.  I felt no trepidation.  Stanford has a possibly misguided practice of highlighting undesirable outcomes in red italics, and I had seen none in the online report.

A few minutes later, the doctor confirmed my belief.  We reviewed the numbers, talked about the dietary changes that I had begun to make which could have impacted them, and devised a plan for retesting.  We talked about the day’s news from Neurology, which she acknowledged having heard from the neurologist himself.  To my puzzled query, she replied with the rueful confirmation that my complex situation intrigued them both.  I decided that her admission deserved a beaming smile and my sincerest appreciation.

I left Stanford with the firm and deliberate conviction that I might yet live to see a few more turns of the earth and settings of the sun.  I celebrated with a visit to a Palo Alto icon, Bell’s Books, where I acquired several volumes for myself and three to send to my son for his thirty-second birthday.  All came from the second floor, to which I climbed on their steep, wooden steps assisted by a clerk and a customer who himself seemed like a staple in the place.  By the happiest of coincidence, I got a text from my son just as I stood considering between two books that I thought he might like.  I leaned against a book case to steady myself while I responded, smiling all the while.

Our exchange concluded, I hefted my pile and peered over the balcony.  I aimed for a cheerful tone to call down to the men behind the register.  Once I had their attention, I inquired whether anyone might be willing to assist in the reverse trip on the stairs.  I’m not sure which was which at this point, but I will forever recall with gratitude the gracious help accorded me by Kevin and Kris during my happy sojourn in that place.

Reading material acquired, I began to contemplate food.  I studied the options along a route vaguely half-remembered from prior trips.  A green square caught my attention.  Thus did I make the happy accidental discovery of the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden. I spent a pleasant hour there, traversing its gentle walks, resting on its inviting benches, and studying the other visitors.  Some merely sat.  Some briskly walked from one entrance to another, presumably passing through the place en route to a pressing obligation but unwilling to make the journey solely through city streets.  Families pushed strollers, and one intriguing soul idled in an electric wheelchair powered by something resembling a laptop.  He held a camera that put my cell phone to shame.  

I watched him position his chair for a better angle and lift his lens to take a careful shot of a spray of lilac.  I held my breath until he lowered the camera and slowly made his way along the walk and out of sight.  Just then, my phone dinged.  I glanced down to see that I had two messages, one from my friend DL asking how the doctor visits had gone, and another from my sister Ann, thanking me for the garden photos.  Happy birthday, I told Ann.  I could not think of a better place to be on the anniversary of her birth.  Her own garden puts most to shame, and I have walked behind her in the Missouri Botanical often enough to know that she would love this beautiful acre.

When I had breathed sufficient summer air to energize me for the rest of the day, I continued my drive to Zareen’s Palo Alto, where I tried their marsala paneer (mild) with rice and Naan.  I sat in the hustle and bustle of the dinner crowd, pretending to read.  Voices rose and fell around me, a plethora of enchanting, mysterious other languages.     If I slid my chair in either direction, I could kibbitz on a couple having a lively debate in what I took to be Japanese or three generations of Pakistani passing plates of steaming, savory food to share family-style.  I spared only a second for regret at my solo occupation of a two-top.

When I had eaten all that I could of the bountiful helpings, I gathered my belongings and made my way back to the car.  As I sat contemplating whether I needed anything before I settled for the night, my phone dinged again:  This time, the California lawyer for whom I work wanted to know how everything went.  I responded with my own query about her broken foot, and sat texting with her until the tap of a horn alerted me that a gentleman wanted my parking space.  As I pulled from the curb, the two ladies who had just disembarked from his vehicle waved their thanks.

As the evening drew to a close, I found myself back in what can only be described as a large, dingy motel room.  I’ve occupied my share of these over the last eight years.  A clutch of old establishments ring the core of the Stanford campus and offer discounts to visiting patients.  I fall for their ads every time.  They never quite manage to be as terrible as I fear or as wonderful as they promise.  But they suffice.

Over a cold bottle of water, I scrolled through images on my phone.  California has so much depth.  It presents a range of living options, from small town to city; from desert to snow-capped; from beach to sidewalk.  My love affair with the state began with my first trip to Stanford in December of 2014, when I stayed at a place just blocks from this one.  Whenever I come here, I commune among the living with the idle panache of a cheerful pretender.  This trip has been no different, though somehow, for some unknown reason, I feel less alone.

It’s the twenty-eighth day of the one-hundred and fourteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Please note:  If the gallery lags, click on one of the images to open it; then close it.  This should prompt the scrolling to resume.  Thank you.  Please enjoy.

In the last few days of Pride Month, you can still purchase my book and be part of the donation to this month’s charity.  Read about it here.  July’s charity will be announced on Sunday.


I ran a stop sign on my way out of Isleton this morning.  I have no excuse.  I could say that a lush sweep of green leaves hung over the red octagonal with its bright white letters, and that would be so.  I could mention the suddenness of the intersection, a slightly less valid assertion.  I could wave my arm in the direction of a van that had pulled from the curb just before my turn onto Jackson Road, its motion a quick, distracting blur in my periphery vision.

None of those would be the real reason that I ran the stop sign.

I stopped my car on the other side of the intersection.  With shaky hands, I gripped the steering wheel, scolding myself.  The actual, honest-to-god, genuine reason for my traffic offense had been the tender biscuit from which I had pulled a luscious layer to pop into my mouth.

When I first moved to California, I still had ten or fifteen cases left to conclude from my Missouri law practice.  The RV park in which I had settled with my tiny house doled out mail in open slots at the kiosk which served as its office.  That would not satisfy my ethical mandate for confidentiality, so I had rented a post office box for official mail.  Five years later, with the park modernized by the postal service and its shiny bank of lockboxes, I could close that P.O. Box.  Truth told, it’s set on auto-renew, and it’s a good excuse to get myself out of the house on my Fridays off.

A few months ago, a new place opened in the virtual ghost town of Isleton.  The Isleton Coffee Company and its companion, the Isleton Biscuit Company  now draw me down Main Street after my quick stop to mail a package or check for the monthly Journal of the Missouri Bar.  I’ll snag a fresh biscuit and perhaps a day-old one, pretending it will be for Saturday’s breakfast or Sunday’s coffee.  Neither will survive my Friday.  One gets eaten en route to my next stop.  The other graces a plate on the small table next to my rocker to serve as my afternoon snack.   I gobble the first one with due dispatch.  The second one gets pulled into its delicate layers, each slathered with butter or something creamy.  

This morning I walked into the coffee shop after mailing my son’s birthday present.  One of the two owners put a cup of coffee on the counter without asking, continuing her conversation with a customer standing ahead of me.  As I voiced my thanks, the woman turned.  Oh, I know you! she crowed with a shock of delight.  You’re the lady who never complains!  

I laughed, of course, because that’s far from true.  She smiled, announcing that she reads my blog.  And I needed biscuits for my family, and I know you come here on Fridays, so I thought I better get over here and buy some before you grabbed the lot!  We stood there grinning at each other, not least because I’ve only done that once, as a treat for the staff at the park.  

She stuck out her hand and said, I’m Kathy Devito.  I admitted to my own moniker.  We stood chatting at the counter.  She told me she lives at Birds Landing and I told her that I’d almost gotten arrested there once, for tromping through a turbine field to photograph the whirling blades from beneath.  She invited me to her place any time I wanted, second barn from the end on Devito Road, where I could photograph her two windmills to my heart’s content.  I persuaded her to take a picture with me.  Then she left, with her bag of biscuits held tightly, just in case I tried to snatch them away.

I paid for my coffee and two fresh biscuits, even sneaking in a tip which I know they don’t like to accept.  I visited with the owners for a few minutes, then turned to leave, waving my thanks.  As I slid into the driver’s seat, I thought about the pleasantness of small town life, where everybody knows you, or knows someone you know, or knows all the details of something notorious that you’ve done.  I set my coffee in its cupholder, dropped the bag of biscuits on the passenger seat, and started the car.  I drove a few blocks with my usual care.   But as I rounded the corner on the backside of town, I couldn’t help sneaking a bite of biscuit.  Probably that brief flutter of my eyes in the rapturous moment when the delicate crumb hit my palate made me miss that boulevard stop.  Yes, let’s go with that.  Luckily, no one got hurt.

It’s the twenty-third day of the one-hundred and fourteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

To read about my fundraising efforts and/or purchase a copy of my book, please visit my website by clicking this link.  You have just eight days to order and have a portion of the purchase price go to June’s charity, The Matthew Shepard Foundation, to which you can directly donate by clicking here

I will announce the July charity next week. Thank you.

P.S.:  I hope I correctly spelled this lovely lady’s name.  If not, I hope someone will enlighten me by leaving a comment, so I can correct my mistake.  Thank you.

Running away from home

Promise me this, truly:  To your list of tasks you will not attempt while driving 70MPH on the Great Coastal Highway coming south from San Francisco, add opening a package of grapes.

Through no grace of my own, I managed not to wreck my car, though I found grapes in every crevice for the next twenty-four hours.  Grapes flew everywhere — green ones, and purple ones, and dark black ones that tasted so sweet, I truly regretted their loss.  But I clung to the steering wheel and let them roll.

I cruised into La Honda shortly after 5:00 p.m. and climbed Route 84 towards my Airbnb.  I found it, but discovered that you can park right next to the door, meant, at the top of a long series of steps which looked charming but posed a serious hazard to this unabashedly ambulatory gimp.  I texted the host, and soon enough the husband and wife together guided me down those stairs, he carrying my bags, she with her arm extended to be a makeshift, moveable rail.  I could not be angry with either of them, especially not when they explained that she had translated her native Spanish into clumsy English to prepare their listing.

I prepared a simple meal in the spotless kitchen and ate on china that I considered a bit too precious for a clumsy guest.  Afterward, I started the new work that I came here to ponder.  My eyes drifted to the window, as night wrapped itself around the redwoods.  Eventually, I climbed the steep stairway and slept on the loft floor with its thin mattress.  I did not wake until 5, when light began to dance off the tall trees above the skylight.

When I find myself this close to Pescadero, I do not resist its charm.  Two hours after my breakfast, I donned my jacket, threw my tablet and wallet into my rucksack, and made my way to Downtown Local.  It must be said that their coffee remains as stellar as ever, though the same cannot be said for their gluten-free muffins.  But the clientele more than compensated for the freezer burn of their pastry. 

I shared my table with young people in town to serve as YMCA counselors.  I had noticed their radiant smiles as they burst through the front door.  When one’s only offspring lives more than two thousand miles away, one greedily borrows other people’s children.  They talked about their home towns (a native Californian; another from North Carolina; and a feisty young man from Brazil).  They asked me how I came to be there.  We compared notes about cities we liked (Chicago, San Francisco) and didn’t like as much (New York) or thoroughly despised (Los Angeles).  Eventually, they shook my hand and departed for a day’s outing in Santa Cruz.  I followed a few minutes later, headed to Davenport for lunch.

Later, I stopped in my favorite spot for seaside reading.  I realized that my tablet held a few leftover stickers for my friend Beth’s deceased son Xander, and I placed one on the uppermost pole facing the Pacific.  Then I remembered putting one on the outer post last year; and found that it had survived the winter.  Xander’s view could not be more sublime.  

Eventually, I made my way back to the tiny house for my last dinner here, my last evening, and my last night under the towering trees.  As I sat gazing out the picture window, a Delta neighbor texted, We made too much salmon!  Come over and have some!  I studied the message and then replied, Well, thank you so much — but (a) I’m a vegetarian; and (b) I’m in La Honda!  I added a photo of the trees above the house.  He responded with one word:  Beautiful.  Indeed. 

Whenever you fear that I’ve run away from home, just drive west and look for my Toyota RAV4 parked in a lay-by.  If you spy a park bench on the ridge, there you will also find me, a forgotten book by my side, my gaze turned towards the mother sea.  Don’t worry about disturbing me.  Just sit down, and let the ocean breeze wash over you.  I don’t mind sharing.

It’s the seventeenth day of the one-hundred and fourteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

“I Have Loved Hours At Sea”

I have loved hours at sea, gray cities,
The fragile secret of a flower,
Music, the making of a poem
That gave me heaven for an hour;

First stars above a snowy hill,
Voices of people kindly and wise,
And the great look of love, long hidden,
Found at last in meeting eyes.

I have loved much and been loved deeply —
Oh when my spirit’s fire burns low,
Leave me the darkness and the stillness,
I shall be tired and glad to go.

Sara Teasdale

Please note, this gallery has twelve photos.  It seems to lag.  If it gets stuck, click on one, then close it.  That should kickstart the flow.  Enjoy.

To read about my fundraising for June and/or buy a copy of my book, click here.

On the edge

The levee road skirts the island, our island, the mass of land formed by the spilling of waters over the banks of the San Joaquin.  I drive the same route, day in, day out, watching the shimmer of sun on the silent river.

In the distance, turbines rise from another shore and frame the sailboats moving through our channel.  The trick of the earth’s curve deceives me into believing that I can draw closer to their power.  But they stand far away from this place, outside of a nearby town, west of me on the Sacramento. 

I pause to watch the bright sails flutter.   I’m on the edge of something.  It might be just the shore; but it feels wilder, more daring.   Beyond this precarious spot to which I cling, the boats race, propelled by the dancing summer breeze.  My body strains against the confines of the steel box in which I travel.  I long for freedom, for the strength to step into the breach.  I close my eyes, hovering, but then someone taps their horn and I continue my fruitless journey from nowhere to nowhere else.

Later I drive over to the state park and watch a big ship seemingly crawl across dry land.   The river’s banks lie below my line of sight.  The ship glides forward, heavy yet agile.  I feel the ocean’s draw.  I watch until the vessel disappears from view.  I wonder if she might have had a spare berth in which a small, clumsy woman could have rested.  I would have laid myself down on the narrow bed; and slept until the morning sun awakened me.  Then I would have gone out onto the deck and watched as the endless blue unfolded.  On the edge of the world, I would have breathed in the song of the sea and been, at last, content.  

It’s the fourteenth day of the one-hundred and fourteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Sarah Harmer, “Lodestar”

In loving memory of my brother, Stephen Patrick Corley

“Your friend and mine, Stevie Pat”

12/25/1959 – 06/14/1997


If you want to read about my fundraising efforts and/or buy my book, click here.


Mr. Noisy

A scrub jay hangs around my house begging for food.  My neighbors and I have seen the same bird — we all swear — for five years.  Someone named him “Mr. Noisy” and I concur.

I heard Mr. Noisy outside my door this morning.  I didn’t feel like hunting for my robe, putting on shoes, and going outside to fill the feeder.  He will have to wait.  I’m fiddling with a failed Verizon service.  The chatbot wants me to troubleshoot but I refuse; it’s clearly a system outage as it’s on both my devices.  I tell them, I have to get work done now, just fix the outage.  Thank you.

The challenge of life sometimes warrants such statements.  We shouldn’t have to submit to the systemic refusal to address our concerns by a major corporation, but time after time, we do.  People should do their jobs without resistance, but occasionally they fall into the corporate tendency to avoid responsibility.  The frustrating truth slams us:  Big companies want your money but don’t really want to provide quality service. 

I try to put things in perspective.  The customer service agent has to follow a script.  But that script does not serve me.  The last time my phones did not work, I spent two hours factory-resetting my phone because the agent swore that no area outage plagued my zip code.  I lost data and hours of effort, only to learn that Verizon service had been down since early morning in my region.  I don’t play that game any more, yet the agent today kept saying he would not report an outage unless I troubleshooted both devices including re-setting.  I’m not doing that, but neither will I text-yell at him. My composure means a lot to me these days.

So Mr. Noisy squawks outside my door, while in my tiny house, I firmly type into my phone, I’m not playing this game, just report the outage.  I can’t say which one of us will prevail. I remain resolved not to yell at this chatperson.  Of course, yelling via text message doesn’t have quite the same effect as the racket Mr. Noisy makes outside my door.  Maybe I should record him and send the .WAV file to Verizon.

It’s the tenth day of the one-hundred and fourteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

My friend and neighbor Robin Pack ought to appreciate these vertical snaps of Mr. Noisy.

To read out my Pride Month fundraising and/or buy a copy of my book, click here.

A Day In June

In June of 1997, I stood in the kitchen making dinner for my son Patrick and my nephew Nick.  Nick had just arrived from St. Louis to spend the summer.  I watched the two of them from a few feet away, sitting in the living room with the television playing.  My heart held only quiet.

And then the phone rang.  I listened as my sister-in-law, Nick’s mother, sobbed and told me to call his father, my brother Mark.  She had no heart for the news that I would hear; news that a friend had discovered our little brother’s body alone under a tree on land in St. Charles County.  Life had drifted from him, stolen by his demons wielding a gun that they’d urged him to load.  

I don’t know the exact day that my brother died.  His gravestone bears the awful date on which he had been found.  I mourn him for the days leading to it, and the few days around the time that we buried him.  For the other eleven months, I hold him as a pleasant thought.  I recall his radiant smile, his skipping walk, his snapping fingers.  I remember my son’s name for him, the black-shirt uncle, for the outfit that Steve wore on our last Christmas visit.  The uncle that gave me the alien catcher, he would say.  When someone asked my son if he knew who was born on Christmas Day, he’d assure them that he did:  Uncle Stephen, who I’m named after.  Stephen Patrick Corley.

His death shredded my heart as no other loss has ever done, not since, not before.  It took a decade for me to remember some of the laughter that we shared without weeping.  Another ten years would pass before I stopped pining for a few hours with him, or a chance to try to bake a German chocolate cake on December 25th.  When I moved to California, I found one of his letters neatly folded and fittingly slipped between two pages of my copy of Stranger In A Strange Land.  I studied the still familiar spidery cursive, the remembered standard closing:  Your friend and mine, Stevie Pat.  In it, he talked of despairing in ways that I did not recall from the era in which he wrote the letter, but I guess I just ignored the huge red flags that he waved in my face.  

Because of my brother’s death, I stop myself if I hear exasperation pushing me to use phrases such as I’ve had enough.  I’ve only been truly suicidal once, and I recognized that my desperation arose not from untreated mental health issues but from my inability to manage enormous emotions surrounding failure.   A few times since then, I’ve found myself standing in my little dwelling, wondering if I really could persevere.  Once I said so to one of my siblings, who reminded me of the terrible pain of losing a sibling.  She asked me if I really felt that way, and I realized that I did not.  Since then, I’ve watched my rhetoric.  

My brother tried to kill himself at least once before he succeeded.  Awaking from his failed effort, he realized that he needed medical attention and called 911.  When I confronted him with that seeming contradiction, he gave me the side-eye as only he could.  He leaned over his drink at the bar, lit a cigarette, and softly responded.  I wanted my pain to end, not to worsen.

I try not to dwell on the absence of my brother.  But I remember him.  I recall walking through a shopping center with him during winter break in my first year of law school.  He had just gotten divorced and had no one for whom to buy gifts that holiday season.  He bought himself some fancy socks and paid for a posh lunch that we both enjoyed.  He carried my bags and counseled me on what everybody might like, as though it had been years since I left home instead of just months.  We sat at a table overlooking the crowds of shoppers.  He told me stories that made me laugh so hard my sides ached.  He could do that, sometimes with the merest of glances.  

I think of June as Steve’s month, more than December even.  I don’t remember the day he was born; I was only four at the time.  But I remember the day I found out that he had died; and I cannot forget the day we buried him.  Both were in June.  I do like June, though.  The birds flock to the feeder in my little yard.  The sweet air drifts through the open window.  I hear my neighbors calling to each other, maybe across the meadow, maybe from lot to lot.  I can’t see the river from here, but it’s up there, beyond the levee, eternally drifting toward the endless expanse of the Pacific.

I think my brother would like it here.  I imagine him sitting under the big willow behind my house, cigarettes lying forgotten on the grass, ice cubes drifting in the cold liquor he’s poured in a crystal tumbler.  He’d lean against the tall trunk of the sheltering tree and close his eyes.  Maybe he’d sleep.  Hopefully, he would rest.   Nothing would hurt him ever again.

It’s the sixth day of the one-hundred and fourteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

In Memory – Fare Thee Well – I Love You More Than Words Can Tell

Stephen Patrick Corley

25 December 1959 – 14 June 1997

Dusk In June, by Sara Teasdale

Evening, and all the birds
In a chorus of shimmering sound
Are easing their hearts of joy
For miles around.The air is blue and sweet,
The few first stars are white,—
Oh let me like the birds
Sing before night.

June Night, by Sara Teasdale

OH Earth, you are too dear to-night,
How can I sleep while all around
Floats rainy fragrance and the far
Deep voice of the ocean that talks to the ground?
Oh Earth, you gave me all I have,
I love you, I love you,—oh what have I
That I can give you in return—
Except my body after I die?

What Is So Rare As A Day In June, by James Russell Lowell

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there’s never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature’s palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o’errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
‘Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer’s lowing,
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
‘Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,
‘Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season’s youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep ‘neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.
If you’re made it this far, thank you.  To read about my fundraising for Pride Month, and perhaps buy my book, check out my online shop.  Thank you.