From the category archives:

essays in miniature

a Rip van Winkle moment with my mother

by kye on June 22, 2010

Her eyes opened, and opened all the way, and stayed open. I said, “this is your daughter, this is Kye” and she nodded once, decisively: “I know that,” said her nod. “Would you like me to tell you the news, or sit quietly with you?” No response. I considered. What was there to lose? I started talking.

Her eyes stayed on mine with total attention. When the news was the kind she likes (“I’m going to go up to see M. this week.”) her face would melt into a quiet little beam. When it was said news (“there’s been a terrible oil spill in the Gulf,” and “the economy is not good”) her forehead creased in distress. She was awake; she knew me; she was there.

Forty-five minutes later? an hour? I asked, “have I worn out your brain?” A rusty little “No” came in response–the first speech I’ve heard in a couple of months. So I told her about what I’m writing (the Tao Te Ching commentary), and her mouth made an ‘oh!’ shape, and she she smiled.

There’s no telling what I’ll find next time I go, but what a miracle and a gift that time was!



by kye on June 6, 2010

I found mangoes on a street corner a little while ago, on my way back from seeing my mother–a whole box of them, sold to me off the back of a pickup truck up from the Rio Grande Valley.

They were sold to me by what looked to be a couple of brothers. They were in their early twenties. One of them was holding an enormous exuberant sign that said ‘MANGOES’. I saw the sign, thought about stopping but the corner was busy. But I found a quieter place to park and walked back along a patch of sidewalk walled with enormous weeds, then through the archway of an abandoned pear tree covered with half-ripe pears.

The box was mine for $5. As I left, one of the brothers smiled and said ‘God bless.’

At the next corner were a man and woman sitting at a bus stop. The man was holding up a tiny sign that said ‘hungry’. I had a box full of mangoes! Unexpected ones! I was going to give them to my son and his girlfriend, but that little tiny sign and that young patient couple sitting there–of course I had to stop again.

I asked “do you like mangoes?” They nodded. I said I’d just found them at the last corner. I told them to take as many as they wanted. They each took two, which still left lots. And I had the pleasure of seeing them grinning at each other, as I left.

Later, I wondered whether either of them had a pocket knife–or did they use their teeth to open up the fruit? Maybe I should start carrying a pocket knife again!


moving at the pace of beauty

May 12, 2010

Catching up on posts to the focusing discussion list this morning, I was delighted to come across a poem that meant a lot to me a decade ago: “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I was particularly struck by this: I want to know if you can see beauty, every day… and if you can […]

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a four hundred dollar bowl of soup

May 5, 2010

At this very moment I’m full of arugula, and tomato basil soup, and the awesome feeling of being an aliveness sitting here breathing. My death is present here too.  It invites me to give what I can give at the moment.  Tonight what I could give was a note to the chef who made that […]

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thanks for doing that

February 13, 2010

I just finished writing a thank you note to my mechanic.  The other night he spirited my cell phone out of a mysterious black hole under the driver’s seat. Why a thank you note for such a small thing?  …because he didn’t know the size of what he’d just done.  I wanted him to be […]

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rumors of my death are highly overrated

October 13, 2009

Last week I nearly lost my sister.  She was not a good candidate for surgery, in a life-threatening situation.  The hospital staff tried everything they could think of all week, to get the problem to resolve without surgery.  But it didn’t, and she was running out of time. So, Thursday night the surgeon went ahead.  […]

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just what I’m hungry for

September 13, 2009

It’s midday, and my hunger feels luxurious: luxurious in its intensity and its incipient knowing. So I’m sitting down with it.  I’m like a lover, asking my loved other, ‘where do you want to go?’ —and then waiting with no hurry. Like a little child, my hunger is just pure raw desire.  It’s too hungry […]

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the red thread

August 28, 2009

I’ve had this red pillowcover for eighteen years now.  Dominique made it for me when I was pregnant and nesting—I found the material in the remnants at London Fabrics. Dominique moved to Seattle; London Fabrics closed long ago; so did my marriage.  But here is this red cover, looking humble among my later pillows but […]

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the soft animal of this body

August 26, 2009

I’m feeling mammalian this morning: very nearly furry. As I woke, I was just a little animal whose warm weight was even this moment leaving a warm imprint in the nest of my bed.  I felt both front paws tucked together under my chin.  I felt the imprint—in the curl of my body—of the fetus […]

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August 20, 2009

I’m waiting for S. to decide if he’s staying or going. He had been separated from his wife for several years when we met. At first, he was eager to complete the process of severing their lives. But recently, on the other side of a birthday and a serious illness, he’s started feeling old. He […]

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