Summer sighs…



shallow focus photo of brown spider

Photo by Jimmy Chan on

I watch a spider hanging from a branch of my avocado tree, following the movement of her body as she spins to repair the web torn when I slid the pot away from the window.  She swings toward a leaf and misses, eases up the filament, swings again. Misses again. “I’m sorry,” I whisper but she doesn’t respond. What would I have her do, shake one leg in outrage? I turn away from her efforts wondering how many times I’ve been the giant in the fairytale, wondering how many small worlds I’ve sent into oblivion, either by accident or design.


selective focus photography of house finch perched on bird feeder

Photo by Brett Sayles on

Sparrows are stopping by for afternoon tea and I take out more water for them. They wait to eat more seed until I distance myself and don’t notice when I sit on the porch bench to watch. I take pleasure in the way they use their wings to push each other away from the seeds, feeling better about the human members of our household who wriggle on our couch vying both for position and popcorn during a movie.


animal antenna arthropod background

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on


I heard a cricket last night, here early for who knows why. I wondered where it was hiding. The evening air was hot and still. The fountain splashed music and a bird swooped over the yard toward sparrow apartment nests behind the ivy leaves. In spite of the car engines and a blast of The Stones from down the street, I could hear the cricket for just a bit, a little sigh at the passing of time.


Ahem…shall we try again?


Once upon a time there was a Writer who stopped writing. She’d finished the third book in her trilogy (Wisdom Court, that is), and almost as if a switch had been thrown, her Brain nestled into the overstuffed chintz chair now crowding the small sitting room in her head where, nearby, a nice cup of tea was steaming. Noting her lack of arms, the Brain signaled the Writer, who reached for the TV remote. “Merde,” muttered the Brain.

“I wonder what’s on the telly,” sighed the Brain. (There was no explanation for her cozy English accent.)

Lots of things were on the telly. MSNBC news programs; Call the Midwife; Bosch; John Wick movies; Law and Order reruns; TNT-chopped versions of The Hunger Games; the Kevin Bacon collection. Netflix and Amazon and Hulu were crawling with movies and edgy comedy and eye glazing sophistication. And horror. The Brain overdosed on 911.

Tons of books presented themselves: Louise Penny’s Inspector Armand Gamache books; Lawrence Block books (even a new Matt Scudder!); Bruce Most and Cassie Miles and Douglas D. Hawk books; Nora Roberts books; Charlaine Harris books. The Mueller Report. Becky Clark books.

The Brain grew fat and slow, pickled with distractions. “It’s all research,” she  averred as the Writer’s fingers lost their agility and the Brain’s ability to spell suffered. “I’ll be so ready when I return to my oeuvre.” At the slow, sloppy thought, the Writer raised a brow, which she’d never been able to do before, but nothing came of it.

As summer finally took hold, the Writer began to pull a Camille, finding pots in the basement, buying plants to put in them. Tending her garden aroused a thin hope for A Better Way in the Brain, and the flood of books and films and television shows slowed to a trickle.

Came the day when the Writer looked inward, when she saw the fragile Brain struggling from the grip of the overstuffed chintz chair. “We’ll resuscitate the blog,” the Brain whispered, no trace of British accent to be heard.

Tears welled in the Writer’s eyes. “We’ll get back out there. We’ll think of something to write about.”

They decided to celebrate with a nice cup of tea.


Waiting on the cusp–or maybe it’s cups…


eye of the storm image from outer space

Photo by Pixabay on

Having survived the bomb cyclone, I’m peering out the windows of my house in search of spring. Or in search of something.

January went walkabout on the veldt, its hiding places unknown. We had to send adjustment officers to drag it back. Short February lasted at least three icy months, its  breath evoking a heightened sense of something in the shadows, lending a gothic tinge to the seemingly endless span.


full frame shot of snowflakes

Photo by Pixabay on

Now the sun shines, but not yet on everything.  And we’ve been told to watch for an appearance by the Worm Super Moon on the twentieth. How appropriate. (No insult to worms intended. I am a founding member of the Worm Rescue Squad.)

Times lurches forward in fits and starts, with some certainties: newly minted tax forms, long may they fold. More investigation reports. More candidates. More waiting.

Leave it to a poet for a sum-up:

“But the sunshine aye shall light the sky,/As round and round we run;/And the truth shall ever come uppermost,/And justice shall be done.”

Eternal Justice, Stanza 4

Charles Mackay (1814–1889)

Hope he’s right.



Neither Here nor There…

blurred-background-branches-close-up-788751The days between Christmas and the New Year hold ghosts of past events and restless shadows of what’s to come. Fun’s to be had and still-on-vacation kids are quick to grab at it. Nostalgia gathers in corners, hovering in case memories and distance-pangs evoke tears.

Duty waits in hallways, tinging the air with a faint scent of reckoning: tucking away the excesses of the holidays; finding dreaded proof for life narratives…taxes. Holiday lights sparkle enough to weaken such seriousness, but cannot banish it.

Winter settles in, at least here in Colorado. Wind attacks leaves left like confetti, gathers cold behind clouds and aims it toward naked trees and hatless heads. New light arriving with the solstice hasn’t yet the strength to pull at time.

Soon…soon the short, sharp months of the early year will streak into lives grown lazy with celebration. Measures to be taken, notions to harden into resolutions. Scales to be polished, treadmills eyed.

And a slow missive will be dropped into the year-mail to make its way through days and weeks. A warm breath will hint of promises to come, a smile will be glimpsed as light lengthens.

We’ll wait for Spring.




christmas tree with baubles


It’s beginning to look as though gifts should be chosen.

If you’re looking for ghostly fun, try my Wisdom Court books: Edge of the Shadow;  A Signal Shown;  All In Bad Time.  They’re available as ebooks, as well as in trade paperbacks and hardbacks.

My two Finny Aletter mysteries, Scavenger Hunt and Obstacle Course are also available in ebook format.

My books can be purchased at

And a very merry holiday season to you all.

It’s dark so early now…


Muddy beach and dead forest

And the night sky leaches color like a wound loses blood. But sharp shades cluster along the horizon before black and purple spread over the world. Night approaches like a wave coming for stragglers limping toward cliff’s edge.

Morning strives to make up for the night before. Peach and gold light the east, and filigree clouds promise glory as the day shakes itself awake.

So short a time breathes between morning and dusk. Life thrums with extra urgency under humdrum rhythms of must and can.

Spices scent air sharp as a blade, sometimes masking the musk of death. A march toward the end of the year gains depth and width, and wind rearranges the bodies across the ground.

Winter is coming, starting cold, endings promised in the air.


Mountain Sunset Scener


Beginning of the year…



Or so it seems to me. Having spent so many years in school, September is my January and I feel a surge of possibility when it rolls around. The temperatures may still be in the eighties, but I envision digging out sweaters and jeans. I can almost smell chalk in the air and hear bells ringing to signal class changes. (Or my ears are finally going the way of all flesh.)img_2345.jpg

A few ideas are rumbling through the empty halls of my brain and I’m looking forward to exploring them. All I have to do first is pull weeds and clear out our old back porch so it can be torn down. A new porch will be built after that. Strictly speaking, that means September will be filled with all sorts of tasks that will stand in the way of writing much. But, that means the beginning of this creative year will actually be in October, a month I dearly love. So, still things to look forward to.

Watch this space.halloween-pumpkins-pd