The People Who Learned to Hide

snowmageddon-3Minneapolis has just lived through the fifth biggest blizzard of all time. “Lived through” is something of a misnomer; many streets still haven’t been plowed, and once we’d finally unburied the garage (a two-day endeavor), the car got stuck thirty feet down the alley, requiring the assistance of five Good Samaritans to become unstuck.

But they were there, those Good Samaritans, and later in the day we returned the favor to three more cars. That’s what happens, at least sometimes, when a bunch of human beings are facing something bigger than any one of us, or any all of us.

This blog entry made me think of all those in my city, my country, my own block, who feel themselves alone. Every entry on this blog –Your Man for Fun in Rapidan– is a keeper, but once in a while he hits one out of the park.

And now I’m going to call my 86-year-old neighbor, who has been snowed in for the past four days, to see if she might like a bit of toffee, delivered to her back door.

From the land of enchantment

ball-of-twine-5Do you have a few minutes? If so, click here and read the first story.

Why aren’t there more stories like this anymore? So beautiful.

If, at first glance, that particular story looks too long for you, scroll down and read something shorter. I highly recommend “Some Things I Say to My Dog” and “Lost Ghost in the City of Light,” but I highly recommend many entries in this particular blog.

It’s enchanting.


Prompted by a line from a poem by Wyn Cooper

“The stars have fallen onto the sheets, fallen down to sleep with me.”

Lines from poems scroll continuously through me. Beginning at dawn, when I wake up, and throughout the day, lines from poems come to me, recite themselves silently in my head, in my voice, like song refrains spoken not sung.

Without poetry I would be a lost person. Remembered lines and fragments calm the wildness of my heart, absorb it into their own wildness and wilderness, translate it into words, corral the inner chaos and make it bearable.

Without poetry I might have to set fire to myself, to make the fire go away. Bless you, you poems, you tiny mantras placing slender arms around the day: I care. I want you.

Which is itself a fragment from a poem. Like all the below, which have been through-threading themselves throughout my mind ever since I woke up today.

* * *


I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. What I do know is  how to pay attention, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be  idle and blessed.  . .

Whatever leads to joy, they always say, to more life, and less worry.

It is difficult not to love the world, but possible.

The life I didn’t lead took place in Italy.

But one man loved the pilgrim soul  in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face.

Come up to me, love, out of the river, or I will come down to you.

Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

What will you do with your one wild and precious life?

Today would be your birthday, and I send my love to you across the bridgeable divide.

Sometimes it is necessary to re-teach a thing its loveliness.

And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?

Last night as I  was sleeping I dreamt – oh marvelous illusion – that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.

At night we consoled ourselves
By discussing the meaning of homesickness.
But there was no home to go home to.
There was no getting around the ocean.
We had to go on finding out the story
by pushing into it —

The sea was no longer a metaphor.
The book was no longer a book.
That was the plot.
That was our marvelous punishment.

I am not done with my changes.