Saturday, October 13, 2012

On the Death of a High School Friend who shared my youth.......

One of my High School friends, Kathy O'Brien Fox, fondly remembered as OB, died this week finally succombing to Alzheimers disease. One of her greatest joys was sailing and so her daughter, Lisa Ann, read this poem to us:

What Is Dying?
Bishop Charles Henry Brent

Written on the death of his wife

I am standing on the sea shore.

A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.

She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her until at last she fades on the horizon, 
(I think she added here how horizon and sky came together until only a small spec remained and then disappeared ...)

and someone at my side says, 'She is gone' Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all.

She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.

The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says, 'she is gone' 

there are others who are watching her coming, 
and other voices take up the glad shout, 
'there she comes.'

That is what dying is.
An horizon and just the limit of our sight.
Lift us up O Lord, that we may see further

I could see Kathy's twinkling eyes in the eyes of her children and hear her laughter in the Heavens as she shared her last Hurrah at the Irish wake afterwards - ... I'm sure you all heard her laughter too as she flew across the sea toward the horizon, "at first a tiny spec, until you could see her no more"... None of us knows when, the hour or the day. But we can rest assured, 

She waits for us there.

I truly look more forward than backward these days, to when we can all be seventeen again and close - like then - forever and a day.

Three of us old classmates drove down to the beach to watch the pounding surf at Grand Haven whipped by the gale "winds of November come early." It rained all day and the roaring of the sea still crashes across my mind. 

I thought, "this is what she saw; this is where she lived, this is what she loved. She had a grand life and lived it widely. MayGod grant her eternal peace and may her soul find rest in Thee O Lord.

'till we meet again.........

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Northern Michigan Landscapes

View from Bill's Farm Market Toward Lake Michigan

Walsh Farm

Field of Sunflowers on Levering Road
Petoskey State Park Dunes
Haying at Bill's Farm Market

Summer Dreams Along Lake Michigan

Thursday, July 5, 2012


There is nothing better than the FOURTH UP NORTH - 

Come early and feast your eyes on Northern style, "Art in the Park," in Harbor Springs. Stand in line to grab a "Guerney's" sandwich, stacked with piles of fresh roasted turkey, deli sauce, and homemade bread. The homegrown, INGENIOUS Harbor Springs parade begins at 1:00 so set your chair up early along Main Street. 

Then jump in the cool clear waters of the Harbor Beach to chill out from the summer heat. Afterwards, head back south 20 minutes to Petoskey to watch another parade, led by the award-winning PHS band. Catch a 4th of July party along Mitchell Street for a bird's-eye-view - from Bill's Farm market veggie truck to fire engine soakers (relished by the audience in the melting 100 degree heat). Enjoy brats and dogs roasted by hosts in back-yard patios accompanied by neighbor's and friends' potluck surprises. Sparkle in the comraderie of friends and new acquaintances. 

As the warm evening fades, gather along Little Traverse Bay with the crowds that stretch for miles on the waterfront greens to watch the sunset and await man’s attempt to match nature’s fireworks. Outside the Perry Hotel, the Petoskey Steel Band fills the night air with drumming. Above, candled balloons float up from the pier like winged chariots of fire. 

A black sky suddenly ignites with fire. First, Harbor Springs explodes casting deep red, white, blue and green reflections across the blackened Bay illuminating flotillas of yachts and boats of every kind and their reveling gazers. Then spectacular booms from Petoskey's fireworks draws a chorus of “oohs” and “ahhs” from the hoards of people who silently gathered in the darkness like a flash mob erupting without warning or sign.

Then the grand finale illuminates minds with the cost of freedom and our obligation to protect our liberties. Independence Day, a day of light, laughter and an awakening to America that freedoms must be defended despite the cost.

Grand Finale

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


In Memory of Dylan

My granddaughter is grieving today over her cat which was hit by a car. Tread marks cross over her delicate white lines amid masses of orange. She was a sweet thing. Her voice barely audible, always sliding up for attention or playfully scratching when she was hungry. Never demanding. Now that she is gone, I realize as we often do how much I took her for granted, expected her to climb into my bed at night usually laying across my pillow like a luxurious blanket waiting for some tiny show of attention.

This sense of loss is fodder for good story telling. The experience excavates a deep sense of incompleteness and the need for love which can never be completely fulfilled until we reach our destiny in Heaven, Nirvana or whatever you want to call it. Often however our dissatisfaction with husbands, wives and children that we too often take for granted evaporated in our agony over their departures: the child's 1st day at Kindergarten and his subsequent waving goodbye as he goes off to college bring about the reality that they are never really ours to possess but gifts to treasure and let go. Our hope is that they return again never mind the petty battles over buying new Ipads or cleaning your room or leaving the car a mess.

Somehow I write to fill this hole left by grown children, lost pets, and departed loved ones. Recently my friends have been tragically touched by death. Maybe it's the age. It doesn't matter why, it always hurts - deeply and profoundly - changing our lives forever. Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? I can easily answer that question for myself. My life is better for having known these courageous people and their lives are forever imbedded in my soul.

Jodi Picoult in a recent edition of "Carpe Articulum," states that : "Longing is the foundation of the human condition — don’t we all want what we can’t have? Whether it’s the greed that is the cornerstone of a villain or the unrequited love of a star-crossed couple, the hole that a reader sees gnawing away at a character echoes personally.
The great irony, of course, is that we expect that missing piece to be the thing that brings happiness — and it rarely is. For many of my characters, this learning curve comprises the character arc — and the final revelation that they were wrong all along is part of the book’s twist at the end. Like Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ, we usually have the tools we need for happiness right in our hands, but are too blind to see it."

So as Wordsworth said so eloquently "Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower, we will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind. ...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Trillium, a Lesson in Courage

Take a lesson in courage from the Trillium. The trillium is the first flower of Spring here in Northern Michigan. Like the Icebreakers on Lake Michigan, she pushes up through the Spring Snow. Unafraid, countless white wings soon cover the forest floor. Take a drive down the Michigan shore in early Spring between Harbor Springs and Cross Village and you'll see her symphony of white against the dark hardwoods.

Just Do It!

As the commercial suggests, "Just do It!" is an action command we could all benefit from to overcome self-doubt, procrastination, and stagnation in our writing, art or whatever task we fail to fulfill. Today, I sent out two query letters to agents and a story to a Children's Science Magazine. Not much can be accomplished if we don't put out our best foot forward and take that baby step toward achieving our goals. Dreamer that I am, it's always more comfortable to watch the clouds roll by and the waves wash the sands, but to really define who I am, I need to put it out there into the world and let it land wherever it may. The same is true for my painting and art. So many stories, so many pictures linger in my head waiting for ACTION! So take the advice of the commercial and "Just do It!". We owe it to ourselves!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Everything is a blessing if you look for the lesson. While cleaning the yard and weeding today, a heavy wooden platform landed on my toe. The pain sent me into panic mode. It suddenly occurred to me that my procrastination about finishing my novel and painting was totally out of control. What did breaking my toe have to do with procrastination? Everything. I became aware that at any moment we are all vulnerable to accidents, disease, and toe jams that can knock us off our feet and end the incredible gift of time we squandor. Not wanting to waste another moment, I put the ice bag on my foot and drew the stunning flower I had picked 3 days ago intending to immortalize it. And that brilliant sky this morning? I knew the Master Painter could never be upstaged on that symphony of color and brilliance.