Monday, September 21, 2009

life could be a pier

so narrow, so limited
converging lines

it might be an island
a vantage point
or maybe a launch pad

this jetty life
a runway
into a greater, deeper

for now
it's all i need
it's enough

Sunday, August 2, 2009

midsummer in Steamboat Springs

where are those endless summer days of youth?
now days are abundant
fuller than ever
but fleeting
and time picks up the tempo

lscollison 8/2/09

Monday, July 27, 2009

do you twitter? i don't.

remember how you held your hands
over your ears singing
"na, na, na i can't hear you"
to drown me out?

that word once thrilled me
nowadays, it's awkward to text
way too many characters

size doesn't matter
but form does
it takes deliberation
to be brief

only the birds twitter meaningfully
me, i need depth
substance or silence

sometimes i hate the sound of my own voice
gobble gobble gobble
drivel rant babble
just shut the fuck up

so don't blow me a kiss in passing
i want to taste your lips
feel your tongue
or forget it


My grandmother Mary Virginia Leonard was a person I admired immensely. I like to think she had a profound influence on my life, she and her husband John W. We grandkids called our grandparents Bobo and Bebop. They were stalwart, resourceful, vital, wise.

Bobo lived to be 103, her mind pretty sharp until the end. She had a stroke, about five years before she died, which left her speechless. Nor was she able to write. When I visited her she would try to tell me something, and from the look in her eyes I knew it was important, but she couldn't articulate the words, and the tears spilled in frustration.

What if words were like money? A resource, a treasure? What if an evil fairy cast a spell, giving me only 50 words, after which I would fall mute forever? The equivalent of one tweet, what would I say? And to whom?

We spend our words like chump change, and so often the words are thoughtless, inane, cruel, or just clutter the air, rain down on the floor, devoid of any value.

I'd like to take a vow of silence, at least for a while. I'll start with 60 seconds. Beginning now.

Monday, July 20, 2009

june grasses

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged.
Missing me one place search another
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
from Song of Myself
by Walt Whitman

Sunday, July 19, 2009

happiness finds you, in prison or at sea...

I've recently discovered the Roman writer and philosopher Boethius (480-524), who wrote The Consolation of Philosophy while he was imprisoned, and before being executed. I seem to share many of his ideas of finding happiness within.

This morning, while trying to organize a heap of old journals, I came across some scribblings I made during a 3-week ocean crossing with Bob aboard Topaz. (If you've ever been to sea you can probably relate to the prison metaphor, and it was an 18th-century English author and wit, Samuel Johnson, who said What is a ship but a prison, with the chance of being drowned...)

June 5, 2001
At sea, somewhere near the equator…

Salty, damp, hot
as we pound our way through
glorious but brutal humps of
water. Feeling pretty dogged, both
of us. A long journey home.

I’m still at the wheel, Bob is
below, and I start singing. I sing
every song that comes to mind, every song I know.

This cheers me immensely and
gives me a burst of euphoria
and love of life. If you can’t
be happy when times are hard or
you are physically miserable,
what good is happiness?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

nothing stays the same
sands shift
memories morph

it all comes to this
and then this too
is gone

tomorrow someone else
will build a castle
of the very same sand

you'll be long gone
you'll forget your house of sand
but the sea remembers

embracing you
washing your feet, your hands
as you played

lscollison 7/11/09

Friday, July 3, 2009


Asked by a fellow blogger (Not Rocket Science) to disclose ten things about myself, I nearly had a panic attack. What to confess to? I'm so fickle, things change, I'm hard to pin down. OK, feel the fear and do it. Here are ten random (subject to change) facts about me:

1.I sometimes take myself too seriously, except when I’m making light of myself. (OK, that doesn't count. Too evasive. How about this: I've been called aloof, a term that surprised me when I heard it, though I admit I do occasionally hide behind that persona...)

2.I admire green-thumbed people who like to garden but personally, I’m more of a hunter-gatherer.

3.My favorite color changes from hour to hour, but red and red-orange always rank right up there at the top.

4.I wish I had done LSD in my youth. "Just to see what the fuss was about" (Sheryl Crowe.)

5. If I were going to change my first name, I would probably choose Ann, Anne or Annie. So many of my favorite female writers have that name…

6. I love Wyoming and West Virginia; deserts, and the Ocean. On the other hand I love New York and Paris.

7. Dogs are cute but I kind of feel sorry for them. Cats, on the other hand, are to be emulated. And obeyed.

8. I quite often tear up when talking to people.

9. I hate politics and current events. I never read People Magazine, I don't care what or who the Personalities are doing. I try to avoid Trendy Hipsters.

10. I think I’m on the edge of discovering time travel, so if it seems like I'm not really all there, maybe I've gone..

Care to trade ten for ten? I'd love to know you better...

Sunday, June 28, 2009


has awakened me with a slap
even saved my life
once or twice
with a cry of alarm
a sweetjesus tingle
angel’s breath

but left alone
is nothing but a bad habit
a closed fist
a black hole in the center of my universe

-- lsc revised 6/28/09

Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of intimacy, fear of dying, fear of bordom... What are you afraid of? What am I afraid of?

Skydiving taught me much about fear. About facing it, feeling it, then letting go. It taught me the difference between healthy fear and deadly fear. But fear can be so insidious, so protean. I want to unmask it.

I was afraid to leave my first husband, then terrified after I left him. At first I feared for my freedom; then for my safety, then for my very life and the lives of my children. More than 30 years later I still have bad dreams. But hey, I got free and I survived. In fact, I thrived.

What are my fears right now? What is holding me back?

For so long I've been afraid of other people dying. My parents died early, my nephew died when he was seven, a boyfriend was killed... so I've always lived with the grim reaper over my shoulder, or so I thought. But actually I've been very fortunate since those early losses. To lose a child would be so much more devastating. Yet my sister, and my friends DJan, and Jean, and Debbie have met that tragedy, that grief -- and survived it.

What I fear about my loved ones dying is... what? Let me look at that right here, right now. I'm afraid that I haven't let them know how much they mean to me, how alive they are, how much I love them. THAT I WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH TO THEM, That my life without them can never be the same, yet I will somehow go on and continue to live without them. That I'm not in charge of the universe, that I'm sorry for all of my shortcomings and failures, that I loved them as best I could and will always love them. That I will mourn them, that I will feel guilty somehow, but that I will go on.

Another fear is a nagging one that I'm constantly swatting at. The fear that I'm frittering away time, that I'm not living up to what I'm supposed to be doing, that I'm not doing what only I can. And when the end comes I'll regret --- what? What will I regret? Not finishing that novel, that degree, not taking one more trip? The only thing to regret is not realizing I was alive, and realizing others are alive with me. I do waste time and I will die with unfinished business, unrealized dreams, dirty laundry in the hamper, dirty dishes in the sink. Just don't die without having lived, and realized you are alive, and sharing that spark of life with others.

Whew! That feels better. Not the post-adrenalin rush I used to feel after a skydive, or after climbing the mainmast, but a happy realization none-the-less. That I looked fear in the eye, said hello, then opened my fist and let it go.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Move on After a Life Changing Revelation - wikiHow

Move on After a Life Changing Revelation - wikiHow

I was attracted to this article because in the past I've always responded impetuously to life-changing revelations, which was mostly a good course of action but not always. Yet I always feared beoming stuck, buried alive, if you will. As I mature I have learned there are a myriad of reactions and responses to such revelations. But by no means ignore them!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Dad

Harry Mansfield Collison, Jr. 1921-1975

Harry was a father to three lucky girls, husband to one wife, brother to one surviving sister, Clara ("Suze") Collison Leister. World War II Veteran, Mechanical engineer, country gentleman and weekend farmer. He was "Uncle Harry" to lots of nieces and nephews. He was a patient man with a sense of humor and a love of the simple pleasures of life. He could draw, ride a horse, play tennis, fix broken things, charm the ladies, and whistle the Tennessee Waltz. And lots of other things I never even knew.

My dad died at the age of 54. During the time I knew him he taught me this: Be glad for what you have and don't fret over what you don't have. Be a leader, not a follower. Do your best. Be kind and generous, whenever possible. Read a good book and tell a good story. Look for the adventure in life. Enjoy each day. If you can't enjoy it, get through it.

I miss my Dad, but he has become a part of me.

Late afternoon blast of light

What is it called
is there a name for
that late afternoon illumination
that blast of light
that sets afire flecks of mica
morphing the rock
transforming trees, bushes
revealing the back of my hand
in a whole new way?

On the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere
I ponder light
dance in it
am transformed by it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Judeo-Christian teaching, if I remember my long-ago Sunday School lessons correctly, says a rainbow is God's promise never to destroy the world again. By flood. (Am I right on this?) Somehow that doesn't mean much, since the promise doesn't include other methods of destruction, like blazing comets and giant asteroids hurling through space... Also the promise probably doesn't mean much to the folks whose world was destroyed when Katrina hit a few years back.

Not that I'm knocking rainbows. And in my book God isn't a mean old white-haired geezer who schemes up ways to judge and punish us. But what is God? I don't know. Maybe God is still in the process of Becoming. Maybe God is Possibility, with no period behind it maybe God is Everything, including us

You gotta love a rainbow, that little magic trick that never fails to delight us. For revealing what is all around us, all the time. It seems we humans need the little misty water droplets suspended in the air to deconstruct sunlight into its component colors. To remember we don't know it all, we can't comprehend it all, and our lives are as fleeting as any one rainbow.

We are drenched, we are bathed in color, in light. The rainbow is always there, it just takes certain conditions for us to see it.

A rainbow is a flashlight in the darkness, a smile of color, a child's face, a portal, a path, the road not taken. A rainbow is an everyday miracle that can be explained by optics, by physics, but does that make it any less a miracle? What do people want?

Some days the most mundane thing seems miraculous. It's a trick of the light, or God's promise. In any case, don't miss it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The next best thing to time travel

In the space of a few hours I'm transported to Hawaii, and once again I'm driving the Kohala Mountain Road to Waimea to pick up some groceries at KTA. I had to pull over and take the photo above, to remind myself how feckin lucky I am.

Everybody bitches about airplane travel. Whine, whine, whine. Don't you remember what it was like, just a few centuries ago? Don't you remember traveling across mountain passes in Conestogas, crossing oceans on leaky frigates, traversing deserts on the backs of camels? In the space of six and a half hours, I have been transported to another place, another life, and in effect, another time.

Now I'm walking past the brown-skinned paniolo at the KTA shopping center in Waimea. (Photo above) Country music plays over the loudspeaker, as always. Because Waimea is upcountry, Waimea is Parker Ranch headquarters. Parker Ranch was once the largest privately owned cattle ranch in the world. And paniolos are Hawaiian cowboys, who first learned the trade back in the 1800's when the first cattle were introduced to the Hawaiian Islands by the British. Hawaiian cowboys kicked ass in the early 1900's, winning top honors at the rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming. They would have had a two week sail to get from Hawaii to California, then a train ride from there to Cheyenne, on the Union Pacific Railroad (completed in 1869, a fact I just remembered from a Wyoming History course I took back in 1979...)

And we bitch about the discomforts of 21st century travel! It isn't so hard to stand in line, go through a scanner, sit in a crowded airplane for a few hours, or even half a day, and eat bad food at high prices, until you get to your destination. Your other life.

Here's a photo of the Spam section at KTA. If you don't understand Spam, you can't fully appreciate Hawaii. It ain't all palm trees, folks.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Road through time

It’s a three-hour drive
from here to there
(luck and the weather both with you)

Longer still, if you dare slow down
or venture off the main route
into another century

Hours can turn into days
into years
getting lost in time this way

It’s a three-hour drive
From Denver to Steamboat
Today it took ages to arrive

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My secret pleasure...

There are other activities I enjoy doing in bed, but one of my favorite indulgences is being served my first fragrant cup of coffee by my loving husband while I'm still under the sheets, and staying there in my rumpled nest for as long as I desire, surrounded by a stack of books, and my computer. Reading, writing, reading until the pot of coffee is finished.

Growing old has its advantages; this is a pleasure I never knew during the child-rearing decades. And because I worked nights, mornings were for sleeping, not reading!

I’m usually reading half-a-dozen books or so, at more or less the same time. Very fickle that way. Right now I’m absorbed in an exhibition book I purchased in Bruges after visiting Charles the Bold and the “Booty of Burgundy” exhibit at the Groeninge Museum. Charles the Bold was Duke of Burgundy during the duchy’s hey-day in the mid-1400’s. This was a real renaissance festival and I'm lovin' it!

Also reading Tulipomania, by Mike Dash, which transports me to Holland in the mid 1600’s.

And Vincent Van Gogh’s letters, written in the 1880’s.

Also in the stack is a French book Bob got me, and a Western Civililization textbook for an online course I'm taking this summer.

Books are my time machine. So are paintings. I’m working on a time-travel story, and finishing up a ghost story.

Life is full and wide and we don’t know the half of it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


the river swells spilling over
sweeping me along
nearly drowning me
in a tumult
of ideas

Thursday, May 21, 2009

street art

Hey, I think I recognize Maude, one of my old trolls, on this guy's mobile sculpture! Dang, what happened to the rest of my troll collection? Probably gone to garage sales, everyone. (Makes me think of Woody and Buzz in Toy Story...)

My other question: How is this anonymous garage artist's creation any less valuable than, say the works of Mondrian, one of which recently sold for 9.2 million? It's all in the name, and people buy to impress, just as they name-drop to impress. Van Gogh only sold ONE painting in his life-time. Sure, everybody wants a piece of him now, but where were they when he was alive and struggling?

Art, like God, is living and breathing. As my mother used to say, open your eyes and look! Open your ears and hear! And take part of the ongoing creation. Pick up a brush, a piece of chalk, a pen, a piece of fabric, and create. Play the guitar, the cello. Sing! Dig in the dirt! Paint Elvis or Jesus on a piece of black velvet, take your childhood collection and make something of it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Does art imitate life, or...

Boy with Thorn, also called Fedele (Fedelino) or Spinario, is a Greco-Roman Hellenistic Bronze sculpture of a boy withdrawing a thorn from the sole of his foot, now in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome. A Roman marble of this subject from the Medici collections is in a corridor of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. (from Wikipedia)

I had the pleasure of seeing these sculptures when Bob and I were in Rome a few years ago.

Yesterday I caught this photo of my grandson Liam, removing a thorn from his foot, while we were enjoying the sunshine and spring melt, sans shoes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

wild things

wild things in my yard
feed on sugar water
and frozen popsicles
despite their small size
they are extremely fast
and make quite a racket

Friday, May 15, 2009

memories of 1637...

I saw tulips for sale
in the floral department of City Market
Reaching for a bouquet, I stepped
easily into 1637, the height of the tulip craze
when Andries, my lover
lost his fortune speculating
on tulip bulbs

I bought a bouquet of the white ones on a whim
to brighten my kitchen and remind me of
far more glorious tulips
flowers like champagne cups
translucent petals
more valuable than gold
Oh Andries, those were the days
We lived well, our purses bulging with optimism

You claim to have lost it all
but I lost nothing
having loved the flowers themselves

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Time is but the stream i go a-fishing in..." -- Henry David Thoreau

57 degrees when Bob and I took a walk yesterday evening, chilly enough for a coat and hat, here it is the middle of May
Fish Creek is swollen, overflowing its banks and the sound it makes is at once soothing and stimulating
In spite of the chill, everything is greening up before our eyes
Oh, and look at this witch's broom, this dwarf mistletoe. Upon further research I find they might not be as devastating as they are made out to be, as animals eat them, nest in them, and if they kill their host, they too die.
We too are parasites of a sort. Let's live symbiotically.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Where was I?

I sometimes dream I’ve forgotten
to feed the horses
all these years
they’re still waiting
wasting away in the barn
skin on bones
because of me

I sometimes dream I’ve forgotten
my children
they’re still waiting
to be picked up from school
or hiding under the bed
hoping I’ll find them
after all these years

I sometimes dream I’ve forgotten
a patient
and now it’s too late
I’m afraid
to go in the room at the end of the hall
afraid I’ll find Gabriel
holding the body in his strong angel arms
sheet and blanket in a tangle
IV tube dangling
Where were you, written
all over his shining
angel face

lsc 5/13/09