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