Saturday, December 17, 2011

lullaby redux

Despite the lullaby intention set by my mix of chamomile and valerian I can’t go to sleep. Little mice feet sound larger than I hope they are behind my refrigerator and I remember how my brother’s big black dog chewed through the refrigerator coil while he and his family were away. A friend tells me how when he was hiking the Appalachian Trail mice chewed off a big hunk of his long hair and made themselves a nest, there in the shelter while he slept next to a skunk. The skunk may have slept through it too. My cats don’t seem inclined to do anything about these noises. The other morning the tiny corpse of a mouse lay next to Penelope’s fat gray paws in the kitchen and though it hurt my heart to see the creature’s little pink feet still and lifeless I was glad at its smallness. I’ve moved for now into the bedroom where I don’t usually sleep, the one where most of my books are and where an oil painting of sailboats hangs over the bed. My grandmother painted it when I was a little girl, and one of the boats has my name; another has my mother’s and another my aunt’s. I take a big bottle of lemon Pellegrino water to bed with me as well as the cup of herb tea and a book I stopped reading four months ago. The house settles into the almost-winter night and my lonely heart aches a little for my lost love as I fall at last into slumber.


  1. I can't read all the boats' names but see yours behind the lead, "Zephyr". Zephyrus was the Greek god of the west wind and, I presume, still is. My compliments to your grandmother who envisioned a line and strength that would never run out of land.

  2. I am quite sure my grandmother knew what she was doing when she named the boat. Thank you very much.

  3. This suggests to me that "enemies" are not always enemies. Seems that some interesting wisdom came of your insomnia.

  4. Yes, and I got told a couple of great stories.


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Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at or