Monday, May 30, 2011

To Lori....

...On a most special occasion...

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

--Mary Oliver


To shop and laugh and talk deep thoughts

To ponder mights and coulds and oughts

To eat and meet and walk and sit

Who couldn't love this lovely fit?

Who wouldn't smile start to end

To have this Very Special Friend?

--ms. kj

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Life In the Slow Lane...

I am in another world this weekend. No matter how many times and how many years I've come to this Land's End peninsula called Provincetown, I am gifted a rhythm that will not scurry around, will not overly think. There are some reasons I can recognize: I do not have to wake up at a set time, I do not don my work clothes, I don't bring my bills and insurance papers and my Mother's care plan here. I am like the tides: I just move, I just breathe in, I just breathe out.

Here: JB and I alone and together do what we do and don't do what we don't do. We walk a block and find ourselves at the Bay, sauntering and talking about our dreams as we always have.

We walk along Commercial Street and stick our heads in shops looking sea glass knobs for the weathered white cabinet that was long ago rehabilitated from the bathroom wall. I painted it semi-glossy white last weekend. With two new knobs, it will show some of the sea.

Here: I write. Alot. I have reviewed and compiled 256 snippets and/or makeshift chapters, numbered each, and now I am seeing how they 'fit' together. In other words, which belong at the beginning, in the middle, at the crumbled end: how shall I reveal my characters, the setting, the insights and the transformative events and lessons? My friend Susan said, "Oh, you mean that book you started two years ago?" She is such a wise guy, and I know she is encouraging me in her own way. It is Susan who looked at some of the artwork in my house and said, "That needs to go! Nobody smiles in those paintings! Put that part away for good." She is right about that too.

I love writing here. I have a lot of new writing yet to do; not just bridges from one paragraph, one section to the next, but whole new chapters. Moving the numbered pieces from one place to another begins to tell the story, to show me what is missing, what must be further introduced and known. Over and over I am told by wonderful guides that readers don't mind waiting and being surprised, but they don't want to be confused. I get that. It is a challenge I welcome.

for anne....

Change of topic: I haven't said much about my beloved old girl Stella lately. She is so noble and brave. The muscle mass in her right rear leg has atrophied to the point where the leg often cannot hold her and she is prone to falling. This has cramped the length and joy of her walks and sometimes JB and I look at one another wondering if the time will be soon that the joy of her body massages and cookies and now chicken in her meals will be enough. We have this contraption that wraps around the lower part of her body and it has a handle so we can hold and keep her legs up. But we haven't used it yet. It is a clear announcement that she will no longer make do on her own walks, and in her own way, and ours, we're not ready for that yet.

.JB and I fell asleep on the couch last night, dressed and accessorized. Who cares?! I wrote this morning, we met with a realtor to rent out this place for a couple of weeks this summer (a financially responsible thing to do). We walked to the corner for breakfast (marianne and lo, yes, there), I have been blogging and cursing blogger for the comment problems, and tonight we will have pizza and salad here with old friends.

It's a good thing I walked along the beach yesterday and across town the day before because writing is so sedentary!When I'm in the zone, I have to remember to move.

The town is hopping with visitors kicking off the sart of summer. The bay inlet is still pristine, not yet traces of fuel oil from the motor boats just past the jetty. The sky blues and pinks and oranges are spectacular, the ocean glistens with thousands of tiny pearl lights bouncing of it, the art galleries are wondrous and stimulating, the folks here are jovial and easy going.

I have alot of history here, most of it awesome. August of 2008 was my the lowest. I don't talk about it too much anymore, and I can tell my emotions and armor have shifted for the better. But some things I think we're meant to carry. Maybe they build character, expand compassion, soften the unexplainable.

Two days ago, just before dusk, I saw dozens of gulls flying and gliding with the wind. The wind must have been perfect for them because they moved their wings effortlessly, if at all, banded together toward where?--maybe their perfect spot on this thin strip of beach.

But there was one gull who had fallen behind and was struggling mightily to keep his/her wings moving. S/He was obviously hurt and giving everything to keep up with his tribe. I wanted to help that gull. I stood on the sidewalk and I looked up and my mind flashed through the possibilities of how I could rescue that gull. Even though I knew better.

I was witnessing something between a gull and nature and it could not be my business. I was reminded again of what I continually need to know: there are times when caring and trying simply can't and won't make things my way. I don't like that I've been taught this lesson, but it's one I know I need to know.

Oh, and did I mention we're not here alone?
love kj

Friday, May 27, 2011

Letters of the Alphabet on a Busy Quiet Night

It's been a long time since I've done silly something like this on my blog. I hope you might do it too. And wouldn't you know I had to deal with my age first thing. I must be feeling brave tonight :^)
A is for age: 43 years old. This is not my actual age but it is how old I would be if I didn’t know how old I am. I am actually 63. If this is a shock to any of you, please know it is a shock to me too.
B is for beer of choice: I don’t drink. I can’t drink. That’s another story. But if I did drink, I wouldn’t drink beer. I was a fine wine and zambuca girl…
C is for career: I've been a self employed counselor/consultant/trainer until three years ago when I became a psychotherapist, which I also like, and I am also happily (and finally officially) a writer.
D is for favorite Drink: hands down, my favorite is Italian Roast Coffee. Every morning I squeal with delight while it’s brewing.
E is for Essential item(s) you use everyday: Ok, no lipstick, no pearl necklace for me. It’s a pen and paper, with my computer and iphone close behind. I’d be lost and longing without them.
F is for Favorite song at the moment: Eva Cassidy’s Fields of Gold. It makes me cry everytime.
H is for How About Whatever Favorite I Choose: Okay, I choose my favorite color. It is green, like grass.
G is for favorite Game: I hate games. I try to avoid board games especially. I will play poker or whist but that’s all. Please don’t ask me to play board games. Please.
I is for Instruments played: Guitar, piano, tuba, trumpet, violin, drums, and sax. No, none of this is true. I made it up to impress for a fleeting second.
J is for favorite Juice: Fresh squeezed orange juice.
K is for Kids: I have one darling daughter of my own, two grandsons ages 4 and 2, and one more grandson, currently and temporarily named 'Sparky, on the way. I love kids of all ages and sizes.
L is for last kiss: JB tonight. I also kiss my friends and am happy giving little kisses on the cheeks of people I like.
M is for marriage: Yes. 21 years unofficially. 4 years legally. 25 years in all Happily, with bumps and lumps, but always with love.
N is for full Name: Can’t do that in Blogland. Hahaha, that's what I thought when I started my blog. It's not hard to know my name, that's for sure. It's not my favorite, but my parents must have liked it.
O is for Overnight hospital stays: one at age 5 when my tonsils were removed; one at age 30 with the birth of my daughter; one at age 33 for a scary biopsy, and one for back surgery
P is for phobias: I have my share: the worse are being alone at airports, driving in snow and ice, and public speaking (all of which my work has required).
Q is for quote: 'Ride the Horse in the Direction She's Going'
R is for biggest Regret: hmm. I wish I had saved more money faster. But then again, I’m not sure I would change anything either. If I have to sell shoes at Macy’s when I’m 85, I just hope I don’t have to touch strange feet. :^)

S is for sports: I love baseball. It is mystical and magical. I believe I am an expert on the game.
T is for Time you wake up: varies: usually by 7:00 am, sometimes 8 on weekends, occasionally 5 or 6 am, which is my favorite time of all.
U is for color underwear: most often black. And they match.
V is for Vegetable you love: Is an artichoke a vegetable? I love artichokes, especially reaching the heart and dipping it in lemon butter or holidaise sauce.
W is for Worst Habit: I can perseverate and nag in an attempt to have it my way.
X is for X-rays you’ve had: Because I think this is a stupid question, I decline to answer it.
Y is for Yummy food you make: I make a mean garlic and cheese bread, my dad’s spaghetti sauce, and I just mastered turkey gravy—after at least 300 attempts.
Z is for Zodiac sign: Leo the Lion, but even though I may act regal I have learned humility.
There have not been many meme's on the the blogs in many months. Memes are not usually my favorites. But I invite you to try your hand at this alphabet challenge. Did you learn anything interesting about me? Because if you did, it stands to reason that it will be good to learn some interesting things about you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mish Mash Moments

In no order for no reason, here are some scenes and people that make my heart flutter.

I'm headed back to work tomorrow. I've had four days of easy comings and goings, and I am (again) determined to stay calm and centered and aware of all these reasons to be alive in love.

Care to join me?



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Show Don't Tell

'Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.' Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried

If I were in grad school and my professor wrote "Show don't tell" on my dissertation paper, I would scream in frustration. Understanding what this advice/requirement/rule actually means has dodged me for a hundred years.

But I'm starting to understand. It's a good thing, since a writer who tells and fails to show is going to have boring bored readers.

I have a feeling that 'show don't tell' is equally necessary to painters, photographers, sculptors, musicians. So with the hope of touching upon something more universal than just important to me, writing a book, here's some clarification of what 'show don't tell' looks like and doesn't look like.

From Judith Barrington, Writing the Memoir: "Your writing will be far more engaging if you show your readers the particular squint in your father's left eye that appeared as he got angry, or if you show them the thumping of your mother's fist on an oak table before she burst into tears, than if you merely tell them that your father was prone to fits of anger or that your mother often cried out of frustration."

.The key to writing that shows is the senses and that the story is told much like a movie. This means sometime to SEE, or to HEAR or to SMELL or TOUCH or TASTE. Want to know about my character Casey? I could tell you she is both strong and vulnerable, currently depressed and immobilized. Or I could tell you this:


Casey ran her fingers through her $ 5o haircut. "Mave, do I look okay?
Mave grimaced. "Not really. Not like you usually do."
"I know,"Casey said. "I'm due for another cut, but I can't seem to find will or wind power to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment."

Here is a favorite example: "It was a hot, sultry afternoon." I am telling you this. If I want to show you, I could say, "The afternoon blazed and sweated."

This is where I am this afternoon: evaluating and snipping and crafting words that I hope will tell a story that is worth telling. I have to paint portraits in my story. I have to assure that my characters will evoke a range of realistic feelings for the reader: admiration, sympathy, disgust, fear, believability. I have to explain the whys and hows and when and wheres by SHOWING.

Not so easy.

"kj was afraid and frustrated she would not be able to capture the personalities of her main characters." -----------"kj cleared her throat. She shook her head from side to side. Her feet twitched on the wood floor and she brought her hand to her heart. Could she write this story? She stood up, opened the window for air, and with uncertain fingers, began typing."


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Days One and Two In Provincetown

I am sitting here on a no longer tomato red couch with summer essentials in front of me: this laptop, my camera, a set of water colors and a set of acrylic tubes, two sizes of blank papers and postcards, my beloved iphone, a copy of The Time Traveler's Wife, a book called Reading Like a Writer: A Guide For People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want To Write Them, four thin classy white candles, a small package of paper clay, and an estimated 100 pages of a manuscript that has to find its focus and purpose.

I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe the weather is a perfect sunny mid sixties and I can't believe I feel so much at home. The creative urge is hopping. It has been six years since JB and I had this little sanctuary of a place to ourselves and there are chores to tackle: repainting the hall and back room, unpacking linens and towels, hanging paintings and pictures, replacing the screen door...s-e-t-t-l-i-n-g--in.

But these are not the same 'chores' I left at home. These are perfect chores.

We won't be here all summer (work!) but at least some of the time I can come and go. I can say I live here part-time if I want to. I can reconnect with friends here AND I can hole myself up to write. I finished The Light Stays On here, on this red couch. I also felt the full impact of a heart smashed in pieces here, and I know that this is a place that heals me. Sometimes I sound so dramatic when I talk about my broken heart or my human struggles, and sometimes I think I should explain that I have a good life, that I believe I am a lucky person, that I am grateful for abundance in love and friendship and material comfort and in certain kinds of wisdom and whimsy.
This is a picture of the bay one block down the street. It will not be unusual for me to walk to it most mornings I am here, whatever the season. When Mr. Ryand and Drew are here, we will take them to the bay at around 7 or 8 am, roll up our pants and take off our shoes and walk into low tide, stepping around the slimy seaweed, looking for baby crabs and finding schools of tiny fish in the salt water ripples.

On this bay, for years, with JB, with my dog Rosie, alone, I have walked and strolled and dipped and paddled and dreamed and imagined and envisioned and most of all let myself fall into the time and rhythm of the tides.

Here I am again. JB and I did little this morning, went to the town wide yard sales this afternoon, to the hardware store, to the kitchen shop. Now we are back for a short while before we walk to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (Front Street). And tomorrow I will write. I may paint a wall or two too.

It's all fine.

I wish you the same, in whatever way.

Happy weekend,
love kj

Thursday, May 19, 2011

THIS... where I'm headed.

Tomorrow morning JB and I will head back to Provincetown and begin to settle in for the summer. I won't be there non stop: we will have to drive three and a half hours each way back and forth to work three days a week for all but two of the summer weeks. And some times our little sanctuary of a place will be rented out for the week.

But for the first time in five years, the place will be ours again. No tenant. I will be able to leave my underwear in the top drawer. :^)

It's a gorgeous place of land and sea. Take a look, starting with my smiling face:

Sending love from the Land's Edge,


p.s. will the book get written? finished?

submitted? accepted?


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another 'And Yet'.....

I have been noticing something very definite.

I smile alot at people. I smile in my car when I am at stop signs, and in restaurants and in elevators. I'm beginning to think I do it instinctively.
And here's the notice part: I'd say 95% of the time people smile back at me. Not tight little formal smiles, but real ones.

This gives me great hope.

There is reason in the world to feel heavy, be wary, hold back.

I struggle with that general malaise as well my own ups and downs, one even that still tosses me into sadness from time to time.

I have chores and demands and piles of paper that need something done.

And yet.

This weekend I got up at 5:45 Sunday morning with a little boy who sipped his milk while I sipped my coffee and we huddled together in our chairs and soft fleece blankets and read the story of five little monkeys who sold a clunky car to not very bright clunky alligators.

This weekend I also watched my daughter and my Mother sit beside one another on a twin bed and look at photos of their lives. They both have green eyes and great humor and and I see how they look at one another with such love.


This weekend I took the train to New York City and I met a special friend (sf). We relax and gallivant and laugh and tell and share and find and understand. We are so easy and comfortable together and I always think 'lucky me.'
Photo of the Carrizo Plain before but also with embellishment by sf Lori Graham

On Thursday JB and I will move back into Provincetown after five years of renting our little place out. We'll be driving back and forth most weeks, after working for several days, no small drive, but much of my summer will include ocean breezes and the salt of the sea. I don't know what to expect except I think it will be wonderful to create and settle into a beachy place again. Every wall is a low gloss white, no space will be cluttered, and I will be one block from the bay and a small beach where I'm prone to dream and ponder and sometimes scheme.

These are thankful times for me. I'm glad I know. I can't say I don't struggle--sometimes for real reasons and sometimes for none at all, but there are times now when I think I just about have it right.



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Death by Jellybeans by Emily V. V. Rabbit

I am innocent! It is not my fault!!!

Mr. Ryan planted his jellybeans last weekend. He poured them into the garden very recklessly, in my opinion and even kj agreed, but he was too excited to care.

Then Mr. Ryan and kj and No Longer Baby Drew and JB went for a walk. When they came back ALL the jellybeans were gone! They disappeared and vanished!

kj thought Mr. Ryan should plant more jellies the next morning so they could watch to see who steals the new jellybeans. But they ended up playing with the water hose (and mud) instead so it was up to me to figure out who would be mean and pushy enough to steal jellybeans from a four year old little boy. Because if you are mean and pushy enough to do that, you will be mean and pushy enough to steal from a sweet innocent little rabbit too.

I am pretty sure I have solved the crime!

There is a lesson about not just stealing but overeating that even I should be aware of. I'm telling you to save you some trouble. There is no charge for the advice.

Sincerely Yours,

Emily Rabbit

Monday, May 09, 2011

My Mom

Okay: this post showed up on Google Reader on Mother's Day but I pulled it because I couldn't get the spacing right. But some things are more important than spacing, so here it is.

It's been two year since I wrote this. Since then, my Mother's house has been emptied and it is rented to strangers. She doesn't remember much about her house these days, and that is a good thing. And what she does remember is all good.

Going Home
My mother’s eyes glisten across the room. Cat green and softened by age, they look at me pleadingly.

“Do you think I could go home?” she asks in her most genteel voice. She raises both hands in front of her, the way politicians do during a heartfelt speech, as if to confirm she is reasonable and solid. Her eyes shine and deepen.
“I know I can’t be alone,” she says, “but could we find someone to live with me?”

Often I am slow to answer. Always her eyes deepen and her voice is hopeful, not at all forceful. “Could you tell me why not?” she asks cautiously, politely.

The youngest of sixteen children, my Mother first came to America from Canada and walked into a classroom where she did not know the language or the country.

“Mom, we could take you home for a weekend. You could see your friend Dottie, and Marie next door. You could sleep in your bed,” I pause and smile, “but you have to promise me you’ll come back.”

She grins. “I might not,” she says.

“Mom, if you hold on to the kitchen counter when it’s time to leave I will call the police.” I grin.

She grins again. “No, I know,” she says. “Besides, what would I do there by myself?”

This fall, my mother returned home. She cautiously pushed her walker up the front steps and stepped into her hallway. “Oh it’s good to be home,” she sighed. From room to room she assimilated the unfamiliar walker into the familiar landscape.

She opened her kitchen cabinets, showed me where the pot was for tea, and sat at the kitchen table as if she had never left. As if she had not since learned to walk with an assistive device, as if her loss of memory meant nothing.

She looked ten years younger. She acted and spoke masterfully, guiding her hands effortlessly toward the right dishes and acting surprised when something seemed out of place. Then she looked at my dog Stella, who had come along for the weekend, and said, “Karen, how long have I been gone?”

"Over a year," I tell her.

"Did I leave my dog alone here all that time?”

We are all silent before I respond. "Mom, this is Stella. My dog. You know Stella,” I said.

She shook her head sheepishly. “Of course I do,” she said. “My memory’s getting worse. But my mind is still good.”

I slept on the couch so when she woke up she would not be afraid or unsafe. Four times I met her in the dim hallway and she breathed a sigh of relief when she saw me.

“Where am I?” she asked. I said, “Mom, you’re in your own house.”

She shook her head. “I must be pretty confused not to know that.” Even in the darkness, her eyes sparkled. Four times she kissed me goodnight and asked if I needed a blanket.

My father and grandfather built this house and my parents lived in it for 63 years before my father died. My mother always said she would never leave it alive and she almost pulled it off.

But she fell one summer day in her front yard and broke her hip. By the time the rehab folks met up with her, she was too frail and too confused to get anything close to an endorsement that she could live alone. She moved in with JB and me for a few months and finally, reluctantly, she took up residence in a furnished room in a sweet local rest home ten minutes away.

I took my mother home that weekend knowing it risky. She was doing her best to accept the rest home. “You know I’m not a complainer,” she told me regularly, but her eyes told the whole story. She would never adjust. She could not remember anyone there. She was the literal stranger in a strange land.

Her first morning home, my mother smiled at me. “You won’t believe this,” she said, “but I’m not going to mind going back.”

“How come,Mom?” I asked.

“I don’t know”, she chuckled, “But we probably shouldn’t question it.”

And indeed, she didn’t mind going back. She spent two days sipping tea at her kitchen table. She had coffee cake with Dottie and hugged Marie for the first time ever, and she continued to tell JB and me where to find things. For these two days my mother ruled the universe.

Then she returned to her furnished room and settled in. She started playing solitaire again. She asked me to order cable TV. She read the newspaper. She complimented the food.

“Mom,” I said, “How come you’re happier since we went to your house?”
She looked confused. “I don’t normally complain do I?” she said.
A few days later I asked my mother if she remembered going home.

“Not really,” she smiled, "but I think I enjoyed it.”

Yes, Mom, you did. If you want we’ll do it again in a few months.”

“We’ll see,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. “It’s kind of a long ride, isn’t it?”

Sunday, May 08, 2011

My Own Version of Sillypants

Don't ask me why I wrote this or why it makes me chuckle. I just did and it does. :^)

The Teacher

I’m looking for the universal
Under the butter dish
Because if it can’t hide under there
It doesn’t deserve counter space.


Friday, May 06, 2011

A Not-So-Secret Garden and More Mish Mash

This is looking into my house just after sunset, on a day--today--I could finally call my own. I did exactly what I felt like. I didn't worry and I avoided chores. Instead, I happily painted the inside of some kitchen cabinets, I planted lettuce, I planted pole beans and dahlias and sunflowers. I weeded, I chatted, I bought marigolds, I ate pizza. In short, I had a great reprieve from a hard couple of weeks.

I know for certain I am not alone in finding the last few weeks difficult. I've been worried about my Mother's health and finances, I've been wrestling with stress, and I haven't had time or fair weather to spend outside. But it was not until my supervisor at work, in telling me about her own challenges, mentioned her theory that spring is hard for most people because we have to push and expose ourselves and break through just like plants do: then I understood that is pretty much what it's felt like for me.

But today: I am grateful and gleeful.

Tomorrow Mr. Ryan and Not-so-Baby Drew will come for the weekend. If it doesn't rain, Mr. Ryan and I will plant his garden in the back yard: two rows of lollipops and one row of jellybeans. I bought these marigolds for him because I think they look like candy too.

This is my own version of candy, in the front yard.

I don't know if it's obvious, but starting to build my garden this season is sheer total ORGASMIC joy for me. I won't plant many vegetables because I'll be in Provincetown a good part of the summer, but I am going to pop in flowers and a few tomato plants where ever there is room. Often I just stand and stare at the garden. That's what I'll do first thing tomorrow morning. I'll go out and relish what I planted today.

Transition: JB may well not approve of my putting this picture of her on my blog. (I'm afraid to ask her). But I think she looks so lovely here, I can't resist.

The coast of Maine.

Aha, this was at a garden center. Take a look: it's dishes and vases and cups piled atop of one another to create a garden sculpture. I'm sharing it because I think the idea is very cool.

My friend Gordon painted this a while back. This is my Mother. It is not finished and he tells me he hasn't gotten the bottom part of her face right yet, but I love that he's painting her.


I wish you a wonderful weekend.

Don't forget to notice.



Thursday, May 05, 2011

Ah, Yes

So glad to make your acquaintance, rockin' robin.

Come, splash and chirp with me.

The sun is high and so am I.

Love kj

Monday, May 02, 2011

In The Shower

Subtitled: Damp Dark Debilitating Thoughts Spilling Forth to Slow One Down, or Delicious Daring Doubtless Musings Sputtering Down to Push One Forth

I wait until the steam builds up, when my breathing slows and I am safely submerged, I wait until my mind reviews the price of being tethered and the luck of being smart.

I wait until I feel little crystal beads of longing start at my shoulder blades and drip down, one by one, over my breasts until they just disappear, like they never existed.

I wait until I do a speed read of my life so far, the sound of applause and the quiet thank you's and the way the sun turned east that morning on the hill, that morning when I finally understood I would be carrying the weight I never sought, never even understood, but somehow along the line I agreed to it, and really, every morning in the shower I remember that I freely chose it then and I freely choose it now. I watch that water spill onto me and I could just as well be Esther Williams practicing her synchronized swimming—practicing something alone for something that cannot be performed alone. That is me.

Then, when I have in no order at all finished my morning cleansing, when the steam is sufficiently thick and I have sufficiently calmed down, I see my day beyond all those jumpy judgments and cheerless chores and sad secrets, and for a moment so fleeting I never remember it, I pray I will be good enough.

Every morning just before I begin in earnest, just before I take my place and deliver my hopeful goods, I pause, place my right index finger on the shower door, and I make a peace sign. First I make the circle, then the up and down line that separates the parts and joins the whole, and then the slants, first left, then right.

Every day, every single day, that peace sign is my consistency, this personal act of hope and penance that pushes me forth, now scrubbed clean, open to fly and fall all over again.