Big D, little d, what begins with D?

Happy things starting with D:

Discrimination, death, delight.

I am happy that slowly, slowly, it feels as if there is change in the world and a decrease in discrimination. It is NOT gone by any means, but I think it is slowly being eroded.

My parents had a party when I was two and they were both in college. The party was raided in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1963 and my father was taken to jail. My mother and I were left alone and she was afraid we would be lynched by the neighbors. The next morning the paper wrote about a MIXED RACE COLLEGE STUDENT PARTY possibly with orgies. My parents were both suspended from the University of Tennessee.

They were both reinstated after a hearing, because there were no drugs, no underage drinkers, and it was not illegal to have a mixed race party. My parents never touched marijuana ever and I think it was because of that party. I don’t remember it, but I still feel cautious at parties and in crowds. My mother refused to return to the U. of TN and eventually finished her undergraduate degree at Cornell. My parents were so notorious that we left Knoxville as soon as my father graduated.

I grew up learning protest songs and work songs and joke songs. My mother joked about the party and it was years before I found out how terrifying it was. My mother joked that they sat at the one liberal table at the University of Tennessee. I hate discrimination and I do not understand it.

Death: is death a happy thing? Death is as much a mystery as life, and we cannot have one without the other. How could we value life if it were eternal? And we’d also get awfully crowded. I have the privilege of caring for all ages in clinic, all genders, any race that comes in the door, age newborn to 104, what joy! I get to be present when someone is dying and try to help the person and the family. There is no single idea about death or about how to “do it right” and often families struggle with multiple opinions and ideas and feelings. Death is as intense as birth and I have had the privilege to attend both.

Delight: there are many things that I find difficult and depressing, but I find delight too! The latest morbidity and mortality report from the CDC on overdose deaths, up from 52K in the US in 2015 to 62K in the US in 2016: Overdose deaths involving opioids, cocaine and psychostimulents — United States, 2015-2016. We have to work harder to prevent addiction, why do we choose addictive substances, why do people think it won’t happen to THEM?

And yet, I still find delight, taking photographs of bird, seeing patients that I know well in clinic, we laugh often, finding joy walking outside, my family and friends.


The photograph is from Mauna Loa last week. It is not a giant dinosaur nest, it’s a cinder cone. At least, that’s what a geologist claims….



The photograph is from Thanksgiving in 2007, a friend using my camera. That is me and my daughter dancing. She was good at that lift! It’s mostly timing, rather than body weight. She jumps at the same time as I lift — and I’m jumping too!

My daughter called last night, stranded in New York City, the bus company she had set up with turning out to be very fly by night. But her brother got her a train ticket and she ran for Penn Station and now is with family! Hooray! I am thankful!

Thank you for this

Oh Beloved

Oh thank you from my deepest being from all of me from every cell for this touch this kiss this day this cat this daughter this son this family this work this rose this farm box these vegetables tomatoes in my yard and deer outside the fence in town crossing at the crosswalk

the motor working the sailboat flying across the water my aunt laughing my uncle hanging the hammock up in the house the farmer’s market the panda trailer friends new bunnies who barely have fur and sniff at my alien scent in my hand teen bunnies who delight in celery patients and patience and enough

books a box from Wisconsin with a vintage suit fake fur collar and cuffs that unbutton and a woman in a wheelchair laughing when I show her the collar and cuffs and getting through another week and catching up on some of the paperwork a massage to look forward to music and song and a photograph of my father at 6 and my aunt at 3 and my great grandfather and great grandmother in about 1900, he was born in 1881 showing the photos to my daughter and my niece

physical delight that morning comes the wind in the sails of the boat hugs hands touching me and me touching the taste of the tomatoes blueberries a cream puff with whipped cream and strawberries soft cashmere yarn on sail in downtown and my daughter wants just the right hat knit of this yarn just so and it must not come down to her eyebrows we all laugh

loons mink crows raccoons deer a flock of cedar waxwings by the church who stop curious when I try to do their call cat fish frog nuthatches snapping turtle small bunnies

I am afraid to feel happy happy doesn’t stay I hold it away how can I be happy what disaster will strike next but little by little Oh Beloved I let the feeling rise and feel happy

Oh Beloved thank you for this and all

My photograph of common mergansers on Lake Matinenda, Ontario, Canada, 8/2015