A November wind swirls the last leaves on the sidewalk in front of my house: ruffle-edged, yellow gingkoes and pointy red maples. Cooper and Reilly–the neighborhood Labrador twosome–bark to herald me from their corner yard. I pass by with my ragamuffin dog Tati who points her nose into the wind blowing down from Alaska, so they say. I pull my cap tighter. I wonder if my life-long walking friend Linda knows–wherever she has gone in her next life–whether Linda knows that an unseasonable cold has settled in this November.


A tart green orchid, fuchsia at the center, blooms in my sun room.

Fragrant with cumin, lentil soup bubbles.

Grainy snow covers ice outside our door.

A fat Sunday paper waits for me there.

Against a steel gray sky sparrows peck at seed scattered from the feeder.

Snow menaces, so does melancholy.

My ever joy-filled college roommate died in January.

John and I map out grandchildren visits.

In the big Webster’s dictionary, we look up “out of the box.”

Hellebores hide in my garden, late this year.

My boots sit ready to carry me through six more weeks of winter.



This Morning

This morning I didn’t expect butterflies in my stomach as I drew a family tree on the chalk board at the School of Social Work at our local university. Next I printed my name and SWIMMING SOLO on the board. The autumn sun warmed the room. I took off my jacket, tucked my bangs back, opened my folder with my lesson plan. I was excited and nervous even though I’ve been in front of many classes teaching French.

When I saw the first student—in a bright red sweater—, I relaxed.

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