Homebound: From Mersea To Maplehurst With Love, March 9



Christie and I are homebound. I, a writer of poetry and prose, am bound to Mersea, a simple white Victorian, nestled in the historic district of a southern shrimping village. She is bound to Maplehurst, a red-brick farmhouse build by Pennsylvania Quakers in 1880. We are both writers, wives, and mothers, but nearly twenty years and hundreds of miles lie between us.

This season, as winter turns toward spring and Lent leans toward Easter, Christie and I are writing letters, she beneath the hemlocks and maples and I beneath the pines and pecans. We reflect together on our homebound journeys. We will explore the bonds of love and faithfulness that tie us, and not always easily, to these particular places and to the people sheltered within them.

Please join us for an epistolary exploration of love, loss and restoration.

Welcome to my third letter in the series. To read Christie’s previous letters and more of her beautiful words go to her web site, found here. To read all the letters in the Homebound Collection, visit the tab at the top of my home page, entitled The Homebound Letters.



March 9, 2017

(From home after being away)

Dear Christie:

The brown leather sofa in the parlor is holding me with a familiar leather scented embrace. A cool night has left the house chilled, but I am warmed by both blanket and puppy. What an apt name my husband has given our sweet English Cocker whose name is Sweet. She chooses to stay by my side as I write, apparently my absence was noticed as she leans in especially close this sunny morning. Perhaps she missed me, as I missed all things familiar, all things home.

Christie, as you know I accompanied my friend to Boston for a trip to Mass General Hospital. We left on a Tuesday, returned on a Wednesday and I am back to my beloved writing on a Thursday. I am viewing home now with the lens of leaving. Leaving and returning bring many gifts, one is a newly framed perspective. I like the frame. It focuses me, like the European silver with a bit of patina that I chose to frame my son’s portrait here at Mersea.

Perhaps leaving reawakens all the senses and plants tiny seeds from the experiences within us. What seeds have I brought back which I will need to tend to and water? How will I grow because of where I have gone?

I imagine we are all being renewed daily. During this Lenten season perhaps I am more keenly aware of renewal. It feels more present and sacred this year. I long for it more deeply, and am even slowly chasing after it. Somehow I feel we are beginning to meet, change and I. She is gentle. And she is patient and willing to wait for me even as I must wait on the minute radish seeds in our garden to grow into edible radishes. I must wait for the natural process of seeds transforming into bulbous red radishes.

But it is worth the wait. For I will slice the radish thinly, place it on a thick slice of grain toast with avocado, arugula and fried egg like the one I sampled in Boston. And it will be good. A simple good that comes along as gift. Why is it that I want to slice the radish thinly so that it becomes translucent, nearly transparent? Are we called too to be transparent like the cut radish?

When I was in Boston, I tried to make it my temporary home. To be rooted there for but a blink. Graciously Boston gave good gifts. The signs along Charles Street provided a curated display of simple art. Each one, uniquely designed and hung with care outside of the shops spoke to pride of place. I walked at a snail’s pace along the bumpy and worn brick sidewalk, looking up and studying the design of each shop keeper’s home.

Rich conversation was a by product of this long journey for a bittersweet visit. The seventh floor of Mass General held both sorrow and joy. During one of our talks, my wise friend reminded me that joy and sorrow can and do coexist. We can celebrate the miracle, slivers and slices and servings of joy even while grief, sorrow and sadness are present. What mystery there is in celebrating what they each bring.

Flying looks like a metaphor for our lives. The experience felt new as I hadn’t flown in a long forever. I have lost my wanderlust. Maybe I have found other things to replace it and it is not therefore a true loss. My desire to go faraway anymore has been mostly snuffed out.

But this was an invitation to go. I wonder about all I would have missed if I had said no. What a place of honor to travel as a companion and co-traveler with my beloved friend on her journey. I call her teacher too. We have much to learn from each other about loss, love and restoration. Christie, oh how I am enjoying your letters! And you too are teaching me about important things.

On this micro-journey, as in life, we experienced delay, turbulence and frustration. But there was joy too in seeing the unparalleled aesthetic beauty of the clouds. Their shape, color and mysterious movements, viewed from a plane window are spectacular. Childlike wonder sat with me. I thought I knew how to press into looking up at the clouds from my earthbound, rooted place. But glimpsing the cotton white masses moving against an azure blue backdrop at eye level reminded me there are new ways to see everything.

And there was joy in being, just being with a friend and meeting kind souls along the way, such as the world’s coolest Uber driver. The news was good in Boston and so we are full of rejoicing. Is this a preview of what is to come at Easter-time?  We are moving in that direction, the place of newness. I hope I am ready and that I am changed.

Today I will go to the tiny post office here in the village to mail some thank you notes. I wish I could box up and mail you a package of springtime. It would contain color and hope, buds and seeds, pieces of me and Mersea. My hope for you is that it will not delay, this true and fully fledged spring.

In time we will both celebrate its arrival. Spring will come for all of us. Newness and change are the sweetest of gifts. I hope I unfurl my clutched fists to receive it all. And to allow the gift of change in me.

Peace and grace to you,























Hitting Close To Home: Touching The Tangible


A small pottery container, made by a child, sits on the robin’s egg blue kitchen counter in my home. Mersea holds memories well. In it are shards and pieces, broken and ragged. A collection is held here in this pottery mug. Primitive, grey and made from clay the earth holds pieces of the earth.

We find the shards of broken porcelain from a hundred or more years ago when we dig in the soil. We touch the past and celebrate. We share the discovery. And we go dissecting, cutting into the ground for more clues of what went before. With each uncovering we shout hallelujah.

We are amateur archaeologists uncovering that which is nearly in plain sight. We walk all over the past. Trounce by the treasures that are one shade away from being in the light. The former things and the present things are co-mingled. A story is waiting in one small yard. A beautiful story lies under my feet.

I am hungry for the tangible. I want to touch what’s real. My soul longs for tactile connection. My senses are longing for smell, the taste and the touch of smooth and rugged. I want more dirt and less plastic. More real and less virtual. I want to be awakened to lovely. Reawakened to the lovely things.

I am hunting for the faded, in the fields of memory. My sights are set on tangible beauty. I walk to the garden and smell the basil and wonder if there is anything more magnificent. I hold a warm pink egg newly laid by my bantam hen, she needs a name, I’ll call her Louise, and I am lost in wonder.

The pileated woodpecker hammers like a piece of equipment laboring under the worn and wrinkled hands of a Brooklynite in Manhattan. He is determined, loud and a noisemaker. And yet he reminds me of the concrete work of this world. The natural world, one God created and set beautifully in motion.

As I dead-head my pansies, I see life and death sitting side by side. I read the story of a woman who failed to nurture them, and they are suffering at her hands. I remedy and restore and ask forgiveness as I have not stewarded well. Like the shards, they are broken and yet given a second chance at being beautiful.

All I need to know and learn is here. The stories are endless, filed in no particular order. Each one a lesson in life and love. The space is small, tiny when place juxtaposed next to everything else. And yet this microcosmic world is full. And worth a sacred journey into the unveiling.

I am on a hunt for stories in the soil of here. I am longing to discover what is lost under the soles of the busy.


Join me on Instagram and sign up to receive my subscriber based letter entitled “A Quiet Place For Words.” as I continue to dig around for the lovely things, the simple things.






Hitting Close To Home: Finding Lovely In The Places Nearby


I am looking for a passport which bears the name of someone other than myself. I think it’s tucked away among old stained t-shirts and outgrown boy things. I stop to imagine the uncovering. Of both the semi-lost passport and of the waiting wonder and beauty on this trans-Atlantic journey. The hunt for this documentation, necessary for going away, is taking me places I never imagined I’d go. A circuitous journey of coming back around to my staying home.

It is enough, this vicariousness. There is profound joy and deep satisfaction in mental wandering. I wonder about the topography of Wales, the weather and whether it will rain or not. And if it does, what does a post-rain village smell like in the springtime there. Old brick and ancient soil co-mingle to tell stories, an aromatic telling. (I can read of Wales from here and I can see a hundred photographs. But the smells, I must net them in my wildest dreams. Capture them in my imagination. That is the sense that takes me travelling in place.)

Wet or damp, dry and cool, how do the fields smell. Sweet like wildflowers or pungent like arugula and rosemary, whose powerful scents explode in their breaking. The pastures, splaying out from ancient castles like oceans of green grasses, blade on blade of lovely; how do they wave in the wind? A green that only May may know, that is the green of my imagining. Green, a favorite smell is the green that shouts new birth.

Each dream, each splinter of my imagination is rooted in love. This season, the one in which I find myself, is one of staying. Of anchoring. Of tethering. I am harbored close to home. All of my travels are in the soil of nearby.

I both remember London fondly and recall my dormant desire for returning. I grieve for what I missed, victim of a younger me wasting time in a city I long to experience her again as an older version of myself.

So I may ask them to visit a bookstore for me, to bring me a something I can hold of that place. Go in my stead. Yet, I do not want my influence to attend their journeys. I want this trip to be wholly theirs in every way. I imagine the places the soles of their shoes will mark. I close my eyes and dream about the planes and trains and automobiles that will whisk them along from town to town. They will soar and fly and rumble, while I will remain in place.

But I have my own rumblings to lean into. And I have my own soaring to do. I ride on the wings of words. And I go faraway in the nearby. I am discovering the shards of lovely in the places nearby.

When they return, when they all return, I am the receptacle of experiences not my own. They dig deep into the well of experience and I am there, far from here. Removed from my present place. I receive their experiences and stories, soak them in and hold on to a re-living. They take me with them in their telling.

The squeak in the eighth stair down, is my siren call to stay. It reminds me as I travel up and down this staircase, built circa 1904, that I am going back and forth through time. I live in a time capsule, a concrete paradox of staying and leaving.

Yesterday the dirt was dark and thick. Each fingernail held the soil-turning of the day, by hand. I placed the pansies into the containers, chosen by design for their size and significance. I dug into the contentment of staying put.

Staying calls me to dig deep in the narrow fields. It forces my hand to root out the nuanced beauty that lies in wait. If I am to discover anything, I must know how to discover the nearby first before I go out in search of more. I must rejoice here, celebrate here, if I am to be practiced at perfecting discovery anywhere else.

The squeak in the eighth and ninth stair combine to play a duet. And I am content to strike the chords of staying.


Secondhand Joy: The Parable of the Garden


Second Hand Joy

I am a lover of old, repurposed, recycled and worn. Drawn to objects which have age and patina. The chips and breaks are badges of honor. Tarnish tells me love was there. Run love through the sieve of time. Until it stands the test of time and time again. Watch the beauty multiply. Compounding adds to the interest. Cracks are doorways for the rays to pass through. Of hope and light. Sealed by perfection, honed to perfection, perfect cannot bear the weight of beauty in the broken.

Faded sepia outlasts the lives of the living. Remaining to tell of love and life. Proud of her browns and white and nearly monochromatic memory.

She met me at the fence line. Wearing a story in her silhouette, curved like an ampersand, bent logogram, a symbol of her life. Joy comes like the morning fog. Lays down and covers the pregnant day. She had excavated joy from my joy. Joy in spades. Joy in triplicates. For mine was there. Then hers arrived. And mine was doubled by her proclamation. At the fence. The currency of love. Exchanged.


My joy is not my own. The mystery of the winter seeds we planted is unfolding. And I bear witness to the miracle of love. Lonely and a bit alone, she watches as our garden grows. And she can write the story of my chickens and how they spend their day. Acting out their antics on the stage for her amusement and viewing from her front row seat.

I was blind. But now I see.

Amazing grace. How does your garden grow.