Ice Flows


Sometimes I am struck by the beauty of this place and sometimes I struggle with how cold it is.

Black charred stumps against red rock cliffs, tattered blankets of snow. River running, churning through and under thick ice creating ever-changing patterns


remnants of warmer days seeping into cracks and fissures, infusing with a green hue.

I watch the brown grasses undulating in the breeze and I am sure I can see the hand of God.

“In winter I don’t think there is much that is more beautiful than these golden brown grasses,” I share with the 12-year-old, pausing to look at them this day, humbly bowing with snow along their spines.


She is unimpressed.

“You are spec- al. Your Jay!” Reads the well-worn plate  beneath a bowl of Lucky Charms: 6 year-old Scarlett’s birthday breakfast.

Panda dress on with bright pink bow in her hair.

” I look pretty,” she declares examining herself in the mirror.

A simple, sweet recognition that I had never heard her utter.

Off to school with 18 mini blueberry muffins passed to her kindergarten pals and then the sharing of treasure box spoils with “The Birthday Girl”.

“I got six rings!” she exclaimed with delight.

At  home with her cheetah painted  face and friends: two puppies, one butterfly, one fish running, giggling, blowing  out candles all 6 atop her puppy cake.

Did she remember to make a wish?

Just now, I wonder this.

And then Ever so quietly it crept upon us. Stealthily, sneaking, I didn’t know the danger was there until it was gone. Scarlett and I for a moment, a mere moment were together where almost, Almost a severe accident occurred. The result would have brought serious injury or death to her. It didn’t happen. It didn’t happen. But it could have, might have. But it didn’t.

And then just like that, the evening unfolded for our family:

Off to see “Paddington”,

home for ice cream and sharing  moments of  the day She was Born.

Scarlett curled in my lap, mama arms wound tightly around her little 6-year-old self.

“Moments are the molecules that make up eternity” (Neal A. Maxwell)

And they are. Good and bad, for better and for worse.These moments, bringing joy and sadness, sadness and joy again and again and again

Round the circle we go.

“I just wanted to be happy” shared a friend amidst her prolonged unhappiness.

How we all seek

and yet it escapes the best and worst of us in dark and pleasant places.



So bound and so intricately connected to the very fibers and sinews of sorrow and pain. Round and round we go on this exquisitely beautiful, Dreadful wheel.

Crazy.It seems.

And I am struck by the beauty and the cold of this place.



Struck by the beauty and the cold of this place.



Nothing But Hope


Rachel's wedding 819



For the first time in days

and days

I am alone.

Alone in my home

for a few short hours.

Rain has come again and again.

I am tired.

I really am.

I rest in my bed.

I read. I write. I eat a little.

I rest on the couch.

I go for a walk,

just a walk.

Dainty flower cups holding droplets of rain.

Magnificent dandelions.

Yes, magnificent and holding up so well through the deluge.

I run my hand along purple grasses.

Purple grasses!

I wonder, does it get any lovelier?

The Twenty-fourth of July, 2014 dawned sunny with blue skies.Rachel's wedding 736

Showers did come, but the sun was always close at hand.

How,  thought I

could it have been otherwise?

And July 25th brought an entire day of rain, but not the 24th,

not on Thursday the Twenty-Fourth of July.

Perfect days.

There really are more perfect days out there than I have imagined or have ever given life credit for.

Perfect in their mundaneness, their simplicity, their humdrum repetition.

Perfect days.

I feel they are so readily about us.

Sometimes there are perfect days on a grand scale

where each moment has been precisely calculated and planned and tenderly attended to, And Time unfolds

Beautifully,Rachel's wedding 734

As she will.

I hear my Father saying:

I want to give you everything.

I want to give you life, a mother, a father,

perhaps a brother or sister or two.

I want to give you earth to squeeze through your toes

And sky above to lay on your back, look up at and shout “I see a witch!” ” I see a sock!”

Thread-like, cotton candy wisps

swirling, spinning into something entirely new every moment–

Watch or you will miss the witch,

the sock.

And I.

I want to give you everything too.

Places for you as lovely and beautiful as can be.

I want for you happiness,

and more happinessRachel's wedding 748

and joy:

That you may know joy.

And I give it to you

as imperfect as my giving may be.

I tie together robes of life

of beginnings and endings worn and woven together on this day.

Catching my breath,

as I will over and over






Glimpses of times before, now and through this veilRachel's wedding 735

I see,

I am weeping.

She is weeping.

The Mothers.

I don’t pretend to understand what all these thoughts mean

but there they are

and I know I must keep all these things,

ponder them in my heart.

“Nothing But Hope,”

Read the beggar’s placard off I-70 and Quebec.

You and me both buddy,Rachel's wedding 761

you and me both.


I hang on to it in happy times

and cling on to it when I, a little like the beggar–

I said a little,

feeling desperate in my  prayers to Father above.

“I hope to love the day–my daughter is getting married,”

Penned by me late on the eve of July 23rd.

And on my knees, July 24, 5:30 a.m.:

“I pray Rachel and Quin may have  a beautiful day”.

And so it was.Rachel's wedding 764

Nothing but hope.

There it is.

It is what I have.

In all its beauty

and simplicity.






Rachel's wedding 747

Trail Find

I love my solo time in the mountains. Last Saturday I  discovered new trails in an area I have frequented for many years. One moment I did not know of their existence and in the next  a whole new view and adventure opened up for me. Funny how so many things in life go like that.



Alone on mountain trails, my feet and mind strive to keep pace together:

I run beside a  flowing creek and  into shady hollows where thick ice still covers stream beds straining to trickle underneath. I scatter eight doe through the forest: The husband. He is there and I am here. For this gift of time alone I am grateful to him.  Golden meadow grass heavy with  frost does not escape my eye:  the kids all six, one by one pass in and through me.

Between pines brushing my arms and head I go: good friends I have.Some will return with me to these trails another day.  Over wooden bridges slick with the morning frost, over rocks and twisting roots: the boyfriend of the 22 year old, happy for her, grateful for him. Up a hillside into a clearing bordered by aspen groves, pine stands and a glorious blue sky bring my feet to pause, to turn, to take it all in: the joys and challenges of my life, how might I do better.

I come to an  inclined ridge with  no end in sight. Through the curve and bend of pine boughs I  see sunshine and blue skies ahead. In this I find hope and a desire to carry on. And I love a challenge: getting to  the top, to the “end of the trail”  so up this ridge I  go and go and go. A view of the beyond and many moments to bathe in warm, glorious sunlight is my reward at the top. Instinctively  and just as naturally as my breathing itself  I find myself praying with a depth and earnestness that does not come in all my prayers. Its weight and its strength is nourishing to my soul. All these people along my trail, they pass through my heart and mind again. Silent whispers of gratitude, pleas of help and hope and faith.

I love to solo on mountain trails and on this day I found new trails, new adventures and new-found peace.


And again.

We Can Even Paint a Rainbow

2014 751
It was a day that I didn’t feel like painting.
Most days I don’t feel like painting.
I had Things To Do when the five-year-old brought forth her query.
“Will you paint with Me?”
I am not an artist.
 My hands, my mind–they are so far removed from such activity that I simply thought and said:
No, no I don’t want to paint. You paint.
And besides, I had no idea of:
What to paint.
I fear there was fear behind this fear.
Painting with my preschooler!
Thankfully, my heart said yes.
And so I did.
Contiguous streams of happy chatter flowed from her rosebud lips:
Ohh, I love that!
What is that?
I really like how you did that flower.
An occasional,
Oh no! I messed up.
Then carrying on with sheer delight.
I was amazed when I made up my mind and heart to sit,
to sit and let go of the Things, that everything just flowed.
From the deliberateness of my choosing colors
to thoughts of spring–
 still fairly far removed in my arctic world,
 then on to the beauties of summer.
The ease of my brush strokes across the paper:
mixing, blending, combining into No, no not a Van Gogh to be sure,
but a Marie.
Let’s paint another one together!
said the five-year-old.
And so we did.
When it looked as though our masterpiece was complete she exclaimed,
“We can even paint a rainbow!”
 Atop our  swirls of clouds and sky,
 sandwiched between the edge of the paper
and our free-flowing tree and flower designs
we put forth turquoise, fuchsia, pink, yellow, lime green, and scarlet:
a glorious rainbow indeed.
Now let’s sign it Mom and Me.
And so we did.
2014 761

Boy Wonder

A view.

A view.

These  bonds we have.
They run deeper than you know.
Tying us up tight,
arms wound ’round flesh and bones.
But gaps there are.
Try as I might
to hold on,
down and out you wriggle
and giggle
looking back only once
before the flapping begins.
Up you go
Boy wonder.
Where and when
may I ask,
did you get those wings?
Squinting into the sun
I see your  feet
black cutouts against the sky.
Feathers come
and your laughter
trailing on the wind,
swirling together
around my head.
The feathers,
I gather.
Then fistfuls,
brushing them against my cheek and forearm.
What to do with them? :
Now and then
I will pluck one off
and say:
Oh look!
Would you look at this one?
This was when
he had chicken pox.
Everywhere oozing.
Swollen eyes.
Nose too–
draining into his mouth.
Poor little thing!
I go back for the laughter,
cupping it like
lightning bugs in my hand,
pouring it inside a great big dusty seashell.
What can you hear?
No it’s not the ocean.
It’s his  laughter.
Now let me have a turn.
I look once more,
up and out into the blue.
Boy wonder on a cloud!
How many times have I told you?
You can’t stand on a cloud,
you can’t  sit on a cloud,
you can’t sleep on a cloud.
It’s like walking through a mist
my boy,
seeping through your nostrils.
Step right up ladies and gentleman!
Boy wonder:
Asleep on a cloud!
you’ll wake him.
Too late,
for there he goes:
into one of those dark green forests
with  mossy stones  and
black-eyed does who look your way
in alarm.
As they should.
But you pay them no mind
for you are running.
Running fast with strength and hope
of what you know not.
To where
God only knows.
And yet another view.
And yet another view.


2014 359


There’s no blueprint for You my love.
Even I
could draw a bird, or a flower, or a tree or a _

not of You.

No one knew

the curve of those lips
how stars would splash across your face
in an array
No one,

not One
in a zillion


 could have sketched

Or how that hair
golden flax
jet black
fall down your

Across the curve of your spine

with my finger

I did draw



the nubs of

Your spine.



You got it:


There’s no blueprint for You my love.

Those eyes

that challenge me, dare me, want me.

Your laugh.


Always it makes me smile

Or laugh too.

And You–
How high You can jump.
So high

with joy
of the purest intent.

How You jump.

And how

You  fall.

So red.

down my fingertips

into the creases of my palm.
Your blood.


On my skin.
How far You can fall.

But I’ve seen You climb




into those tree branches

 twisting and curving
even snapping
with your foot.

Get me down.
You got up there.
You get down.

There’s no blueprint for You my love

that infectious goodness seeping
from your pores:

melting its way out from You

 into me,

into everyone.

There’s no blueprint for You my love:


Not for You

My Love.

Our Baby is Five


She had a meltdown:
This Baby of ours.
“I don’t want to change numbers!”
“I don’t want to grow up!”
For months, weeks, days she has been 
rising in the mornings with 
a most cheery:
“5 more months ’til I’m 5!”
“2 more weeks ’til I’m 5!” 
“3 more days ’til I’m 5!”
But in the eve of “3 more days…”
it all hit her little mind and heart
like a ton of bricks
I guess.
 I held  her while she cried and cried.
And I listened.
Because really,
what do you tell a 5 -year- old about growing up?
Growing old-er?
 I don’t want you to change numbers.
I don’t want you to grow up.
You are our baby.
The youngest.
The littlest.
So tiny.
Even still,
 you have been growing right before my very eyes.
How dream-like,  how surreal.
Just a year ago?
You look
So young.
And it seems
yes, we all say it:
How we must love.
Even caught up in our own getting old
We must
Love the years, love the months, love the days
and love those moments in between
because Baby
 tomorrow you won’t be 5 anymore.
So, Scarlett Eva Hughes
Here’s to being 5 for a moment:

January 23, 2009 
Englewood, Colorado
7 lbs.11oz.



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