Category Archives: Essays

May 5 2020

Today I spent fifteen minutes in my garden, plucking weeds from betwixt and between the tiny sprouts of lettuce and spinach. I hadn’t intended to weed but when I walked past my modest patch on the way to feed the birds, lo! Little lettuces and spinach poking up! Locked in earthy combat with weeds!

It was mid-March when I planted these seeds. Two varieties of lettuce: “Deer Tongue” and “Sweet Valentine.” The spinach is “Long Standing Bloomsdale.”

I’ve been racking my writerly brains for a Sweeping Metaphor about how the mid-March Lesley who planted the seeds connects to and embodies the early-May Lesley; how the history-making weeks between these manifests some great Insight or Truth.

I got nothin’. I can’t do better than observing that seeds hew to their innate seed-ness with quiet grace and aplomb. So I’m following their lead, trying my best to hew to what feels innate to me and to act with quiet grace and a soupçon of aplomb.

So far this includes

feeding the birds, and



journaling, and


A journal entry I nevereverever want someone else to read. Suzi Banks Baum introduced me to this technique.










meditating, and









painting teeny tiny watercolors every day.

This is enough for now.

May you, too, find a daily act … and manifest it with grace and aplomb.

Honey, red cabbage, apples, onion

Last night I sautéed onions to golden, then added two thinly sliced red cabbagesMy mom's red cabbage dish ... along with apples, salt, and honey. This was a speciality of my German-rooted mother, a woman who died twenty-two years ago. 

I’d softened the dark crystallized honey by putting its jar in a pan of boiling water. It slid into the cabbage-onions-apple mixture in a steamy swirl.

As I rubbed off the jar’s label in preparation for the recycle bin I saw it was originally from the Good Foods, Good People Co-op in Lexington, KY, my hometown until college.

I was in Lexington this past April, after my Dad died. The estate attorney told us that although the contents of the house were ours, the house itself was Dad’s wife’s. Even though her family were OK with us being there, we were technically trespassing. My brother and I sorted, packed and moved everything we could imagine wanting into a storage unit between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, stopping to sleep only briefly.

Of all the memorabilia, how ridiculous that I grabbed a nearly-empty jar of honey. And how grateful I am to have been ridiculous.

Let’s hear it for the muses that take care of us even when (especially when) we are stumbling through our days in a haze of shock and disbelief, bone-tired and muttering.

Let’s not overthink our gut-level choices: let’s allow them to sit, darken and crystallize into the sweet and savory comfort we didn’t know we needed.

May it be so for you as well.

If you would like to explore how memory can be shown in fiction, check out my post “Everything happens at once” at A Fiercely Kind Word.




Permission Granted.

Today, intermittent rain spots the sidewalk; I am caught up on bills and laundry and General Tidying and finally read Suzi Banks Baum’s marvelous post of ten+ days ago–a post I didn’t read because I was doing dishes and laundry and catching up on bills.

As you’ll see when you read her words, or, even better, watch her video, the reasons for my delay is extremely ironic. Note: for those of us who have been the primary caretaker for children, please pee before watching. It has several moments that will bring you the howling laughter of recognition.

So today I will open my collage journal and make something new.

After I write.

May it be so for you, too.