A parade of blooms and weather changes proceed along spring’s merry way. The red bud tree next door spreads pink petals like a flower girl at a wedding all over a patch of unplanted earth beneath my window. A Dawn Redwood tree shades this northwest corner of Kendal and although the resident chipmunk adores this quiet terrain, not many deliberate plantings take to the shady, acidic, clay soil around here. Almost five years ago I could still do a little gardening in that spot, but due to the lack of a hose attachment nearby and my fading strength it is now a small wild place that attracts a variety of low growing weeds. A chipmunk has dug many holes while building up a mound of dirt where he is a bit higher up to oversee his munkdom. It is close enough to the birdfeeder outside my other windows where he can safely scavenge the sunflower seeds dropped by sparrows and finches.

It is not the larger wildlife of regular bear, fox, cayote, deer, wild turkey and weasel sightings of my former home. But further away from my end of Kendal there are deer, cayote, and fox sightings. And Ponds. Lots of ponds where I spend time with frogs, turtles, and waterfowl. Spring commands attention everyday with trees filling out and floral smells providing olfactory pleasures. There are new tree species to greet in Ohio and just the sheer shades of green high and low are enough to fill me with joy, even during last week’s cold snap with snowflakes wafting among puffy dandelions gone to seed.

So much else in the larger world seems very unsettling and shaky and it is comforting to see flowers and bunnies and goslings still emerge. I don’t think I have had one conversation with a friend which hasn’t devolved to bemoaning yet another dire sign of conservative extremism in Ohio, our country, and indeed around the world. I keep saying it is a reaction to so much underlying fear of the rapid changes on the planet. Frayed political systems unable to handle these changes invoke hatred, rigidity, and violence in a desperate attempt to clamp down and control fearful people. My friends and I have to pause when we touch on the dire direction our thoughts can take us. We agree to invest in hope and not feed the fear with our own sorrow about the way things are going.

It is hard in the best of times to look beneath the surface and address underlying fear of loss. I face continuing loss of mobility and physical independence. It is my own personal cauldron bubbling with the unknown. We all have fears of losing My Life as I Know It. It is human. It is what calls us to do the digging to find a larger means of viewing and living in the world. It is a means of loving that which gives birth to flowers and bunnies and goslings and all of the suffering. Feeling separate from the ever-present consciousness that gives rise to every season- the abundance of spring into the barren revelation of winter- is the loneliest experience I know.

A verse from an old song of mine goes… “Oh, Lady Summer, I am still a child of Spring. Let me do as the swallows do- build a nest in your arms and learn to sing.”

April: update on my health

April 5/2/23

It has been a while since I have commented on my health issues directly. This month I have news to report.

I have discovered that Covid and MS do not play well together. Truthfully, I now believe I have had had undetected Covid for months. I have been complaining all year of some unnamed low-level virus that came and went with mild but unpleasant bouts of incontinence, brain fog, gastroenteritis, headaches, heavy malaise, and an ‘almost ‘cold that never fully bloomed. These episodes were always accompanied a noticeable reduction in my capacity to accomplish twice a week exercises with my PT. Living in an Assisted Living area of my retirement community as I do, we have been tested for Covid twice a week for a very long time. Well, I finally tested positive for Covid. All of the above symptoms blew up including immediately packed sinuses.

Shortly after getting the positive result, I also experienced a temporary total paralysis of my left leg and then my right leg as well. Fortunately, that only lasted for about thirty-six hours requiring a commode and assistance from nurses and helpers to do anything at all. Overnight, all physical independence was gone. I am so grateful that slowly, my legs were restored to their usual very weak condition but still able to do a passable job of getting me around my room with my rollator. I am not usually willing to take drugs unless absolutely necessary due to abreactions I often manifest with any new chemicals in my hyperreactive body. But I know my body has been fighting Covid for a long time and it needs help to stop this virus from replicating any longer. This hostess wants this corona virus to move on to an uninhabited, remote location somewhere else.

I started taking Paxlovid.  I have read about and heard firsthand from friends the potential side effects of this drug, but I know it is worth the risk to get clear of Covid as soon as I can. Ironically, two days before I was diagnosed with it, I went to see my new neurologist after waiting for months and months. He contradicted the information that my last neurologist had given me. Because my MRI’s do not indicate any new lesions in my brain or spinal cord, the last one said that my MS was no longer progressing. Then why was I getting weaker and weaker? He did not know.

Hence a new doc. This one said what feels true- that my MS is progressing alright, but it is now inside the gray matter of my brain which does not respond to magnetic resonance imaging. It makes sense, even though I am not (thank goodness) manifesting any serious cognitive decline. I mean it only takes a couple of hours to remember a name… so clearly the inroads can’t have caused too much damage in there yet. Researchers have even discovered that some Alzheimer patients may have been misdiagnosed and have MS lesions in their brains instead of amyloid plaques. Still my MS is progressing. Not such a mystery as to why I am steadily losing mobility.

My new doctor wants me to go on the drug Ocrevus whose first iteration was Rituximab. Years ago, I had two infusions of Rituximab which were enough to make me ill for almost a year and obviously did not “stop the progression in its tracks”, which is what my doctor says this new one will do. Ocrevus has a brand-new molecule that even helps those with secondary progressive MS, like me.

Five neurologists ago my MS specialist at the time assured me that many successive drugs he tried on me would also “stop progression in its tracks”. I am pondering my options carefully. Meanwhile I am having new MRI’s of brain, spinal cord, and lumbar region, and we shall see if the results indicate anything helpful to consolidate my thoughts. My quarantine offers me a retreat to contemplate with a still healthy heart and spirit.

March: If not now, when?


We had just gotten used to the idea here in northeast Ohio, that February was, in fact, the beginning of spring. Yellow aconite and white snowdrop blossoms had flourished and disappeared in the early warm temperatures. Daffodil leaves were spiking higher and higher. The Birdtwitterfeed had put out the word to head north already. Goldfinches began to molt, and returning robins were a bit confused as the semi frozen ground produced no worms. I even thought I heard a mourning dove last week when it became March. Or was it actually April? Just how far did I spring my clock forward? The robins are not the only confused ones. I woke up to a few inches of cold wet snow almost covering daffodil buds. My bird feeder is mobbed with finches and sparrows along with robins hopping underneath now and then to eat the fallen seeds.

If this is a lion ushering in March, then we’re not in a very fierce neck of the woods like… California? My lowland friends there are working every day to prevent serious flooding. Their home and outbuildings were built while living in a drought. Digging out trenches to channel and pump the water into the street drain is proving to be tough work. My friend said that the water table is so high, when you push the shovel into the dirt, there is an immediate lake to contend with. And then further south in the California mountains there is snow measuring in yards.

I know there are so many discouraging things happening in our country and world to be concerned about. But to finally be confronted with the powerful results of global warming on a daily basis can’t help but be unnerving as a fundamental fear. It is our planet. The earth beneath our feet. The home to billions of creatures with whom we are interwoven. All of our financial concerns, immigration concerns, health concerns, food concerns, education concerns, political concerns- all of them will be further impacted as each country will have to deal with the massive changes that must be made if we are to survive and thrive despite these ongoing disasters. There is hope we will find how to urgently make these changes. Sadly, it will be after dealing with these unforeseen consequences from what has long been set into motion.

We face each day, we give our best, and we help others if we can. Post PANndemic (and I know many people who just got COVID for the first or second time though it is now labeled ENdemic…) we are more aware of our mortality than ever before. If they can manage it, folks are taking that trip they always wanted, purchasing that car no matter how much inflation has raised the price, or finishing a languishing project- before it’s too late. We take a deep breath before the tsunami of problems overwhelms us and we think, “If not now, when?”

Of course, every eldering person already has had this same thought as our bodies begin to lose energy, mobility, and stamina. For that very reason, I decided to create two community contributions for this spring (no matter the weather outside). One is a short comic skit to contribute to Kendal’s annual performance called Spring Fling. I wrote a medieval sounding song called Ye Olde Springe Flinge and have concocted a mock ancient ritual where one friend is playing his lute and singing this song with me, and two others are suggestively flinging off their winter gloves, hats, scarves, and coats one by one to reveal their summer clothing. Yes, seniors know how to have fun.

My second project is more serious, and I think it will be unique and lovely. My friend Rebecca is an amazing wildlife photographer. We have placed some of my poems on slides paired with her photos. I will read the poems out loud as they appear on a large screen in the auditorium which will also be shown on our in-house TV channel. The last two poems will be spoken by my husband. Some years before Richard died, he had recorded them on an album I created (with my friend Cathie and others) as my thesis for my ordination as an All Faith or Interfaith minister. My Kendal community here has come to know me but, of course, not the man I lived with for almost fifty years. When those last slides are shown, I can now listen to his warm resonant voice without crying, and even if I do cry, no one will mind at all. I am grateful that I have this means of introducing him to my new friends in Ohio.

My body has not taken kindly to organizing and sitting through rehearsals for these two efforts. I knew it was beyond my comfort zone to attempt things that would have been simply fun and nourishing in the past. After these events are completed, I go to see a new neurologist to find out if he can discern why I am rapidly losing the neurological muscle information needed to sit up or walk. If I sit up for an hour or so one day, the next day I am flattened by weakness and pain and need the whole day to recover. Maybe in March 2024 there will be more open daffodils and maybe I will have seen some physical improvement or maybe not. I have joined those who say, “if not now, when?” as I look to accomplish unfinished writing projects orphaned on my computer.

As to solutions to our planetary problems, I hope that more of the world population could effectively rise up and say to those in power. “IF NOT NOW, WHEN?”

February: Grief and Gratitude

February: Grief and Gratitude

It is the second month of the new year. What signifies that it is a new year besides the celebrations declaring it to be so? I look to seasonal weather patterns that highlight the fact that our planet has completed another circle around our star. The nature of time seems to keep changing as I age. The past reference point that a new school year had begun when I was a student, a teacher and then a mother, no longer applies. A year unmarked by schooling (though I do take an ongoing zoom class) or by the lack of a regular job does not leave me bored or untethered. To the contrary, it seems that my life is fuller and more creatively engaged than ever before.

As a retired woman living on a fixed income in a wonderful CCRC (continuing care retirement community), I no longer need to decide where I will live next or how I will earn enough to support myself. This is it. This is my ‘Last Resort’ as a former neighbor used to jokingly call her ideal future living place. I do not feel sad that this is my final home: rather it is a relief to be in such a wonderfully supportive environment. Given my ongoing physical decline from a variety of neurological issues, I know I will be cared for all along the way. I also have made good new friends here and have encouragement and appreciation for expressing my creativity in writing, singing, and more, in various venues within this remarkably dynamic community.

Of course, as a grandmother, I am thrilled by both of my grandsons’ brand-new year. They are three and one-years old, and are still changing every month, let alone every year. It is a joy to delight in their growth. My older daughter is a professor, so she does have the academic context of the new year and a new semester. Their family enfolds me into another new year as I share with them the busy life they lead. My younger daughter has entered the new year by moving into a wonderful apartment and I am happy to track her life as it unfolds in a new environment.

The other yearly anchor point for me, is that this is the month that Richard, my husband, died. It was on Valentine’s Day in 2018. My daughters and I have our own quiet ritual to honor that day in his memory. For five years I have let myself recall whatever arises. The earlier years of acute mourning have softened until now there are more recollections of the best of our almost fifty years together. Other widow friends of mine assured me that eventually not all memories would end in feeling grief. Of course, there are still pangs of loneliness or sorrow, feeling the loss of his loving warmth, intelligence, strength, and his many passions in life. Watching other couples here who have been together for almost seventy years, I sometimes feel sad that we didn’t get to navigate this ending chapter of old age together.

At the same time, I can laugh at a remembered in-joke of ours from when we were teenagers or know how utterly in love he would be with our grandsons. I am also beyond grateful to him for leaving behind his support for me to be able to live here in Kendal at Oberlin. He and I worked hard for many years and this is the result of our labors. He would be thrilled to see me safe and loved and cared for in my new home. I am lucky and grateful every day. I am grateful for another year and even grateful to work on embracing all the unknowns that our challenged world holds in store. This year, I offer the following poem that I wrote for Richard and what my journey after his death has revealed to me. Before he died, I did not know that Grief and Gratitude are in fact, one evolving experience, one whole.

Grief and Gratitude                by Judi Bachrach

Grief swept me out with the tide

farther than ever before

you weren’t there to lift me up

guide me home never

there again

fifty years out of practice

sink or swim crawl to dry land

Miles of mudflats abandoned

toy shovels sand buckets

dry seaweed crackled underfoot

seabirds overhead shrieked

broken seashells held to my ear

scattered empty houses

echoed with memories

Waves of grief holding

engagement with life

with cells run amuck

the irrevocable gift of death

release reality reflection

gradually reveals

endless tides that turn

waters raising me higher and higher

greeting the mysterious undertow

floating my body supported from below

fully embracing sorrow

sun flooding my face my soul

my heart infilling with gratitude

cleansing all wounds

Gratitude a state of being

embeds the ocean floor

salty tears of love awash

in grief

and gratitude



Post New Year visitations, I was one of millions to have a nasty flu over the last couple of weeks. Because I had a flu shot, live in an assisted living facility where I am tested twice a week for Covid, I only deduced from my symptoms that it was more likely a flu than just a bad cold. I had no fever or additional muscle aches than the usual chronic pain I already live with. But the utter languishing fatigue was not due to a rhino virus. For a few days there was no thought of getting up off my bed because there was no chance that I could move at all except under great duress. Then followed the usual misery of packed sinuses and endless draining and sneezing- we have all been there at one time or another.

These days we make plans for gatherings but between illnesses, extreme weather events, and airline woes, we all understand the likelihood of possible cancellations. Staying connected requires more flexibility and persistence than ever. It is difficult to envision a loss of cyber space. We who are enabled to use it, are gratefully dependent on it and must rely on it for our wellbeing, our jobs, education, shopping, entertainment, being an informed world citizen- cyber space is a platform for living. For the many millions who have no means of access to the digital world, they have a different perspective on living, on day-to-day values. They are our world brothers and sisters and children. It is sobering to realize how much wider the gaps of haves and have nots are becoming every day.

The new year is based on our cosmic circular dance around the sun. Observed by our ancestors for many thousands of years, we still use it as a reliable marker for the passage of time, of seasons, and the renewal of our continuing passage from light into dark and back again. At the midline of equatorial life, weather patterns there also emerge from the same planetary cycles. Humans have managed to disrupt the order of those patterns. Life on earth has always moved through cycles of fire and ice, drought and flooding, creation and destruction. Discovering our tiny place in the universe does not seem to have enhanced our humility. We still function under the illusion that we can and will control the long-term outcomes of our chaos inducing short-term lifestyles.

On a daily basis I endeavor to stay grounded in my daily life, my immediate family, friends, and communities. At the same time, I work to open to the larger reality of the spaciousness of love, and my core essence that funds every breath I take and every perception I have, with or without the internet. May this new year bring us surprises and unexpected joys large and small every day.

Song of the Day

Waking up evokes a new love song

to the world every day.

Songs of yearning and loss

discovery and betrayal,

tragic ballads, joyful pop tunes,

blossoming new love, enduring classics,

the music of love beyond love

nurtured over lifetimes.

Love is complicated, messy, tender, ecstatic

rendering hearts vulnerable ripped

by the deepest kind of human grief

when the end comes, as it must-

however, whenever, it comes.

My musical archive is filled with

passionate high and low notes.

My body and brain sing a new song

the moment my eyes open from

beneath the silent lid of consciousness

dreaming in the night.

It all comes down to Love,

awakening to Its’ infinite faces.

Today, I embrace the world

offering my song into

the choir of life.


The holiday season is now in full swing. It brings with it the smells and sounds and sights that are designed to engage our nostalgia and be good consumers, floating the economy despite inflation. I always think of Tom Leher’s satirical song that goes,” Angels we have heard on high, telling us… go out and Buy!”, and we do just that.

Fortunately, my grown daughters do not look on spending as a sign of love and my grandson who is three today, and his brother who turns one next week, do not get lavished with too many gifts between these celebrations and Christmas. The three-year-old has been to two parties in his life and he knew exactly how he wanted to host his party down to the balloons, the dragon theme, and what kind of cupcakes (chocolate, in case you were wondering). Unfortunately, both Mama and Tat tested themselves today for COVID and sure enough, it was not a cold after all.

So, my grandson learned a new word- postpone. His party is postponed. And that is life these days. I made it to a family gathering for Thanksgiving and we were all glad that the worst thing that happened was discovering the baby is allergic to cashews as they were part of the delicious vegan meatloaf he so enjoyed. My nephew is a doctor and has done plenty of pediatric work. His neighbor is a pharmacist and knew the only drugstore in town that would be open at 8:00pm on Thanksgiving night. Baby Benadryl syrup did the trick, and he was fine the next morning with no more hives or swollen cheeks and lips. What better time and place to have discovered his allergy with medical assessment and assurance at hand.

But all gatherings are subject to postponement as the various viruses (don’t forget the old fashioned common cold) show up from one day or one participant to the next. We make plans knowing how likely it is that it may not pan out. It has always been so, but the sickness factor is so much more frequent and more likely to occur than it used to be. We are learning to live and be wary, enjoy what we can when we can because tomorrow who knows if we can meet safely again. Testing and masking and distancing for those of who do not consider it a political act has become the norm. My niece said she and her family got lots of glares for being masked as they flew in from Colorado.

Still, it is holiday time, a gathering time of family and friends, and an appropriate time to invest in hope for peace in our troubled world. Finding peace within myself is a daily priority.

Willow’s Way                                    10/21/22                                        Judi Bachrach

Prevailing breezes from the east collide

with billowing gusts from the west

conflicting fronts halting

the slow glide of fallen leaves

across the pond

amassing by the bank

Crisp new recruits

arriving every moment

form a ragged line

amidst countermanding currents

caught in the middle

quivering detachments on alert

On shore a thousand

willow thin branches

still dressed in dry green leaves

lift up hallelujahs

bow down in reverence whirlwind

tendrils alive in sympathy

with those that fall

Trunk unmoved

anchored in the ground of being

our roots seek truth

renewed deep within

stark branches against the sky



Like much of the northeast, here in Ohio, November has waltzed in on unusually warm weather. I am not complaining, mind you. I enjoy the still warm caress of the sun even as most of the trees are bare, inspiring two haikus.

Starlings          11/1/22

Starlings alighted

Like black leaves on bare branches

Murmuring migrants


Thick clouds break apart

Blue sky and sun always there

I am looking up

And of course, as we move towards election day in the U.S., things are not necessarily looking up. During an online prayer gathering that I sat in on this morning, I felt keenly how much of a group phenomenon our intense political divide has become. We humans have such an animal need to be part of a herd. The group that most reflects fear, the need to blame, and resulting hatred and rigidity draws in millions. The group who wishes to preserve a democratic vision, an educated adherence to reality, to benign cause and effect supporting our diverse population, draws in millions. I am not exempt. Freedom to choose which herd to cling to comes with the possibility of not getting what I deem is best, even if I think we might be headed over a cliff.

Fall is always poignant as the flora and fauna respond to the waning sunlight hours in our part of the world. The cycles of physical change and the inevitable losses are apparent all around us. Loss is tangible and inescapable. On that note, I highly recommend this CD just released by Kim Rosen and Jamie Sieber. Titled, Feast of Losses, Kim embodies famous poems addressing grief and gratitude exquisitely interwoven with music created by Jamie and friends. It is an hour of deep heart opening nourishment. *

This poem came to me as I sat by one of Kendal’s many ponds.

Willow’s Way                              10/21/22                                    Judi Bachrach

Prevailing breezes from the east

collide with billowing gusts from the west

conflicting fronts halt

the slow glide of fallen leaves

across the pond

amassing by the bank

Crisp new recruits

arriving every moment

form a ragged line amid

countermanding currents

caught in the middle

quivering detachments on alert

On shore a thousand

willow thin branches

still dressed in dry green leaves

lift up hallelujah

bow down reverent whirlwind

resilient tendrils alive in sympathy

with those that fall

Trunk unmoved

anchored in the ground of being

our roots seek truth

renewed deep within

stark bare branches against the sky

* To purchase a Feast of Losses as a CD or Download, go to



Yesterday was probably one of the last warm and sunny days of fall. I stopped by a pond that once more held about 20 geese. They had found other waters over the summer after most of them had likely been born and raised here. Occasionally four of the largest peeled off two by two while the rest of the grown goslings stayed together. They all floated quietly, and I closed my eyes to float along with them. One stood up and flapped its wings setting off a round of honking, but they soon settled down again.

What a gentle time. Perhaps they are resting up for a long migration or perhaps they will overwinter right here. That is often the case, in these climate-changing days. They have no mate to locate and bond with, no nests to build, no territories to defend or goslings to tend. They just paddle and eat and float as the leaves around them are busy turning colors. I have seen squadrons of their species overhead night and day, one flock in V formation tucked in behind another. Ornithologists think they follow a combination of topography, magnetic fields, the sun and the stars to make their journeys. How amazing as they call down to us from the sky.

The nights have not yet been cold enough to bring on dramatic arboreal colors, though the burning bushes (euonymus alatus) are striking in appearance already. Dried yellow leaves from a few trees crackle beneath the wheels of my electric scooter. Otherwise, I am entranced by the subtle gold-hazed tapestries woven every day, soon to be cut and fall off from the plant looms that hold leaves and fading flowers. I found a black walnut tree on the Kendal property I hadn’t known about before. I couldn’t resist seeing a BOO! face in this one.

On Halloween in the assisted living area where I live, we will receive our booster COVID shots. I am thinking of a simple costume where I can still roll up my sleeve. I used to have so many bits of this and that to design one, but I shed all of them when I moved to Ohio. I will surely think of something for the occasion. Perhaps a fabricated corona crown would be in bad taste?

I am storing memories from my outdoor rides because the paved walkways where snow is shoveled regularly, can’t be cleared clean enough for my scooter wheels. My little electric engine isn’t up to any challenges against slippery conditions. I avoid crossing the grass or pebbled areas for that reason. Fortunately, the machine is light enough that other people moved me out of two such sticky situations in the past. Available to me is an enclosed garden courtyard that is kept well clear for accessing fresh air, and we are all aware the turtles in the small ornamental pond no longer greedily come up onto the rocks to be hand fed. They are getting ready to hibernate in the mud. I will also be turning inwards for the season.

September Joy

September Joy

I love the fall season. As a September baby, I remember planning birthday parties for both warm and sunny outdoor or chilly and rainy indoor activities. Around the fall equinox, it could go either way.

The cricket outside my window, trilling short police whistle blasts on a branch of the dawn redwood tree, summons no response on colder nights. Then last night, warm again, it received many return calls and the katydids in the woods beyond had no pause in their “Katy did, Katy didn’t “conversations.

This morning I wrote another haiku.

Arising thunder

Lightning flashes, rain falling

Close my small window

Rejoicing in berries, I have spied, white, red, purple, green and golden orange ones hanging on bushes and vines. Pine trees drop scaly cones, the cattails have turned into soft fluff, and the fallen mallow flowers have burst open their dark brown star pods. Plants leave us in so many diverse ways with their future regeneration assured. How and what will I leave when I go?

A hallway neighbor just turned one hundred and two today. Chronologically, I am the baby in this assisted living area though my neighbor is more physically mobile than I am. We all carry on with what we have as best we can.

Large swathes of the world mourn particular people, the state of politics, and the ongoing decimation of our planet. Within, I look for the root of all joy and delight in blueberries on my oatmeal, the first sip of hot Earl Grey tea, the song of Happy Birthday resonating from the dining area, the smell of petrichor in the newly wet soil, and the ability to share thoughts and words with you. If joy was not alive in the core of my being, how would I recognize joy in my quotidian life, given how much dire news is delivered to us every day?

Cultivating joy is not driven by my self-will. Curiosity, and an intention to focus on any small happiness that appears, helps to shift chronic pain to the background. These little reflections of pleasure emanate from a greater bliss within. I am learning to live through storms and birthdays with greater equanimity. I keep an LED tea light switched on all day, every day, on my bureau to remind myself that the light of joy is always burning.


buttonbush in bloom

End of Summer Insects

By day cicadas

By night crickets and katydids

Where did summer go?


Thicket of cattails

A breeze rustles them to song

Green, brown, gone to seed…

I have been adding to my pages of haikus whenever they strike me. At last, the nights are just chilly enough to hint at the coming fall. Early morning bird songs are already greatly diminished, and insects fill in the chorus. Flowers are luxuriating and lawnmowers growl whenever rain clouds disappear.

Where did my summer go? Well, it isn’t gone yet, and I am getting outside on my scooter to enjoy what is left of it. July was me in my room, recovering from a fractured sacrum, so the ability to sit up long enough for 30 minutes on my scooter is a real joy. Fresh air and my daily vitamin D are inhaled with the smell of ponds and woods that I pass by on the paved paths around Kendal. Having grown up in, and then Richard and I building our house in the forests of the Catskills, I am nostalgic for the smell of northeast trees. It smells different here in Ohio, and I miss lying on the ground feeling tree roots entwining beneath me and walking on my own two feet next to a mountain stream.

There is a covered walkway here, a wooden bridge that connects the perimeter road around Kendal to a pathway that leads into the main building. It cuts through a patch of woods before it crosses a swampy vernal pond surrounded by buttonbushes. (see photo above) I often pause my scooter and sit on the bridge within the shaded leafy woodsy area that lies beyond the side rail fencing. I turn off my electric motor and breathe. Sometimes there is surprise- the forest floor hops away as a tiny bunny, a fawn lies in its mottled nest, a woodpecker drills above my head. Or I hear the call of “Birdie, birdie, birdie.”

Convocation of Cardinals   8/1/22

Three male cardinals

Pecking on the forest floor

Know the pope is ill?

I move on towards another larger pond and the stress of our world softens in the wide expanse of sky and water. Allowing my peripheral vision to encompass the big picture reminds me that healing is possible, probable, when given the chance.

This is also the month of my 52nd wedding anniversary. Hard to remember being 18 years old and entering into marriage. What it meant then, what it means now- I am still learning from all the years of materializing partnership, parenting, and beyond into the growth as the widow I now am. Gratitude for it all.