for the curt retrievers…

Originally posted on Awake and Unafraid:

Curt, I said, these words in my head

used to bottle up the dregs

reaching out floating found

that the message to expound

sounds loud and clear: we are here

even dying swans live on, curtain calls when it’s all done

yet true divas mustn’t caesar – sink so softly, treat believers.

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light awareness


Every breath teaches

me exchange…




or pulling,

no need to


just a shift to

in and out


weaving with the heart.

~ as within, so without~

The Silver Arrow

Nina sat down at the edge of Stewart’s bed, watching him sleep.  In her lap she held a letter to Gerald, a letter to Stewart’s legal representative, and a letter to her daughter, Victoria.  For weeks, now, she’d poured her thoughts onto page after page, crumpling each one in sweaty distress before tossing them in the waste can beside her desk.  Finally, she had written without thought and sealed the letters.

What more could she say, after all?  She’d organized Stewart’s kidnapping for his own well-being and had him tucked away in her corner of the world.  It was done, already, and Stewart had come through.  Did this make her a criminal?  She didn’t know, yet.

Chaos charged every hour of the day, it seemed, thanks to her good intention.   Nina’s eyes felt hot and tired as she looked at the boy, finally at ease with slumber while she stood at odds with the world in his defense.  He’d managed his rescue and that was right, and good; she had yet to secure freedom for herself, however..  Feeling frantic, wondering at all the ways things might go wrong once the letters went out, her knee started to bounce.

Nina stood.  She had to calm down.  Quietly, she slipped Stewart’s door closed to half, holding the door as she slowed her breath.  From across the front room, Dennis watched, waiting to let her know he’d come up to take the night shift with Stewart.  Nina noticed him, and smiled wanly.  She pointed toward the back door, and he nodded.

The evening air always greeted her fragrantly.


Too many unexpected demands had interrupted Nina’s plans to join Stewart in the immediate days following his transfer, and the numerous changes in caregivers interrupted the regular order of business at the Feldman ranch significantly.  Nina tended the disruption by phone as best she could, but being there, herself, was the only, stable solution and she knew it.

Still, she hadn’t arrived soon enough to help Stewart transition into waking, as promised. He’d come to life with a start one afternoon, on his own, screaming and coughing (as often happened).  But his nurse was outdoors enjoying the summer afternoon, drowsing in a hammock.  The medication used to calm Stewart had been forgotten, remembered but not administered, then forgotten again by the girl who frankly hated syringes.  Had Nina’s head man not come up to the house for afternoon coffee, Stewart’s heart might have gone into arrest.

Yes, it might have.

But Dennis had a way with finding calm in small animals, administering veterinary care, and he’d moved swiftly when hearing Stewart’s cries, for Stewart was no different from any small animal in distress.  The acrid smell of Stewart’s distressed body stung the man’s nostrils immediately, and he’d knowingly grabbed the syringe as he braced himself against the boy’s shudders, slipping the needle deftly in and out, then pulled the boy firmly to his chest to more carefully sit with the spasms while they slowed, then ended.  Tense muscles softened in the warmth of Dennis hold. Stewart’s eyes opened in wonder.   He felt giddy.


A giant cowboy had lunged at the dragon wrapped tightly around Stewart; in his hand, a silver arrow.  He’d poisoned the dragon with the arrow, Stewart thought, distantly, and the dragon’s grip!  Looser, looser, looser.  He, so awake, so awake but not hurting!  Stewart laughed, somewhere in his mind, glad for the adventure.

Surprised and unwilling to be anything less than awake, now, Stewart stared at The Cowboy with glassy awe.

“You killed the dragon,” Stewart croaked awkwardly.

Dennis, pale but steady, looked at the little boy and smiled.  Hoisting his knee against the window sill to readjust the tangle of quilt holding the boy, he said, “You survived his grip, buddy.”  With practiced ability, Dennis re-bundled Stewart’s bones, then let go a sudden, piercing whistle.  A moment later, Clara appeared, flushed and openly frightened to see the head man holding Stewart in his arms.  Oh, what trouble she faced, now, she thought.  The boy was awake, and she’d forgotten his injection.

As her foot hit the back step, Dennis’ form filled the door frame of the screened, porch entry; in his hand, a coat.  Clara looked up just as the coat hit her face, knocking her backward.  She teetered wildly, catching only enough balance to land squarely on her bum.  Flushed, Dennis stared at the young girl, grinding every word he wanted to say into his jaw.

Glaring back, Clara tried to speak, but Dennis just pointed to the road and gave her the thumb.  He didn’t give a shit what kind of setup the little ditz had going, but he did care about that kid, and the crap he was tired of putting up with.  Pulling the screen door closed along with him, Dennis effectively dismissed Clara and crossed the kitchen threshold with new determination.  Mrs. A might pay his wage, but he didn’t have to like what he saw, or put up with it.  He scooped Stewart from out of porch swing and into the crook of his arm with as much ease as he cared for any struggling critter, smiling as he moved.  The Cowboy who’d killed the dragon wasn’t done cleaning up.  He’d watched enough circus acts to recognize the difference between farce and more farce; this kid, for all his purported worth, wasn’t being tended.  Molars rolled against molars as Dennis felt his offense, his disgust about something that was none of his business.  Yeah.  ‘Til now.  Now, this kid’s life was Dennis’ business, and Mrs. A could like it, or not.  He knew he was right in standing up to her.

Order and consistency.  It had to be, and it had to stay in place.  A low, animal growl rumbled in the back of his chest.


Stewart felt the difference in The Cowboy’s certainty, felt the firmness of his hold and continued to marvel, silently.  If The Cowboy whistled, and it seemed he did now, Stewart decided it was a special whistle only dragons heard.  He certainly didn’t hear it.  He didn’t have to, he guessed sleepily.  Much to his surprise, he yawned as well.  And that hurt.

Undisturbed, The Cowboy moved about the house with Stewart, looking at charts and medicine bottles carefully.  Stewart closed his eyes to the dizzying amount of movement.

He felt The Cowboy’s thunder when Dennis called Nina.

He liked the deep hum in the back of his voice.  Yes, he did.  Even as things moved fast, then slowed, the hum kept Stewart’s attention, now; he adjusted to its sound, and felt steady.

As he slipped into natural slumber, a smile twitched his cheek muscle before relaxing into a soft snore.


“Do you hear that, Nina?  The kid’s snoring.  Listen.”  Dennis held the mouthpiece close to Stewart’s face for just a moment.  On the other end of the line, Nina’s cheek twitched with a like smile.  Shaking hard, unable to find a solid breath, Nina gave Dennis a return-call time and assured him of his right decisions.  Then she hung up.  Quickly.

Dennis put the phone in its cradle and looked at the boy in his, cradled arms.  Bones, he thought, lightly bouncing him to guess his weight.  His chest tightened, registering shock.  Stewart pushed against him, waking uneasily, but Dennis forced a long yawn into the tension.

Stewart’s eyes opened, then closed in on The Cowboy.  He felt the steadiness of the man’s long, deep breaths, rising like waves, lulling him easily.  Heavy sleep drifted among the waves, steadily overcoming Stewart, now.

“You’re just a little sack of bones, buddy…” he sang tunelessly above Stewart’s head.  “But that’s gonna change with me.”

Stewart’s eyes widened, but relaxed. The Cowboy, a natural ecstatic when it came to young life, smiled at him, rocking him lightly with the gentle rise and fall of his knee. Feeling ease in the rhythm, the very long night of nights came to an end for Stewart.

From the edge of his quilt, Stewart viewed his grandmother’s home for the first time, not knowing where he was, but not minding, either.

from void, to night, to seeing light each day

Seedling 3 Seedling 2Seedling 1Seedling

“… no matter what, no matter what, draw the dream you want to grow.”

Nina’s Journal, March, 1965.


related: The Days in Between.

Heart of the World

In the throws of consuming our ignorance with disregard for awarene$$, peace seems unavailable.  This is never true, but we must find it within, before proceeding, without.

David, a calm smiler, gives voice to the journey.

Heart of the World.

The Very Long Night of Nights, Revised

Note:  this is the second installment of Stewart’s Ship, a story created for young adults and other tall children.


Light brightened, then faded in formless cycles behind Stewart’s closed eyes.  Hours threaded days into weeks without meaning for the little boy as cycles of people and activity entered, then exited a small room where he laid, riding waves of drug-induced blankness, fever, and hysteria.  A scarlet dragon possessed him; he saw strange stories in its eyes when he dreamed.  Stories that made him scream hoarsely into blind wakefulness, frightened and confused.  Blurry waves of sedatives meant to calm the dragon gave it power, instead, and Stewart felt the heat of physical pain as the dragon swam nauseating circles round and round his bed.  Too much!

Too much.  Stewart felt dragon stink descending with increasing helplessness.  Other dragons waited, something told him.  Waving in, then out of dragon lairs, confusion eventually won out.  From a distance, Stewart watched the dragon folding its wing over him, rolling into a white-hot spiral.


Remotely, the boy understood certain motions had meaning for him; the gentle, massaging motions around his jaw and throat guided him to take in, then swallow warm, thinned oatmeal.  Other motions simply swirled around him.

Swirls of color sometimes filled his head, now, as the gruel calmed his belly and eased grips of unnamed tension; sometimes, this gave him cause to smile beneath the mask of unconsciousness, and in these moments he relinquished nightmares readily, inhaling the light scent of mountain sage, as new motions introduced him to sensations of warmth, and ease.


Warm Floating.

Soft Swallows.

Swallows softly flying him through the very long night,

moving him steadily, lightly, through swirls of non-light and undarkness.  Light filled his head entirely at one point, and from a distance he thought,

I’m flying to the moon, dragon.  The hummingbirds will take me, now.


No moon shone the night Stewart took flight with his hummingbirds.  The humming bird carrying Stewart’s snugly bundled body was more like a hawk; a Cessna 172E Skyhawk, to be exact.

It  flew effortlessly through a slightly overcast night at cruising altitudes that varied little, having lifted off smoothly, meeting no adverse wind currents.  It’s pilot, a good-natured, fresh faced adventurer, eased himself into the soft, leather back of his boss’ plush seat, smiling happily to himself as he checked his instruments, the passengers, and the beat of his heart.  What a gig, he smiled.


Lucky Harry was sitting in the back office of the municipal airport drinking coffee when the call for an unscheduled flight came through; he’d landed the chance to add a whopping number of hours to his flight log, the fuel and usage fees were paid, his boss would remain behind to cover.

Win, win, and win again!

Yes-sirreee, boys and girls, he was a lucky man with yet another win waiting for him upon his return.  A first-prize check big enough to pay a chunk off his own plane.  A win for one and all, he hoped. Although he’d felt uncertain about the vaguely described circumstances of his good fortune, asking questions wasn’t part of the offer.  None. Further explanation wasn’t offered.  He could take the job, or call in someone else.

Harry took the job, spirits held in check, hoping he was doing something for a good end.  It had to be okay, he thought.  His boss wouldn’t have offered his plane, had something been off.  Boy, oh boy did he wish for something worth telling his wife though.  As if in agreement, Harry’s stomach rumbled.


With professional attention, Harry now lifted his gaze to the back quarters of the plane, then passed his attention from dial to dial on the instrument panel.  His gut made a call to include regular, but non-intrusive, checks from his rear view mirror for gauging the passenger area behind him.  Every once in a while, he’d look directly at the mirror and raise his palm in silent acknowledgement of his passengers.  Each time, two palms rose to acknowledge the check, but nothing more.  The trip suggested a lot more, particularly in the determined silence binding the pilot and passengers together.

Harry knew about flying a plane as well as he knew about the flight of people.  He paid attention to his gut, knowing Life was a magazine full of moments.  Moments like this, where trouble stinks of lavender and sage.  Crazy.  No one knew a real story until its end, and he was not the judge of endpoints.  No sir.  Harry was a pilot.  His job was to fly planes.

Yes.  Yes, Harry’s job was to fly the plane and deliver his passengers in good condition.  With a smile at the realization, Harry’s rumbling gut calmed.  Readjusting himself in the seat, he settled in with the deep pleasure he felt among the stars this moonless night.

The night remained quiet, skies were calm.  The little Skyhawk touched down without incident, on time, in a field identified by two, parallel strips of car lights.  Gauging distances mechanically, Harry realized the beams lined up front to end to decrease glare, equally spaced on both sides.  What the hell kind of greeting was this?  He’d never seen anything like it in a civilian operation.   His muscles tensed, then evenly relaxed.  Easing the plane to a halt without jolting, Harry exhaled a long, low whistle of impressed wonder.

Instantly, two hands from the rear passenger area rose.


The passengers disembarked with the aid of two men, who then deftly lowered a small sling from the craft.  Car lights remained on until the plane lifted away from approaching dawn, then cut out.  Despite the careless whistle he’d let slip, Harry smiled.  He’d done it.  Giddily, he chuckled, aware of the tension flooding his system.  The volume of his tension increased, and he laughed.  He laughed until he’d no voice or energy.  Then he stopped, abruptly checking his reflection in side mirror, wondering what to say when he got home.

He didn’t know, quite.  Harry was a good man with good instinct, but he’d jumped at a baited line.  Now, he had the rest of the flight home to sort it out.



ROAD TRIP!  Corniest destination, so far.


~tee shirts and other souvenirs available

but the story, the magic?  It’s in the many-colored kernels that come together for scenes that decorates a palace in the prairie town of Mitchell, S.D.

organic art, tile 1

Necessary ingredients: dreams


fellowship and celebration

tile 2

a blueprint and CORN.


Stay tuned!  More corn to come.  ~M.



The young adult novella, STEWART’S SHIP returns to action this Spring. To acquaint everyone with the most current version, the series will run on weekdays until Part I is fully awakened… and then, we’ll move forward. Currently, 10 installments exist in Part I, but two additional installments will flesh out the characters, and the many ways family and culture shape choices. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Living is Not Mental Illness:

Note: this is the first installment of “Stewart’s Ship, a story for young adults and other, tall children.

Every day, from Monday to Friday, Stewart Penworthwalked to school in the morning, and he walked home from school mid-afternoon. He was a quiet boy, one of two children, a product of a volatile marriage. In these ways, he was no different thanmany of his classmates. Some children were born wanted, some weren’t. It was the way of life, his buddies assured him. He’d seen dark welts on Ricky’s back, shown to him as proof that everyone got the belt. He counted himself lucky for not having been moved from foster home to foster home, like Danny. The boys had each other, too; that counted for a lot. Seven-year-old logic and recesses fortified him. His life might not be normal, but his solitary, meandering walks to and from school gave…

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