New Environmental Essay

Published today at

This international journal based in Germany has a great design and focuses on our environment.  Please take a look.



Posted in Poems

Rabbits and Uncle Donnie

Early June’s blog about D-Day reminded me of another story dad told me about Uncle Donnie.  I was  in the 7th grade, and reading  Truth is Stranger than Fiction at the kitchen table. Dad sat across from me and I asked him if he believed someone could be seen in two places at the same time.

To answer me, Dad told me another WW2 story. My father got a report that his younger brother Donnie was mortally wounded in Italy.  He had been machine gunned in his head, and my father was in France. A priest with the unit helped my dad to travel to  Donnie in Italy. The report changed to Donnie was dead, but my father was enroute and driven to be with him. When he arrived Donnie had survived despite reports to the contrary. Donnie now had a metal plate in his head. It had been thought he was  no longer alive, but he fooled them. Dad was surprised the priest that had helped him in the distance. He wasn’t able to get close to him before he disappeared. There were a few instances that priest was seen in two different places, both far apart, when battles happened.  


Uncle Donnie and my dad both survived and returned to East Cambridge. My dad and mom married, and I was born. When I was around four and a half, a wonderful thing happened in the spring. Uncle Donnie knocked on our  front door and handed me— a rabbit!  Somehow my dad cobbled together a small hutch that was kept on the floor by the kitchen table.  No one was happy about the rabbit, except for me and Uncle Donnie.  HIs eyes sparkled when he gave it to me. I was in heaven!  Rabbits are magical creatures that know how to travel the secret roads, and here was my own. My rabbit disappeared twice. It ‘got loose’, but I somehow knew when it happened and ran outside screeching for help. My neighbor, Mr. Foti, saw the rabbit under his car, and returned her to me.  This happened several times. I grew to be distrustful of my mum who was always in the area  and she was none to happy when Mr. Foti found the rabbit. One day my rabbit disappeared for good but Uncle Donnie was kind enough to find me another.  Uncle Donnie brought a sense of magic, wonder and hope into my life when he did this, always with a twinkle in his eyes.  

A year later he married Dolores and I was at the wedding. Dolores looked like a fine princess to me… so much puffy white fabric and lovely smelling flowers. She welcomed me with a smile, and let me slide next to her to sit in a booth! I was in heaven, and it’s their wedding that I remember each time I’m at that sort of celebration, and whenever I slide into a red leather booth. Aunt Dolores, Uncle Donnie and I kept in touch over the years. 

Years later, when I went through difficult times, Aunt Dolores and I talked. When my uncle died and life changed for Dolores, she and I talked about her difficult decisions.  Dolores has recently passed away. Since spring I’ve remembered our  our conversations as we tried to re-weave our changed lives.  This June brings small cotton tail bunnies hopping in my yard. And I re-experience the delight that Uncle Donnie’s rabbits brought.


Posted in Poems, WW2, reardon in Cambridge | Tagged

Book Review — The Heart is a Nursery for Hope

via Book Review — The Heart is a Nursery for Hope

Posted in Poems

June Brings Daisies, Roses, and D-Day

helmut.jpgEarly June brings my sister’s birthday and raises memories of D-Day. For those of you who didn’t have a dad that landed on the beaches, I’ll explain that my sister’s birthday is June 3, and D-Day quickly follows on June 6. While  one doesn’t celebrate D-Day, because it was important in my Dad’s memory, my sister and I still call each other to say, “It’s D-Day“.

Since my Dad passed away there have been books and movies about D-Day, but for me, the memories are quite different. They are safe, snuggly stories I heard when dad tucked me into bed. The telling was age-appropriate, and felt very close to my dad.

Many stories were about when Dad camped out in Dartmoor, near the river. It was beautiful there, and I suspect it reminded him of Ireland, where he was born.  He told stories of the waiting. There were ferns growing, rabbits ran by, and Dad once got a chocolate bar in his rations.  It was a special treat, and he packed it away in his pup tent to save for special.  Later when he retrieved it, he found the mice has gotten to it first…. it was almost all nibbled away. Each time I nibble on chocolate, I think how dear that chocolate bar was, and how sometimes we hold onto things that are precious too long.

Dartmoor sounded like paradise. I imagined rabbits and mice dashing through field of ferns, and a small tent to  snuggle into at night. And all the stars to see above.  And then I’d drift off to sleep, holding my Dad’s hand.


I heard how the troops landed on the beach and scaled the cliffs. Later, I heard how they marched into Paris, and there were photos of him and companions at the Eiffel Tower.  He kept in scant touch with his brothers, all fighting in different countries. I remember  one story about his group walking  in France as the Germans were leaving. Everyone was hungry and tired.  They came to a farmhouse and didn’t know who might be there. It was their good fortune that the Germans had recently left.  The  French farmers were hiding in the cellar, not knowing who was coming down the road.  Luckily for all concerned, The farmer family was okay, happy to see this group of Americans, and shared their food.  And so, I share this smattering of very old memories with you to hold the memory not just of D-Day, but of how families come to be, and how a shared memory can travel through time. Two of his brothers made it home. The youngest, Billy, was born on the boat coming to America. He died in the Atlantic on his return.

After his return to Boston married, and soon there were myself and my sister, and the stories of D-Day began .

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Years later, I was on a retreat in Totness, and traveled downstream to Dartmoor on a passenger boat. You could have knocked me over with a feather when the Captain pointed and said, “That’s were the Yanks were camped waiting for D-Day”.  I had come to that field of rabbits and fern, and was able to walk there myself.

May all being heal, May we all dwell in Peace.


Posted in D-Day, Poems | Tagged


This is today’s word, worth thinking of. I see a woodpecker, bright red head, feathers flies past my groggy field of vision as I sip morning coffee.  That bird thinks of himself and an empty belly as he cracks open the cherry bark.  Next, I look at the pond. What could be more wrapped in this word that embryos– growing more each day, looking for sustenance, and moving towards survival against difficult odds— predators, weather conditions, and survival of the fitest.  It puts a different slant on the role narcissi may play in survival.IMG_2664

Wood frog eggs.   <ahref=””>Narcissism</a&gt;

Posted in Poems


IMG_2323.jpgOcean water and sun do the two step.

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Posted in Poems

Love’s Boundaries


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Love’s Boundaries

When the pipeline intended to carry fracked gas first made an appearance in the local newspaper, I was surprised. I hadn’t heard anything of it, yet our neighboring town’s select board was meeting, and they weren’t happy. The company also contacted our town government, and wanted to come through our town, too. The gas company’s public relations person had contacted many of the small towns to set up meetings. This pipeline would snake it’s way north from Pennsylvania and New York, tunneling west to east across Massachusetts, then hang left to crawl north  up the length of Maine before ending along the Nova Scotia coast, where distribution would happen. 


Suddenly out of nowhere ( to my unobservant mind) the fracked gas industry was getting  ready to literally roll into New England big time. Mine isn’t to convince anyone of the rights and wrongs of this. I only tell this small part of the story. There was enough clear documentation to show that New England did not need additional gas. Massachusetts  towns strongly support solar. My neighbors and I were alarmed when company representatives explained how they would tunnel and blast under our local swamps and bodies of water, including under the Connecticut River. 


The blasting and tunneling would also happen under or close to of our local aquifers, under our beloved brooks, through the wildness of the state forest that borders homes in my greater neighborhood, all tucked into the forest edge along a dirt road. There are not a lot of folks here. We live with pre world war 2 phone lines and electric lines that come to us in several helter-skelter directions. Storms sometimes take down branches, and we are without electricity. We live here together to hear the streams running, to hear eagles and barred owls call, and to bump into bear, moose, fox, and coyote as we all go about our business.

We share the land with Seen and Unseen beings as well as the presence of those that lived here before we did, as neighbors, Some see ghostly forms now and then, the Old Ones that lived here before us remain.  Sometimes we are caring for the same piece of land, just in different time streams. We’ve felt the presence of other than living here and now humans in varying degrees. I fancy we are part of a clan that transcends time and species.IMG_1565IMG_1768 2




When it looked highly likely that this pipeline would go ahead, despite environmental concerns and documented lack of need, folks began to meet, town by town, and gather information. Next we began to work together all across the region. At one time, about a dozen folks met in my yard.  We welcomed non-humans, to join our circle, the trees, the spirits of land, water and soil, the Genus Loci.   We wanted to work together to protect that which we all held sacred. I wanted soil, rock  and water to know we would work together to protect it from being blasted, the stream to know we didn’t want her waters sullied. That we needed their help.


Later, when we met with company personnel in our town hall, things weren’t going so well.  I had the thought that all the beings in town weren’t there.  Certainly the people that lived here in the 17700’s and 1800’s had a vested interest. This was their town, and where they were buried, just up the road. So I invited them.l to come join us at the meeting. I explained the situation.  In a few moments I felt a small breeze pass me at the door of the town hall, just as the gavel rang and the first person was recognized by the chair of the select board and allowed to speak. The tide was beginning to turn.  One by one more townspeople were allowed to speak, and the feeling in the room became gentler, more hopeful.

What I learned from this is how unexpectedly love can cross barriers when we are open to possibility .


Have you had occasion where love’s fluid boundaries has surprised you? You’re welcome to share, and I’ll post some of the replies here online.


Posted in ball family, environment, fracked gas, Poems