I’m in love with my dog. There’s really no other way to express it. He’s a former pound-puppy, rescued from the Humane Society at 5 months, now grown to 120 pounds of pure, unadulterated love and devotion.
When Dakota went off to college five years ago, and my nest was disturbingly empty for the first time since I was 22 years old, I knew I’d never be able to face life alone unless I found a dog to share it with me. Not just any dog, of course – it had to be my perfect dog, because during a long and circuitous life, I’d been blessed by the gods with perfect dogs, as well as a couple of clinkers, so I knew the difference. Continue reading “I Love My Dog” »
Posted on December 21st 2013 in Family
There it was on top of the armoire, quiet in the dust of the years, the bright red newsboy cap that had been my Father’s favorite as long as I could remember. Like the tin soldier in Eugene Field’s poem Little Boy Blue, “awaiting the touch of a little hand, the smile of a little face,” tucked away long ago and then forgotten in the crush of every day needs and the inexorable turning of the years.
Touching it with reverent fingers, I was a child again, the years dissolved, my father’s hand in mine, laughing with me in the snow. God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world. I felt suddenly buoyed with that astounding sense of loving safety only childhood allows. The safety a wonderful Father can embody for his child, that says, “Don’t worry. Everything will be alright. I won’t let anything harm you.” Continue reading “The Christmas Cap” »
Posted on December 13th 2013 in Family
I was raised an Irish Catholic. 6 a.m. Mass most mornings, Novenas every Tuesday night, First Fridays every month and as many rosaries as could be squeezed in between. To say nothing of choir practice for the Sunday Mass. I was taught by the long-suffering nuns and was usually their chosen debater to be sent to Archdiocesan Religion Contests to compete on matters of faith. I was even given my very own Jesuit theology coach in high school to prime me for the fray.
Then I grew up. I studied other peoples’ theologies and evolved my own connection to God – a close one, very dear to my heart. I’m a major pray-er and have been known to storm heaven when the occasion demanded it. I’ve written about God from a Tibetan, Catholic, Mystic, Native American, Hindu, Jain and Kabbalist point of view in my books. I’ve penned a book of Uncommon Prayer. Continue reading “What Would Jesus Do About the Catholic Church?” »
Posted on February 8th 2013 in Faith
People don’t look to the long-ago poetry of Edgar Guest for soaring metaphors or complex pentameter. He was often called the People’s Poet because of his commonsense-able thoughts about life, rendered in the form of simple verse that was full of homespun wisdom and spiritual decency. When I was writing the What Would Jesus Do blog I remembered this poem from childhood about “the men who live their creeds.” Continue reading “Maybe This Says it Pretty Well” »
Posted on February 8th 2013 in Poetry
It’s who we are. On the Inside . Untouched by time or infirmity. Untrammeled by sorrows and losses and terrible truths. Unfettered by the vulnerability of old age or the fear of oblivion. Inside we are forever young. Continue reading “Forever Young” »
Posted on February 2nd 2013 in Happiness
, Loving Life
A snapshot can do it… a store window reflection… a chance remark by a friend. It’s the moment you realize you’re not young anymore. You’re not old either, thank the Lord, just – you know, not young. You don’t feel any different on the inside. But your inside doesn’t match your outside the way it used to and suddenly you know it.
Your friends are getting face lifts, so you stand in front of the newly unfriendly mirror, pulling up your cheeks and pushing your neck around. Tautness makes you look so much better you don’t ever want to let go because now it’s clear to you that your libido may be friskier than your face. Continue reading “When Your Inside Doesn’t Match Your Outside Anymore” »
Posted on February 2nd 2013 in Life
, Loving Life
My mother could foretell death, my daughter described her own death in heartbreaking detail a month before it happened, we had a family Banshee and my aunts tended to communicate by telepathy. In short, we were Irish, so none of that was beyond the Pale of plausibility.
You can imagine why, coming from such a family, my being somewhat psychic didn’t seem particularly noteworthy to me in childhood, just interesting. I could frequently see glimpses of things before they happened, and had Far Memory of other lifetimes that were quite specific. Continue reading “What’s Outside the Box?” »
It occurred to me today, as I found myself standing in the middle of the family plot talking to the people I love who are no longer with me except in spirit and memory, that anyone not Irish might consider it odd to find comfort in a cemetery. Yet, I always do.
I’d gone there to to talk to my family about life and I’d brought coffee because they’d loved it and because I thought it might be a lengthy conversation. A middle-aged woman passing by smiled and waved at me from the road below. “I’m so happy to see I’m not the only one who brings coffee when I come to chat, ” she called out and we both laughed at the loveable absurdity of the scene.
Maybe it’s the fact that we used to visit old graveyards when I was a child – admiring the tumbledown tombstones, scrying the inscriptions, imagining the heartaches both recent and long ago. So much history captured in moldering memorials – died in childbirth… lost in infancy… gone but not forgotten… we will miss you forever – so much of love and anguish preserved forever in a line or two. I used to wander from stone to stone reading the messages, imagining lives. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve lost so many of those dearest to my heart that makes this a place of solace for me. Continue reading “The Family Plot” »
Posted on January 12th 2013 in Death
It’s just me and the tree. The house is quiet. Nobody else loves the morning as I do, since my father’s gone. There’s snow on the ground and sleet has turned the trees outside to fairyland, ice palaces crisscrossing my front yard, transforming the winter-blue light into a magical dreamscape.
I throw a log on the fire and warm my hands that have carried the wood in from the porch. The fragrance of the coffee pot tumbles memories out of their store house in my heart. Continue reading “My Alone Time with the Tree” »
Posted on January 4th 2013 in Family
Love manifests in the strangest ways. Just like courage. And understanding.
Sometimes it sneaks up on you and you don’t realize how great a gift it is or how much self-sacrifice was required of the giver. Until later, much later in the game of life, when you’ve grown old enough to know that nothing is like our perfectly sensible expectations and most of it is so much harder than we’d ever dreamed.
Christmas joy was just such a gift, given to me long ago by my Mother, for whom joy was not a frequent visitor. Let me explain. Continue reading “A Christmas Story” »
Posted on December 16th 2012 in Family
I have a beloved sister, Conny, nearly 13 years younger than I. We’re quite different in appearance, profession, proclivities, talents and even in sexual orientation, but in our hearts, we’re pretty much cut from the same cloth. We’ve worked together in one way or another, for a lifetime, certain this is not the first lifetime we’ve spent together – we knew each other too well from the start, for this to be the first time. Listening, helping, shoring each other up in the dark times, laughing together when given half a chance to… sharing history, joy, memories, anguish… we’ve pretty much been there for each other for a half century or so. Continue reading “My Sister” »
Posted on December 7th 2012 in Family
My friends are reaching birthday numbers they thought they’d never have to cope with, taking up Causes or Yoga, planning retirement, talking about their portfolios, their golf game and their cholesterol. They’re also burying their parents, becoming rich and Republican, having grandchildren and heart attacks – and oddest of all, they’re calling themselves Seniors.
How weird is that? Why would you label yourself something that nobody wants to be? Continue reading “The Case for Healthy Denial” »
Posted on November 30th 2012 in Life
I recently spent a hilarious afternoon at the hairdresser, as all the women there and the witty, astute owner of the place, shared our strategies for never really seeing ourselves in the mirror again… except, of course, when we’re at the hairdresser and look our absolute best. We each had our own mid-life mirror-avoidance technique – a skill that apparently surfaces on auto-pilot between age 50 and 60, and either sends you to “have work done” or makes you laugh at yourself, and set about appreciating the self-protective merits of healthy denial.
Why didn’t anybody tell us we’d still feel 35, even after we pass 60? How come our insides and our outsides don’t match any more, so when we pass a shop window and catch an inadvertent glimpse of ourselves, our first thought is OMG who is that stranger wearing my clothes? Continue reading “Reflections” »
Posted on November 30th 2012 in Life
Among the many reasons I’ve breathed a sigh of relief about the results of the Presidential Election is that I no longer feel the Arts are in immediate danger of being de-funded. They only get a pittance compared to other budget items that could be cut, but somehow they landed in the political crosshairs.
So I ask you this: can you even imagine a world in which we have only Hedge Fund Managers, Wall Street Bankers and engineers to keep us company? Imagine how our hearts, minds and inspiration would be strangled by the absence of art, music, books, theatre and all the other art forms we’ve recently been told aren’t worth being supported by a society that has no problem supporting wars. Continue reading “The Energy of Creativity” »
Posted on November 24th 2012 in Life
Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Lakota Sioux Visionary and Prophecy Keeper of the White Buffalo Pipe, has a powerful message for all of us, one that leaves no doubt about the role assigned to us in these chaotic and dangerous times. The simple dynamic beauty of his words really touched me so I’d like to pass them on. I don’t know how anyone could give us our marching orders with more poetic power.
“Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind. Did you think that Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger?
“Know that you yourself are essential to this World. Believe that! Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this World. Did you think you were put here for something less?”
© Cathy Cash Spellman/The Wild Harp & Co. Inc 2012
Posted on November 17th 2012 in Faith