Ornamental Cherry Tree In Full Bloom, Washingt...
Ornamental Cherry Tree In Full Bloom, Washington State. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“There is no stranger under the cherry tree.”- Issa

There is a tree I love.  The circumference of the trunk thick and wide, so broad, that I cannot circle my arms around it anymore.  Knotty, the bark rough to my cheek’s soft touch.  The trunk, darkened, blackened, and browned with touches of gray. Gnarled. Leaves that are a dark green, jade, larger near the top to kiss the sun, forming a canopy to shield me.  When spring returns, the tree I love awakens to life, its pink blossoms changing from crimson to a blush shade as the petals unfurl.  The tree I love.  Home to squirrels, chipmunks, ladybugs.  Butterflies pause to rest their fragile wings for a brief moment.  Bees drone and circle the blossoms, briefly alighting to dust their legs with pollen.  The tree I love, a home and nurturer of life.  The robin builds her nest in the uppermost branches, a safe haven for the turquoise eggs, the broken pieces of shell float to the ground when the young birds take flight. Collected by the child who gently wraps the remnants into a Kleenex. The tree I love.

It is impossible for me to walk past the Cherry Tree.  Its presence alluring, pure beauty as it commands the ground.  The tree I love has roots that spread and twist as they deeply anchor and nourish. Steadfast. I pause to stand under the majestic canopy and close my eyes.  For a brief moment, I can summon back the memory of a little girl and her younger sister.  A memory of love.

The winds begin to blow, gently teasing the tree.  Dancing together the wind embraces the pinks, twirling and whirling them about before slowly releasing them to the ground.  Carpeting the earth, a pink quilt, covering the ground.  Fragile beauty. A memory of love, fleeting.

See Through My Eyes

Our eyes meet.  It was brief, like the shutter’s snapshot, only an instant, seconds, a moment.  Humanity.  He stood on the island median, cardboard sign in hand, Homeless. Please help me. Disheveled and not in the contrived careless style of today’s fashions.  Authentic disheveled. The jacket just slightly too large, the pants too loose.  The hair, shaggy and layered, time between cuts.  The skin, weathered, lined, tanned from the elements.  The features, tight, eyes averted, head tipped down to avoid a passerby’s direct gaze. Shame.

The stoplight red, a pause, time to consider.  Should I help him? It’s so easy to dismiss, avert my eyes, look away, and drive away.  Still, consider that it could be you.  Who chooses to stand and beg like this?  Lazy, Crackie, substance abuser, mental illness, the stigmas, text bubbles in my brain. Still, consider that this could be you.  Perhaps, someone you loved? The perilous line that separates us, thin and wavering between the fall to Dependence or Independence, Pass to Fail, Sane to Insane. Do we really get to decide our fate?  The child born into dysfunction and pain, what are the life chances for success? The child born into love and functioning caregivers, is that child more worthy than one without?  Obstacles, in circumstances, one to continuously climb over, the other to crawl through. Who chooses their parents?  The chances good, that if I could sit and ask his life story, it would be full of sad memories, broken dreams, a broken heart.  Drifting through life.

I found four quarters in my wallet. “It’s all I have.” “God, bless you, dear,” were the words he spoke.  “God bless you, too,” I replied. Our eyes meet.  Eyes blue. Cerulean. Quickly, we parted. It was brief, like the shutter’s snapshot, only an instant, a moment.  Humanity.


God Bless the Child (Billie Holiday song)
God Bless the Child (Billie Holiday song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We Shared a Song

You Are My Sunshine
You Are My Sunshine (Photo credit: StarsApart)

Dad's car

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.

You make me happy when skies are grey.

You’ll never know dear how much I love you.

Please don’t take my sunshine away.

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping,

I dreamt I held you in my arms

When I awoke dear, I was mistaken,

So I hung my head and I cried.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.

You make me happy when skies are grey.

You’ll never know dear how much I love you.

Please don’t take my sunshine away.” [1]

-Jimmy Wakeley and The Sunshine Girls- Bob Hamlin

-Jimmy Davis- 1940

Songs can bring back memories.  Dad loved to sing in the car and we loved to follow along for the ride.  As we traveled the roads in a variety of weighty cars, the Impala, the Cougar, the functional Wagon, the radio’s volume turned to high, it wasn’t long before he’d break into song.  Then, I’d join in. Off tune, oblivious to the fact, we sang together. Shortly after, his hand would move behind to the back seat, seeking mine.  He would give it a squeeze. Then, it was my sister’s turn.  Her small fist would reach up, to find his strong hand, above the seat back.  Briefly, joined together, we would continue to sing.  It was a spontaneous, loving act, a moment in time.  Songs can bring back memories.  Dad loved to sing in the car and we loved to follow along for the ride.

To Mother’s Everywhere

English: Mother's Day card
English: Mother’s Day card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Thank you for the sacrifices that you make on a daily basis.  The times that you are up all night cuddling an ill child, reassuring a small one that there really aren’t any monsters in the world.  The strength that you draw from within, when faced with adversity.  The resilience that you develop to survive the difficult times and remind others that “this too shall pass”. The gift of time that you share at the cost of your own quiet.  Always wearing a smile.  Offering a kind, encouraging word. Loving unconditionally.  That is a mother’s responsibility.  To all the mothers everywhere, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!  Thank you for the sacrifices that you make on a daily basis.




The Circle of Life

Miss Rumphius book cover
Miss Rumphius book cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The early wake up call.  “Mom, can you pick me up at the Sky Train Station? I worked a night shift”  My son, now an adult, still occasionally calling mom for a ride home!  Disheveled, flattered, I manage to throw myself together in relatively decent style.  Arriving at his townhouse, my son suggests I view the garden. The small plot of earth carefully arranged with green shoots, annuals and perennials reaching for the sunshine. Lavender bushes. The window box of herbs.  The three raspberry canes, looking forlorn, yet hopeful,  the promise of bearing sweet fruit.   My son asks questions and seeks advice on gardening.  “What’s a good rose to grow?” Depends, if you want a rambler or a climber. Touched, I lovingly recall the little boy he once was and the times we spent looking at the gardens in our neighbourhood, planting the Mother’s Day gift of lupin seeds, a memory from the story we shared, Miss Rumphiusplacing picked flowers into a vase, floating rose petals in a bowl. I ache to go back in time.  What struck me is that the little things we often take for granted, count. Pivotal moments in time.  The walks and talks.  Simple acts, like planting flowers, teach us to appreciate the beauty in life.

Precious gifts of time that we share with one another.  Years ago, my father and grandfather taught me, through their simple actions, to find peace in a garden, to create beauty, to nurture life, to discover hope in the bleakest of conditions.  Their gift of time, passed on to me, passed along to my son.

First Prize 2