June 15

Bety's mother arrived from Florida today to help her with the drive to the family reunion at Cape Hatteras.

June 13

When I arrived home from work today there was a little girl with long blond hair, Lizzie, sitting at the kitchen table. Betsy was baby-sitting her manager's daughter for a few hours. Soon the two of them were upstairs in Daryl's room playing with his stuffed animals. I could hear them pretend. It was sweet to hear the voice of a child once again in our house.

I got a new client today. Cozbi Company owned by Cozbi Cabrera. Featured on Martha Stewart and Oprah. Hand-made dark skinned dolls. I'll be printing her 20 page catalog--and honored to do so. I sent her my essay, "All You Need Is Love", and when I spoke with her today, she thanked me, and said many people don't understand that business can be conducted with love as a guiding value/principle.

In her brochure she writes: "In April 1997 I left my position as design director at a major record label to create and live a life rich, full, balanced and self-expressed. My heart had turned toward home and the possibility of enjoying and creating family while doing what I loved. What showed up specifically as dolls came from images that called me--whole, healthy, vibrant, and distinct--and some hand skills I'd cultivated as a little girl with a sense and longing to create in love and from the heart......I wish for you a life filled with new wonder and abundant joy of the soul."

June 12

After I get off the train late this morning and walk up Eighth Avenue, turn on to 42nd Street, I am struck by how unreal the city looks today. Although I have been coming to New York City twice a week on business for the past five years, today it it steel gray. The clouds hang down amongst the buildings. The mist covers my glasses. The inter-section of 42nd and Broadway looks like a scene out of Blade Runner. It was one short year ago I was standing in Times Square in the rain waiting for Puff Daddy to appear. I was standing there resting my back-pack on a barricade the police had set up and thousands of other people were standing there, too. But I was in a good position should he had appeared. I called Daryl from my cell phone and leave a message for him saying to look for me on MTV. I promised Daryl that whenever I'm in NYC I'd walk trhough Times Square and try to get interviewed by MTV. Their broadcast headquarters are the second floor of a building on Broadway that runs the length from 44th Street to 45th, almost directly across the street from the All Star Cafe and Virgin Records. Their offices are glass, floor to ceiling, and camera-men, and women, are always either panning out to the people screaming up to them from the street or out on the street interviewing them. I guess, if I am actually ever interviewed, I could say I've been watching MTV from Day One, from the days of Martha Quinn, who I would occassionaly bump into at the Colliseum Bookstore on the corner of Broadway and 57th (their offices were uptown then, in the beginning, before VH1). As I had turned the corner at 42nd Street and Broadway I knew something was happening. There were a lot of police and a lot of people--in the rain. Someone handed me a flyer. It read: See Puff Daddy in Times Square. I waited for one hour. And I saw him up there on the second floor through the window. He was taping a show, Total Request Live, and turned occasionally to the window, to the world, danced his way close to the window, and waved to the people below, who went absolutely wild, screaming Bad Boy Bad Boy (the name of his company). And I actually had the good fortune of standing nexst to a Bad Boy employee who asked me to help him hold a Bad Boy banner up for all to see. As far as I know, Puff Daddy never appeared in Times Square, on the street where I stood, and thousands of others stood, but like some surreal scence out of a movie, I did see him, amid the bright lights and discordant sounds of Broadway, in the rain.

June 7

Today was Daryl's band concert (for which he missed the second half of his soccer play-off game; they won 2-0). And how good can a band concert of kids who mostly play only at school in band really be? Any adult who decides to be a band teacher in middle school deserves an A+ and lots of money! And maybe ear-plugs. Maybe that's why when I played drums in the junior high school band in Teaneck, New Jersey the band teacher once threw his baton at me; he was just fed up.

Two things I remember most. One: Daryl playing the cymbals in the first three songs--so I guess you could say he had a big part. Certainly a loud part. And two: a proud dad standing up directly in front of me and video-taping his daughter sitting in her chair for ten minutes BEFORE the concert started. I was wondering what he found so interesting about this and why they would ever want to watch this stillness (and listen to the noise from all the kids in the audience filling the room) again, for once the music began he sat down and packed away his camera.

June 4.

From our church bulletin: Thank you for giving us this opportunity to be together to celebrate the gift of children. Keep us mindful of the promise we made at their baptisms, a promise to love, support and care for them. Help us to listen for you in their voices today...Sometimes we have been busy doing good things, and even great things, and yet failed to listen to our children. Teach us to listen while there's still time."

June 3.

I was mowing my lawn. I was into the third hour when my neighbor, Eric, came walking down our driveway, made me turn off the lawnmower and said, "I can't believe you're still mowing your lawn!" He then went for a run and I went back to mowing. It may take a long time but it is a great time to think. Today I was reminded of how Betsy and I basically met in a graveyard. My brother and I were mowing it one day in June 25 years ago! Betsy stopped by to help by clipping the grass which was up against the gravestones. And I also thought of a story that appeared in The New Yorker called "The Mower," which began:

"She ran every morning at six-twenty. At first I hardly noticed but then it got so I'd look for her, and worry a little if she was late. She'd come out of the trees along the sixteenth fairway, run through the rough down the side, cut across the street--there's a little wooden bridge--onto the third tee, and out of sight. I would never see her after that. Is she finished where she started, though, she must have run four or five miles. Jesus. I couldn't run a mile if you paid me a million bucks. I never saw where she finished, because even though I was almost always on the fifteenth or sixteenth when she started--you cut them alternate days, usually--as soon as she got out of sight I had to go down the hill and do the eleventh or the tenth, and then back into the garage before the foursomes started showing up at seven."

At night Daryl and his friends play flashlight tag at our house. There are probably ten to twelve kids running around our house in the cool dark June night in and out of the woods--and through my newly planted vegetable garden.

June 2.

More on innocence. I watched Danielle leave for school this morning. She was wearing a long skirt and she stood as tall as I with her new shoes on. And I thought to myself there goes a beautiful young woman and all I want is her to have the best and be happy.

June 1.

Watching my son's Little League team practice before their game today, I was distracted by the girl's softball team practicing; watching, listening to them, their joy, I was carried back to when Betsy and I coached Danielle's softball team for one year. It seems so long ago although only a few years have gone by--but Danielle is now 15, soon 16, not twelve, and those days of innocence, days of happiness are gone. All the time I am dreaming about those days of coahing Danielle's softball team, the girls cheering from the dugout,I am reading the story about Lucinda Williams in this week's New Yorker. And I am struck that I remember the first time I heard her. I was driving on Route 66 toward downtown Northampton on my way to pick up Daryl at The Children's House, and as I passed the county jail on my left and the expanse of Mt. Tom on my right, her voice, like that of an angel if angels could sing, filled the car. I remember being so moved that I had wanted to stop and listen, but there was no where to pull the car off of the road, so I drove slowly, listening...

"You wait in the car on the side of the road/Lemme go and stand awaile, I wanna know you're there but I wanna be alone/If only for a minute or two/I wanna see what it feels like to be without you/I wanna know the touch of my own skin/Against the sun, against the wind...I walked out in a field, the grass was high, it brushed against my legs/I just stood and looked out at the open space and a farmhouse out a ways/And I wondered about the people who lived in it/And I wondered if they were happy and content/Were there children and a man and a wife?/Did she love him and take her hair down at night?/...If I stray away too far from you, don't go and try to find me/It doesn't mean I don't love you, it doesn't mean I won't ome back to you/It only means I need a little time/To follow that unbroken line/To a place where the wild things grow/To a place where I used to always go..."
"Side of The Road."

May 31.

This is the beginning.A few people who I do not know (and a few people who I do--My son, Daryl, and my daughter's friend, Tom)have been an inpiration for starting this page--for starting to write after having not for so long. An old friend, Cindy, with whom I now talk only once a year, either at Christmas or on my birthday, would write to me and say your letters are like poems; but there have been no letters. Yes, there have been poems and I now look at this as a means to communicate and express myself in ways I have not fpr too long. I try to listen to what Gary Snyder says in The Practice of the Wild:

"Get control of you own time; master the twenty-four hours. Do it well, without self-pity. It is as hard to get the children herded into the car pool and down the road to the bus as it is to chant sutras in the Buddha-hall on a cold morning. One move is not better than the other, each can be quite boring, and they both have the virtuous quality of repetition. Repetition and ritual and their good results come in many forms. Changing the filter, wiping noses, going to meetings, picking up around the house, washing dishes, checking the dipstick--don't let yourself think these are distracting you from your more serious pursuits. Such a round of chores is not a set of difficulties we hope to escape from so that we may do our 'practice' which will put us on a 'path'--it is out path." (page 153).

Interesting documentary tonight on The Beat Generation on PBS;I found it odd that Gregory Corso looked so sikly and one of the poets out in California (McClure?) so looked so healthly and spiritually alive. Why was that? Snyder was interviewed, too, and he reflected just what he writes about. Before this Daryl sat with me to watch and listen to the last movement of Beethoven's Symphony No.9,Ode to Joy. The house is quiet now and I am thinking about writing and photography, of seeing, of really seeing what is here. I think that is what I have tried to do these past few years with the poem I have given my family; to look closely, to see the cardinal outside on the tree or the love in the heart.

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