Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ancestry Search

When I was around the age my younger brother is right now, I set into a more serious search for my ancestry. I joined, growing every day more amazed at the volumes of data saved and retrieved about the comings and goings of mankind through the years. Some days, I lost hours wandering the halls of information, chasing tidbits of information, wondering: "Is she related? Is he?"

I gleaned a few solid connections, gained more from an aunt who had previously gathered much information on her own. But, I eventually felt the weight of searching the labyrinth of halls, grew tired of losing hours to a search yielding few useful links.

Now, that brother has entered the maze, already updating the family tree far beyond anything I'd accomplished. I think, too, that the website has improved their graphics, enhanced the options for the user and opened doors to more genealogical information than ever before available worldwide.

His entry has sparked renewed interest within me. But for what end? What might "I" personally really glean from knowing the "who" of my family's ancestry? Unless we can dive below the surface to glean fascinating details about the life each of those ancestors lived, they remain but a name.

Still, I'm fascinated by opening the shadows and discovering whatever treasures might be resting on the forest floor.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Winds

There are markers along my summer journey. Every year, certain events key me in to the coming fall changes. Not just our entry into fall's brilliant technicolor coat - nature's last hurrah before winter locks all into slumber. No, it goes beyond that. Fall begins a journey of learning and discovery for me. Even though I am no longer an official student, having left those years long, long ago, I seem to move with the flow of all the young "interns" and settle into a pattern of studying something new or improving some skill already acquired.

The markers? Subtle shifts in the crispness of morning, the squirrels' frenetic gathering of nuts, and the influx of bees that seems to appear every August. Then there's the barrage of ads everywhere, and even the reminders laced into the stories on the comics page of the newspaper. Our family always went camping in August and I have a friend who plans a wilderness, solitary hike for rejuvenation every end of summer.

All of these remind me that it's time for me, too, to close some old books, start a new journal, clear the last of the weeds, put away summer's toys and prepare for the cozy days of winter.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gardens of Writing

A Garden of Possibilities

Words weave
thin green lines
like vines
busy with spring climbs
up, around, across,
above then behind,
a tangle as they spiral
before reaching
for the stars.

By August, blossoms
cover what tangles

Will the words I seek
coalesce, return
as blossoms for me?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memory Poem

I Remember

reminds me of you
dressed in pale plaid
cotton sleepwear,
ready for a night
curled on the couch
watching old episodes
of Friends.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day


unlocked with sun
streaming upon my face,
cat curled by my side, mother’s day

my room, toddlers
play, laughter echoes of joy,
love unbound, of family here
right now

my child
and her children,
embracing our special
day together, mom and nana
shared bliss

my son
calls, no longer
living behind fences,
his voice reflects maturity

one more
call to my mom,
changed by a stroke, but still
present, she remains distant but

we are
sharing a common thread,
womb to womb to womb interweaves
our lives

by judy Beaston
May 13, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Thoughts on Life

What if

 Love is the door,
Truth the key

Inside I discover
I’ve always been here

- judy beaston
May 5, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

April has ended and so too the AtoZ Blog Challenge. I joined that challenge to help determine the direction of my blog. I learned that posting vignettes, micro-flash and the beginning of longer stories, suits me with delight. Is it just a place for me to project my own writing? Perhaps for now that is true. I suspect I will branch out to explore the tales of other short-story writers at some point.

What I enjoyed the most this past month was the discipline of daily writing, especially since each post was an impromptu effort. Creating related poetry is another part that I liked, so there will probably be more of that, too. Going forward, I intend to create a flexible schedule vs. daily posts.

Thanks to any who stop by to read. Leave a comment or two so I know you've been by. All comments are appreciated.

May Flowers

I remember singing songs about May in grade school. In sing-song rhythm, we repeated the words about May flowers born from April’s showers. On the first day of May, we danced around a pole, a celebration of life emerging from winter darkness, of birth and renewal – fertility, I learned in later years.

** ** ** **

emerge daily
from dense muddy chambers,
arms open, embrace life, petals
speak peace

Monday, April 30, 2012


Z-words include Zoo, Zipper, Zeugma

Simon and Garfunkle composed a song that fits the letter ‘Z’ and is a song that flows readily from the recesses of my memory. Is it really “all happening at the zoo?”  Well, maybe yes, because I think life is a kind of zoo.

Just think about the diversity of people, cultures, philosophies and responses to both mundane and exciting experiences and you have a zoo in the making. Different body shapes, living environments, housing arrangements – zoos do this for their animals.

Also, we’re caged behind bars of our own making. How much of who you really are at the core of your being do you present to the world? Or do you harbor talents and skills, fears and emotions behind a mask, held like a gambler holding his cards so close, even he can barely discern their numbers?

Zippers, another word that is also fitting to the way people close themselves away from reality. We zip up our cocoon, draw on a mask, and push our essential self into hiding. While perhaps a protection mechanism, the result is a loss of freedom to embrace the wholeness of our chosen presence on this fabulous planet.

Zeugma, a disconcerting use of language, as in: On his fishing trip, he caught three trout and a cold. The “official” definition: the use of a word to modify or govern two or more words when it is appropriate to only one of them or is appropriate to each but in a different way.

What does that have to do with the rest of this blog? Everything and nothing relates to what’s happening at the zoo!
** ** **


the years
I will live as
abstruse small pieces,
in dark corners of memory,


old age
resists borders,
shifts in time as years rise,
once sixty, today arrives when
health fades

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yesterday

Yesterdays With Parker

The far edge of Parker’s large yard softened from sweltering late summer sun, to cooler evening shadows. I watched from his living room, looking out across the hand-hewn wood deck, lovingly crafted years past, watched the sky shift from azure to fire-orange glowing rays as the sun splayed her farewell banner.

Behind me, Parker’s raspy breath remained a sad, rhythmic reminder of why I was here, in a home I’d left years ago after one final battle for independence. We’d partnered, he and I, as renegade youths, bent on freeing the world from materialistic ways, seeking spiritual nirvana around the globe. We'd trekked across Asia in search of Shambhala, then across Europe in search of pleasure. Eventually, we'd landed in California’s coastlands, found a community of like-minded families and settled down.

Parker’s talents with gadgetry landed him a high-paying job in Silicon Valley and our battles began. I was always a writer, poet, philosopher of life. As Parker’s income grew, his acquisitions followed – cars, boats, toys of high expense. Journeys to exotic lands, now paid for by his employer, did not include me.

How I longed for yesterday, for yesteryear – those times of owning what we could carry on our backs, earning enough to eat and survive, bartering our skills for a place to stay.

When Parker’s new partner, Janine, contacted me, I hesitated to respond. What do I care that he is dying? But she said he’d asked to see me, had something he wanted to tell me. Yes, I’d thought, now he wants to apologize, a bit late in the game for me.

I took a day to meditate on everything I believed, sought a release of the anger and bitterness that rose up in me, surprised me by its intensity – and even its presence. Forgiveness, I knew, was necessary for true internal peace. But could I forgive him for giving up everything we once embraced together, forgive him for choosing to sow his seeds in a consumerist society? And, then, could I forgive him for turning from me, selecting Janine over me and lying about his affair?

Seeing Parker tucked into a portable bed, propped up for this view out his living room window, wires and tubes attached to his body, his breath a raspy wheeze, sucked the last morsel of resistance from my heart. “I forgive you, Parker,” I’d said before he had a chance to speak. “Can you forgive me?”

Parker won’t live to see many more of these day-night-day transitions. I will. That awareness churns within me. Hearing Parker cough, I turn from the sunset, approach his bed. Standing next to Janine, I take his hand in mine and say good-bye.
** **
Years Gone By

so near, so far away,
yet it is today embraced
I most seek,
a treasure trove
of experiences
seen through lenses
polished by years
of grit, oil, fire and pain,
etched by desert sands,
lightning strikes,
love’s deep attachments
adding textures and colors
too quiet to notice

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for Xiphium Iris

Xiphium Iris

Spanish flower,
handsome purple blossoms
add delicate lines, sweet bouquet

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Wolf Tales (Tails?)

The wolf is my spirit animal. Any opportunity to engage a live wolf up-close, erases all common sense, thoughts of others. I’d joined the Wilderness Rangers in hopes of an opportunity like the one facing me today, across a tree-ringed meadow.

I’d spotted the wolf when our group arrived at a small hut used for warmth in winter and getting out of the rain during other seasons. While my companions ate lunch and socialized, I’d headed around the edge of the meadow, hoping to secure a clear view of the wolf.  And, I did. What a magnificent specimen she was, face fur whiter than new snow, ears appeared soft like down, twitching as my movements snapped a twig. But she stayed, no fear in those eyes that located mine, just a steady, knowing depth.

“Exquisite beast, No?” The voice, just off my right shoulder, startles me.

“Oh, I thought I was alone.” I blush when I see the male equivalent of a wolf next to me, his face softened by a short beard, curly hair closely cropped, his blue-gray eyes mesmerizing.

I quickly turn back to the wolf in the meadow. “He’s not a beast, you know. Wolves are intelligent creatures. Perhaps more than humans.”

He laughs, then, a patronizing yet friendly chuckle. “Ah, so you are ‘friend of wolves’ now?”

“Do I know you?” I look more closely at his face but find nothing familiar.

“I observed you at the hiking club meeting last week.”

“But you aren’t with the group today?” The vibes from him are not as comfortable as I’d like, but if he was a late arriver to the group I’d joined for today’s hike, I could calm my anxiety.

“Alas, no. I was too late to join.” He smiles, and I notice him peering over my shoulder toward where that group waited behind me. “But, the hike sounded interesting and I decided to enjoy it alone.”

Yes, he was alone, that I could see, and carrying only a daypack, just like the rest of us. He also has a very nice set of binoculars hanging from his neck and a camera with a long lens hanging near his hip.

“May I borrow your binoculars? I’d love to get a closer view of the wolf.”

As he hands them to me, I gasp. “They’re so light! Oh, my – Leica. These must have cost a fortune!”

I train my eyes on the wolf, still watching us from across the meadow. “The view is outstanding. It’s as if I’m standing next to her, could touch her fur. Oh, those eyes – such a deep, piercing blue. Most adult wolves eyes are gold not blue!”

“Would you like me to take a photo for you?”

“Oh, would you?” I know I sound too eager, but I notice his camera is also a Leica. This guy must be rich. Then I realize how dopey my excitement must sound.

He’s already taking photos, not reacting to my words, so I lift the binoculars to my eyes again, watch the wolf watching us.

Our enjoyment soon ends, however, as something startles the wolf. “That was a quick disappearing act,” I say, disappointed.

“I know where the den is located.”

“You do?”

“Yes, I could show you.”

“Oh, but I’m with the group.” I gesture toward the top of the hill, though don’t turn away from him. He shrugs his shoulders and nods his head toward the hut. I spin around.

The area near the hut, where the group had been eating lunch, now appears empty and I don’t hear any sounds. When did they depart? Didn’t anyone notice I was missing? I had mentioned my intention to Marianne – or did I? I remember I tried to, but she was chatting with the director and I grew impatient, just left. So nobody knows I am gone.

“I think you are alone .. ?”

A statement, a question – I hesitate, still puzzled over the group’s departure. Finally, I understand what he is asking.

“Tegan,” I said. “And you are?”


I sigh. “I suppose I should try to catch up with them.” I say this but I have no idea where they are headed next. I’d failed to pick up one of the maps at the start of the trip. because I’d arrived late. I just figured we’d remain together. With this big of a group, I’d decided, not everyone needed a map. I figured wrong.

“Or, you could stay with me. I could show you the den.”

I stare into those intense, blue eyes, hooked, my heart beating fast, my gut sounding cautionary bells that I don’t want to hear. Forcing my eyes away from his face, I glance toward the top of the hill, consider again the discomfort in my gut and make my decision. “Okay. Show me the den.”

** ** **
two songs for Wolf

gleaned from years
engaged with nature, hunts
haunt humans, sustain the wolf pack

moon-lit meadows,
tranquil air, howls resound
songs of joy, love, each note projects

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Vignette

Vignette – in writing, a brief scene

“Victory is mine!” Shannon jumped from the couch, landing with his legs spread shoulder-width apart, gray sword held high.

Mandy merely rolled her eyes. “Get real, Little Pigeon. I’m the Hawk here.”

“Then be prepared to die!”

“Nah, I’m tired of the game.” Mandy dropped her toy sword and turned away.

Shannon lunged toward Mandy, striking her right hip. “You will not leave this village alive.”

“I’m already gone, and stop hitting me.” She turned toward him, her eyes blazing. “Or do you want me to tell Mom and have her take your sword away again?”

Shannon frowned and Mandy wondered if he was going to cry. She was supposed to be playing with him this afternoon, while their mom was at a doctor’s appointment, but sometimes she just didn’t want to play his super hero games.

“I’m sorry, Shanny. I’m just tired of the game right now. Would you like me to fix us a snack?”

At the mention of food, his eyes lit up, just as Mandy knew they would. She popped a bag of popcorn into the microwave and poured them both a glass of milk.

“You’re a good super-hero, you know,” Mandy said softly, trying to make up for earlier. “Mom’s going to need a super-hero around here for a while.”

“Well, that’s me!” Shannon stood tall, his sword raised, face lit by a big grin. “But why?”

Mandy wasn’t supposed to tell him about their mom’s injuries, and how her latest boyfriend was even worse than the last one. She wondered when her mom would finally find a kind man to date.

She smiled at Shannon, then reached out to ruffle his hair. “Because you are the man of the house and super-heroes are always in demand to kill the bugs that sneak in to bother us.” 

“Popcorn’s ready,” he shouted when the timer beeped. “Can we watch a movie?”

“Sure, champ. What would you like to watch today?”

“The Incredibles.” 
** **


his pain, that day
Beth drew her sword, sliced through
their love, left him stunned, heart broken

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Ubiquitous

ubiquitous – existing or being everywhere, especially “at the same time”
omnipresent – constantly encountered

The silence had a subtle beginning. First, the leaves stopped rustling, the wind failed to whistle as it brushed the branches, found its way through cracks in the window frame. After that, the frogs quit singing and the forest grew eerie in its sudden still quiet.

She walked along the trail, boots crunching dried twigs, leaves, shells and yet she heard only the absence of sound. The trees parted near the edge of a wild, raging river. Not too distant, she thought, to hear the churning and bubbling of the turbulent water. Still she heard nothing. 

A dark shadow drew her view skyward where a hawk soared. Even the birds, the screech of the hawk, the hoot of the owl, the dancing melodies of the songbirds – all silent now.

Above the bird, a small plane churned across the sky. She imagined it being a new technology, the motor barely broke through the still air.

The silence surrounded her – ubiquitous.

She sighed, sad for the loss of so much that once delighted her. The loss was gradual at first, then dove like an elevator set free. Now, even with the aid of a hearing device, she lived in a world where silence held more power than sound. She considered her life akin to that of an alien on Earth, arriving without ears to hear, she navigated her way by sight, visually interpreting what she needed to understand, avoiding most social interactions.

Attempting to find a silver lining, she took consolation in being able to tune out the ubiquitous noise grown ever-present, never shut off, that most people endured every day and every night.

Maybe she did have an edge in her own unique way. Certainly made it easy to focus on her writing in a crowded coffee shop.

She turned from the river and continued her silent walk through the forest.
** ** **
ubiquitous quiet

surrounds, black hole
siphons sound away, steals
birds, a child’s song, compromises

layers voices,
subtle notes; harmonics
required for fullness, clarity,

speech, natural
sounds feed my inner soul,
hearing loss fragments notes, disrupts

Monday, April 23, 2012

T - Time Transforms

I pulled up her Facebook page, smiled as I viewed her profile photo. It was a Christmas shot of her mom.

“How sweet,” I thought. I read through her posts, clicked on her photo albums.

That’s when reality smacked a blow to my psyche. “All those photos of her mom, aren’t of her mom at all. They’re her!”

Time transforms.

I remember hearing what I considered a silly saying when I was a young lady. It had to do with making sure to check out the parents of the man or woman you intended to spend your life with, because that’s how they’ll look in twenty or thirty years.

I used to laugh, figured it was a joke, a complete exaggeration. As I physically transform from the young lady I still see in my mind’s eye, I realize that we often become those who bore us.

Not everyone, of course. But photos of many of my high school friends, the ones whose parents I also knew quite well, reflect those parents I recall. And, since I haven’t been physically near any of these friends for twenty to thirty years (or longer for many), I still recall them visually at their younger age. That makes those Facebook photos seem odd, every time.

Not me, not my photo, of course. But, then, I’ve always only found bits and pieces of family genetics in my physical features, as if I never was a full-fledged member of that family that raised me.

I do see family traits in my sister, not of our mom but of an aunt, a sister of our father. I also see our father in my brothers. No doubt there. In me, perhaps going back a generation or two will reveal more likenesses.

The real tell is putting my photo next to my daughter’s image. Over the years, people have often spoken of our strong resemblance; at times we were considered sisters. Not so much now that I’m headed for the senior citizen status, though I can still see “me” in all of her photos – the “me” of a much younger age. I guess that means I hope she doesn’t mind looking like me once she reaches her sixtieth birthday.

And then I found a recent photo of the first boy I ever dated in high school. My shock at the realization was softened by having seen parental images in other old friends,  but I was still stunned to find his father. This recent image is a spitting image of the man standing in the doorway when the boyfriend and I arrived at two AM, attempting to explain how we’d gotten lost looking for a party at an apartment complex. It was a party the boy’s parents had invited us to attend after our school event, a dance. We really did get lost but, yeah, I know, who’s going to believe that one? I was there, and even I find it doubtful.

But there he is, the father – or the son, now the father. Wow. Transformed.

** **

green-eyed wolf stands firm
father’s white-gray mask now his
tribal link complete