Category: pain

six months after my last post

six months after my last post

| May 8, 2017 | 4 Replies

Blogging joined the ranks of other purposeful pleasures: swimming, practicing guitar, cross-stitching, braiding my hair. I stopped doing it for long enough that although I knew I’d start again, it no longer felt like something I ought to be doing. Who hasn’t added room after room to the house of self? Mine has looked like […]

Read More

the storyless season

the storyless season

| November 20, 2016 | 8 Replies

At midday Saturday the sun shone full into the kitchen window. I almost wished that I hadn’t done the dishes already, but that’s a silly thing to wish, isn’t it? Forget dishes. I pinched some droopy lavender between my fingers and inhaled the fragrance. I set up my computer on the sink. I wanted to write. […]

Read More

adventures in uselessness 

adventures in uselessness 

| September 18, 2016 | 7 Replies

Today I listen to Yo-Yo Ma play Bach’s cello suites and I dance around the kitchen. I have lived most of my hours aiming to be useful. The weight of that sometimes grows unmanageable. I am a dancer, but not a Dancer (if you know what I mean), so my body still remembers how to […]

Read More

Bigfoot and the Woman

Bigfoot and the Woman

| July 11, 2016 | 4 Replies

In the dream, Bigfoot is skulking through a cave, and the Woman is trying to stop him from getting out. She is old and clever and vital: a crone, a witch. She hunches herself into a hole in the cave wall so that she can attack him as he walks by. I don’t remember the […]

Read More

clouds and wind

clouds and wind

| May 1, 2016 | 3 Replies

Today the sky is an apt metaphor. There is plenty of light to see, but clouds have covered over the blue. I look up and I give thanks, but my heart cries out for the color I love. On Friday I stood at my old beloved beach, Independence Park in Beverly. The sun was bright […]

Read More

Monday morning prayer

Monday morning prayer

| April 4, 2016 | 6 Replies

Gracious God, please tell me again that I do not have to be Great. Tell me that breathing my way through the day is a triumph, that kindness is sufficient, that honesty is beauty. Good Lord, holy Mother/Father/Sister/Brother, please dwell in my overzealous shoulders and my weighty belly; please settle into my raw heart; please […]

Read More

life is a spell so exquisite, everything conspires to break it.

life is a spell so exquisite, everything conspires to break it.

| January 18, 2016 | 5 Replies

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., here is a letter I wrote to myself in the fall.  _________ 22 October 2015 dear Hannah, Please remember the day you bought this card. It was July, and you were picking up gifts for Greg & Jamaica to thank them for Company. The colors of life had looked […]

Read More

to be of service

to be of service

| November 11, 2015 | 2 Replies

On a whim, I joined Olivia at Rockport Unitarian’s service on Sunday. I had no idea the beauty in store. I’d already been thinking about what it means to give. Early in the week I listened and re-listened to this beautiful On Being interview with Adam Grant. Reading Give or Take was paradigm-shifting for me […]

Read More

sublime chess game

sublime chess game

| October 12, 2015 | 1 Reply

For the third morning I wake very early. The silence of Rowley is thick and soft as a blanket. Today I do not even try to go back to sleep. I pull on my fleecy purple socks, tiptoe down the dark stairs, and light a candle in the kitchen. I boil water and scratch Thomas […]

Read More

a good death

a good death

| September 4, 2015 | 7 Replies

Let me tell you how Gus the cat died. I promise later I will tell you how he lived. Our fifteen-year-old cat had been losing weight for at least a year, but in the spring he began to look legitimately thin. In early June his back legs began to malfunction. We picked him up to spare […]

Read More

thank you, Tony Hoagland

thank you, Tony Hoagland

| July 26, 2015 | 4 Replies

I am standing in the doorway when I read Tony Hoagland’s poem. David and our niece and nephew are playing with toy cars and trucks and planes, and I’m about to join them. Jack sings gleefully to the tune of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man: “I am orange plane, orange-orange-orange, whack-whack-whack!” I didn’t expect Hoagland’s words to hallow […]

Read More

the kindness of Kim

the kindness of Kim

| March 8, 2015 | 6 Replies

The day I heard of Kim’s passing, I rode my bike to the beach and let the wind chill the tears on my cheeks. The pain came over me in waves all week long. I know her children far better than I knew Kim herself, and my heart ached to think of Sage, Lila, and Toby motherless. […]

Read More

window

window

| February 3, 2015 | 10 Replies

The blue jay spread wide his wings and restored me to myself. The spare room is too cold for yoga, and the cat had spent the night scattering litter as far as he could across the floor, but one flash of blue in the small window could hallow the entire day. That’s how I want to live, […]

Read More

back-to-transformation

back-to-transformation

| September 26, 2014 | 9 Replies

September turns my heart to school. Not just the school where I teach now, but all the schools I’ve taught in and all the schools I’ve attended. In August, sales circulars paint a perennial picture of rosy cheeks, pigtails, and shiny lunchboxes. I appreciate pretty folders and fresh pens as much as the next person […]

Read More

first year

first year

| July 5, 2014 | 6 Replies

One year ago, on a warm July morning, I woke up incredibly early to walk the beach. A few hours later I arrived in Rowley, Massachusetts, where a houseful of beloved women bustled. My mom and aunt Lisa sat on the couch finishing my sash while the rest of us put on make-up and jewelry. Soon I […]

Read More

fruition

fruition

| May 17, 2014 | Reply

  Sometimes events you’ve been waiting for happen all at once. Thursday, May 15th was a day of great fruition. Early in the morning I began thinking of Suzanne, whose heart is so vast that sometimes I feel her love emanating from Massachusetts all the way out here in Kansas. The 15th was Suzanne’s 30th […]

Read More

after the burning

after the burning

| May 6, 2014 | Reply

Here’s the guest post I wrote for my friend Catherine’s blog: some of the gifts of this challenging year in Wichita. http://catherineannehawkins.com/hannahs-in-between-guest-post/ Special thanks to James Nedresky for permission to use this photograph. Find many other breathtaking images of the prairies at his websites: http://www.jnedreskyprairie.com http://blog.jamesnedresky.com/?p=138

Read More

walk, linger, love

walk, linger, love

| March 19, 2014 | 5 Replies

Vespa came to me in my dreams last night, wanting a walk. She wagged her tail and moaned her emphatic morning song, and off we went to greet the day. When I met Vespa in 2008, we were rehearsing Camilla’s a cappella group. The enthusiastic Italian spinone nuzzled her way into the circle of eighth […]

Read More

wedding dresses and windows

wedding dresses and windows

| March 14, 2014 | 2 Replies

When you find your wedding dress, you want to feel beautiful. You want Yes to bubble up from the depths of your being. You want to hear trumpet fanfare as you meet your own eyes in the mirror. Alas, I was in too much pain to conjure fanfare that March morning in 2013. My body had […]

Read More

space for sadness

space for sadness

| February 11, 2014 | 8 Replies

Before I tell you about the gift I gave Laura, I should tell you about the gifts Laura gave me. A hug each time I passed in the hall. A raised hand for every question I asked in class. More songs than I can count: songs I taught her, songs she brought from home, songs […]

Read More

conditions for joy

conditions for joy

| January 30, 2014 | 12 Replies

High time I fess up: my plan for the year failed. I came here with the dream of investing time in my writing: submitting essays, getting published. I knew that getting published is hard, but I didn’t fret: I can be persistent as a jackhammer. What I didn’t foresee was how disheartening the process would […]

Read More

2013 Thanksgiving newsletter

2013 Thanksgiving newsletter

| December 2, 2013 | 10 Replies

It’s the second morning of December. True to form, I started a Thanksgiving newsletter before Thanksgiving but didn’t finish it in time. I’ve cherished grand ambitions about the scope and detail of the letter, but today I want to write something short and sweet. Today I want to write about the Christmas cactus in bloom, […]

Read More

tree roots and laundry

tree roots and laundry

| November 13, 2013 | 1 Reply

My friend Ralph Eckhardt sent this picture the other day. He wrote, “I had just been thinking about your latest Breathe Deep and praying for you when I saw it, and it was a picture to me of how complicated life is that produces the wonder of who we are.” My mind keeps wandering back to […]

Read More

Wichitastic

Wichitastic

| November 6, 2013 | 9 Replies

It’s a rainy morning in Wichita. Most of the colored leaves in the courtyard below our apartment still cling to their branches. The flags whip whirling music against the flagpoles. The cat sleeps, the light is soft, and a new month has begun. For several years I spent the month of November writing daily thank […]

Read More

groundlessness and tea

groundlessness and tea

| October 31, 2013 | 5 Replies

Waking up in the morning feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done; maybe the hardest thing anybody has ever done. I might always feel this way in autumn, as darkness presses in from both sides. Our mornings spill over with common kindnesses. My husband lets me sleep twenty minutes more while he takes a […]

Read More

skinned knees, fresh cantaloupe, Basic Principles

skinned knees, fresh cantaloupe, Basic Principles

| August 19, 2013 | 5 Replies

I haven’t skinned my knee in years, so when I stumbled over the extra-high curb at Mark and Cheryl’s three weeks ago, I knew it meant something. It’s a Basic Principle of mine: Everything Means Something. (Not all Basic Principles utilize italics, but this one likes to have them.) Well, it was a Basic Principle until a […]

Read More

Wow! A secret message from your teeth!

Wow! A secret message from your teeth!

| August 2, 2013 | 4 Replies

A thousand years ago*, in the month of June, Mom came up for my bridal shower. The night she arrived, we sat on my bed with take-out sushi and wine. Afterward, we opened our fortune cookies. Hers said something vaguely apropos and thoroughly unremarkable. This is what we expect of fortune cookies, if we expect […]

Read More

the Sun and the shower

the Sun and the shower

| June 10, 2013 | 5 Replies

I woke early Sunday morning, wearied by the ludicrous night visions only a bride-to-be must endure. A shower rinsed off the outermost layer of fretfulness. Mom was still sleeping, so I took myself to the beach, aching for the cleansing only salt water can afford. A year ago I was at Rowe Conference Center, soaking […]

Read More

something to bury

something to bury

| May 16, 2013 | 2 Replies

Tuesday morning I found a dead field mouse. It was in the shed where I keep my bike. My breath caught on the sharp edge of the morning bustle. This mouse is here for me, I thought. I set my bicycle aside. I pulled a leaf  from the earth and stooped beside the mouse, ready to […]

Read More

the Monday after

the Monday after

| April 22, 2013 | 5 Replies

Last Monday morning I planned to write about Vespa the dog. While my friends the Worsfolds take their customary April trip, I inhabit their home and spoil their Italian spinone with long, meandering walks. The tradition began five years ago, just two weeks after I’d told my husband I wanted a divorce. The realities of […]

Read More

in praise of all things sweet

in praise of all things sweet

| April 5, 2013 | 2 Replies

Blessed be the first bite of birthday cake. Hallowed be that moment, long before the gears of memory began to turn, when I learned that Sweet could eclipse mashed pears and mother’s milk. Did I learn the way Lydia did, encircled by family, smearing frosting on my flawless face? No matter. Blessed be that day. […]

Read More

how do you solve a problem like yourself?

how do you solve a problem like yourself?

| February 23, 2013 | 2 Replies

When I signed on to play Maria in The Sound of Music, the decision was a no-brainer. The iconic musical has been dear to my heart since age eleven, when my dad played Captain von Trapp and I played Louisa at the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu, Hawaii. Six years ago I teamed up with my friend […]

Read More

turning toward the light

turning toward the light

| January 26, 2013 | 2 Replies

I’ve never felt happier to sweep the floor. I’ve put it off for weeks and weeks. Shiny hardwood keeps secrets better than most surfaces, and what gracious guest would ever complain? Still, my eyes were drawn to the places where the dust bunnies congregate. Corners can be ugly, honest places. There are seasons in all […]

Read More

the definition of darkness

the definition of darkness

| January 12, 2013 | 5 Replies

My hips slide out of place for the second week in a row. “It’s been very mild both these times,” says my chiropractor after I explain that I’ve been doing the physical therapy exercises each day. “You’re doing what you need to do. Just give it time.” She is encouraging. Perky, even. I slip the […]

Read More

if this isn’t nice, i don’t know what is

if this isn’t nice, i don’t know what is

| December 25, 2012 | 3 Replies

Lately my heart has felt near to splitting its seams. It’s partly because this is my first Christmas far from my family. It’s also the Newtown tragedy, and the polar ice caps melting, and the slowly subsiding pain in my body. Lately the world’s immeasurable sadness has been crowding the margins of my neat little […]

Read More

the blog entry I planned to write

the blog entry I planned to write

| December 14, 2012 | 3 Replies

The blog entry I planned to write today was about my lost earring, the silver flying pig earring that disappeared while we were in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. I’ve had those earrings since my pig-collecting adolescence (inaugurated by my star-studded turn as Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web the Musical). I consider them lucky, mostly because I’ve held […]

Read More

in pain’s classroom

in pain’s classroom

| December 8, 2012 | 8 Replies

The month of November was shrouded in misery. Did teaching feel impossible because I was sick all month or was I sick all month because teaching felt impossible? There were three consecutive colds (well, it might have been one long cold with two brief intermissions). My hips were sliding out of place every couple weeks. […]

Read More