Love Is Thicker Than the Smoke

Coffey Park photo by Jason Baldwin

I live in Sonoma County.

Yes — The one that was on fire for nearly two weeks. The fire that made thousands homeless in an instant.

So many stories have arisen from the ashes that need to be heard. So many heroic rescues, stories of strength and courage, of redemption, love and hope. They cannot be forgotten as soon as the fire trucks return to their respective counties and states.

Cry of the Nightbird: Writers Against Domestic Violence was born because I couldn’t bear that these beautiful, gut-wrenching stories, which DV survivors had gathered the courage to tell, would be lost after  just a few readings to very small audiences. What Michelle Wing did through Writers Speak Out Against Domestic Violence was phenomenal.  I had to help her bring those stories to a wider audience. And did, together with her and our mutual friend, Kate Farrell.

It’s time to do it again.

Help me to do it again. And no, it is not too soon. We must act while details are fresh, and while the telling will bring some much-needed healing. Carol Hightshoe of Wolfsinger Publications has agreed to publish the book. The Love Is Thicker Than the Smoke (working title) will benefit those directly affected by the firestorm that devastated our county. No one needs to be a writer to be included. I will gather the stories from first responders, witnesses and survivors, and write them with the utmost care and respect, working closely with all those involved and enlisting others to help with editing and art.

If you or someone you know has a story to tell, contact me soon here. #StrongerTogether #SonomaStrong

Lastly, my profound thanks to all the first responders who came from near and far and worked tirelessly to keep us and our homes from harm. We can never repay you.


Beauty is as beauty sees

Is beauty not harmony and balance? Is that why we are drawn to it? Beauty fills us with joy and peace. Things that are wrong, out of balance or broken fill us with unease. And we shy away from them.

We are beautiful beings who respond to beauty. Our appreciation of beauty is evidence of our own beauty. We are in tune with it, because it is like us.

No one has seen the face of God, yet God is the beauty that surrounds us and is us. No one has NOT seen God.

Rose-petal rain in the morning sun

Rose-petal rain in the morning sun

by Ann Hutchinson 5/2/2017

Rose petals rain down in the morning sun

Does the mother bird know…
What a sweet-smelling home she builds in the tree?
Does the 12-foot rose tree know…
It is supposed to be a bush?

We have endured a week of rain for such a day

The bird is one of those pesky jays.
But now it is just an expectant mother.
She wove her bowl of twigs high
Among soft flowers, guarded by large thorns.

A train whistles, stirring memories, clearing its path

Did mama bird intentionally choose that side…
That stretches over the silky lambs’ ear?
Was she planning ahead,
Imagining her child’s first flight?

A dove’s plaintive coo is cut off by a crow’s caw

Mother Jay flies to the peak of a nearby roof
And surveys backyards, looking for threats,
For food sources near enough, but not too near
She flaps her wings, shaking off forebodings.

A warm wind brings a shower of pink petals

Mother Jay tilts her head, seems to look at me
Does she know we are one?
Two mothers surveying the surroundings
Giving thanks for the sun?