On Christmas day in the woodlands behind home, an extremely beautiful light was seen emerging from behind an otherwise blustery, snowy display of winter.


Today was also one of those spectacular winter days with intense bright sun and frigid air, extremes that also came together in a most compelling and refreshing way. It was the kind of day that was impossible to stay indoors for too long. Walking into the woods, body wrapped in layers of down and wool and protective footwear, felt really good on the one hand. It also felt really hard on the other. Soft fluffy snow on top of crunchy crusted over snow wasn’t deep enough for snow shoes, but just deep enough to make each step a slippery challenge. I was frustrated that I hadn’t brought my cramp-ons but I wasn’t going to turn back. Cranky and feeling the pressure of moving too slow, I urged Molly to go ahead, even if I didn’t want her too. The extreme beauty of the day had tossed me back into the turmoil of extreme emotion. What was this? How dare these extremes play with me so. Bittersweet feelings, my almost sixty year old body and soul wanting to just move as it wanted to move, not any faster, not any slower, not to the expectation of any other. I thought of all the years when my younger body and soul moved fast, really fast, and no doubt projected what could only be felt as the nature of my extreme energy then, to whatever companion I was with. I witnessed the flow of cool clear water co-existing with the beauty of crystallized snow,


compassion for my younger difficult self washed in, and I eventually re-united with Molly further up the path.

My current knitted project is more ambitious than usual. Using number six needles and thinner yarn, I have been experimenting with texture, mixing knit and purl, and a palette of color that features extremes as well, warm white accent in relation to purple, blue, green and gold. This one is taking a really long time. It evokes something traditional, perhaps even Peruvian or South American, as if to create some sort of context for the reality of my daughter actually being home here, in this very different home than where her heart has been for the past three years. I set the two small balls of yarn I am working with down into the bowl of crystals this morning (so Yogi won’t get them).


Another kind of extreme. Of soft glowing color resting with very hard and and dense, but equally glowing color. Both earth’s elements. The only seemingly insignificant difference is that the molecules that define one are simply moving slower than the molecules of the of other…


finding the magic

Home less than a day, Ben and I had already watched The Santa Clause 2, an annual favorite. Now the next day, just as we settled into a game of mancala, I casually asked him what he wanted for Christmas. Perhaps inspired by the magic that ligered from our movie viewing the night before, or perhaps it was just the moment he was waiting for to express the magic he was envisioning as a gift from Santa. Either way, I sat back in amazement and listened to a series of wishes that felt impossible to fulfill.

His first request was to go to ‘Rock Candy Mountain’. Literally. He described having his own tent to crawl into and when he came back out, he would simply be there in that magical place. He sounded quite clear in the process and the images that could transport him. I sat there frantically considering how I could adapt this into something that could in some way approximate what he was imagining, perhaps setting up my tent here by the tree for him to find in the morning, somehow empowering him to dream what he was imagining. I knew the feeling of this movie I had watched with him over and over as a child after all. Then grasping at straws, I suggested that maybe Rock Candy Mountain pnly lives in the set that was created to make the movie a long time ago and that the set was now gone, no longer real, that maybe Santa could bring him a new DVD of the movie instead. Ben looked at me with evey bit of the twenty-four year old he is, as if I was talking nonsense, and said, no, Rock Candy Mountain was real and that’s where he wanted to go. And at the same time he must have seen something desperate in my face because he switched gears, tried again. He said, “How about this Mom. I want the silver box that opens and fills the room with stars and I can then be with Grandpa’s Magical Toys”. He went on to describe all the toys in detail. I knew he was referring to another movie, but not anything I had ever watched with him when he was younger. So I pulled out my phone and went to Youtube, Ben guiding me until I found the show he was referring to. We watched together as the kids, left alone in Grandpa’s toy workshop, opened a silver box to release a magic swirl of tiny stars. It surrounded them like a mist, and shrunk them down to be the same size as the toys. Of course, the toys then came alive. That’s what Ben wanted then, to become small and become one with the toys. He was smiling joy at the possibility. Once again, my rational brain tried to suggest an alternative, but he would have nothing of my musings that only altered the feeling of the magic for him.

Ben is a very intelligent human being. He knew I couldn’t go there with him. So he switched gears agian. He smiled conspiratorily, came over to where I was sitting and whispered in my ear, “I want a heart, in a necklace”. He stood up, put his hands on his heart saying ‘a crystal, to wear right here”. Who is this boy, this man, this child of mine born with Down syndrome, as perfect to me as any child could be, that he can bring me to the verge of tears in an instant with his wise ways? I immediately went to the practical, wondering what kind of heart necklace I could actually find or make for him, trying to dispel my gender identified bias that it might not be appropriate. I even went so far as to suggest maybe a crystal heart he could hold in his hand, but he just looked at me blankly, dismissing once again any deviation from his vision.

Finding magic is a deeply personal thing. Who am I to judge where it lives for Ben? Or for my beautiful daughter Molly, whose heart sees magic in far away lands too. My kids don’t judge me for my obsession with trimming the Christmas tree just so, six boxes full of ornaments each year that somehow find their places together one more time. It is a feeling of magic that is hard won. When I put the first few on, it sems impossible that there will be room for all the rest. the kids put a few on, make an effort, but when I am left alone again with the tree, the boxes are still very full. I can’t leave it alone. I leave the room but the minute I come back I am picking up more ornaments, finding their places. Then there is always a moment, like the swirl of Ben’s stars, that I can feel the magic of light balancing with the amazing cacophany of little toys on the tree that have now come vibrantly alive for me.


Heck, even the dogs know how to find magic. Like Yogi’s daily capture of some thing inside that he runs outside with, that will have me donning boots and chasing him through the meadow to retreive because it is often something valuable, like my brand new shoes, or slippers, or piece of mail. I even found my wallet out there one day! What could be more magical than seeing his human come alive, chasing him to his heart’s desire.

In these cold dark days it is good to find the magic where I can, in the light, in traditions that inspire, in the simple sight of the world coming alive each morning,


or in heart that can connect with another heart.

road to home

I’m at that exciting place in the publishing process, when the final proof has been approved and printing is about to begin. I’ve worked hard to get here. First the years of writing and re-writing and finally hiring a professional editor to bring the book home with polish. I was fortunate enough to be able to barter one of my quilts for graphic design services with a colleague who makes her living as a book designer. Finally, the wonderful local Leveller’s Press is able to print color and black & white on the same paper, eliminating the need for the book to be ‘all color’ and thus, making this endeavor, full of color photos, affordable. I’ve discovered that I am good at the details, happy to proof and proof again until everything is just right. I’m just plain thrilled to be getting this unusual book in print.

During the first proof review, when you get to see the book actually bound for the first time, when all the last details pop up to be addressed, it was suggested that as publisher, I could come up with a name. Walking in the woods the next day, I opened my awareness to the possibilities. Almost immediately the words ‘road to home’ came to me. And like being drawn to that expensive skein of yarn the minute you walk through the door, coming back to it after looking at every other possibility in the store, and not thinking twice at this point at the cost, these three words eventually became Road to Home Press. I just kept coming back to the feeling of a perfect fit, for capturing the spirit of growth, that no matter what road you choose for staying open and aware, the potential for experiencing awe and love in relation to who or what or where you are, is always there.

No coincidence of course that Facebook offered me this quote I posted five years ago…

“Make that desire to stay aware really tasty so you can evolve. Evolution is the best game in town, and there is no better high than an epiphany.” – Ana T. Forrest

Walking in the woods with the dogs through the first real snow this morning, I felt the excitement of Road to Home Press being on the verge of delivering it’s first offering. As with all that follows when I make the desire to stay aware ‘tasty’, when the outcome is equally uncertain, I know I can aways see another possible road to home in front of me.

I call the dogs and they come running for their tasty treat.


And though I know they are bound to me with invisible ties of loyalty and love, it is important that I continue to make their desire for coming home truly worth their while. Even waiting for a moment to deliver the treat can cause anxiety and concern…


The snow has now started to come down hard. The dogs head back outside, they find their individual toys and do their individual romps. And then there is a sparkling moment where their play evolves into a rare nose touching of peace and stillness between them. I embody the sweet feeling. This too feels like home.