chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

Monthly Archives: September 2011

writing at sunrise…


Akane apples under the pecan treeThrough the
which catch
in my hair
with a crisp
I cross
the dewed
to the apples.
the ferny fronds
of the pecan tree,
blushing but
not yet
they raise
the morning

marking time…

happy birthday, mom!Writing, recently, of a lost friend, I saw how the loss focused my vision, my memory and my words. But why should such focus be reserved for epitaphs? When someone dies, especially someone too young, we remind ourselves to live every day, to do and say the things we’ve always intended. But, much as we might linger over the loss, we quickly return to routine.

Today is the birthday of one of my dearest friends. It’s not one of those round-number birthdays to be marked by much hullaballoo. We won’t celebrate together and we may not even talk on the phone.

But here’s what I know: We met almost 40 years ago, when a few of us saw the need to create a closer alliance between the words women and art. We came at it from different perspectives, each pouring our own vision and talents into the pool. From that experience emerged friendship and trust.

She was and is a person of huge intelligence, integrity and warmth, with a passion for art and community. She has an amazing ability to absorb, retain and synthesize information, to honor the vision of others and to be a leader in even the most leader-resistant groups. She puts her money where her mouth is — and her heart.

She holds a profound desire for calm but wages an ongoing war with a chaos of paper, the books and magazines and correspondence and journals accumulating in perilous drifts around her.

She is generous, astute and insightful. She has a wide smile that extends all the way to her eyes. She has fabulous earrings. She can do anything.

Most of the time we’ve been friends we’ve lived in separate cities. We don’t see each other often and we don’t talk on the phone enough. But the feeling of connection, of continuity, of closeness and trust is always there. I am grateful and honored to be her friend.

Happy birthday, Cathy. I love you.
photo by Joseph Hudson


Caspian TernChilly mornings, warm days, cool evenings signal the end of summer with a kind of squeezing poignance… an artifact of school days, perhaps, or maybe it’s the animal’s knowing that this time out of the den, this mindless frolicking in flowers, will soon end.

Ahead of the wind, ahead of the short, dark days, this sweet nostalgia: nibbling berries, sniffing the ripening apples, tracking the sun’s journey back from the north, its migration down the Pacific flyway, with the goose and the tern, toward the safe climes of a tropical winter.
Caspian tern photo copyright © 2006, Alan D. Wilson, Nature’s Pics

command post…

bouquet…Moving into the new corporate suite seemed to mark a transition in Beverly’s character. She promoted herself to an elevated level of command. Her desk, which sat guard before a broad bank of locked files and cabinets, was surrounded by a moat of counter just outside of Hal’s elegant office with its birds-eye maple woodwork, in-suite bathroom (with shower) and crystal-stocked bar.

The office now echoed with alternate rounds of bickering and whispered collaboration between the two executive secretaries. The design of the space put all of the power in Beverly’s lap. Then again, there were three executives and only two assistants — something not perceived as a problem by the executives, but bitterly contested by Beverly and Tracy, who wanted to ‘belong’ to one man (of course the execs were men) exclusively.

The self-appointed arbiter of taste, etiquette and office politics, Beverly bossed everyone, including Tracy, and Tracy, who didn’t come naturally to the role, passed it along with a stiff-jawed meanness that was deeply resented among those who had previously counted her as a friend.

Beverly’s desk was always ornamented with a spectacular arrangement of fresh flowers created each week by the same Hollywood floral-designer-to-the-stars. This was far more than a splash of color; these were enormous, extravagant displays of excess: three dozen peonies in the middle of winter, exotic tropicals picked from the jungle the previous afternoon, and roses of hues, size, fragrance and number no one had ever imagined.

On special occasions, an additional arrangement, or two, would appear on her desk, always accompanied by an enclosure card that Beverly refused to share. Sometimes she managed a demure blush when questioned; often the occasion, like the sender, remained a secret. More than once, the flowers got out of hand, bouquets and plants and huge vases of lavish abundance lined so densely along her counter that Beverly disappeared behind them, the office resembling — and smelling like — a funeral parlor…
flower photo by Carol Gillott