Before I Leave This World

I was thinking about the terrible scare recently in Hawaii when an alert was sent in error about a missile threat. Of course there was widespread panic for close to forty minutes. I wondered “how would I react?” Playing out an imaginary scenario is totally different from reacting to a real one, however it does help to look at the situation while in a cool frame of mind. A nuclear threat is as real today as it was in the early sixties during the Cuban Missile Crisis when the East coast was in a direct line for a hit. I remember lining up in our grammar school hallway, away from windows, with our arms crossed over our heads. Ever the realist even at that time, I figured that we were doomed, so what’s the point of false hope and false safety? The only way to survive is to hide/take cover in a real bomb shelter. Ever the realist to this day—that is not a choice or an option for me.

So what would I do?

My first thought is that I would make myself a bourbon sour or smoke a joint (if I had one), turn on some great blues music, hug the dog and head outside. I would want to face the sky. I have a wooden seat swing that overlooks my garden, and the thought of rocking slowly with a light buzz gives me great comfort. I would probably converse out loud with the trees and cosmos. Some words would be of gratitude and some would be profane. I do believe that I would surrender to the inevitable, and hope that I would be in the direct line of fire instead of a survivor. This in turn brings to mind and closer to home/heart —the very real horror and tragedy of Hiroshima. Somehow life went on, albeit forever changed.

The honest truth is that I cannot know in reality what I would truly do, however after all of this, when I slowly rock in my chair swing, I will do it with a grateful rhythm.

The following haiku of mine were written in 2011 about Hiroshima:

heat from the bomb
the charred near the water
left black and bleeding


a baby trying
to nurse her dead mother’s breast
questions of why


the bomb
a moral threshold


always changing
blue and white


and today’s haiku:

grateful or profane a blue sky

© ag ~ 2018



The Dreamers Up Close and Personal

Last night, two dear and thoughtful friends braved torrential downpours and milky fog to pick me up and take me to a charming and intimate Mexican restaurant in a nearby town. One friend drove along unfamiliar, dark and winding rural roads (with a smile), so that two of us could drink some hard cider with our meal. After an appetizer of extremely hot chili pepper poppers and a warm and easy dinner—they ordered a crispy and flaky ice cream-filled dessert with a candle on top that we split. Our waiters and restaurant staff dimmed the lights and joined in a heartfelt rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

My gracious companions are well known for showing up and supporting for their friends this way and more. What made it extra special for all of us, was that the restaurant staff unexpectedly and enthusiastically joined in, enjoyed and shared in the celebration. They were born in Mexico and may very well be part of the 200,000 Dreamers in our country whose fate is yet to be determined by DACA legislation. This local restaurant is popular, a great value and a tremendous asset to our or any community. Last night they were our friends.

yet another candle yet another wish for peace

© ag ~ 2018

Lady Sings Soup

One of my favorite things to do on a dreary grey day with rain-snow in the forecast is to cook soup or stew while listening to music that literally and mentally moves me. Sometimes it’s the blues, sometime rock or oldies-but-goodies. Sometimes Pandora plays just the right mix and my dancing feet simmer with the aromas of mushrooms, shallots and rosemary. Excuse me—they’re playing my song…


carrot as a mic
I channel Rhianna’s
lips and hips


garlic parsley lemon zest
mix with Stevie Nicks

© ag ~ 2018


Cowgirl Art

My back to sort-of-normalcy in the new year begins today–a week into January already. The temperature outdoors is moderating–a balmy 20 degrees and rising after a long and gripping windchill in the minus column. Last week also featured a “bomb cyclone” that galloped through like cowboys on wild ponies and a whirlwind of weekend birthday celebrations. I’m actually looking forward to vacuuming, making soup and painting–routines and chores a  little lost in all the commotion of the past couple of weeks. It will be just fine to settle into Winter’s subdued pace and beauty and back to sustained creative practice.

spicy-colored gift paper collages into a new palette

© ag ~ 2018


The Conversation Of Creativity – 1

“Paint from your vagina,” she directed us. I was in a life-drawing session with other visual artists and a nude female model. We were not really there for instruction — just to practice hand-eye coordination with some creative adaptation.This was the only advice our seasoned (often brilliant) and proficient fellow artist and art instructor, who brought us together in her classroom, would bellow.

“WHAT? Paint from where? What the h_ _ _  is she talking about?” Instead of the often stated and equally important “paint from your heart” – this time it was about painting from your sensuality and passion: a different animal for a different outcome. And fun!

Artistry, be it visual, musical or movement is hard work. It requires patience, persistence and practice. Hopefully, the artist can let go just enough to tap into our body and intuitive wisdom leaving the linear brain behind for real creation. And sometimes, it helps to shake things up by using words we don’t expect. In this case “Vagina” — has its own heart.

how then to paint my feral self along her curves

© ag ~ 2018


Storm Energy

Thankfully, yesterday’s storm day was enjoyable for me. I had heat and electricity, fun food and the company of out-of-town relatives. There wasn’t too much snow to shovel and enough time to cook, bake, watch the news to see what others were doing in the storm and imbibe cocktails with dinner seated on the couch around the television — otherwise a big no-no in my home. Storm energy, under the right circumstances, can be an excuse to be a big kid again. Take that day off to goof around a bit. I do understand and appreciate the pain and circumstances for those less fortunate as well as those called out to plow and keep civilization running. They were in my prayers and thoughts. However, whenever there is the opportunity to engage in child’s play — like chin up catching snowflakes on your tongue — I’m in. Because there’s always the next day or moment when we are called back into being the adult who doesn’t have enough time to play in the snow.

hot cocoa with cayenne
cranberries and ginger
this old house remembers

© ag ~ 2018

The Moon Listens

WOW — We begin the new calendar year on a full moon — The Wolf Moon.

Wolves howl more during their breeding season in January and February. The iconic image of a wolf with head held high letting loose and a huge ivory moon in the background is a familiar one. Without getting all metaphysical here, maybe it’s a good time for us to face the moon and howl a bit. Or croon or converse with the moon. I believe that the moon listens. And sometimes, that’s all one needs. As I age, it’s less and less about making a new year resolution, (a firm decision to do or not do something or to solve a problem), and more and more about loosening, letting go, flowing or unfolding.

The late great poet and humanitarian John O’Donohue stated it so wonderfully:

“I would love to live life as a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”

Howling at the full moon — just letting it rip — may surprise and satisfy that very part of us connected to the mystery and ancient thread of our evolving/our unfolding. Actually, how different is it really from a bunch of people gazing upward and screaming at a glistening orb atop a skyscraper in New York City on a cold night of the year? I always thought spending New Years Eve (and full day) in Times Square just another nutty City thing to do (insane, if I’m really being honest). However, maybe not so whacko after all. Maybe it’s just a modern version/expression of our wolf nature connected to that ancient thread. Happy Wolf Moon!

lentils at midnight for good luck a nod to my heritage

© ag ~ January 2018