Stepping Stones

My journal is filled with disconnected ideas, weather conditions, and random thoughts.  Days and dates, and months of the year quickly pass by.   Yesterday marked the first day of Spring, an annual milestone, filled with new hopes and dreams, like a toddler taking their first steps across the room. 

I don’t remember learning to walk, but will never forget when I learned to ride bike.   One day, a small bicycle suddenly appeared in the yard, and I knew what to do.  It wasn’t mine.  It was borrowed, and I would teach myself to ride.  No eyes watched me, and no one talked.  No training wheels attached themselves to the frame, either.  It was hop on and go, from the top of a small embankment of the lawn, down.  The incline was slight, and the soft, fluffy grass protected me when I fell.  The time  spent balancing became greater than time on the ground, until finally I was sailing away.  It only took a day, or two.  Left to my imagination,  in this crucial task of growing up,  the  way to build and sustain my fragile confidence, was to be left alone, to own the accomplishment for myself.  

It just occurred to me that the photograph I took of the stepping stones, leading from the forest into the open field, can be a metaphor for every task I embark upon, in every new stage of life, like riding the bike.  And now, as each page of the calendar gets turned, and every new season passes by, the uncertainty remains as powerful as before.  But, to move along means to cross the stepping stones at every  juncture, and make the most, of tous les jours.   

Writer’s Mind

If you come to study writing from a certain writer, you are really coming to study that writer’s mind…the way they think and what they look for in writing, what they are cued in to, alert to. Knowing something of another writer’s mind helps in forming and refining your own writer’s mind. It’s how we learn and transmit the writing lineage.

Natalie Goldberg “The True Secret of Writing”


The sound of droplets falling to the ground was heard.

I saw them collecting on the window pane.

like a tear collecting in the corner of a single eye,

Sliding down

like a stream of broken dreams, dissipating, slipping away.

Outside, orange crocuses popped out of the ground

making merry on a spring-like day.

In other places, people died alone, in pain, before their time.

A sad day was yesterday.

By Tiffany Creek

Open for Trick or Treaters

For me, Halloween is a special celebration. My son was born on the 24th of October, 1989. I remember his first. An infant, he was sitting on my lap, in the living room of Pudding Lane, waiting for trick or treaters to come. My husband had taken our 3 year old daughter out around the neighborhood, with friends. She didn’t want to miss out on the fun. Every year after, our children donned homemade costumes, (until they could make their own) and walked around the neighborhood, knocking on doors. “Trick or Treat!”

Even more fun was had when we moved to a different neighborhood. With 28 kids living on the street, there was never a loss for little taps on our door, followed by the thunderous roar of monsters, princesses, and goblins, in packs, screaming in unison, “Trick or Treat”! The same, year after year! Little kids, with silly parents standing by their side, big kids, high school kids, all showed up. I couldn’t wait to see their costumes.

Yesterday was another Halloween. I went out to buy groceries. A clerk with a beautiful green face checked me out. Then I thought, “Forgot to get candy”, so I parked my cart of purchases at the front of the store, and ran and grabbed a couple of bags. Arriving home, I turned on the outside lights, and made dinner. When we finished eating, it dawned on me that no-one had come. It wasn’t a surprise, as it’s been a couple of years now. Our street is dark, and the street off of it is also dark, winding and hilly. No more kids live on this dead end street, more glamorously called a “cul-de-sac.”  Dead-End is more fitting for Halloween.

Looking at the candy on the counter, reality set in.  Un-opened, I hadn’t put them in a basket by the door, like before. Thoughtlessly, I ripped into a bag, and ate a Mr. Good Bar. My favorite! Relishing the sweet chocolate flavor in my mouth, I said, “Too many left for my own good.”

Chalking up another Halloween; Could this year’s be a latent phase of the ‘Empty Nest Syndrome?’ – A hard knock on the door of Time.  A reminder of how to stay forever young! Next year calls for a costume, with a green face, and a sign up at the end of the street. “Open for trick or treaters!”


Göttingen, Germany

Located in Lower Saxony, in central Germany, Göttingen was first mentioned in 953.  The University of Göttingen is the central focus of the city, and was founded by George II in 1757.  Today it is noted for its strength in Physics and Mathematics, in addition to having one of the largest library collections in all of Germany.  Along with the University, diversified industries exist in Göttingen.

The beauty of Göttingen’s 14th century Gothic churches and architecture remains intact, as it was virtually untouched by bombs of WWII.  It has museums, theaters and a botanical garden.  A small city, its population numbers approximately 223,000 (2003).

Located on the Leine river, Göttingen was chartered in 1211.  The people of Lower Saxony speak Low, as opposed to High German.  Hannover, located 60 miles from Göttingen, is the capitol of Lower Saxony.

Places of interest in Gottingen:

The University Library.

Much Needed Rain

As the day commences and the gray skies roll in, on this mid September day, I have thoughtless nothingness rolling through my mind. A vague recollection of a sweet dream, brought on by night fall’s misty stars.  I try to wrap my mind around the blissful moment, but reality pushes out groggy sleep, to move onward with the tasks of the day. The vividness of the fantasy, moves ever further away, and I contemplate, that which comes next. The gray clouds loom over head, beckoning the arrival of much needed rain.

The Little Flower Dies

Photo courtesy of David Dreimiller

Florinda Udall, born in May 1833, died at age 11 years and 8 months, on January 25th, 1845. She was the daughter of Alva and Phebe Udall, from Hiram, Ohio, and had one brother, named Edward.  She was a schoolmate of Lizzie Atwood Pratt and Lucretia Rudolph Garfield.

Lizzie Atwood records the death of Florinda in her diary, on January 24th, 1845, which is in conflict with the death date, on the stone:  “I spent the evening at Mr. Boyds.  Florinda Udall one of my schoolmates died of Bowel Complaint, after 6 days illness AE 11 years, and 8 months.” On the 26th she writes:  “Florinda was buried at the center of Hiram.”  The diary entry is true to the tone of Lizzie’s writing, which was matter of fact, and sparing of emotion.  This was the style of most of her writing.  At 12 years of age, she proved to be an objective observer of events that took place around her, in her village, and does this as well, in the case of Florinda’s illness and death.

Florinda’s name, comes from the word ‘flora,’ meaning ‘flower’ in Spanish, and is derived from Latin.  It must have been sad for family and friends, when their little flower died.