In the Darkening Gloam

How we all doing out there?

Friday morning, my heart shattered into a million pieces. I’m sure all of you had a similar reaction, or some variation therein. There’s a lot of incredible responses out there, even the ones that sum up all of our shock and helplessness with dark humor. I have no such response, no righteous solution to societal ills. I could sit down and have a really good conversation with you about what I think is going on, I could philosophize about our depraved human condition that leads to such events. But honestly, right now I don’t give a shit. I don’t have ingenious intellectual explanations and demands for change. All I feel, all I felt on Friday, was my heart. Profound grief for Christmas presents that will go unopened, for a holiday that will never, never be okay for some families, ever again, for the suddenly trite and mismatched tones of the seasonal music coming out of the storefront speakers. For twenty babies, gone.

I only have one response, and it is this:


I will vote and join in on conversations and do my part through my chosen career to make the world a better place. Honestly, however, I feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of what has happened. The only sincere thing I can do is up the ante on my bodhisattva vows. To offer kindness, to myself, to my family, to strangers, to the earth. It seems simple, and yet, for me, it has been the toughest path I have ever chosen. But when my heart breaks and I am gasping for breath between sobs that cry out Newtown, Newtown, Newtown, the only thing I want to do is to just get better at Loving.

Saturday, we took our hearts to Grace Cathedral, for their Christmas Carol Sing-a-long.


Note: Jeff wearing his Forestlass wine cap.


First ever posed sibling pic. Look at Leo’s hand. Awwwwww.

They were such good sports with the first picture, I thought I’d try for better staging. And this happened.

SuperLeo and his side kick, Grumpy Girl.

Inside the light was challenging for photos and we had the worst seats ever, with a giant column blocking our view of everything (note to self: Next year, splurge for the center seats). The kids were still totally enthralled, as were we. We all belted out Jingle Bells with full joy.




The temperatures have dropped considerably in the last week. I’m thrilled…really! Last winter was so weirdly warm, and while I know that Global Weirding is the new normal, it’s nice to pretend, just for a minute, that a cold December is just like all the Decembers I have ever known.

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Post sing-a-long.

Also, cold weather means that I get to wear my hood. All. The. Time.

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Cheerful City Hall.

Little Red Cap was also appropriately dressed for meeting with An Unexpected Party.

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Brave hobbit.

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Timid hobbit.

Yes. Yes I AM that person that poses with the movie poster like a nerd. Deal with it. Also, Sara told me it would feel like going home, and she was so right. That’s all I can say for now, or else this post will be a waxy and boring poem on all things Concerning Hobbits. (And The Eagles! And birds under a hat! And absolutely perfect dishwashing songs!).

Before the thermometer plummeted into the Stay Inside Zone, Fern and I had a long and blissful afternoon at Crissy Field last week.

Folks were fishing off the pier, so Fern decided she would too.

My girls loves her seaweed.




What is this? Anyone?



Look at that freighter up there. Take that in for a moment. It’s carrying about 7000 tons, but it’s volume is even greater. AND IT’S FLOATING. Yes, yes, we all know about surface tension, but that’s not less reason for awe. Something unfathomably heavy is buoyed on liquid by a membrane of strength that is not separate from the substance below it. I’m thinking of starting a weekly Wonderment Meditation post. Consider this the first one.

We live in a good world (yes Mamajax, a GOOD world.). My soul has several anthems for this knowing. One is Don’t Panic. Another is from Louie. For that matter, from Iz too. Modern cynicism scoffs at the earnestness of Buffalo Gals. But Bell Hooks nailed it when she said, “Cynicism is the great mask of the disappointed and betrayed heart.” And I’ll follow that up with the last lines of Desiderata: With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Loving this world takes courage. Thankfully, you have all you need inside your broken heart.

I’m in full present production mode, and up before the sun and awake with the stars. In other words, peace out for the week! May your solstice be filled with warmth, with light, and…I’ll say it again…with love.



12 thoughts on “In the Darkening Gloam

  1. It’s funny: Kindness is my reaction to the Newtown tragedy, too. I feel as though I need to be and do more to bring niceness into the world. I keep thinking about this quote:

    “Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always try to be a little kinder than is necessary?”
    ― J.M. Barrie

    On another note: Last night I ran into you in a dream. I just said “Mary!,” we smiled, then hugged. 🙂

    Peace and love to you.

  2. I’m cheering you on! Love! Kindness! Look forward! see the good! I sound like some weird positive- preaching evangelist, but i mean it, you know i do. The Newtown tragedy….made world news as these kinds of sadnesses do….most of all, I’m hearing compassion from the people around me, compassion for the children, carers, the mother and the son who did it as well. Teaching our children kindness, so that they may be kind to others and the world…..will help prevent this kind of thing happening again I hope. If we all had that cumulative affect. Anyway, we have all just gotten over some rotten flu bug….and school finishes today. You are a picture of adorableness in your hood…and how cute are the kids!!!!! I’d give em many unwanted hugs you know. Mares, I miss ya. xoxo

  3. This was my volunteer morning in Clover’s kindergarten class. Talk about making it all seem both unreal (as in unimaginable) yet all too real (as in this was the setting… exactly). There were several moments of held back tears, both for how fortunate I was to be sitting in that happy classroom full of bright-eyed kids and for what happened on Friday in a classroom just like it.

    Needless to say, a lot of emotions were stirred up and it has turned out to be a bit of a teary morning since coming home and exposing myself to the internet… the Sesame Street clip of Big Bird learning about death had me bawling, followed up by parents remembering their little girl (like you said, the cowgirl boots she won’t be opening for Christmas, no words…), the dueling articles “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” and the other one about how she’s not Adam Laza’s mother and is distracting us from the real issue… UGH.

    In short, I like your take on it Mary, KINDNESS and LOVE. I’m so down with that.

  4. When I heard what happened my heart broke too; I still cry when I think about it…I’m still not sure what my reactionary emotion is other than sadness.

    As for the hobbit display, we had the same one at our theater and my fiance excitedly went up to the round door to try to turn the knob and was very disappointed that it wasn’t interactive!


    that link is good for the cynical mind…..

    i’m with you mare. just been crying this morning with a friend over the sadness actually. my sister cannot shake the awfulness of what happened in that sweet school. it’s like she’s committed in spirit and heart to see the victims and their families through this time, to give her love so they feel less alone. that’s what it feels like to me as i watch her grieve for them. over the phone and email anyways. i can’t see all the way to brooklyn, unfortunately.

    love you. i have been writing you back in my head, just haven’t typed it out yet. ha. i have begun to think of our emails as letters that go across the sea, it takes some time to get the response. and i know why, because we won’t write it until we are feeling it, and our devotion to keeping it real, requires patience for the authentic response. i love that. it’s made me feel more connection and gratitude for our connection. thank you love. i don’t know where the blog comments figure into that, but they do. it all happens when the feeling strikes.

    i want your red hood.

  6. i adore the first posed sibling pic! classic. perfect.

    i also adore how time and again you begin a post by saying that you wouldn’t know how to express yourself about a difficult situation and shan’t try…and then go on to express yourself in such a thoughtful, beautiful, eloquent way that all of us readers wish that we were half as good with putting our feelings into words. or maybe that is just me. in any case…xoxoxo

  7. You are so beautiful and so eloquent. I love that little pieces of love from me accompanied you back to the Shire. On our second viewing, I was wearing a blouse (the lacy one) and earrings from you!

    And hold up, hold up. I have almost the SAME picture with Gandalf!

    Doesn’t that lumpy bit of seaweed look like it should be called a “sea fig” or something similar? Hmm…

    Can’t wait for the poetry that will be our chat today. xoxo

  8. Oh Mary! I love this whole post and especially the perfectly written account of how you felt when you heard about those 20 babies gone! My stomach dropped as my friend who does dispatch (and always hears about events ahead of everyone else) recounted the story while we were in our 1st graders class prepping icing for the cookies they’d decorate after listening to their Christmas story. I couldn’t hardly fathom an event like that but my mind kept wandering to “what if…” as I was trying to be cheery for the party. 😦 Life is a gift. I listen to those (dozens of) folks advice that “it goes quick” and to treasure time with your kiddos since they’ll be grown and gone in a blink of an eye! My thoughts for those children’s families were about unopened presents too, and toothbrushes in the bathroom, undone laundry, shoes…. all the sweet messes that bug us. What those families would do for another chance to clean up a mess after those babes again! 😦 I gotta stop, it’s making me sad again. Choosing to combat anger and fear with love and kindness is a huge step! All we can do is what we CAN do and once everyone joins in the world turns into a better place. Geeze, are my hormones right? haha.

    Your hobbit hat is adorable, as are the shots of your lil kidlets out strolling! and I LOVE the snow that’s occasionally drifting across your blog 😀 Happy Thursday Lady!

  9. your post really touched my heart, mary, as i know it did everyone else’s , just the same. yes, love and kindness. that is where it is all at… i really can’t find any words to add, it is all just so hard to take in.. so very uncomprehensible… so unreal… you are rocking the awesome red hat and gloves.. i , too, am so looking forward in seeing the hobbit.. 🙂

  10. omg, the hobbit. i know. what a good distraction from the grief and pain. so many huge feelings to process about it all. i’m with ya sister. xoxo happy solstice!

  11. Seriously though, how rad were the eagles!?

    You’re a doll in that hat. Sara kicks ass.

    And you are so right on about the answer being kindness. It’s amazing how that moves through things and through people to restore hope, to ignite gratitude, to perpetuate love. A week before the shootings my ex yelled at another child’s father in front of our children and in a public place where other people witnessed it. In a text exchange with him later that day he provided me with an amazing(ly horrible) quotable quote, “Kindness is not my god”. I just thought to myself “And thaaat’s why you’re not my partner anymore”, and it really made me think about how some people value kindness and some do not, and how the ramifications of practicing it (or not) effect those around you.

    Anyway. Tangent. Love the cathedral, and still can’t get over Fern’s elven face.

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