There is beauty here too
in this wild space
where we all flock.

Wild geese, still wet
and slick from the lake,
where men cast their line
for fish they cannot eat
head towards the house
lined with a corrugated metal fence.

Heavy grey rocks rest beside rows of young trees.
Camps are still pitched here.
There is one with a California flag,
another with a tie-dyed blanket serving as a door.
An empty lawn chair sits vacant
waiting for the blue lines painted in the sand
to become new trails.

Men and women standing in rows
practice Tai chi in their pajamas on the grass.
Children chase each other as their parents
sit wearing masks, watching them play.

Cyclists with their padded bike shorts and
fancy thin tires broadcast their arrival,
louder than the lone bagpiper bellowing
under the oak tree, the notes perched
on his black music stand.

The San Gabriel mountains look better now
without violent orange flames lining its crest,
without plumes of ash and smoke,
rising and reaching into our lungs.

The bioswales meant for the rainwater
flowing towards the Rio Hondo river
have now captured me and my dogs.

We chase dragonflies and orange poppies.
Wander between native shrubs and trees.
I hold them steady as rabbits, lizards and
squirrels run too close to where we stand.

All of us have been carried here
by so many storms.
Allowing gravity to pull us
through layers of soil
until we are all clean.

Saying Yes

For the new year I thought it was time to slow down – to say no more often than saying yes. Lean back, instead of leaning in. What, I asked myself, is the point of wearing myself so thin? Why do I need to run yet another marathon with students when I’ve already completed eight?

Friday night, I mulled this over with Joe. Should I run tomorrow? Should I train for the marathon? WHAT do I do? He listened, asked few questions and then he just shrugged.

Undecided, I ate an apple just in case and set the alarm for 5:30 AM.

In the morning when the alarm sounded, I rolled towards my phone and googled SRLA. Images of other runners warming up in the dark filled my screen. Joe, now awake says exactly what I need to hear, “It’s game time baby.”

Then Nicole texted, followed by Shanika. Two of my favorite women. SRLA coaches are all, heroic. In that moment, the physical desire to stay warm in bed dissipated. The natural thing to do then, was to get dressed in the dark, like I’ve done hundreds of times before, and say yes.

Yes, I’ll be there!
Yes, I will.
Yes, I do.

We can have spectacular moments without effort but when we do decide to show up, we are often rewarded. Yes can be a beautiful answer.

By mile 18, tired as I was, I was so glad to be outside. Glad that I chose to support my community of student and teacher runners.


Ka’anapali Beach

Maui is beautiful ~ I fell in love with every corner of the island.

We started the trip in Haiku, descended from the summit of Haleakala, drove the road to Hana, and then relaxed for a few days on Ka’anapali Beach. Every journey should begin with a Japanese poem, linger a while in a bamboo forest, and then end on the shores of the Pacific – it was just so wonderful! A longer post about each place will come next.

I am days away from starting the school year and I can’t believe summer is already over. I don’t need summer to continue endlessly. It’s my favorite time of the year because when it begins I feel like I’ve earned it and by the time it ends, I feel renewed enough to teach again. What I do want and need really, is a way to keep and bottle the feeling I have right now.

Japan was one of my favorite places because I lived in inaka, the countryside. Maui – the place and the culture – is nothing like Japan but it was the first place to create the same kind of happiness I felt there. Quiet nights punctuated with rain. Rainbows everywhere. Lush rainforest when you want it, sun when you want it. Life bustling everywhere even though everyone moves through life slowly.

So I know once school begins, I will begin creating and teaching non-stop until June. I love the intensity of it but this year, my goal is to always make time and room for this aloha I feel.