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Dear World,

There are some days when I don’t interact with anyone, which leaves little room for love notes to humans, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to which to write a love note. Tonight, I write a love note to owls, and send it to them on the black wind.

To the Long-Eared Owl, glimpsed through changing aspen trees many September ago, in the woods somewhere outside of Crested Butte, on one of those journeys that shaped the years to come. To the baby Western Screech Owl, nestled in the corner of a porch, so still that I wasn’t sure it was real. To the Barn Owl in the Portland Zoo, whose ghost face leapt brightly from the shadows of a rough-hewn roof beam. To the Great Horned Owls who lived in the towering White Fir tree outside my pink cottage, who hooted to one another in my sad darkness, gently, until I learned their language and could hoot in response. Especially to the one who, one night as I made my way across the cold dead grass, swooped so low, so huge, so close to my head that I had to duck, that I could feel the draft from the beat of his wings. And finally, to the pair, as yet unseen, that speak softly outside my window on rare wee hours in the Bungalow. I hope that one day I can learn how to talk to them as well.

great horned owl

#yearoflove

To the blonde barista:

Thank you for sharing memories of our mothers, both of whom told us, “Don’t walk in my dirt!” when they were sweeping the floors. My Mother always had a particularly funny, squeaky way of saying it, and I hear her voice in my head every time I sweep a floor with anyone else around. As a mom, you say it to your own kids. Thank you for laughing with me as I instinctively picked my feet up off the floor, sitting in my chair at the green cracked-ice table, so you could sweep under them. It was a sweet interlude on a cold winter’s day.

A photo of my first ever matcha. It grew on me, but the first few sips, sadly, tasted like what I think a dog must taste after he throws up the grass he just ate. Number of stars: questionable. For you vintage furniture lovers, please note the aforementioned green cracked-ice table.

#yearoflove

To the FedEx Kinko’s lady,

Thank you for the walk down memory lane. Those days of IBM Selectric typewriters are so distant now (that backspace correcting key – a Godsend!) and yet, my memory of typing dozens of papers in front of the Duraflame logs on the floor of that apartment on Beacon Street are as vivid as if it were yesterday. Armed with White-Out and the weird eraser brush thingy (pictured below, but whose name we couldn’t recall). Retyping entire pages if I missed a line. Technology is not like that today, and I think I’m grateful. And thanks for sharing your memories about Seattle. You made my day brighter.

img_3465

Seattle, Washington.

And in honor of one of my favorite poets, who passed away today, I’d like to share the following poem. Reminiscent of my Weekly Wednesday Poems on this blog — I know some of those were Mary Oliver’s. Rest well, Mary, and swirl in the beauty of words and other worlds.

White Night by Mary Oliver
All night
I float
in the shallow ponds
while the moon wanders
burning,
bone white,
among the milky stems.
Once
I saw her hand reach
to touch the muskrat’s
small sleek head
and it was lovely, oh,
I don’t want to argue anymore
about all the things
I thought I could not
live without! Soon
the muskrat
will glide with another
into their castle
of weeds, morning
will rise from the east
tangled and brazen,
and before that
difficult
and beautiful
hurricane of light
I want to flow out
across the mother
of all waters,
I want to lose myself
on the black
and silky currents,
yawning,
gathering
the tall lilies
of sleep.
#yearoflove

To the woman I met on my walk:

Thank you for noticing my Western Washington University sweatshirt. Your enthusiasm and excitement about my daughter attending your alma mater was adorable, and it matched your bright yellow jacket. You were truly a ray of sunshine on a dark-dusky winter afternoon. And your dog was super sweet. ♥️

#yearoflove

Dear Bridget,

Thank you for you. For feeling the effects of that long flight of stairs with me. For hugs. For being light about death because it has touched you so often. For sharing my bitching. For laughing with me. For caring.

#yearoflove

To my Checkout Lady at Safeway tonight:

I hope you didn’t find it odd for me to tell you so, but I’m so proud of you for going back to school a little later in life to get you Associate’s degree. And proud of you for finally gaining your US citizenship after 16 years. All while working full-time and raising a family. Way to go, woman! I hope you’ll take my advice about your resume and those pesky keywords, and so glad that you’re taking the next step to go to the Workforce Services folks, because yes, they can help, and what’s more, they want to. Wishing you all the good things this world has to offer.

Today’s quote: “Because this is the beauty of strangers: we’re all just doing our best to help each other out, motivated not by karma, but by a natural instinct to help the greater whole.” — Sloane Crosley

#yearoflove

Dear Sunni,

Thank you for remembering my daughter’s name, after our one conversation and meeting seven months ago. I was impressed that you cared enough to do so. It’s a quality seldom found in the working world today. Thank you for the feeling of kinship, your intelligence, for speaking your mind, and even for throwing the occasional expletive into the mix. It’s always a pleasure to meet a real person. Let’s get a beer together next time.

Reston, Virginia.

#yearoflove

Dear Nanci,

Today, I looked down and what did I see at my feet but two dimes, side by side. And of course, I thought of you, and how you always find dimes in odd, random places, and take it as a sign that your Mother is with you, even from as far distant a place as heaven. Know that I am with you too, even from a less far distance as 90 miles. Thank you for seeing me as I truly am, despite the odd, cunning circumstances that brought us together. You once murmured, sitting in a chair in my living room, that it was as if we’d grown up in bedrooms just down the hall from one another. Sisters in spirit – that’s what we are. I’m proud of you for the strength you’ve found over the last years, and of your faith and faithfulness. Always ready for that hug!

#yearoflove

Dear Jen,

Even though we’ve worked together for almost eight years, we’ve only met four times, and still you feel like my partner in the next cube – just 1,084 miles away. I love that we envy each other’s travels. I love that we send each other emails with no subject line when we want to complain about something. I love that we have each other’s backs when one of us is drowning. And I especially love how eternally positive you are. You say you’re really not always like that, but I think that’s just who you are at your core, and that’s beautiful. I’m grateful that we had some time together this trip. Thank you for being you.

Today’s quote: “Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” — Anais Nin

#yearoflove

Dear Susanna,

Ah, my sister-from-another-mister. I got to spend less than five minutes with you today, and your very presence is like a balm to my spirit. You make me feel maternal and cared for at the same time. It seems we can each move the other to tears with a breath of empathy, one we seem to share only with one another, no matter how many other people we talk to. Thank you for entering my life four years ago, for our inexplicable and uncanny personal parallels, and for understanding me without words. I hope next time that we can find more than five minutes.

“There are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family.” — Unknown

#yearoflove

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