Category Archives: Stories

Dear Mr. Thrush

Dear Mr. Thrush,

Good morning, dear one.  How are you doing today? How are you feeling? I was so concerned about you yesterday. I hope that you are doing well and that you are free from harm.

I am up early again today. Monroe, our little dog, has me up between 5:30 and 6am on most mornings these days. I am grateful to her for getting me out of bed. Every morning I get to watch the sunrise and hear the  world wake up. What a gift. I don’t know if I would do it otherwise. 

That is how I met you. Yesterday. I was sitting in my room, writing a poem, and you came flying into my window! Oh , what a bang! that was. So horribly scary. I peeked out my window and I saw you on the ground. Your olive wing spread out awkwardly and unnaturally. Birds like you weren’t meant to lay down. I rushed into my bedroom- where I knew that we kept a rescue box for moments just like these. Funny, I was just cleaning out the area under the sink in my bedroom a couple of mornings ago and found it. Not sure I would have known it was there. 

So I ran and got the box and woke up A*. We rushed out and there you were. Sweet man. Your yellow beak open. Eyes open. Stunned. I knelt down and scooped you up with both hands and placed you on the towel in the box. You are so handsome! I hope that is not an inappropriate this to say in a time like this, but geez…you are gorgeous. Olive back and wings, black speckled underbelly, beautiful circular deep black eyes. I gently put the top over you and took you to the porch. I wanted to be sure that you could breathe- so I removed the cardboard top and there you were. Oh, dear one, you did not look so good. Your eyes were closing, your beak was open and I feared that this was goodbye. 

Could you hear what I said? I said a prayer for you. I put my hand on my heart, and closed my eyes and I whispered “ I am right here for you, sweet one. I am right here. Everything is ok. I am right here. You are not alone. Sweet little one.” Your eyes blinked slowly shut. I covered you with a towel to keep you warm and we let you rest. 

Minutes later, we decided to check on you. I wanted to be sure that you could breathe under the towel…but it was a very chilly morning and I knew you were in shock. I went out to draw back the towel and you were lying there, resting. That is when I got an even better look at you. Your peach feet. The many shades of your wings. How can a being be so strong and so vulnerable at the same moment? I covered you to give you a bit more time. 

A few more moments passed and I returned. This time, I could see some movement under the towel. I lifted it up to see and you flew away! Right up to a tree branch above my room. Yay! I was so happy that you flew away. You must have been feeling much better. Oh what joy I felt in my heart. After that, you disappeared into the leaves and I could no longer see you. I pray that you were able to find your way home and get a good night’s rest. 

I will listen for your song this morning. I will watch for you as I do my daily chores and I will send you love and good wishes.

Yours always,

LLM

Where is Your Voice?

Nakalele Blowhole, Maui

Photo: Kent Buckingham.

Are you brave enough to speak your truth in this world? Are you able to ask for what you need? Defend the rights of others? Be the voice for the voiceless?

At 43, I am still learning how to use this instrument. At times, I can feel the fear gathering in my throat- getting stuck in the muck of self doubt, the fear of being perceived as selfish, or worse- the fear of being judged. This fear silences me and it takes away my freedom, my happiness, and my power.

Thich Nhat Hahn tells us that every answer can be found in nature. By going out into the fresh air, breathing deeply, stepping mindfully, and listening carefully we can receive the wisdom from all of the living beings that surround us- the trees as they sway and creak, the waves as they gather and crash, and the wind as it rages and roars. These voices have spoken for millions of years and exemplify the confidence and courage- steadfastness and simplicity- that I long to manifest.

It is through my practice of observing nature, that I have been able to connect with my deepest truth and my unique voice. Whether I am on the trails of Mt Rainier, at the cliffs of Nakalele in Maui, or in the starlit desert of Chaco Canyon, if I sit still- and listen- I am able experience the interconnectedness of all things and tap into the current of the world. In these moments of quietude, I sense that my body is made from dirt and wood, water and salt, space and air. Sinking into this knowing, I can realize that:

Their voice is My voice. 

And although it may last for just one moment, in that moment, I am a bird set free. With that awareness, I am given permission to be brazen, to open my compassionate heart, and to glide into the universe unapologetically. With that awareness, I am released from fear and able to express myself and flourish.

On this day:

May all beings hear the wisdom of the trees, the ocean, and the wind.

May all beings have the ability to be their true selves.

May all beings be free.

LLM

 

 

 

 

Looking With Eyes of Compassion

monk-3605316_1280I have been working on a chapbook of essays and poems about all of the beings that I have come into contact with in my life. The dogs, the hens, and the bunnies that I have rescued over the years. The birds at Elephant Belly Sanctuary. My little dogs.

Last Saturday, I was reading some of my new work to a dear friend.

She asked me, is everything that you write so sad?

At first I felt the need to convince her that I have joyful work too. That it’s not all about love and loss, animals rescued from neglect and abuse, and the slipping away of life. I searched through the stories to find one that is happy and beautiful wanting to bring her joy through her tears.

But the truth is, that I wake up most mornings crying for the world. I wake up and the first thing I think about is how much pain and suffering is happening at the exact moment that I open my eyes in my bed- safe and warm.

Thich Nhat Hahn taught me that Every Day Is A Miracle. And I truly believe that. And every day 25 million farm animals are slaughtered in the United States. How I have managed to hold both of those truths in my tender heart is a mystery.

Yes, there is beauty in this world. And I desperately want to write about it and sing sweet songs in the morning sun. And I also want to share with you, in the most gentle and kind way, information about the harm that we cause. The effects of our actions. Because you might not know. And you might want to choose to be a part of the miracle of peace today.

Thich Nhat Hanh says,

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

Just today, a new day full of wonder, can you look at all beings with eyes of compassion?

LLM

A Winter Morning at Elephant Belly Sanctuary

trees

Waking up every day at Elephant Belly Sanctuary is a miracle.

At dawn, Monroe, my little blonde Doodle, eats her early morning meal while I fill the light blue Le Creuset tea kettle with the ice cold well water and put it on the burner. Five tight scoops of blended coffee fall into the french press and then Monroe and I head out to take care of the ladies.

The Chickenbergs, my family of rescued hens, are always excited to welcome the new day. I open their coop and they come pouring out with their soft baulk baulks and feather shakes. I throw them a scoop of scratch, fill their water and feed, and do a quick check of their feet, combs, and eyes. I love how the all say good morning in their own way.

I head to the garage, fill the gray bucket with four scoops of black sunflower seeds and walk into the back yard. The first view of the heart shaped mountains, the Hudson Highlands, is breathtaking. At this time of year, the trees are bare and the pink sunrise illuminates their vulnerability. They stand strong, naked, and still. Taking a deep breath in, I feel like them- alive and excited- to feel the warmth of the morning sun.

The birds- black capped chickadees, tufted titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches, and downey woodpeckers- meet me on my way to the feeders. And the fat squirrels, hide on the edge of the forest waiting for their morning snack. I say hello with a smile and fill the feeders to the brim.

Before heading back inside, I am certain to check the cairns that mark the memory of our dear bunnies- The Roosevelts- Franklin, Eleanor, and Teddy. Rescued, deeply loved, and lost…I pause…my eyes still stinging with tears- and straighten the balancing stones.

Monroe and I head back inside, pour the boiling water into the press, warm the soy milk, hit the 5 minute timer, and we sit for our morning love session. I pet her, kiss her, love her as she burrows her head into my lap. Her face so soft and smelly. Her blonde curls, wispy and cute. Her bumpy old body tight and little. We kiss and coo and cuddle. Smile and love and lay side by side gazing into each other’s eyes.

The timer beeps and the coffee is ready. Once poured and prepared perfectly, I bring the two cups of liquid love into the bedroom- with my Doodle right behind me. My Love is sleeping soundly with her Chloe- a black and white Shih Tzu- curled around her head like a cat. Warm, still, breathing sweetly, they are one animal resting in a bed of cozy blankets and dreams. I set the coffee on her night stand and whisper “Good Morning My Love, your coffee is ready.”

There is a song we sing in the morning and it goes like this:

“It’s a beautiful day in Cold Spring,

What a wonderful day in Cold Spring,

Gonna love my baby in Cold Spring,

It’s gonna be a wonderful day!”