Swimming in Haiti

I wrote this as I sat in the restaurant in the Kinam Hotel…downtown Petionville.  The heat, lord the heat…my primary occupation was to find a way to escape it.


The woman meeting me for lunch today was late.

But the larger faux pas was mine.

I leaned my chair further back from the table

Until it pushed against the railing

At the edge

Of a balcony,

Overlooking a crystal clear



And the day smothered me

In heavy blankets of heat,

Just like every day in Haiti.


I removed the linen napkin,

Placed deftly onto my lap

By someone who apparently had not noticed

That I had lost interest in lunch.

I just wanted a closer look,

Just a little closer

To the vacant



How cool it must be in there.

And clean.

And familiar.

It was the familiarity that moved me,

Of course.

So suddenly common

Amidst so much uncommon.


Without missing a beat of the siren’s song

Of water lapping on tile,

I slipped out of my sandals

Onto the railing

And leapt into the water below.

So that, when my lunch companion finally joined me,


My carefully chosen ensemble

Was drenched

And single beads of water slipped over my brow

And into my hairline

Following the line down my neck

And tracing my spine.


I shook her hand as she apologized and sat down.

Wishing I had acted on the impulse

Instead of imagining it

As I had

So vividly

That I could taste the chlorine in the sweat

That ran a river

Down my face.


Some days, I wish my kids were very small

Like today.

Because today I want to do things that grownups just don’t do.

Like build a fort.

With blankets and chairs.

I would put it against the wall so that I could have pillows to lean on.

Only they would be beasts I had tamed.

And have little pin lights hanging from the chair backs.

But then again

The kids would want to play their games

And make it too much like a movie they saw

Or a campout

Or the jungle.

My tent would be in the middle of a crazy network of caves and tunnels.

And there would be no maps

Because the openings keeps shifting

And the tunnels move.

And, only I can find the way in

Because I am magic.

But I would bring a friend.

One friend.

Because she gets me

Even when I don’t.

She will say

“Oh, perhaps we shall have some tea then!”

When the roof starts to sag and I can’t figure it out.


“Look! A new door! I wonder where that goes?!”

Because she knows that adventure

will get me all excited again.

And maybe I would have to get new chairs

And blankets

Because maybe that corner of the living room would always be a tent

In a cave

At the end of a wild trek through mysterious tunnels.

A Bear Cub in Wimberley

This is Moose.

OK, he is not actually a bear, but it took me a minute to make sense of his size when I first encountered him. This was not my first time meeting a Bouvier de Flanders (a very formal name for the very bearish moose to be sure). I have loved them since I first laid eyes on one…years and years ago.

As Tina finished getting ready to go to breakfast that first morning in Wimberley, I took my camera outside to see what worked in my baby photographer’s eye. I thought that surely this place would make me feel like a brilliant photographer. Surely here I could just swing the camera around and capture magic in every image. Ha.

Magic was there, though. Only not in my lens. As I stepped off the front porch I saw the movement of something large and black behind the car. I froze…not in fear, but curiosity. How was it possible that a bear cub was here? A black bear cub, no less. In Wimberley? Then a very timid Moose peeked out from behind and I fell in love.

Clearly unaware of his impressive size, Moose timidly approached me as if it were me that was all muscle, teeth and black eyes peering from behind mounds of hair. When I reached out to pet him, he backed up as if I would strike him. In my eagerness I had forgotten the dog-approach rules. No eye contact…let them smell you first…no smiling (showing teeth)…raise hand, palm up, to nose for approval. When he approached again, I was ready. We became fast friends.

In fairness to Moose, who is a gentle soul, the picture above was taken as Moose played by the creek. He followed me and Tina down as we strolled down to sit in chairs and listen to the wind. Moose played in the water and ran around and around like a wild thing. I took many pictures. This is one of my faves because it is so out of character. The dog in this picture would scare the hell out of Moose. My skills at photography were quite challenged by moose. He is so dark that many pictures ended up looking like a mass of fur. The best pictures I got were with him playing with Tina.

Tina said at one point that, in order to get into my pictures that weekend, she had to be standing next to Moose. And, while it is true that I was just a little obsessed with this gorgeous dog, I took lots of pictures of her as well.




A Yellow Balloon

Today I was in a meeting on the 26th floor of what used to be the Enron building. I was in a meeting with some pretty serious folks talking about some pretty corporatey stuff. Ten of us in the room and four people joining the meeting via conference call and some online collaborative tool. I was talking through a presentation and guiding the team through a series of questions to refine the content when a yellow balloon floated by the window. It floated between our building and the building right next door. I stumbled over my words and was grateful when a conversation started without me at the table for a moment so I could watch the balloon drift by. I was the only one who saw it…at least the only one in our room. It occurs to me now to wonder how many people saw it in other offices in either building as it drifted up between us.

It was like something in a movie. I could see the balloon and the reflection of the balloon in the glass in the opposite building. Everything all glass and steel around us, except for that balloon. It was beautiful.

I wish I worked in the kind of world where I could have stopped the meeting, stood up and shouted “Oh My God! Look! How cool!” But I don’t. I am respected for what I do, but what I do is not considered to be very important in the big scheme of things. In fact, it is considered to be a little “touchy feely” by many. One moment of “Lookie lookie! A balloon!” could totally seal the deal on that. So I sat, grateful for the chair I had chosen at the table, relieved I was able to resist jumping to my feet with excitement and thrilled to have had the opportunity to see a yellow balloon floating by on this very serious day.