Morning Prayer

Photo: Ingrid Taylor

Photo: Ingrid Taylor

Morning Prayer
American Sentences

Shadows tumble slowly into mountain crevasses, welcoming dawn.
Dandelions play ring-around-the rosie, rivaling the sunrise.
An egret sits in stillness at the edge of velvet water, waiting.

An old lady plods out to her driveway to retrieve the daily news–
Silver hair, disheveled, highlights grinning eyes, welcomes another day.
The dogs roll with abandonment in dew-covered grass, sharing her bliss.

I head homeward, planning my day, as though there will be no surprises.

Written for dVerse Poets Open Link Night where poetry and friendship abound. Check us out and, if you like, bring a poem of your own.


Photo: Sunrise in the California Desert

Of Celebrations–Monday Meanderings

At this time of the year, introspection tends to creep in. Like the bears which have been visiting our neighborhood in search of food recently in preparation for hibernation, I find that winter invites those of us attuned to seasonal changes, to go within—to hibernate spiritually.



This week, in the United States, we will join as families and friends to give thanks for the fruits of the harvest, for the many blessings we share. This marks, for us, the end of autumn.

Immediately after, we pick up the pace of our lives preparing for the holidays. It can get crazy. We strive to overcome darkness by turning toward the light. Worldwide, many do the same. Here, in the western hemisphere, Chanakkuh, Christmas and Kwanza festivities pepper the months of December. Each of these incorporates some celebration of light.

In my family, it is Christmas that will take center stage. Because Thanksgiving, which always occurs on the 4th Thursday of November, is so late this year, my husband is outside as we speak, putting lights on the front of our house. Over the last few days, I decorated the Christmas tree and set up our Nativity scene—a reminder of what it is we celebrate at Christmas…the coming of Light into chaotic darkness.

Photo Credit: David Slotto

Photo Credit: David Slotto

As we ease into the madness of the all-too-commercial aspects of Christmas, I find it even more important to make time for reflection, to write, to seek a bit of solitude. For this to happen, I need to make the effort, to create sacred space. I confess that it is a huge effort for me, as I suspect for many of you with creative dispositions.

I wish all of you Happy Thanksgiving—even if you don’t mark the day as we do in this country. If we make each day a day of gratitude, I truly believe the world will be a better place, a happier place.

Perhaps you would share one or two things for which you are most grateful. For my part, right up there near the top are each of you, for the time you take to enrich my life through your blogs, comments and/or friendship.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Moments–Monday Meanderings

I’m sure you haven’t noticed, but I’ve been offline for a few days. I’m in Huntington Beach, celebrating my Mom’s 93rd birthday. Her dementia has worsened since I last saw her, but she remains aware of us as a family. She is perhaps the most grateful, serene woman I know–due in part, perhaps, to the fact that she has been sober for 44 years. The lessons of her Twelve Step program stay with her, especially “An attitude of gratitude,” and “A day at a time.” I am not violating her anonymity by sharing this. She is the first to let the world know about how much she owes to AA.

I would like to have the sort of attitude that she has when I (if I) live to be 90…although I would prefer to bypass the dementia part. Having worked with the elderly most of my nursing career, I’m aware that this horrible disease brings some gifts to the person afflicted and to the caregivers as well. It’s all about living in the present moment. I remember instructing nursing assistants, reminding them that their patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s and similar disorders may not be able to connect the past and the present, but as caregivers, we are able to provide them with one happy moment at a time.

This is a good recipe for all of us, don’t you agree? It seems to be something I try to hold on to as I go through my own aging process.

I’m “borrowing” a computer to write this as there is no available unsecured WiFi in the area, so this will be a short one.

I wish all of you a most happy and productive week. I should be back in the flow by midweek.

Monday Meanderings–On Being Grateful



Now and again, life gifts us with challenges we’d rather shun. When this happens, it’s so tempting to ignore them, to set them aside, or put them off. In the midst of small or significant crises, it’s so easy to drift into the morass of negativity, and then it seems that even unrelated issues take on ginormous proportions.

My almost-ninety-three year old mother is a survivor. She was widowed at age twenty-three and left to raise her infant on a military widow’s pension of $139 a month. She plowed her way through numerous challenges throughout those years and others after remarrying. She has been in recovery from alcoholism since 1967. A mantra she picked up from AA meetings has become her philosophy of life: an attitude of gratitude. She has embraced that so completely that it has been beyond challenging to care for her in her later years. She doesn’t seem capable of complaining. No matter what’s going on around her, if you ask her how her day was, her response is, “It was beautiful. I’m so grateful.”

I worked with the elderly most of my life. Early on, it became apparent that, as they age, a person is who they’ve always been. If they were grouchy young people, they will be even grouchier older people. And if they lived in serenity and gratitude, they will age with grace.

Photo: David Slotto Mom's 90th, 2010

Photo: David Slotto
Mom’s 90th, 2010

For those of us who drift now and again (or often) into a negative viewpoint, one simple “treatment” is that attitude of gratitude. I’ve recently discovered that when I find my thoughts taking on a darker tone, it helps to stop, observe and ask myself “What am I grateful for right now?” It may be the way the sun is shining through the trees, casting shadows on the redwood fence, or the warmth of a pet’s furry body cuddled up to you. Maybe it’s that first swallow of coffee early in the morning, or your spouse snoring contentedly in the next room. Not only does this allow you to shift gears—it’s a great practice for staying in the present moment. And for those of us who write, it heightens our power of observation. I wish I could say it’s easy to remember—it’s not. But it is one of those things that can get better with practice.



Little Things

The kitchen counter’s sticky,
Handprints on the refrigerator door,
And white fuzz on the hardwood floor.
No matter how often I clean, try to
Keep our home perfect, I can’t.
For these small things, however, I’m grateful.
Unless you know I have a husband who
Loves to cook for me,
Little white dogs who want to cuddle,
You’ll wonder why I feel so blessed.

Sparky–Photo: D. Slotto

Today is Thanksgiving in the USA and as I meditated all I could notice was white dog hair all over my newly cleaned house. Then, when I went to the kitchen, everything I touched was sticky as my husband has thrown himself into creating culinary delights. I’m helplessly perfectionistic, but couldn’t help but realize these very things are among the many things for which I’m grateful–someone who cares enough to prepare a special lactose-free pumpkin pie using my special milk that he had to dehydrate, and my two beautiful dogs who teach me all about unconditional love.

Over at dVerse, the challenge for today is to write an acrostic poem centering on gratitude. My offering is not “perfect” poetry, but here it is anyway. We hope you’ll take a few moments to reflect on giving thanks, no matter where you are, or how imperfect your day may be.

Zoe, 2011 Photo: D. Slotto

Thank You

Photo: David Slotto


sharp winter chill
(not autumn)

brilliant sun
cloudless sky
crisp grass

warm air
escaping lungs
like body-cloud

toasty thoughts

counting blessings
assuaging guilt
so many

soul steam
circling hot coffee cup
fogs inside

god light
intense fall color
dance with me
with life
celebrate gifts
give back

A warm thank you to all of you who take the time to visit and comment on my blog. May you always have something to be grateful for, so that thanks-giving be celebrated everyday, in every corner of the world. Come on over to the Pub and join your thanks to ours.

Driving North on I-395 in Early Morning

Mt. Whitney, Sierra Nevada, computer image gen...

Image via Wikipedia

Driving North on I-395 in Early Morning

Behind me, to the East,
(as I crest a summit)
sun opens his eyes,
stretches, reaches out,
grazes snow-graced peaks
of Mt. Whitney,
gilds her breasts in bronze.

Before me, in the valley,
fog spills into a bowl of milk.
I inch forward,
into a cloud of unknowing.

Earth shimmers behind
her gauzy silence,
till once again
she rips her veil
and wraps me in light.
Going home.

Joined to Gooseberry Garden where we’re invited to write about something for which we are grateful and to dVerse Poets’ Pub Open Link Night where you can write about whatever you want. For those of us who celebrate Thanksgiving, here’s a chance to gorge on poetry and friendship before the big day. Maybe then we won’t be so tempted to over-indulge when the day arrives. Happy Thanksgiving all, wherever you are. I am grateful you are a part of my life.

Jingle’s Poetry Rally–Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Blessings to All Photo: David Slotto


Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Rally:



Sharp winter chill
(not autumn)

Brilliant sun,
cloudless sky,
crisp grass.

Warm air
escaping lungs
like body-cloud.

Toasty thoughts

Counting blessings,
assuaging guilt:
so many

circling hot coffee cup,
fogs inside.

intense fall color:
dance with me,
with life–
celebrate gifts.

Spirit calls:
give back.