Start of Day

 

Started so many days and have never been proficient just persistent. Know where to go need directions in daily vision and process.

This day took me down to the river above the falls where The Largest Most Regal Eagle crossed my path at the shoreline as he traversed the Falls heading East. I first thought he was my spirit amimal Blue Heron but envisioned what I felt. I lit a warming fire in the mist of warm water and cool air in stones placed to fashion fireplace. As the fire grew from kindling to crackling the Eagle returned and took residence in the habitat of ancient wolf tree and my life was present and focused. I stood at the shore with a vision of the wonder of this earth and prayed with him

for our future

CaptainKen

Ode to the Blackwater Angel

An Ode to the Blackwater Angel

 

As one angels wings burned as she embraced the devil

The Blackwater Angel wrapped her wings around an acquaintance

In a compassionate embrace of understanding and empathy

In the darkness before dawn as a New Year’s seed is sown

She opened her heart to a lost soul.

Good genes, she loves and cares about family

Her grandfather had consoling words of wisdom as I was warmed by hot coffee and breakfast

The angel has helped others for years as they come for food and sustenance

And find so much more.

Her understanding comes from listening to others life travails, ups and downs.

She rules the roost holding a Country Diner and all who enter in her warm accepting embrace.

Wings lift mood and troubles and she has a smile and laugh that shine light on each day.

Never a complaint heard as she makes light of her own troubles and calls herself lucky when near disaster invades.

An angels astute observations given free on the days and events passing while keeping the diner running as she plays point guard in controlling the chaos and distributes food and smiles.

She is a natural actress in real time in real life happenings who accepts all and gives her all each day before she goes home to being a mother and close friend to others and family.

Never say that this Blackwater Angel is ‘just a waitress’ for she is so much more. Whenever I visit even when there is little time to say hello my green tea and ice water with lemon magically appears with a smile that lifts spirits and sets the tone for another good day.

This lost and found soul knows that he has been touched in big and little ways by her way of living each and every day. I hurt when I know that she hurts and hope to be considered a friend who cares about her welfare as so many do who have crossed paths and had her wings wrapped around them.. A country woman who is as warm as flannel on a cold day, empathetic, understanding, caring and a star of the diner

She is the Blackwater Angel

KMP 10/22/2015

Get 100% healthy for you give so much to others and we need your beautiful smiling face and laughter in our day for a long time to come….Thanks

The Winter Dance

The Winter Dance

We head out onto the snow-covered frozen lake with darkening skies on the horizon.

The golden retrievers excited at getting out for the daily nature excursion.

Northwest winds, cold and cloud do not dampen our enthusiasm as a change of weather, a collision of fronts low and high fascinate on a piece of the earth that we inhabit together and alone in our exploration.

Just as we reached the far shore the dark clouds opened, shearing winds broke free.

First snow then snow squalls in wind-blown gust engulfed us in a dancing natural whiteout of changing weather and temperature.

Turn to get the wind with us as we head back toward the warm shelter of home.

Stopped in awe at the beautiful and wild chaos moving all around Snow devils jumped up everywhere and moved to gusty rhythms in wild dances Spins swirls to and fro in small tornadoes of snow.

They existed as energetic torrents of wispy shades of white as alive as you and I. They lived a short time jumping up dancing and moving only to disappear in the distance.

Others seemed to see the fun and jump up to take their turn as dancing ghosts. Past snow lifts from the lake to grab a new snowy partner in a celebration of the cold and gusty winds that supply the music.

They move and fly across the floor as we make steps toward home. First steps in new snow Ghosts and Apparitions up from the Past appear to move to the Future as we walked among them in the Present.

Just another gift from the great spirit in the sky comes down to play on a mild calm to windy cold day.

The powerful winter dance felt and embraced fast and fleeting in duration yet Forever in spirit memory’

We bend at the waist bow down and thank you for the dance.

Person In The River Dedicated to the Firefighter/First Responders of 9/11/2001

9-11-2001

Person in the Water—Dedicated to the Fire Fighter/First Responders who gave their lives responding on 9/11/2001—a 911 emergency

The twenty-four hour tour of duty was just beginning. After radio check the crew of three from the outside satellite station had started their assigned tasks around the house. The officer was cutting the grass, the pump operator checking and cleaning the truck and equipment, and the back step firefighter cleaning the station. Bells and radio signal draw immediate attention, and station details are no longer of importance.

The call comes in with two bells and the announcement over the Personal Address speakers “Person in the River,” followed by closest location reported and response assignment.
Crews of First Responders head out the door; the closest crew of three arrive on scene where they are signaled by waving arms of the location. Just past the old stone arch bridge the river bends by a grassy field and is bordered by a line of trees and brushy growth, a place where there is a view of the river and shelter from the summer sun. A place where the old man who waved us over had been fishing until a passing pleasure boat transiting the river sighted someone floating in the water. It is a place where a homeless person known to the district fire company and police had been living recently.

Years of experience tells the initial crew that it is too late for a rescue. The officer unofficially announces a death over the radio with the transmission, “To all responding companies, this is a recovery, repeat, this is a recovery.” The response continues and the drill is the same as a rescue but subtle sorrow replaces urgency as another pump, ladder truck with rescue boat, command car, police local and state, and ambulance crews arrive. first responders all and the true meaning of 911 where calls for help of any kind are answered and dealt with professionalism and respect no matter who you are, alive, recently departed or those grieving and left behind.

The crews set up on shore at the opening as an inflatable life ramp is filled from one of the same air tanks used to breathe at fires; one firefighter in a bright orange Survival Suit enters the water tethered to shore by a colorful floating safety rope, a ‘Go Rescue’. The firefighter moves quickly and without hesitation. He is the first human contact for the victim. Carefully, condition and death are confirmed. The colorful line is delicately placed around the floating man and held together with a carabiner connector. If it were a rescue the firefighter would also be connected and wrap his legs around as the line tenders pull rescuer and victim to shore. The reality of a recovery is now in some waiting as the colorful line connects victim to shore, to the place where he watched the river.

Yellow hazard tape is set up around the scene to keep onlookers at a safe distance and to cordon off the scene until state investigator, photographer and coroner’s pickup van arrive. The cause of death, ruling out foul play, and recovery await their arrival. The first arriving responders stand by and stand guard over the man in the water near the river bank. We believe him to be the homeless person. Alone in life, he is now the center of attention and conversation to the onlookers outside the tape. The old man who waved us to the scene has strangely gone back to fishing, not knowing what else to do, as helpless as the victim and first responders without a rescue. The ladder company has checked the shore and river in the rescue boat for other victims with nothing found. The family transiting the river in a pleasure boat is questioned over the same cell phone the 911 came in on. They continue down the river to safe harbor and out to the ocean for the day. The day though sunny and hot is not as bright and warm for any of us who are witnesses, waiting, or standing guard. Who is the man in the water? Center of attention in death, he is tethered to land in a subtle noninvasive way by a lifeline. His life and soul passed probably a day earlier. Troubled spirit lost long before today? Who is he?

Clues and Questions
The water he watched from the riverbank had held him in a cool embrace and protected him from the start of a heat wave which followed violent thunderstorms. Embrace released, he now floats facedown like the lily pads across the river hugging the opposite shore in sunlight. His black sunglasses were found in a private place hidden from sight. Next to the glasses a bottle emptied of cheapest rum. He was wearing tee-shirt and shorts, black belt, white sneakers. He was about the same height as the homeless man who always stayed on the shady side of the river by the grassy field. The line of growth between field and river offered cover and privacy from critical eyes. The First Responders had helped him many times in past weeks. Calls for ‘person down’, had brought them to various locations to help him up, tend to injuries, get some history and give a little pep talk before he was taken to the local hospital—cleaned up treated and put back on the street. –911 responders get to know the regulars, ‘frequent fliers’, they know the present problems and get hints of troubled pasts. The regulars come and go, always to be replaced by another broken spirit standard-bearer. First responders can only help with immediate medical and emotional needs. First responders can not heal broken spirits and find lost souls. But they try! The clues point to the homeless man, the questions remain. The field, wood and river are the homeless person’s companions without judgment or criticism. A place where swans occasionally transit the river, nature in its perfection and the human nature of imperfection in uncomplicated unquestioned connection.

Who knows what defeats the spirit? What starts the downward spiral of hope and loss of faith? Why do so many get lost in a bottle, a drug, a bet, abuse and trauma? How the human nature of imperfection can let us think that we can find our spirit in imbibing substances? That we can find solace in anything that brings relief no matter how temporary or futile? Why did the homeless person leave the perfection of nature, walk past the health food store, the coffee shop and go instead to the liquor store? Was his last walk back to his natural shelter, the last spiral down the bank in drunken stupor into the cool embrace of his river? Did he die alone and frightened during the violent thunderstorm?

The investigator arrives and agrees with what the First Responders already know. The photographer arrives and takes his pictures of the scene. Both have a tough job in giving some closure and finality to the task at hand. Outside the tape the onlookers, bored, find connection and chatter with others who pass by and stop. They are told to move on, to move back, that this is nothing they want to see. Some of them have their children with them in a place no child should be. They move on but still gawk from a distance so the ambulance is moved closer and in their way. Bored curiosity and open indifference could be better spent. Children should be playing! Did the onlookers care at all when the man was alive? How many times was he told to move on, to be someone else’s problem? To find shelter in nature where questions were not asked and some peace found.

The Recovery
The minivan/hearse arrives. The coroner’s body recovery person is a young man wearing shorts, tee-shirt, black belt, and white sneakers. He is so relaxed and casual that his identification is checked. Already too experienced at a ghoulish but necessary job he covers up in a throw away white coveralls suit and the end of the recovery nears.
The line is cast to the rescue boat and they move to slowly bring contact with shore. Fire fighters and the ambulance crews grab the rope, belt, clothes and sneakers and carefully move him to a white body bag on the bank of the river. Pictures are taken, it is his tattoo, we cut open his back pocket to remove the wallet, and it is our homeless person, though with loss of life, spirit and soul he bears no resemblance. The bag is zipped up and six of us in procession move his body with care and respect to a stretcher. He is placed in another black bag, zipped in and strapped down to the stretcher. The responders are silent except for the commands to move and the sound of zippers and click of strap connections. He is moved into the back of the minivan hearse and the driver who is dressed the same but for the color of the tee-shirt leaves the bank of the river, drives across the grassy field, by the health food store, coffee shop and liquor store. He carries our once frequent flier over the river across the old stone arch bridge and along the sunny side of the river to highway and mortuary. The rescue boat crew follows the river back to the launching point and return to service as a Ladder Truck Company One. The onlookers disperse and all but the initial crew move on to other calls and duty. The first due company removes the hazard tape and retrieves the colorful lifeline. First to arrive are often also the last to leave. They return to quarters and the details of fire house keeping, cutting grass and mopping floors, checking equipment to ready for their next call, the next run out the door.

The Downward Spiral
We know from past calls that he is from the same neighborhood. We know he once owned a house in another town and lost it. He grew up not far from the river. He lost home, house, business, jobs, cars and license. He made and lost friends family and connections. He played ball on the grassy field as an adolescent, hung out as a teen. He returned to his old neighborhood because he did not know where else to go. He returned for the memories of that childhood to teen home as a lost adult. Lost in a river of troubles he ended up in the water’s cool embrace. He found fleeting relief in a bottle but no answers. He slowly buried his spirit long before he became homeless. His troubles were just the marking posts of the loss.

Will the trees, field and river remember his passing? The river flows to safe harbor to ocean where it is freed to be part of the whole. From the ocean waters clouds rise and become rain. The lake fills drains to the river that flows by the shore. It washes a wooded bank by a grassy field. The rain splatters on lily pads as swans seek shelter where a boy played and a homeless person lived. The water carries a spirit and soul to find restful peace.

Who Is The Homeless Person?
The person is Everyman, who everybody knows and everyone has inside. He is in every family, in every town, village and city. He is everywhere we go.

He is us! He is the homeless guy, the alcoholic, the druggie, the lost soul, the village idiot, the gambler, the abused and the abuser, the trauma and the tragedy. He is your neighbor, your friend, your partner, your spouse.

He is the human being, the spirit, the soul, the body, the connection to us all, to the whole that we are all a part of and he is everyman. He is everyone who can see, feel, and care for the nature of it all.

He is hope, faith, love, charity.

He is connection, communication, caring, empathy, sympathy and warmth. He is commitment and truth. He is all of us and he is a broken spirit and a lost soul without us.

© Ken Pothier July 17, 2006—edited and republished on 9/11/14

“Ass in the chair is the only rule of art.” Donald Murray

Ernest Hemingway and Donald Murray

What I continue to learn! Why I am inspired by these giants of writing.
I have experienced 6 weeks of Monday night classes at Donald Murray’s home in Durham. I sat in as a want to be writer with writers of varied experience in his living room. I worked on a Friday night deadline for 6 weeks and held to it. The secret Don said was to write. He did not believe in writers block. He said to start with a word and go from there.

I have experienced 7 weeks of a class: Ernest Heming way: The Paris Years. It has been an ever changing and interesting experience. I only knew of Hemingway from his book The Old Man and the Sea and the short stories The Hills of Kilimanjaro and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. I was amazed and inspired by all three works.

So I have gone from The Paris Years to the Portsmouth Ideas and enjoyed the ride. As Sir Robert said on the first night of class, that it is ‘’Like a river ever flowing, ever changing.” I have discovered that the more I read of EH and DM the faster the river flows, quickening the pace of change. There is so much to learn so much to mine for the craft of writing.
Mr. Wheeler also quoted Donald Murray, “I have to fight the tendency to think I know the subject I teach.” Ernest and Donald were now forever intertwined in supplying inspiration after that first night of class. I left that night enthused and looking forward to my readings and the next class.
I read of generations passing and searching for meaning in “The Sun Also Rises” and immediately realized a connection between EH and DM. They were both great observers of what is happening all around them. Murray had said in class that to be a writer one must see what others do not and craft a way to let them see what they missed.
I learned that there have been countless biographies on EH since his untimely 1961 death and that as a Journalist, Travel Writer, Short Story Writer and Writer of novels that he had squirreled away lots of writing. He did this despite being a womanizer, a drinker, a sportsman and a husband and father.

As a Journalist Hemingway covered stories for the Kansas City Star and then as an expatriate freelance writer covering post war Europe. I found that he learned valuable lessons there about writing in a concise manner. From the 1954 book, The Apprenticeship of Ernest Hemingway the Early Years by Charles A. Fenton much was gleaned. Ernest Hemingway was a working newspaperman both intermittently and for long intervals during the years Oct. 1916 and Dec. 1923. Other influences were War, Travel, and Sport. His work habits were extensive, sustained and purposeful. He wrote expatriate fiction in 1922-3. In a very real sense his apprenticeship never ended. Hemingway had durability, he was demanding, always growing and had rigid discipline when it came to writing. He said to a friend in 1949, “I’m apprenticed out at it until I die. Dopes can say you mastered it. But I don’t know nobody ever mastered it, nor could not have done better.” [At it]
Hemingway only worked at the Kansas City Star for 7 months but the rules from the papers style sheet book had 110 rules which stayed with him for live. Language and words could never from this point be lightly regarded (pg. 32). In 1940 Hemingway said, “I’ve never forgotten them, no man with any talent, who feels and writes truly about the thing he is trying to say, can fail to write well if he abides by them (pg. 34). Some rules were simple; like never use old slang, avoid use of adjectives, and use short sentences. The only way to improve your writing is to write. The English language yields to simplicity through brevity (pg. 43). Charles Fenton an English Instructor at Yale said, “It wasn’t the literary hothouse of Paris in the 20’s that shaped Hemingway so much as fledgling High school journalism in Oak Park, Ill. and the newsrooms of Kansas City and Toronto.”
Journalism was writing for the moment; as such it was doomed to the death of topicality but the fiction writer by adding invention to experience gave his work the possibility of enduring life. Hemingway granted that it was okay to begin in journalism because it lumbers you up and gives you a command of the language, it was good practice. [Read Paragraphs pg. 232 and 225]

Notes:
Hemingway peaked early, burned out early, copped out and exited early missing a head, yet left a body of work. He lived his time fully but not a full life because you must finish the journey and he up and quit. He left a mess for others to decipher. He was another casualty of another lost and searching generation.
“Old’ man take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you. I need someone to love me the whole day thru. Ah! One look at my eyes and you can tell that’s true” (Neil Young). I am not Hemingway but I do write. I am only alive because I put up a fight to survive. I mine for the words and a heart of gold. Pray I do not lose the spontaneity. Did EH become so tough because his name was Ernest or because he was? EH and DM were both bears of a man. Their paths may have crossed. DM knew of EH’s work and work habits and quoted them in his writing notes. DM went out with his writing boots on dying a day after submitting his last column for the Boston Globe. EH left us too early after burning out. Both lived full and humanly complete lives of observing and learning and writing it all out. Each part of the story gleaned from focused observation and from attempts at learning lessons. The jumbled beginnings of a journey jotted down from viewing another lost generation. From Donald Murray, “Ass in the Chair is the only rule of Art.”

Works Referenced:
(Weber) (Fenton) (Phillips) (Murray)
Fenton, Charles A. The Apprenticeship of Ernest Hemingway-the Early Years. NY: Viking Press, 1954.
Murray, Donald M. Welcolm to the Writer’s Craft. Writing Guide. Durham, NH: Donald M Murray, 2006.
Phillips, Larry W. Ernest Hemingway on Writing. NY: Scribner, 1984, 2004.
Weber, Ronald. Hemingway’s Art of Non-Fiction. NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1990.

Breaking Trail as Seasons Change

HPIM0454

HPIM0450

Yet another rain is coming tonight so I strapped (the old term), stepped into cross country skis as our golden ‘Mari’ picked out the ball of the day and we set out down lake. Conditions were good, slick not wet. We followed the first outlet which fills a small pond to and across a dirt road and into the woods on an old logging path. The path soon disappeared into new growth with an uneven obstacle filled journey ahead. The golden can go under and around small bush tree fallen log bramble and briar where the rabbits can go.
There is a feeling of freedom in leaving known path. I shift in zigzag moves looking for the (easiest), less difficult way forward. A sense of direction and fondness for a feeling of motion in emotion my guide.
The woods are silent but for our breathing, snap of breaking branch, crunch swish of skis traversing snow. Perfect circles of brown under the evergreen trees, a dry place to stop, gather thought and bearing, to feel the freedom in this live free or die state I am in. Fully alive, partially lost, physically strong and breaking trail in woods and wetlands seldom tread by man. A half hour in I find remnants of what was once a field property border, an old stone wall. Built boulder by rock by stone in clearing a field which is now reclaimed by the forest wood growth it was before man attempted to tame it.
The nature of this place laughs this day on my clumsy country crossing. Direction change from South to South West as the wall which appears to have cornered the field disappears with my tracks. Sense of direction and feeling for light penetrating clouds now carry me toward a grand wetland depression in forested hills. I know it as a continuation of the water flow from lake to pond to steam to trickles that drain to wetlands. Until today it was only a view from an old fire lane that traverses conservation land.
Find the filtered sunlight and search the distance for the open space beyond the wood. It is there wetland lives and when I find it I will follow North East from trail breaking toward broken trail I know.
A flash of white on a hill ahead and above me is followed by another as I focus. I halt and signal the golden to stay quiet for it is a family of deer on one of their familiar trails. We had seen tracks, rabbit deer perhaps moose but there is magic in the meeting! Our silence allowed them to move calm and free, our scent lost in light breeze.
We climb the hill and follow tracks to the SW end of the wetland. A break in the trees frames the view. Home to the deer, to me it is a dear moment in viewing. With no easy way down I remove the skis and use the pole straps to bundle them. Now hiking in 4 to 12″ of snow I can follow a more direct route. We move up and down hill to gully to hill, jumping across streamlets and slow and careful on the weak ice of pieces of wetland.
Joys in the movement, the sights, the feel, the physical cost paid back ten times in sore satisfaction. My mind map of the woods and wetland expanded. The view from the road is now a topographical memory of depth sound sight and feeling and on this day it feels like home.

The Touch of Winter

A paintbrush of white dusts the landscape in crystal celebration of the season.

A paintbrush of white dusts the landscape in crystal celebration of the season.

The Touch of winter
A Crystal water caress of snow
The sunny silence of a cold winter day shines in a new coat
Icy wind crystallizes dreams of warmth
A dusting that covers the ice surface
A country skating rink marks a spot where the shore kisses a hill
Near a lake inlet which drains from frosted wetland
A wondrous place in natural flux of seasonal changes
A sacred place where giant granite boulders hold sway against manmade hand and the storms of nature
Mark the passing of glaciers past
The tick of a wall clocks seconds break the silence
The only reminder that this perfect land at waters’ edge has been touched by human
Dreams of ownership
Nothing but a single frozen vaporous breath or a seconds tick
In this lands grand timelessness
Yet winters icy grip cannot stop a heartfelt spirit or dissipate
The crystal dream of touching the infinite

A winter blanket

A winter blanket

Winter blanket makes an XTerra a snow cave

Winter blanket makes an XTerra a snow cave

Pawtuckaway Wetland Beavers

All pictures taken with a NIKON D50 digital camera

Pawtuckaway Wetland Beavers

I am aware of our mortality and strive to make the most of each day. We can’t take it with us so we must walk our paths with love, hope and understanding.

The paths taken on walks in differing season give me pause to take in the lives of some of my natural neighbors. The Beaver population in the wetland system of Pawtuckaway State Park has fascinated me for the years lived in its midst.

Enjoy the simple things and you can feel the grand connection to it all. The old stone walls seen all thru New Hampshire and New England were put in place slowly, stone by stone walls were made day by day.

They framed old forest and field, stream river and lake shores.

The stone walls were made with great effort and persistence. They held the makers hopes and framed their dreams. The walls are not unlike the beavers den and winter food supply, it was all part of survival.

We can’t take it with us, but just as the ancestors we can leave our focus.

Whether framed in stone or words or decisions it remains after us,

Weathered by wind, water and time

With stones added and landscape shaped by those who cross this path.

This den is downlake from where I live. The branches you see sticking up are the tips of a winter food supply that is reached underwater, OUCH!

2Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

A one foot radius tree that the beaver is working on in an attempt to get at the rest of the tree. If only they could climb it would be easier.

3Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

Closeup of the tooth marks and work that goes into downing a tree with your teeth. I get tired of chewing downing a large meal!

4Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

The beaver has cut all of these sections in an attempt to down one tree which is still hung up in another tree. This shows the persistence and determination to survive which is inate in nature.

5Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

A closeup of the beaver den and the nights snack material.

6Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

I leave you on this path with the stream that fills the pond. This beaver has built a house with running water! Peace to all!

7Pawtuckaway Wetland Beaver Work and Dwellings

A Fathers Love of his children is unconditional

Letter to Heidi on her Birthday

Written if not sent, felt if not touched, communicated if not received

Years ago you had a dream and though I did not know what was going on it was the start of your mother putting an end to my dreams of having loving, caring daughters as part of my life.

I reach out now because I have given up on waiting for you girls to realize that I never left but that I was threatened and forced away with no way to communicate and no due process to get my truth out to the light of day. I lost you because I was in the dream of an out of control thirteen year old girl who had acted out in multiple harmful behaviors after I was separated from your mother. I never wanted to leave our home. I left because your mother could not hear or see the real me. She was weak emotionally from a past which occurred long before I met her.

Heidi when you had your dream you were institutionalized. You were psychotic and put on medications immediately after I brought you to the hospital. You were anorexic and bulimic with ketones showing in your blood. The doctors said you were a couple of weeks from the chance of death. You had experimented with both illegal and prescription drugs and alcohol, and were acting out in many other destructive ways. After I left the house your mother did her best to keep us apart no matter how much I wished to keep a connection. In June I set up the apartment to stay close and have a place for you and your sisters to visit or stay over.

Your mother also kept me out of the loop and in the dark about you acting out in an unreasoned adolescence and abusive behavior. I only got clues and pieces when I started talking to Aerial after your mother had lost control and it was too late. All I could do was to bring you to appointments. It broke my heart. All of this was not fair to you or me and if I had any idea that all this would happen I would have stayed in the house to keep a connection to you girls alive and watch over you.

I firmly believe that my leaving followed by Heather a month later was the root cause of your problems. I also know from DSS reports that your mother had not told me about much of her past and had not dealt with it. As you girls reached the age when her problems began she started to transfer the feelings to our family. In her mind if it could happen to her and her sisters it could happen to you.

I fought as hard as I could when you had the dream to stop the legal threats and restraining orders which prevented me seeing you at your time of greatest need. It tore me up. I wanted so much to keep connection and communication alive. I have never done anything to hurt or harm you Heidi. I tried to teach you right from wrong but once you girls reached adolescence my voice was silenced and I could only set an example by being a good hardworking father who lived to help others and support you. I firmly believe that you needed a strong fathers influence to teach and communicate with. It has always been my dream to watch over and help you grow, learn, and find your way in life, to see you find joy and contentment. Unconditional love is what a father feels for his daughters. No matter what you did or went through I would have and will be there for you. Since I left the house my dream has been denied. I was made a scapegoat and victim of separation, divorce, and the unreasoned action of an emotionally damaged partner. I have never been listened to only shunned. I am so sorry for and hurt by what you had to go through. I wish I had been allowed to be there for you. To protect, console and guide you. You and your sisters are in my thoughts each day. Each day I miss you and am concerned for your welfare. It is not an easy world to grow up in and survive. A part of me will always be lost without you in my life.

I am proud of you. You have not only survived that unreasoned adolescence but moved on and restructured your life. I have learned from internet searches that you graduated with distinction in Criminal Justice from UMass Boston. I wish I could have been there. I have been forced to miss so many occasions and milestones in your life. I always think of you on your birthday with both joy and sadness. Joy at being the first to hold you and in watching you grow. Joy in remembering the good and simple days like driving you to preschool in Waltham and walking you to the bus stop at the Fulton School. A couple of weeks ago I went down to Falmouth for your great Aunt Paula’s funeral (grandma’s sister) and passed by the “Bay View Campground.” We camped there both as a family and with just you. We had time together and you wanted me to swim in all four pools and walk the whole campground. I teared up when I saw the sign in Bourne. It is difficult not having you in my life, it is my greatest tragedy and it is wrong. It never should have been this way and I only survived it because of a true love and relationship. I wish you could have seen a real loving, caring, true relationship growing up. I can only hope that you have found one.

I do not know if this letter will get to you. I hope and pray that this is not the end of hope but the beginning of a healing that only connection, communication and the truth can bring.

The Unconditional Love of your DAD always

Happy Birthday May 23, 2013

Memorial to Donald Murray with Poems: His Time Was Write and Hard Wood Writing

Never a Day Without a Line
When a mentor passes on–A Memorial to Donald Murray

I heard it on the 11 o’clock New Years Day news. Donald Murray died of a heart attack at the age of 82. He had submitted his column ‘Now and Then’ to the Boston Globe the day before he died. He never stopped working, learning or sharing the knowledge he had gained.

My connection to Donald started from a Now and Then column that he had written in late winter which mentioned a spring writing class and one of his favorite bookstores on Water Street in Exeter NH. A heartfelt feeling took me there and I bought the book he suggested and left my information. Fortune smiled and on a Monday nights for six weeks I found myself at Don’s house in Durham with a circle of writers and novices of the craft. Don in his chair teaching by drawing us in and sharing his life and the work he loves. A large man in both stature and heart held court as we listened and learned in a circle where he made us feel equal. No pretense, just the spirit of a man open and true. His words ring true in my head: ‘Find your voice and tune it to the situation’
‘Writing is personal-be as true as possible’
‘The voice must sound like you, if not something is wrong-you may not be close enough to the material’
‘I still sometimes look at the world as a soldier’
‘Write with velocity and lower your standards’
‘Good writers see deep important things about the human condition. They articulate the human condition for those who can not’
‘Surprise is wonderful, I want to surprise myself some more before the road ends’

I met with him three times after the class ended. Twice for breakfast at ‘Young’s’ in Durham where everyone knows his name. The morning after class ended I picked him up at 5:45 AM. He told me he had stayed up all night as enthusiasm about the class, father’s day trip weekend prior, writing, and using his new art supplies would not let him sleep. He insisted on paying for breakfast and said that my turn was next. As I dropped him off at his house and told him to get some rest he answered, ‘after I write a little’. 82 years old, up all night and his motto, ‘nulla dies sine linea’ and work ethic still ruled.
For me he is gone too soon, too fast but he will always be with me. It’s his turn again to buy breakfast and he promised to come for dinner and meet my ‘Maria May.’
He believed in his family, his students, his friends and his colleagues. He gave us a confidence devoid of judgments that we could find our voice and tune it to the situation.
I offer a poem written with Donald in mind and submitted during what would be his last class. He had taken up drawing and painting recently for the sheer joy and surprise of it. The last line was added today.

Hard Wood Writing

Feeling lucid under pressure
Moments of sheer horror and panic do pass
Drawn on ousted emotions to draw-paint words to paper
Form scenes opened felt by me
Acts of art for others to observe-see
A word play called ‘New Hope Spring’
On a clean cool clear and cloudy canvass of Papyrus
Framed pages with words
Book cover borders
Times Temperaments Torments Trusts
Loss and Rebirth
Felt and Palpable on written page
Hopes spring grows and flows
Words in mahogany and oak
A writer’s true rings of hard growth memory
True to a vision of what has come to pass
Hard Wood Writing on soft textured page of one person’s past
Written Word Etched for Eternity by Scribed Survivor
Mahogany Voice Rises from Oaken Experience
From scribbler to Scribe the Survivor Crafts
The soft subtle textured pages of a life’s
Lessons Learned and Shared
Now and Then

His time was write

Found a mentor, ol’ sage, life almost spent

He opened his home, gave a last class

Unconditionally he let us in and shared a successful career

“Write Short, Write Quick,” the mentor said.

The world has changed–attention spans are short sighted

Draw them in, hold them, set them free, with words from the heart

An old man’s spirit shared

His time was write

Now and Then taught me ours is then and now

The road goes on and I will be one of Donald’s Acolytes–Apostles

Nulla dies sine linea–never a day without a line

Share a life til the road ends

To be taken up by a spirit who’s time is write

Copyright by Ken Pothier