Sometimes I sketch to find the words…


Sometimes the sketch breaks me out of ordinary thinking…


Sometimes it’s the colors I see that pull me towards seeing and finding words…


I conquer the blank page with seeing and sketching…


Start with Seeing

“Seeing is different from looking:  in seeing we deliberately select from the environment.”  Donald Graves, Bring Life Into Learning

“BWH?  What does that stand for?”

The kind REI employee asked me, pointing to my hat. Billy was off trying on coats.

“Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  Boston.”

“My Dad had a few valves replaced there 7 years ago.  They are amazing there!  He has since passed on, but they gave him new life back then!”

“Yes, yes.  I’ve heard about the great work they do there.”

Billy returned, we thanked the kind man and we went our separate ways.

When we got back home, the gift of 71 degrees in January called me outside to read.  I grabbed Beartown, my journal, my pen and plopped myself in my cozy corner.  Pausing at the end of a chapter, I looked up and saw the  garden cart filled with wood.  The meandering lines of the blue tarp covering the wood invited me to see.  I grabbed my journal and followed the lines.  I sketched.  I thought.  I remembered.  I found myself connecting to a memory that was floating aimlessly in my mind.  I grabbed it.

The original cart was a wedding gift 22 years ago.  Years of use and a little outdoor abuse led to rotted wood and warped metal, yet it maintained it’s purpose.  About two years ago, my Mom and Dad were down for a visit.  Billy, knowing my Dad always liked to keep his hands and mind busy, pulled out the cart and together, they replaced the sides and bottom.  They measured, they cut.  My Mom and I watched.  We supervised.  They pushed and pulled and gave that cart new life.

The power of not only seeing, but sketching is a process that allows me to connect with ideas and memories.  I am always encouraged to continue to grow this piece of my process and share it with others because, as Donald Graves wrote, “Seeing is as essential to the artist and scientist as it is to the writer.”





OLW 2020

I found it? It found me? We found each other?  No matter, we now have each other for the next 365 days (360 to be accurate…I was wordless for five days).


noun – a winding course or bend of a river or road

Last summer, Billy and I had few days in Vermont, just the two of us.  We had no real plan.  We found ourselves driving unfamiliar roads.  We found ourselves alert for places to stop just because.  We let the twists and turns of the Vermont roads lead while we discovered.


verb – follow a winding course

My journal pages are filled with line drawings.  My line drawings start with seeing.  I put my pen ( black ultra fine sharpie) to the paper while my eyes follow the winding course of what I see.  I let my eyes and mind lead.  When the line stops, I step back to discover what landed on the page.

I wonder what I will discover with my 2020 OLW, meander?


Be – my 2019 OLW

It has served me well.  I held it close.  It helped me reflect on days in the simplest of ways.  A few months, I even kept track of my be reflections.

But when I think back on the year, November 7 was the day that be made it’s presence known.

I got the text I knew was coming.  I left school.  I stopped at home.  I packed a bag not knowing exactly when I would be back home. Calming conversation with myself filled the two hour ride – “It’s OK if I don’t make it.  If  I am meant to be there, I will be there.  If not, oh well.  It’s all good.”  Tears would well up.  At times I would push them back in.  At times I would let them fall.  I drove on.

I walked in the door and I could see my sister in the back family room.  I gave her a questioning look.  She smiled and nodded and I knew I had made it.  The house was filled with family.  We surrounded my Dad with unending love and laughter for six and half hours.  We raised a few shots of Mr. Boston Ginger Brandy in honor of him, in honor of us, his family, his pride and joy.  When the passing was imminent, shortly after 6:00 pm, my Dad’s family encircled him.  I sat on his left, close to his head.  Close to his heart.  I held his hand and felt the pulse fade.

When I think back to that day, I am filled with gratitude.  It was a day filled with love, family, and many blessings.

I had made it.

I was there.

be there


We Got ‘Em

“Don’t you know where you’re going?”  Hannah pipes from the back seat.

“Really, Billy, what is wrong with you?  You’ve done this drive your whole life? You can’t remember what exit to get off?”

“I was thinking about something else.  I totally spaced.”

I can’t look at him.  We’ll get caught.

“This is it.  This is the exit.” Billy states.

“Dad, you are too far north.  This exit has us north of Hancock.”

I know Hannah is on her phone and she’s pulled up maps.  She’s on to us.

Billy is driving on in the Vermont darkness.  He takes us up Warren Mountain Road. Dark, steep, unpaved.  The car is silent again.  The girls trusting their Dad.

“Dad, go straight.  At the next stop sign, a few miles up, take a left.  That’ll get you to Warren center.”  Hannah tries to take charge.

“Ah, yeah, your right Hannah.  I got it.”

I still can’t look at him.  A shake of excitement is building in my belly.

A quick glimpse of Warren Center all dressed up in small town Christmas glory and we find ourselves in familiar territory.

Billy whispers, “Let’s just take a look up here.”

I know where he is going.  The girls do not.  I am waiting for one of them to pipe up and ask, “Why are we going up to Sugarbush?  Why aren’t we going to Debbie and PJ’s.” No one asks.

Billy slows down and pulls into the Sugarbush Inn.  “I think this is where we need to go.”  He parks and exits the car.

“What is he doing?”  Hannah snaps.  She’s hungry and slightly confused.  She doesn’t know.  I know.

I let a grin out.  She can’t see me, thankfully.

The four of us remain in the car.  Grace is obliviously asleep.  Megan knows something is up.  And Hannah, she’s a wee bit aggravated, I can tell.

Billy hops back in the car holding two keys and an envelope of literature.

“Wait, wait, wait a minute…did you guys finally buy a condo on the mountain?”  Hannah is becoming aware.

Grace wakes up, “What is going on?  Where are we?  Why are we at Sugarbush?”

“We didn’t buy a condo but we do have a condo on the mountain for two nights.  Merry Christmas.”

“What?”  Grace is half awake confused.

“We are staying on the mountain?  We aren’t going to Debbie and PJ’s?”  Grace is getting it, waking up.

“Thank you!”  Megan yells from the way back!

“You got me.”  Hannah confesses with childhood Christmas satisfaction.

And with that, Billy and I have our best gift.  The gift of surprise for our children at Christmastime.