The Wind Lifts Both Prayers and Tones

Yesterday I passed by one of my favorite houses. It used to be a grocery store, back in the 1930’s. Today an artist has made it his own. The double doors are turquoise. A child’s red tricycle is sculpture.

I noticed that the tree had been trimmed, allowing me to walk down the sidewalk without ducking. As I passed the house, I stopped. Strung between two branches was a light line. Hanging from the line were five unusual prayer flags. Roughly four inches square of heavyweight raw silk, the flags bore haikus or other messages. “Be the peace you wish to see,” said the central flag. Each flag was partnered with a small Tibetan-style bell, the size of my thumbnail.

Just inches above, a third branch thrust a pair of pinecones and a clutch of long needles in my direction.


This morning I woke to the sound of rain. All day long the soft patter and heavy, gray clouds cocooned the house. The children slept late.

Early morning I drop off the car and walk back home. On the way, I find a stand of phlox, white petals set with a ring of purple. I stoop to inhale their fragrance. The odor reminds me of my grandmother, of the stem or two of phlox, sometimes white, sometimes lavender, that graced her summer breakfast table.

Storm warnings keep me home all day. I float through this day that has no schedule. A gift of time.

Late afternoon, I step outside, into a street cooled by the downpour. The air smells of mint, freshly washed.

The Herald

When I pulled up in front of my house last week, a heron waited in my driveway. I had never seen one on my street before, let alone one on the ground.

I drove past my house cautiously. The heron did not move. I parked on the other side of my house and walked back to my gate. As I approached, the heron moved away slowly, stilts picking delicately through the grass. I opened the gate and then closed it behind me. The heron merely walked to the far side of my yard. Only when I climbed the steps to my porch, did it take flight.

Google tells me that the heron was considered a messenger from Athena. For Christians the heron was a symbol of contemplation. For Native Americans the heron totem reflects the need for self-determination, the following of one’s own, unique path. The Chinese consider the heron and the crow to be symbols of the yin and yang, the unity of opposites.

When I come out of the house later that afternoon, a crow stands watch over the yard across the street.