Saturn’s Return


I first heard of a Saturn return through No Doubt.

When I was 14, they released “Return of Saturn”.  In one of the tracks, Gwen Stefani references the album title, singing:

The return of Saturn / assessing my life / second guessing

But I was an adolescent and -– like a lot of the more subtle poetry in lyrics -– it was lost on me.  I wouldn’t hear it again until I read an article on Kesha’s current situation –- the sexual assault by the hands of her producer, the court battle to get out of her contract, the proof we still don’t get it as a society -– before I really understood what it was about. Continue reading


The Expressions We Make


“Well, someone is looking chipper.”

She’s sitting on one of the larger rocks off to the side.  A fellow hiker, one of the countless people you meet and effortlessly talk to and then equally as effortlessly part ways with while on the trails.  I’m probably a quarter mile in to what is about a solid half mile of pure uphill rock climbing.  I’m far enough away that she can’t hear my huffing and puffing (I’m assuming).

“Look at that smile.  You look like you could go another 10 miles of this,” she adds on.  Her pack is off and she is in the middle of eating.  A break from the trail.

“Don’t let the demeanor fool you,” I reply. “My legs are absolutely pissed I’m putting them through this.” Continue reading



There is time to pause when coming upon a funeral procession.

Waiting in your own vehicle, the steady steam of little purple flags and highbeams and hazards passing you by.  It’s a moment to reflect.

Music gets turned down when I come upon a funeral procession.  I might be on my way to get groceries.  Or to a class.  Or to a meeting.  For me, I’m going about a standard day.  For them, they are bringing a loved one to rest.  My morning’s agenda will bleed into the afternoon’s without much thought.  I will forget most of what I do that morning, none of it really lingering.  Their morning’s agenda will signal the start of something irrevocably different.

The funeral procession is universal.  It spans cultures, countries, centuries & millennia.  Somehow we have all banded together in this collective ritual.  By foot, by horse, by carriage, by hearse.  To the pyre, the temple, the gravesite.  We travel single file to lay the dead to rest.

This morning, I’m on the other side.  Now I’m the one in the procession, watching the cars that have to wait at intersections and streetlights.  I stare at the drivers, the passengers.  I see exhausted, impatient faces.  Are any of them reflecting?  Any taking that moment to pause?  Will any of them go to the grocery store or the gym or work with a little more reverence? Continue reading


A wasp has made my back porch door its final resting place.  As the days and nights get colder and colder, it stays on the glass panel, moving minimally.  Far from its nest and, as far as I can tell, waiting to die.

It’s funny.  I viciously hate wasps.  I think nothing of spraying neurotoxin into the air and risking poisoning myself in order to effectively kill them off.  For this one, I wouldn’t even need poison to kill him off: I’d simply need something broad to hit the door with, and it would be gone.

And yet, I let it stay.

In this state, the wasp loses all menace.  From inside the house, I can watch its feelers slowly move and bend.  I can watch it attempt to get closer to where the sun hits.  It inches across the glass pane slowly, each leg a deliberate move.  It’s so innocent in this state.  I give him his spot, even opening the porch door slowly when I step outside.

On day three of the visit from the dying wasp, I get word from my sister.  My brother-in-law has passed away. Continue reading