And the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom. Anais Nin


Everything Is Your Life

- Dogen (AD 1200 - 53)

"Whatever you encounter, day and night, is your life; you should therefore give yourself to each situation as it arises from moment to moment. Use your life energy towards that purpose, so that from the circumstances that befall you, you may create a harmonious life with all things in their rightful place."

Seems like simple wisdom. We all know that simple wisdom is frequently hard to implement. Try as we may, we get hung up along the way.

Caught in the Cross Hairs
By toni

"you can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first"

it is incumbent upon you
to relish life
not live the colorless
regimen of the fishwife
ransomed by fractal proportions
with no gallantry in matters
utilitarian and dreary

run headfirst
along baselines
let home float
on sensations

wisdom is unforeseen
wonder is surefire
when tomorrow is indefinite
today can be remarkable


Wondering What's Next

Just this week, three friends told me they have lost their jobs or been put on temporary leave while the business adjusts. On the news, two local employers are closing down a major part of their operations after decades of production. Like these and other folks impacted by this volatile economy, I'm wondering what's next?

The pressure of waiting for the other shoe to drop is hard on people. It brings on anxiety and fear. These two emotions cause short tempers and frequently, the urge to withdraw from others. It's natural to feel alone when it seems the roof is falling in.

Most people will tell you this is when you need people the most. Really, this is just common sense. But, how many of us isolate? Sure, take some time alone to think through these changes, to ponder your options, and to gather information. Then, talk to others. You may think others don't want to hear your troubles, and that might be true - but other people have life experiences that can shed light on your current situation.

Remember, there's strength in numbers - don't tough it out alone.


West Of Town

It’s above fifty degrees and bright outside, not at all the November of last year. I still wear mittens, a cap, and oversized turtleneck sweatshirt, but leave my jacket in the car. The dog can’t contain his excitement after traveling with the back window halfway down and his nose savoring every smell along the five-mile drive. Now he paws at the door, he would yell, “let me out” if he could talk. Some days I think he does talk, but I keep this to myself, mostly. We cross the parking lot, already three-quarters full on our way to the river view. I must see the water before doing anything else. He pulls me along, forgetting to heel, forgetting to sit. I almost don’t care, then remember what I paid for obedience training and feign interest in keeping him alert to my commands. Today, commands seem outlandish. It’s much too nice outside to care about rules. Swallowing up as much blue sky as I can and watching the sun dry out dozens of giant, soggy leaves is enough. I’m content with this moment of me, dog, sky, sun, and crisp freshness all around.

Today I came out of the cave for this. Left the fire and my blanket, my satellite movies and microwave popcorn. Today I don’t worry about the cost of gas for an afternoon drive. I don’t hear the cars race by, or little kids tell parents to pedal faster on the bike trail. I don’t hear the young freckled girl cry into her cell phone, or the big trucks cough up fumes. I don’t hear any of it, not today. Today I can see Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens, and a tiny bit of Mt. Adams. I can smell the pavement warming and imagine dime-size rain puddles receding under fallen leaves.

At first I hear them far away, then closer, and then I see them, hundreds of geese like dots of peppercorns in the western sky. They are all heading my way, all honking and flying in my direction. My heart speeds up, I’m excited and thrilled, I’m ecstatic. I sigh and coo, caught up in this magnificent sight. Then, I’m crying. Full, I feel full. What a glorious event overhead, free and unexpected. Loud. Alive. Mine.

The dog sits, looks up, too. We wait for the last formations to pass and turn toward the parking lot. I don’t want to go because I don’t want the full feeling to leave. As we walk slowly toward the car the dog automatically heels - without a command. I know how much he wants to please me. He can’t possibly know that positioning his small, furry self right next to my left leg makes the full feeling last much longer. Sometimes the beauty of things is simple. This simple.


It Takes More Than Being Female

Presidential Politics 2008: The Search for Estrogen
By toni

for karen

It’s a search for roe, the eggs or egg-laden ovaries of a fish.

an overcast day
Alaskan streams are late summer cold
not many swimmers
no fish to speak of
maverick techniques will get you nothing
there won’t be grandiose stories tonight

fly fishing requires a long rod and
miles of line
keen eyesight, patience and
a flexible wrist

stand for hours in
waste deep waters
endure dead drifts
watch the hand-tied lure spin, shiny

today they fish in
the vagina pool of nominees
a few old sturgeon swim past
they won’t survive the fight
November is a long ways off

the waders search the shallows
no northern pike
no carp
cast the line further
make huge rippled circles
reel in
cast again

the pool is nearly empty
no brilliant colored minnows on
its clear bottom

cast wider
there must be one bright fish
in this enormous pool
one symbolic fish
ready to lead the school
scatter her eggs
in controversy
and defend
them at any cost

she’s frisky
reel her in
convince Fish and Game
that the license makes
up for experience

too small to keep
yet, this fishing party can’t throw her back
she’s a light snack
not a hardy meal
but the only one hooked by the artificial fly

this catch is not worth
the time it took to tie the lure

she flops on the bank
with a few sharp scales
behind the gills and

they do not notice
the rest is undeveloped
and still too soft
to eat


It's cold and damp outside, the heater in the car works fine, time for a drive...

At Frenchman’s Bar
By toni

an assembly of egrets
spaced perfectly low
levitate above the Columbia’s glass top
framed by fifty-foot twigs
upright to the sky

parked barges resemble a life
stopped abruptly
waiting for permission to dock
to unload the steerage
of this long journey

is it time to sail toward unknown ports?
where women
in flocks
perfectly spaced
arms beckoning
you to land


There's So Much To Write About...

OK - time to pick up my pen. Can you believe how much there is to write about? Walk outside, look around, listen - it's all there. The most recent political changes, the way people feel hopeful in the middle of financial chaos, the yellow and red leaves everywhere.

I went to buy dog food the other day and the clerk commented on the sunshine - it is rare, I know. Then she launched into the terrible task that awaited her at home that afternoon. She would use this rare sun-filled afternoon raking the leaves from her neighbor's trees that breached her fence and now fill her backyard. She outlined her strategic plan last fall when she had three Maple's removed from her backyard, leaving just one and trimming it all the way back so as not to gift her with any unwelcome droppings this year. She let me know that at the same time, she had trimmed the branches of her neighbor's trees that spilled over her fence. But now, she is upset to have miscalculated the rapid growth of these interlopers and must spend this, the only sun-filled day she will see this fall, raking these damn fence jumpers. I nodded a conspiratorial nod that her big plan was foiled and suggested she make hot cider and invite the neighbors over for a leaf raking party. She looked at me perplexed, scowled and said, "well, at least enjoy YOUR afternoon."

A Poem About Life and Career Coaching

one to one
By toni

enter the sanctuary
through poetic gates
where a bath of truth serum
is drawn for you

a vast stillness awaits
worry not
the order here will heal
unwelcome calamities

find your perch
receptive of gifts to come

resonant serenity
drench the body in lowlight

lilacs bloom out back
find the words
speak them
tell me now

your most daring dream
and all the reasons
you cannot sleep

BOOK RELEASE - VoiceCatcher 3

Great Book News:
VoiceCatcher 3 - the third edition of VoiceCatcher, an anthology of Portland-area women's writing is now available in local bookstores and New Season's Markets. This year's edition captures the work of 62 local poets and prose writers. It is a lovely collection and just the right book for your fall and winter reading.

I'm pleased that the VoiceCatcher Editorial Collective selected my poem "Wind-Wing" for VoiceCatcher 3. Also, I'm truly honored to be featured alongside so many talented women.

If you have a chance, catch this VoiceCatcher reading:

Powell's City of Books
This reading will feature work by Emily Kendal Frey, Sarah Bartlett, FeLicia Elam, Sandra Sakurai, Tiel Aisha Ansari and Patricia Kullberg and will be hosted by VoiceCatcher3 editor Sara Guest and members of the editorial collective.

Powell's City of Books - Downtown Portland at 10th and Burnside
Monday, November 17 at 7:30pm

VoiceCatcher grew out of a community of women writers and is an offering to the wider community of readers. Please come show your support for the project and join in celebrating local artists! For more information visit


What Is This Blog About?

Life In The Moment is a collection of poetry, prose, thoughts, and ideas designed to keep us connected to the present. I find it helpful to remain engaged in what's going on today, in the moments as they unfold.

I think it's important to be aware of the past and its impact on the choices we make. But also important is the knowledge that the future is beyond our basic control. Things happen, sometimes randomly. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't plan or set goals, but not to the extent that we are over planning everything and not experiencing these moments.

Slow down, look around, take a few minutes to enjoy the nuances of being alive, being connected to the living, and experiencing all that is available to your senses.


Life In The Moment will bring you poems, prose, observations, and announcements of daily life - sometimes rich with joy, sometimes grim reality - hopefully thought provoking and daring to get you thinking about yourself, your relationships and your connections in this vast world we share.

Check in now and then - there just might be something you find useful.


realization, a long time coming
By Toni

the Coen Brothers new film
Burn After Reading
stole the title from
the foes of DH Lawrence
who cringe at raw
language since they forgot
about the First Amendment
Carlin had eight words
liberals have hundreds
poets have thousands
no speech is free
you learn this in the first grade