Monthly Archives: May 2019

saturday (we did not-enough)

Jane Hirshfield

Let them not say:     we did not see it.
We saw.

Let them not say:     we did not hear it.
We heard.

Let them not say:     they did not taste it.
We ate, we trembled.

Let them not say:     it was not spoken, not written.
We spoke, we witnessed with voices and hands.

Let them not say:     they did nothing.
We did not-enough.

Let them say, as they must say something:

A kerosene beauty.
It burned.

Let them say we warmed ourselves by it,
read by its light, praised,
and it burned.


The words should be flying out of my fingers right now. They are seeping out of every pore in my body, quick forming rivulets of moisture, a constant dampness under my arms, heat in my ears, warm flashes of stress in my shoulders, fire in the gut. They have taken up their own conversations in the attic; I busy myself with something, quiet myself with another thing – and still I hear the murmurings up there. I try to sleep but the words prevent me. I toss and turn each night and wake up tired and spent, but the words won’t stop.

You should sit and let them out, I tell myself each day, each evening, each moment after two a.m. that I lay plastered to the sheets, awake and on fire. Let them out and be free of them for at least a moment. Long enough to catch your breath and catch a nap. Long enough to temper the rage that is seeping out as well.

Why do I need to talk about my own personal, private matters to prove myself deserving of bodily autonomy, and thus, my own humanity? Over and over and over again? I want to use the word ‘you’, to lay this on the other. You, you, you. You do not hear me. You are not listening. You refuse to speak up for me. You do not care.

But this poem brings me around to ‘we’, and is correct to do so. I will employ it now.

We saw this coming, we warned of it, and yet we let it happen. Time and time again, we let it happen. Before we called and wrote and begged for someone to stop Kavanaugh, and told our stories of sexual assault. We weren’t enough. Before we chimed in with our stories of harassment and whispered, then shouted Me Too! We weren’t enough. Before we marched in protest and wrote a thousand postcards and called another full voice mailbox of our representatives. We weren’t enough. 

Before I tell you that I was born a vessel in constant search of information to fill me, that I once organized a reconnaissance mission in the fifth grade to swipe the ‘S’ encyclopedia for a recess research project I was leading on ‘sex’, only to find out that it read: Sex: see Reproduction, and we had to repeat the mission the following week with ‘R’. Before I tell you that I filled the gaping gaps of abstinence education with secret classes at campus clinics, lengthy book lists, and older, smarter women unafraid to share their truths. Before I tell you I expected the same sort of rigor and knowledge from every relationship that I entered into, and I took for granted that accurate, comprehensive education would be available to everyone.

Before I tell you that I had adverse, life-threatening reactions to a common form of birth control, and I took for granted that my partner and I could walk into an appointment together with a medical professional and figure out a better plan. Before I tell you how many methods I tried – some more ridiculous than others – and I took for granted that I would have access to all the information that I needed to be safe and healthy and happy and whole. Before I tell you how even the best laid plans will fail at some point, the percentages don’t lie, and I took for granted that I could reach out for help and get the prescription and support that I needed to continue my work towards my degree. 

Before I tell you that I met someone and I married him and we chose to be parents when we were ready, and that it still nearly cost me my life at my own hands, and I didn’t take it for granted that I could access the mental healthcare that I needed because I couldn’t see the end of the tunnel myself, but my husband could – and he picked up the phone and accessed it for me. Before I tell you that I decided that I could not risk another pregnancy for fear of leaving my daughter, and I took for granted that I could still be my whole self without the fear of another pregnancy hanging over me. Before I tell you that I worked at getting stronger until one day I thought I was ready, and then we were pregnant, and then we weren’t, and I took for granted that the care I received would be compatible to the loss that we felt. Before I tell you that we did try again, and it stuck, and she was born, and the PPD returned with a vengeance, and we took for granted that my doctor would answer her phone and act fast to lead me through to the other side.

Before I tell you that our family is complete, and that I will not, under no condition, give birth to another child in this lifetime, you probably already know that I take it for granted that we can select the best birth control choice for us based on our medical histories and access to comprehensive information on all the options available to us, and if it were to fail, forcing a medical intervention, I will receive the surgical care that I need. Before I tell you that I stayed up late reading the details of the legislation passed in Alabama (similar to that passed in my own state of MO a few days later) and saw all the threads of choice woven through the story of my life unraveling in front of me, I took for granted that my daughters would be afforded the same rights that have allowed me to make the best decisions for my life and the lives of the people I hold the dearest.

I tell you so that you cannot say it was not spoken, not written. We spoke, we witnessed with voices and hands. We just aren’t enough.

saturday (camping)

A few weekends ago our family went camping with our regular camping family friends. We try to get away each spring and fall, and we always find new places to explore. We finally found a few moments to transfer around some photos, and as I’m looking at them now I’m getting more and more excited for our upcoming vacation adventures. The girls and I got new hiking shoes and better outerwear for exploring this weekend, and now I feel like I could leave tomorrow. I want to be outside, seeing new things, exploring to the point of exhaustion, and starting all over again the next day.

I love being their mother. I love seeing them outdoors exploring. I hope they remember our adventures. I hope the seed is planted for their own adventures beyond us. But first I want to cram in as much of this as possible.

saturday (paper)

The first week of May is our busiest week of the year. Many of the things we hold dear have major fundraisers this week – We Stories, the girls’ elementary school soiree, and the Sparkle Run. So our hearts and hands and brains are all over the place right now. Forgive the brevity here.

If you’ve followed along for awhile, you know that every year I make a set of raffle posters for the soiree. Sometimes I use acrylics or watercolors – one year I used fabric. But I love to use paper, and returned to the theme this year – with lots of dimension.

The theme this year was the Wizard of Oz, and that’s a really easy theme to run with. We initially had four raffle baskets, but as we bundled auction items together we changed it to three, and the themes are built around the items the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion are all seeking from the Wizard. I didn’t want to use the characters themselves, but drew on imagery from their placement along the yellow brick road, and also included the items they received in Oz, which carry the names of each raffle prize.

First up: “Knowledge is Power”. This package includes lots of items to increase your brain power.

Dimensional diploma, and lots of straw.

I also display the names of the items / donors somewhere on each board – although a more detailed description is included in each guest’s program. This year I decided to “carve” the donors name in bricks like you see in memorial plazas, and made the bricks yellow of course! This took the most time, but was worth it.

I really love the corn stalks. I tried to use plant life / greenery / trees along the way that showed the path through the forest, and how it changed throughout the story – from corn fields, to tall, slender trees for chopping, and then more jungle like when the lion shows up.

Next up: “Love is All You Need”. This package includes big ticket items that involve activities to do with someone you love.

The tin man’s heart clock was my favorite thing to create. I cut A LOT of gold chain circles, and made the dimensional daisies, and I think it turned out really great.

I like the abstract trees here, with no greenery – but I felt like it needed some color to tie in with the others, and to make the red heart pop, so I hinted at the poppy fields to come in the corner of this poster.

And the last one (maybe my favorite): Be Brave. This awesome package includes a ton of things that might force you out of your comfort zone a little!

My first thought was of Bert Lahr’s lion in the beauty salon in Oz. It’s one of my favorite scenes from the movie, and I love when he gets a red bow, and then his medal of valor pinned to his ringlets.

When there were four posters, the fourth was going to be a Dorothy one, so I already had red sparkly paper. I used it for the bow instead, and I like the ruby slipper reference here.

It was a lot of oranges and yellows, so the jungle like greenery really helped in the corners.

Raffle tickets go in corresponding glass jars, so I made these little themed tags to identify the jars.

And there you have it – what I’ve been up to all Saturday! Paper art is my favorite art.