Moving Through Water and Time

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Seasonal | 10 Comments

—For Melissa, an emotional winter gives way to the surprise of new growth—

If one pays the closest attention it is possible to see the turns of the seasons in particular the arrival of Spring. Here in Northern New Mexico the seasons are showy, dramatic and distinct rituals accompany them.

I’ve been here for the last two and a half months having arrived early in February to be with my father during his time in a rehabilitation hospital as efforts were made to get him back on his feet after a particularly “killer” series of chemotherapy treatments. I’ve seen him released from the rehab hospital only to be admitted to another hospital a couple of weeks later and to hear the Doctor say “he is dying.” I’ve participated in the first meeting with the hospice doctor. I was present to hear the doctor say, “It’s true I am a hospice doctor, but I also have hospice graduates and I think its possible that a year from now you will be one of my graduates.” With this possibility held out to us we all, the whole family, became singularly focused on my father’s weight gain and his tours up and down the hall with his walker. We have gone from the place where my father’s friends came ostensibly to say goodbye, to the pleasant surprise of ongoing visits. Read more

Battle of the Flesh

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Melissa Howden | 14 Comments

As Melissa’s mind and body challenge her conceptions, her father faces the inevitable

There are wars waging. If it is not bad enough that the GOP war on women continues unabated, I am at war with my own body. My body has become a battleground. As a Feminist I am embarrassed to confess this fact. But then again maybe this is the absolute prerogative of a Feminist—to admit to personal war with his/her body. It is after all my own, and currently I am miserable in it.

I heard a talk show host say the other day that there are parts of her body she loathes. My thought at the time was, “Right now I kind of loathe the whole dang thing”. My physical self feels like a fickle lover, a phenomenon I am all too familiar with. She is one thing then another. She is here, then she is there—she is high, she is low. She loves me. Loves me not. Read more

The Hourglass

Filed Under All Posts, Family, Prudence Baird | 17 Comments


Prudence Baird paints a picture of mother and daughter—in roles rarely revealed

Two figures move as one under a hot January sun across the steaming asphalt of a medical building parking lot. This is the kind of day that brings hordes of winter refugees west following the televised New Year’s Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

One of the figures is a frail old woman collapsed in a transporter wheelchair—a conveyance with four small wheels, made for transferring from place-to-place those whose self-propelling days are history. The other is a middle-aged stick figure; her veiny hands grasp the heavy rubber handles of the transporter, pushing her load gently in the unseasonably warm mid-morning air.

When the conjoined pair reaches an unwashed silver Volvo, the ambulatory woman expertly backs the transporter into the space alongside the passenger side of the car and stops. The middle aged woman—who, if you haven’t guessed by now, is me—rummages for her keys in a worn black backpack hanging by the handles of the conveyance. Read more