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Black and White

Have you ever looked at a picture in color and then looked at it in black and white? It’s startling. It’s almost as if you’re looking at a different place and time. There are contrasts in the black and white that I miss while looking at the beautiful color.

And so it is with me in my “black and white” days. These days are punctuated with great truths; exaggerated even. But they hold such a weight. Deep down, if I’m prodded and poked, I must admit, I find great value here. It’s like the “aha” moment my soul longs for, but can’t quite grasp in color.

If I’m commentating on these days, I might use words like “blah” and “bland”, “raw” and “colorless”, “overcast” and “bleak” . But then I take a look at the photo. My breath catches at the clarity that the harshness highlights. Even the grayness soothes like a cool drink to a parched soul. Comfort and proaction is here in the bright and dark.

Social injustices become startlingly clear in black and white. Someone (in full color) asks me, “What do you think about refugees?” Hmmm, so many colors and opinions  are zigzagging in and out of so many worlds and then wrapped in this colorful question.

What do I think? What do I think? I take a minute to shift from color and examine the black and white photo…and I know.

The person in front of me is the one that matters. Refugee or not, I know exactly what to do; how to love; when to take action. There are NO polarizing mantras that will sway my focus from that face; those eyes; this heart. This is what the sad gray can do.

To be honest, I wish I didn’t need it now and again to remind me of something I knew but have forgotten. But…

It reminds me that light is strong and steady.  It has power. I have power. WE have power.  Our light (and love) pierces and highlights and has a place in this world. It can be trusted. It silhouettes and focuses like none other.

It reminds me that my mundane feelings of gray (inadequate as they feel) are the backdrop to most of my life. It’s as if the sooner I appreciate gray, the more it freely gives to me. I suddenly see the grandeur in the slightest of these “shades”.

Yes, pain is evident here in the black and white, but so is the honest and brutal truth. What a gift.







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A Time for Gray


It’s a chilly morning, but not frozen

 It’s “in-between” world where I feel neither “here” nor “there”

-a place where nothing is completely anything

Few leaves, colored and clinging remain, still hopeful in the breeze

All the others are swirling down on the ground, free, unattached and forgotten

My thick skin hasn’t emerged for the season

so I place my my fingertips over the heater

I start to wonder as I watch the leaves, ‘which am I’?

Have I fallen already? Or am I still clinging?

This melancholy settles in with the blanket I wrap around me

I see pumpkins discarded from porches, replaced with the lights we need at night

Though it’s morning, grayness settles comfortably in the sky as if there is no sun in the east

That dreariness in the sky against the fieriness of the trees  grate on me

And yet if I’m honest, I admit I both love and hate the contrast

Why does gray have a place? My artist brain works for an answer

Opposites and gradients of color highlight each other

Is this how I make sense of the newness of sadness? Is this the comfort of change?

And then, as if on cue, I hear you outside my window

Yours melody is so free. No expectation. No restlessness in the gray

Like a dance

Your happy “in-between” gray cadence

trails effortlessly and fearlessly, leaving me mesmerized between longing and belonging

comfortable and inviting in the in-between

For the first time in a long while, it makes sense

You’ve gifted me, little feathered one,

with such a truth: gray “in between” moments belong, as do I


There is a “time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away…”

There is always a time for gray


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You & Me

sunsetjade I soak deeply in the days of light, fun and laughter. Opening my mind and heart to let it fill me is easy. The sunshine rises higher and higher filling me from my feet to the tip top of my head…maybe even beyond, spilling and overflowing like rivers after the torrential rain.

Like a party with music and dancing and feasting, everyone comes. “Welcome, welcome”, I call out. “Come and enjoy …isn’t the light wonderful?”. In these moments…I am swept away with joy, like new love igniting the inner soul. Do you feel this too? Invigorating euphoria gives and gives, never tiring of hungry souls. And I could take and take and take…

It’s not until the source of light is out of sight and clouds have blocked the rays, that I look around. ‘Panic’ may be the more accurate word. How is “IT” gone? Where is everyone? I blinked and suddenly they are down the road, specks of black moving farther and farther away. I scan the horizon and squint more harshly now. How did this happen? I look down and around, my head swirling like I’m fighting for life. And maybe I am. This loneliness feels old and cold. Can anyone hear me? I’m flailing like a newborn. What I FEEL is a need to be rescued.  Someone that has the light must return.

And then some thought is whispered in my ear, gently but firmly saying,”Look.Look! You have everything you need”.  I hear the words in the breeze. Free. Charming. Compelling. But I stand baffled, confused, asking, “where”?

I slowly move my gaze to find the voice and find myself looking within.  My own heart is aglow. Quite frankly, I’m startled at what I see and feel. This was here? In me? Have I been so unaware of “ME“? I’m hugged into glorious light. warmth. bliss. beauty. hope. Here all along, waiting patiently like a warm smile from a knowing friend.

This is gray’s gift to those who will not settle; for the ones that NEED the light like all need air.  I did not know the truth until the gray.

Until there was not, did I look within, to find the gift of ME.

I wander from friend to friend, whispering the words carried to me, “Look Look. You have everything you need. You have the gift of you.”