How Time Moves

How Time Moves

New and Selected Poems

by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Meadowlark Press, 2020. Paperback: 326 pages, 978-1-7342477-2-5

Buy your signed copy in advance, and get free shipping. Books will sent out in July.

How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems brings together over 30 years of Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg's explorations of what it means to be human in a particular place, time, body, history, and story. "She is our teacher speaking from the sky, from the field, from the heartland," writes Oregon Poet Laureate Kim Stafford of this stirring new collection. "Like William Blake’s 'doors of perception,' these pages lead readers inward and outward at once," Denise Low, past poet laureate of Kansas, says of the new poems. The collection also includes poetry from Mirriam-Goldberg's previous six collections: Following the Curve, Chasing Weather, Landed, Animals in the House, Reading the Body, and Lot's Wife. 

"In How Time Moves, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg offers us a magical gift: a compilation of new and selected poems, rich with memory and meaning. 'Expect to be startled,' the poet tells us. And we are," writes poet Joy Roulier Sawyer. Poet Patricia Traxler adds, "This is the real work of a poet--to see and speak the often-hidden truths of a human life in a way that enlightens and informs." Poet Diane Suess points out that "True to its title, time is a paramount issue in these poems—not simply its passing, but its potential, in complicity with imagination, to invent and resurrect the future."

Echoing through all the poems in this book, Mirriam-Goldberg illuminates how to live with greater meaning, vitality, and joy. As she writes in the introduction:

The humming is everywhere, those rhythms of one place or another unfolding where and who we truly are. Of course, we don't just inhabit place: we live in time, a human construct of how we order the world as well as the ecological ground of how seasons shift, weather migrates, and the cycles of birth, age, death, and renewal unfurl. I used to think I was primarily writing about place until it occurred to me that my poetry constantly grapples with what time is and how it moves. Like all of us, I live in the place called time, and that place—a field within the field—is dizzingly diverse and deep, made of stories and histories, callings and yearnings, hard-won wisdom and pure mystery. What does it mean to live in time? I circle around the fire of that question through my poems, gravitating toward what light and heat I glimpse.

Here are some of the new poems from How Time Moves:

Crossing Over

 

At the edge of the yard somewhere in Lithuania,

she takes it all in: the white bark of the forest,

the dark vertical shadows, the tall field between here

and horizon. Wind rises from the banks

of trees and rushes everywhere, reminding her

to lift her chest, inhale sharply, remember.

 

Who will come after her, and then what?

Will the grasses part the same way in tomorrow's weather,

the leaves sing their breaking song, the air hold

the weight of the world evenly around each being?

Is she the first or the last to hear the ending world?

 

From years ahead, I wait for her to turn into the future.

When she does, her face catches the late light,

and she sees me, sitting cross-legged on a wooden floor

in Kansas. What is there to say from there to here

that would help? A cow walks through a parking lot,

a peacock screams, all of us far from oceans, wars,

the urgency of living in a world on the cusp of vanishing.

 

My great-grandmother doesn't know she will die

in that very spot facing away from soldiers and fire.

How most of this village will face the gun or the gas chamber,

quickly or slowly in the camps or holes in the ground,

little space to think the best, last thought.

The air she exhales falls off the earth, like the sun

tonight and every night. Her surviving children

will spread like water on hard ground that softens over time,

so far from her view at the edge of the yard.

 

All she knows is the cleansing light of the wind,

the moment her life balances before her,

the way love can shelter itself as a dark bird not-so-hidden

in the birches, ready to exhale from the leaves

that keep remaking themselves and the breath

from her body that will one day be my body.

 

 

No One Tells You What to Expect

 

A downpour as you're running down Massachusetts Street

in sandals that keep falling off in unexpected puddles.

Ice on power lines. The dying who won't die,

then a single bluebird dead in your driveway.

The deadline or lost check spilling the orderly papers.

The part that isn't made anymore for the carburetor,

or the sudden end of chronic sinus infections

while walking a parking lot unable to find the car.

 

Your best thinking won't be enough to save your daughter

from a bad romance or your friend from leaving the man

she'll regret leaving. Across town, in a quiet gathering

of maples, someone drops to her knees in such sadness

that even the hummingbirds buzz through unnoticed.

The dog gone for days returns wet and hungry,

the phone call reports the CT scan is negative,

and your husband brings you a tiny strawberry,

the first or the last, growing in your backyard.

 

Life will right itself on the water when the right rocks

come along, so let the bend tilt you toward

what comes next: the bottoms that fall out,

the shoes that drop, the wrong email sent

while a cousin you lost touch with decades ago

calls, his voice as familiar as the smell of pot roast.

All the songs you love will return like an old cat.

 

Expect to be startled.

Praise for How Time Moves

"Those familiar with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s verse know the humor, the inventiveness, and the revelations. Her How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems samples generously from all of her books, a span of 25 years. The new poems show a master poet at work, as in 'Thresholds,' where story and song blend to create a further dimension, where 'all the gears of blossom / keep turning, all the doors continually open wide.' Like William Blake’s “doors of perception,” these pages lead readers inward and outward at once. Congratulations to her for this stupendous book! ~ Denise Low, 2007-09 Kansas Poet Laureate, Shadow Light: Poems, Red Mountain Press Editor’s Award

"This poet testifies her tug of kinship to feral storms, kitchen appliances, crows, the pluck of old ladies, helpless love, and other denizens of the wide world brought living to her pages. Drawn from twenty five years of lyric devotion, Caryn brings this harvest to Meadowlark Books in a collection with gifts for everyone: blessing, consolation, self-portrait, field guide, yoga gesture, biblical telling, song, memory, spell. She is our teacher speaking from the sky, from the field, from the heartland." ~ Kim Stafford, Oregon Poet Laureate & author of Wild Honey, Tough Salt

"Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is a generous and insightful poet, brave in her candor and ever awake to the world around her, ready for all the truth it can offer her each day. In Mirriam-Goldberg's poetry, even cancer becomes epiphany, an occasion of ecstatic awakening. This is the real work of a poet -- to see and speak the often-hidden truths of a human life in a way that enlightens and informs. In the cumulative power of her new and selected poems, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg accomplishes this with grace, insight, courage, and unceasing wonder. ~ Patricia Traxler, author of Naming the Fires

"Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s How Time Moves enacts the largesse and endurance of the upright piano on its cover, in poems that span a life with 'the urgency of living in a world on the cusp of vanishing.' True to its title, time is a paramount issue in these poems—not simply its passing, but its potential, in complicity with imagination, to invent and resurrect the future. 'From years ahead, I wait for her to turn into the future,' she writes of her great-grandmother in a Lithuanian village whose inhabitants 'will face the gun or the gas chamber,'…and 'the breath/from her body that will one day be my body.' The poems extend over the decades of Mirriam-Goldberg’s extraordinary life, from her childhood in Brooklyn, “where my fingernails formed in utero,” to the Kansas prairie. The bridge between past and future is 'a freeway of stars,' and wind, and breath, and always, for Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, poetry." ~ Diane Seuss, author of Four-Legged Girl and Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl

"In How Time Moves, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg offers us a magical gift: a compilation of new and selected poems, rich with memory and meaning. 'Expect to be startled,' the poet tells us. And we are. Mirriam-Goldberg’s distinctive voice is a steadying hand on the shoulder, as she gently steers us through her treasured Kansas landscape, or turns our gaze toward the faces of her beloveds. The poet reminds us that 'the holy does not play by our rules,' then deftly proceeds to make all things holy: her prayers tucked into Ponderosa pines, cranes who stencil the sky, clouds of tilted silver, the lingering touch of a lover or child. Through her brilliant mastery of craft and and ever-present compassion, Mirriam-Goldberg offers us a wise, humorous, breathtakingly diverse glimpse into her world—as well as the world of our shared human experience. As the poet tenderly says: 'I want to know this song that breaks the mouths / of humans.' Her own song is one of piercing honesty and exuberant hope, a rare voice in a fractured world. How Time Moves lingers long in the heart and mind, an enduring reminder of the deep and lasting power of poetry." ~ Joy Roulier Sawyer, author of Lifeguards and Tongues of Men and Angels

"Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg admonishes us: 'All the songs you love will return like an old cat. // Expect to be startled.' Believe her. How Time Moves is the glimmering songbook of her poetic oeuvre—a single volume containing a book’s worth of new work in four chapters along with choice excerpts from each of her previous six poetry volumes. Here, time becomes both particle (…the brown bricks chipped / by time and the stress of lasting') and wave ('The friend you love is all ashes now / waiting for you and others to scatter. // The ideas you have about time or what’s right / are lighter than all that ash'). Amidst the tumult of time's flow, there are also introspective interludes: 'Place a wintered leaf / of your old thoughts / on a flat rock. Wait. // Watch what the pine, an arrow / of desire for the sun, does with time…' It is the universality of time’s passage joined with the specificity and intimacy Mirriam-Goldberg uses to illumine and delineate her own times that make this a rare book to cherish, a consummate gift of grace." ~ Roy Beckemeyer, author of Mouth Brimming Over

"For Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, witnessing often means 'dwelling in what we don’t know.' How Time Moves, her stellar new omnibus, allows us to witness a world redolent of possibility, a half-known world in which we can fling ourselves across the dewy air to discover we can fly. Caryn writes, 'to be awake enough in any place is . . . to hear what sings beneath the human-made world.' Layer upon layer of this book houses new and sometimes familiar friends who find each other in the cleansing light of the wind. And if this new collection is indeed a type of house, it is surely a great tree that sings boldly from below our human doings, 'its arms holding up rooms full of birds'." ~ Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief of MockingHeart Reviewand author of Driving Together 

Praise for Previous Poetry Books

“The poems are as close to prayer as language can get, if prayer is vision that sees into the souls of things and music that makes us move to old healing rhythms. I find myself writing whole stanzas in my journal and quoting phrases to friends wondering, 'Now who said that?' Caryn Miriam Goldberg gives voice to what can't be put into words, sets us free of old paradigms, and writes like a dream.” ~ Julia Alvarez, author of The Woman I Kept To Myselfand Return to Sender

“'Nothing prepares you for the real/,” writes Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg in the soaring flock of tones and images that is this wonderful book of poems. Nothing prepares us, and so we stumble and fall and break into blossom, bite persimmons, and birth ourselves again and again. How any of us weather the darkening climate of these times is a wonder; it is such books as this that help us breathe." ~ David Abram, author, The Spell of the Sensuous

"Mirriam-Goldberg is a master of the paradoxical as she gifts the reader with insights that are at once disconcerting and comforting; as she holds joy and grief in the same hand, and asks us to trust the maker of these poems—her courage, her wisdom, and her truthtelling, as if she's lived infinity." ~ Maureen Seaton, author of Cave of the Yellow Volkswagen and Sex Talks to Girls

"The poems are silver threads that weave through the darkening sky and gates and light unspooling from the heart’s loom a dream of joy and ancestral echoes." ~ Jimmy Santiago Baca, author, A Glass Of Water and Singing At The Gates. Founder, Cedar Tree, Inc.

"Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s voice is imbued with love, humor and wisdom. She wields plain words powerfully. Her comprehension of nature borders on the absolute. Her wonderful poems state the seamlessness of the cosmic and mundane, the molten paradoxes of intimacy and otherness, identity and separation." ~ Stephanie Mills, author, Epicurian Simplicity andIn Service of the Wild.

"Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is a wise, witty, and wry poet." ~ Alicia Ostriker, author of The Little Space: Poems Selected and New

"These noble, ecstatic poems reflect a woman on the edge of life and death. She runs like any animal into the dark “that isn’t so dark” and with new eyes sees there what sustains her—a different light, a hidden room, hope and healing. Her words capture the richness of Kansas landscape and the internal wildness of animals that feed our very existence, give us courage to breathe in every minute and move on." ~ Perie Longo, author, The Privacy of Wind

"Animals in the House is a collection of poems that celebrates the power of the natural world to shape us into what we’re meant to be. These poems lift us out of the container we call our selves, shape us toward trusting what we can never completely know, place us more firmly on the trustworthy ground of earth that has the power to heal and renew. These poems tell us what matters is what’s up close and they make what matters close in case we’ve forgotten. Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg walks through the fire – of her longing, her childhood, her desire, her hauntings – all senses pried open, through “a dark that isn’t so dark” into a light that 'dissolves borders into bluestem'."  ~ Renee Gregorio, author, The Storm That Tames Us

“'The earth is tilting',” Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg writes, offering us unexpected, empowering angles from which to reconsider our traditions.~ Diane Wolkstein, author of Inanna: Queen of Heaven

"There were never two women, just Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg split into myths, riper than pomegranates and out of all time. I love these poems." ~ Stanley Lombardo, translator of The Illiad

Teaching With Big Sonia: Everyday Magic, Day 957

Sonia and me

The tagline for the film Big Sonia is “Holocaust survivor. Grandma. Diva.” True that, but she’s also quite the Holocaust scholar, fluent in a dizzying amount of books, films, articles, and other accounts of what Sonia repeatedly and accurately calls “unbelievable.” Like many of us but even more so, Sonia Warshawski has been grappling with all the big questions regarding the Holocaust for a long time: How and why could this happen? What does it mean? Who embodied the worst of humanity and the best? What does not never forgetting mean in our everyday lives?

When it comes to the question of how someone survives the Holocaust and makes a new life in a new land after losing most of her family and finding her home community in Poland what she called “a ghost town,” Sonia embodies the answers. I got to witness this first-hand when she showed up as a student in my Osher class, “Triumph and Terror: How Two Men Survived Nazi Horrors.” The three-session class in Prairie Village, KS, based on my book, Needle in the Bone: How a Holocaust Survivor and Polish Resistance Fighter Beat the Odds and Found Each Other, focuses on both the Holocaust and Polish and Jewish resistance movements. While I usually mainly explore this history through the lives of Lou (a Holocaust survivor) and Jarek (a Polish resistance fighter) who met in Lawrence, Kansas and became best friends, Sonia brought us a new dimension (through her experience and scholarship) of the Holocaust and the Jewish Resistance.

Sonia telling us some of her story

Bedecked in a leopard print coat and dressed to the nines, and well under five feet tall, Sonia is a 94-year-old force of nature. She’s also a vital voice in the wilderness calling for never forgetting or forgiving, but always moving ahead with love. She sat in the front row, and within a short time, I was handing her the mic at regular intervals because of what she had to say as an eye witness, survivor, and fierce advocate for Holocaust education.

Sonia was born in Międzyrzec, Poland, actually just down the road from where some of Jarek’s family lived in Biala Podlaska. She was only 17 years old when the Nazis invaded the ghetto where she was hiding with her family, forcing her and her mother to go to Majdanek, one of the death camps. Big Sonia, the award-winning and spectacular film directed by her granddaughter Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday uses animated illustrations, based on Sonia’s artful doodling, to show the excruciating moment her mother was ripped away from her to go to the gas chamber. Only Sonia and her younger sister, against all odds, survived, along with a small orange scarf from her mother that Sonia keeps in a plastic baggie under her pillow.

Sonia spoke eloquently about the role of the partisans (the Jewish resistance) helping her younger sister, who largely hid in the woods during the war, make it through these terrible years. She also told us of the times she was beaten, just as Bergen-Belsen was being liberated (after she spent startling time at Auschwitz-Birkenau), how she was shot. She hid among fallen bodies, endured terrible beatings, and even had to spread the ashes (some still holding bits of human bones) on fields as fertilizer. When I told the story of Lou’s needle in the bone — how he landed on something sharp one night but had to endure it, only to find out years later that he had a needle embedded in his heel — she nodded knowingly at me. She has carried her own needle in the bone for close to 80 years, and like Lou and many other survivors, she also found the strength and courage to start a new life, coming to Kansas City with her husband and their family-in-process in 1948.

It was one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to write about the stories of Lou and Jarek, then to find this is a gift that keeps moving, bringing me into deep and necessary conversation with others about the big questions at the heart of what it can mean to be human, at our best and at our worst. How do people go on after facing such annihilating forces and losing almost everything, everywhere, and everyone they know and love? Sonia answered this through the warmth, intelligence, and presence shone through all she shared with unflinching honesty.

Sonia also reminds us — and I get the sense she does this whether she’s talking to high school students, lifers in prison, or customers who come to the tailor shop her husband started that she still runs — about the importance of Tikkun Olam, repairing the broken world. She sees what’s happening clearly, particularly the rise of anti-Semitism and Holocaust deniers, and as she told the New York Times a few years ago, “….it’s a terrible hate what’s going on now. I hope that my speaking is a way of starting to repair the world, to change the direction for us.” May it be so, and may we all find the courage to repair the world however we can.

For more on Sonia, please see Big Sonia, now streaming on Amazon, read the New York Times article -“‘But It’s a Terrible Hate Going On Now‘” about her, listen to “A Conversation with Sonia Warshawski” hosted by the Kansas City Public Library. and watch her testimony with the Midwest Center for the Holocaust. You can also see my book Needle in the Bone here, and check out Jarek’s new book, Dance With Death: A Holistic View of Saving Polish Jews During the Holocaust. Top photo by Ken Lassman, bottom photo from Friends of Osher.

Nine Reasons to Give a Little (or a Lot): Everyday Magic, Day 978

One of the beautiful cards with Stephen Locke’s photography for patrons

As many of you know, I’m leaping from my day job of college-level teaching to creating more transformative writing, community-building writing workshops, and a podcast series on the power of words. I’m also asking for your help in supporting this leap. Here are nine reasons to consider being a patron through Patreon, a great online platform that helps writers, artists, innovators, and others do cool stuff in the world. You can see more here.

1. Perks: You get a signed book of your choice, gorgeous greeting cards with Stephen Locke’s photography and my poetry, and even a poem I write for you for a beloved.

2. Weekly Inspiration: All patrons get a post every Friday with something to spark creativity and magic in your life, art, and work, such as “The Care and Feeding of the Artist,” a podcast poetry reading, and tips on inventing your own inspiration.

3. Poetry Party!: Every time I cross the $100 mark each month (and we’re really close to another crossing), patrons get to call out (via the Patreon site or emailing me directly) words you want me to weave into a spontaneous poem I make up on the spot, record, and share with you. You can also watch the often hilarious and sometimes moving past poetry parties.

4. Satisfaction: Doesn’t it feel good to help someone live their dreams? Patrons get the satisfaction of knowing they’re helping me follow my calling.

5. Making Good Things Happen: Your contributions help me create new writing, workshops, and a podcast series (to launch this fall) on the power of writing and witnessing our truest stories.

I dress up a bit more than for the Poetry Party!

6. Ease: Becoming a patron is simple: You just click here, follow the directions, and within a few minutes, you’re in.

7. What a Deal!: For as little as $3/month, you can be a patron. Also, those little payments are easy to swallow each month.

8. Your Fellow Patrons: I’m not exaggerating when I say my patrons are exceeding passionate, innovative, and soulful change makers in this world. Come hang out with the cool kids;

9. The Power of Being a Patron: You don’t have to be the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the work you love. You have the power to do that right now. Just wave the magic wand of your credit card over the Patreon page, and there you go!

Surprises From 2018: Everyday Magic, Day 960

“So instead of New Year’s resolutions, I drew up a list for 2019 of experiences that had already passed: a record not of self-mastery but of genuine surprise. 1. My oncology nurse became a dear friend. 2. Even in the hospital I felt the love of God. 3. Zach is under the impression that I never get tired. These are my small miracles scattered like bread crumbs, the way forward dotting the path behind me.” — Kate Bolwer

Surprises around the bend

In reading Kate Bowler’s evocative essay, “How Cancer Changes Hope” and revising poems for my next book, How Times Moves, I’ve been making a U-turn from manifestations for the future back towards surprises from the past. What delights me most in life — and maybe you too — is exactly that: how something far better and more amazing happened than what we pined for, depended on, or planned, like right now when, in middle of writing this, Bruce Springsteen’s “Surprise, Surprise” starts playing on KCMG (my large itunes collection).

My moments of genuine surprise include these which all happen to be moments of education too:

  • I realized, while in the bathtub on Memorial Day, that I was going on leave from teaching after measuring my life in semesters for 33 years without a break in the pattern. Further thickening the plot, about a month into my leave, I caught myself up on how my soul had actually decided not just to take off a semester but a full year. A corollary surprise was that I had organized enough extra work and income to take such an unpaid leave.
  • One-on-one coaching is so much akin to holding someone’s hand as we step into the wild landscape of their creative callings. It’s also something I love doing.
  • I’ve fallen more deeply in love with Lake Superior, my husband’s laughter, what a crockpot can do, all three of my kids, walks along the curving perimeters of cedars on shining days, yoga, the pink shimmering ring around the full moon, making art (parfait dyeing, sculpey, watercolor pen play, etc.), homemade butter, reading, long lunches with dear friends, mackerel clouds, Call the Midwife, Shay the Dog and Miyako and Sidney Iowa, the cats, and music I hear, witness, and make.
  • The death of a very central being in our family — my mother-in-law — isn’t at all what I dreaded it would be, but instead a panoramic immersion in fierce and tender emotional states, all lit from within by love.
  • Each of the 25+ reading and workshop I did for my novel Miriam’s Well felt completely new and alive.
  • Ecstasy, or at least some dose of contentment and satisfaction, is readily available to me when I embrace the seasonal tilts here and now, whether driving up autumnal mountains in Vermont rich with goldening maples or looking up into the snow dazzling down in Kansas or walking to the edge of a peninsula on a cold day in Madison or sitting on a sweltering porch on a too-still summer day full of birdsong and cicada roar. It’s even available right now on a blank-sky day while the rain bounces off the deck outside and the cats sleep inside.
  • Sometimes a new friend is so obviously a life-long old friend that it’s a puzzlement to answer the question, “so how long have you two been friends?” (thinking of you, Laura), and sometimes an old friend chimes back for new discoveries (yup, you, Ravi). Related to this, the friends who hold my stories are godsends when it comes to reminding me where I came from, what I got through, and what freedom I inhabit right now to follow what calls.
  • Health and maintaining it is just about more everything that I imagined. Likewise, certain things (I’m looking at you, chocolate mega dessert) that used to embody great mouth joy can quickly trigger a Rube Goldberg-like chain of pain.
  • It’s an old adage to be careful with or lower our expectations, but I expect we can keep expecting gratitude and surprise, which leads me to share this poem from my new collection-in-the-works:

No One Tells You What to Expect

A downpour as you’re running down Massachusetts Street

in sandals that keep falling off in unexpected puddles.

Ice on power lines. The dying who won’t die,

then a single bluebird dead in your driveway.

The deadline or lost check spilling the orderly papers.

The part that isn’t made anymore for the carburetor,

or the sudden end of chronic sinus infections while lost

in a parking lot looking for where you parked the car.

Your best thinking won’t be enough to save your daughter

from a bad romance or your friend from leaving the man

she’ll regret leaving. Across town, in a quiet gathering

of maples, someone drops to her knees in such sadness

that even the hummingbirds buzz through unnoticed.

The dog you thought gone returns wet and hungry,

the phone call reports the CT scan is negative,

and your husband brings you a tiny strawberry,

the first or the last, growing in your backyard.

Life will right itself on the water when the right rocks come along,

so put down your paddle and let the bend tilt you

toward what comes next: the bottoms that fall out,

the shoes that drop, the wrong email sent while

a cousin you lost touch with decades ago calls,

his voice as familiar as the smell of pot roast

while that song you forgot returns like an old cat.

Expect to be startled.

Moses, Meet Miriam: Everyday Magic, Day 936

As I was leaving the house for our trip to Bentonville, Arkansas — a weekend of r & r, and excuse to visit the amazing Crystal Bridges museum — I ran back inside to grab a copy of Miriam’s Well, my new novel, because I sensed I needed to give it to someone. Who I would find out later.

We stopped at Crystal Bridges Friday night about 7:30 p.m., figuring it was closed but wanting to scope out the place. It was open until 9 p.m., and it turns out, that is the perfect time to visit one of the greatest art museums in the world. Hardly anyone is there, and the staff are very happy, after a long day, to chat about the art they love. After striking up a good many satisfying conversations in the older-art galleries, we headed downstairs to find a wide hall painted with climbing leaves every which way. Ken, being a plant man, needed to study them to figure out what kind of leaves (lilac, he believes), but among the leaves, we met a wonderful man who works there.

“What is happening here?” we asked him.

“Magic,” he answered, telling us the painting wasn’t finished, and laughing easily with us about the thousands of leaves someone carefully worked days making so vivid.

Within minutes, he escorted us to the next room, which contained a small room within a room where Georgia O’Keefe’s moon flower shone like a beckoning God to us (actually, it’s “Jimson Weed/White Flower #1“), Beholding that painting and so many others, we talked through the nuances and beauties (particularly one of a trash man in which the decaying vegetables are sensual wonders) with this man.

At what I thought was the end of our time together, I noticed his name tag said “Moses,” and said, “You know, I just finished a book about the Exodus, but in our time, and as Moses, you should meet Miriam.”

Found Moses here on Day Two

“You are a writer?,” he exclaimed, cialis generic 20 mg then had me quickly pull out my iphone and look up his website because he was a writer too. Maybe it was the exuberance of the the O’Keefe, but in short order we were jumping up and down and hugging, and I was promising to bring him the copy of Miriam’s Well tomorrow. He told us some of his story — coming to this country from Liberia, getting his to-be wife out of the country just before the Liberian civil war, working for the Wal-Mart corporation for many years, teaching, writing, raising a family, and of course we compared notes on the the follies of having 20-something children.

“Let us take our picture together!” we exclaimed, which had to be in front of a work of art, but which one? The O’Keefe of course!

The next day, we returned with the book, but finding Moses again took some wandering. The people who work the galleries never where they’ll be assigned to until they arrive, so we retraced our steps, even visiting the O’Keefe again, and eventually found Moses among the modern abstract art. He was talking with some young men, but upon seeing us, screamed and laughed, and within moments, we were hugging again.

A few hours later, after Ken walked me hard on many outside trails, we had to cross through the museum to get to the parking lot. Each step was a tender adventure for my feet after 5-6 hours of walking, yet when we had to choose which direction to go, I got mixed up and sent us on the long-cut back. It led us right to Moses again, who had started the book on his lunch break.

As we said goodbye again, I looked at this beautiful face and remembered how last night he told me, “My life has been a series of miracles.”

“Mine, too,” I told him. May it be such a life for us all.