The Invitation by Orian Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to
know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of
meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if
you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream,
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your
moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of
your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s
betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from
fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own;
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill
you to the tips of your fingers and toes without
cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the
limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is
true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be
true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of
betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be
faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not
pretty every day. And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and
mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout
to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how
much money you have. I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised
to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to
be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of
the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you
have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the
inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if
you truly like the company you keep in the empty

Thank you to Lansing King

Carpe Diem?

I’ve already acknowledged that isn’t easy to do all the time, at least in a positive way. So if not a day, then try to seize a moment. In times of sorrow, despair or confusion reach for controlling even just a moment.

Bewilderment, fear, questions, tears.      

When hit with unexpected news, especially bad news,everyone reacts differently: slow to take it in, spring to action, and every level of awareness in between.

Make it Yours

Focus on taking in information, accepting offers of help, and talking to those you trust. Prayer and meditation can create a calm that allows your beliefs to provide the answers you need.

Love and healing                                              

Right now I know several people facing serious issues, medical and otherwise, and others who experienced sudden losses in their families.

Then there is our world……

later that evening

i held an atlas in my lap

ran my fingers across the

whole world

and whispered

where does it hurt?

it answered




                 Warsan Shire


All I can do is think love and healing. So I am.




A Poem from Diana Amman Cruze

Papa and Uncle Charlie_picmonkeyed

Papa’s Recipe

by Diana Amman Curze

When I was 12

I Saw

Papa, father of my father
On his front porch swing
Waving at life passing by

Grey hair combed, suspenders neat
Each day a clean, white shirt, soon to be
Covered with tobacco spittle

Papa was widowed twice, but kept
An immaculate house, save for spittoons
Spilling juices like unwashed kitchen pots

Papa cooking soup
Papa baking bread
My Papa knew a secret recipe

I Saw

Two uncles dine at Papa’s house
Three old brothers slurping soup
Lips seeping snuff

Uncle Charlie, the Catholic,
taught me to play Canasta
He gave up cards for Lent

Uncle Port, they said was rich,
came to share the beans and cornbread
Two uncles widowed both and childless
Knew nothing of a secret recipe

I Saw

Auntie marching into Papa’s house
To empty his whiskey meant for fruitcake
Auntie tolerated no alcohol since
Papa had gone to take the cure

I Saw

Papa hiding his beer when Auntie came
She found the Heinekens and Falstaff
Auntie allowed no beer for Papa
She did not know of Papa’s recipe

I Saw

Papa creeping to the cellar made of dirt
Clutching RC Cola and paint thinner
Papa with his secret recipe
Papa drinking “Smoke on the Water”

And Papa lived to 95

Diana’s note: My brother and his friends used the term, “Smoke on the Water” when referring to any homemade alcohol mixture or recipe, especially home brew. 

“Smoke on the Water or “home brew” was a label used in Knoxville in the ‘40s and ‘50s.  In Suttree, Cormac McCarthy writes about a man drinking his own mixture of “Smoke on the Water.”

Diana is the author of “A Life in the Day of a Lady Salesman,” a story that chronicles her years of selling products around the 1960s. Her book is available on and at Union Avenue Books,

My Own Path by Robin Newcomb Bell

I’ve always felt different from those around me.

I don’t quite know what it is,

but there is something  –

It’s not that I feel  I’m better than others,

there is simply something that makes me different.

This has always been true.

I just don’t quite fit in.

Maybe it’s because I spend so much time in

my mind thinking, dreaming, writing, and wondering.

Maybe it’s my endless fascination with words,

or my deep love of nature.

Maybe it’s because I think so much of what

I hear is basically frivolous, while others seem to hang on every word.

But, I think most people take themselves way too seriously.

Even though I’ve always longed to be like others,

at the same time it scares me to think that I could be.

I’ve always longed to be like others, yet I refuse to be.

I’ll continue on my path and see where it leads –

my unfinished business.

Robin Newcomb Bell
JULY 11, 2015

Happy Birthday, America

Happy Birthday, America. A lot has happened this year, as always, some good and some bad. Most of us survived or died a natural death. Many of us left mourn losses which make no sense.

One distinction of aging is feeling others’ pain better than when I was young. I think more now about lives unfulfilled, and the bravery of those who swear to protect complete strangers, and the struggles faced by sorrowful men and women and children. 

A friend sent this adaptation of Psalm 122 by Stephen Mitchell, taken from his book, A Book of Psalms, published 1993 by Harper Collins. It is a good one to recite often these days. 

Psalm 122

I rejoiced when I heard them announce,
“The time of warfare is past.
No more will brother hate brother
or violence have its way.
No more will they drown out God’s silence
and shut their hearts to his song.”

Pray for peace in the cities
and harmony among the races.
May peace come to live on our streets
and justice within our walls.
With all my heart I will pray
that peace comes to live among us.
For the sake of all earth’s people,
I will do my utmost for peace.

I see fireworks from my window. Happy Birthday, America.

Mountain Memory

One spring day a friend, Karen and I were in Cades Cove taking in the visual glory  always found there. She proposed we take Parsons Branch Road as a different way out. Located just beyond the gift shop and grist mill, Parsons Branch is a one way, narrow, winding, eight miles long road. 

I don’t write poetry, but the memory of this rough beautiful ride came out in poetic style. 

Parsons Branch Road

A one way passage
over the gap,
connects Cades Coves
to the mighty Dragon.

Rough enough to makeIMG_0244
a four-wheel drive buck;
quiet enough to satisfy
the longing for solitude.

Treasures hidden
by thick undergrowth,
concealed, except for the fluttering wing
of a ruffed grouse, IMG_0310

The rapid movement
of a black racer
disappearing over a log.

Silent hills absorb the sounds,
a redbird’s call,

water rushing,IMG_0397
tires clicking.

Flame azalea nestle
under yellow poplar
with Bowman’s root
and Black Cohosh.

Mossy logs reveal
layers of lifeIMG_0254
ready to become
captured memories.

Sunlight and pavement
appear, creating the end
of Parsons Branch Road.