b ~ When the wind blows the water white and black.

Picture 123 (Small)

This is the time of year when I want to climb

inside It’s a Wonderful Life and live there.

I want to inhabit a world

where children believe that flower petals can be reattached

and bell ringing brings

the swift pronouncement of angel wings.

When the colors of the real world

begin to blur and crash into each other–

I long to retreat to a simpler place,

to a time that is less deafening.


When I close my eyes

and wish to instantly be elsewhere,

I see the bookstore at the Boston MFA.

I walk through the stacks,

letting my fingers

rest on the spines

of the books I long to own.


I don’t know why this has become my magic place,

my secret getaway.

I have very fond memories of being there.

Listening to Mary Oliver read her verses

or the sound of Zadie Smith’s lilting voice

as she gave a lecture as if we were her students.

These women gave me gifts of their words.

Phrases that I jotted into my journal,

so that I would always remember

and keep their wisdom close.


There was another time at the MFA

when I went specifically to see

the photos of Edward Weston.

I stood

astonished at the moments in time

that he captured and preserved.

Images that made the past seem

like a place we could visit,

passport in hand.


I have been humbled by the works of:

Dorothea Lange

Walker Evans

Lewis Hine

Richard Avedon

Berenice Abbot

Eugene Atget


They inspire me still.

They help me to see the world

in shapes and textures,

contours and high contrast.

To deconstruct it down to its base.

To see the negative and positive juxtaposed.

To view both aspects as part of a larger whole.

Life today is kinetic and frenetic ,

passing by at supersonic speeds…

It helps to have a reminder to slow down,

to focus, to refuse to be distracted,

to work with what you have right in front of you.


If I am truthful,

I will confess

that I think the Ansel Adams picture hanging in our office

is magic.

Much like the Pevensie children getting to Narnia,

I imagine I could step beyond the icy cool snow in the photo–

especially in the scorching days of summer.


Even so, the world I live in is not often hot.

We are more likely to have

snow on the ground a good portion of the year.

I love that the snow blankets the earth.

Covering up the lawn that was not cut that last time.

And the weeds that were taken down

but never moved to the compost


The snow creates a temporary wonderland.

When the fat flakes float down,

a hush falls over us all.

The palette outside may seem limited,

yet there are numerous shades of white;

sometimes almost blue


When the whirling, swirling dervish of December descends,

it is the basic simplicity of black and white that I crave:

My cat on his blanket

My dog on the bed

My son’s striped scarf

Our old vintage television set

The pepper and the salt

The words on a page.


Yes, just this.

The words on a page

About andi

Writer, editor, wrangler of small boys and dogs.


  1. penny mcconnel

    Lovely Beth. Wonderful imagery.

  2. marthasnail

    Love. xo

  3. Love this, Beth. Especially the part about slowing down in a frenetic world, and the way your poem slows down as it winds down. beautiful.

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