In the Valley, With Bread and Masks

I will remember last week—one of a handful of representatives from seasons that I keep—turning them over and over like pebbles from the beach, as the week that 2020 crashed into us. Before this raises any alarms: no, none of us is suffering from the coronavirus, and no, our house didn’t burn down. Nothing really…

Of New Tents and Old Adventures

It was my brother’s fault. How many times have I invoked this big-sister refrain in the slightly-more-than-thirty years we’ve shared together? Plenty. But this time it’s actually true: Without my brother, we would never have gone camping this summer. We loved camping as kids; Dahlstroms went camping more often than any other kind of vacation….

…And Good In Growing Old

Between us, by the peace of God, such truth can now be told; Yea, there is strength in striking root and good in growing old. “To Edmund Clerihew Bentley,” G.K. Chesterton (Here I am, again haunted by four solitary lines of poetry, in effect making this a Part II post. Read Part I here, if…

Preschool

I have a complicated relationship with preschool. Complicated because, as an educator, I know it’s important. I’ve read the articles, seen the case studies, have a passing knowledge of the demographics suggesting that early childhood education is a strong indicator for later academic success. I want everyone to go to preschool, and I want it to…

Green Lake {Psalm 104}

For the past year or so, I have been volunteering with my church’s Ancient Paths ministry, a program that seeks to bring people to greater wholeness in Christ through spiritual disciplines and time spent in the wilderness. This poem was an assignment set to us a few months ago, when we were asked to write…

Open Letter To My Children on the Fourth of July, 2020

I’ll have to do this work someday, too, and I hope I handle it with the grace of my parents, for whom exposing me to brutal stories was an act of love. Brit Bennet, from “Addy Walker, American Girl” 4 July 2020 Dear Daughters, 364 days ago one of you—the only one who was speaking…

Messy Beginnings

June 23, 2010 I sat on the cold floor of the airport as my last day living in Seattle changed over to my first day of living… away. It was past midnight, and I leaned against the wall, having just checked my carry-on at the gate so as not to have to bother with it…

Of Braiding Hair and the Privilege of Worry

It is what would have been Breonna Taylor‘s 27th birthday, and I am braiding my daughter’s hair when I am struck for a moment with the desire to write a poem about braiding hair. I think about braids around the world, braids throughout history, different colors and textures of hair plaited together in different sizes…

All These Treasures

We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it, if it were not the earth where the same flowers come up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass, the same hips and haws…

On This Year Without A Spring

As far as unpopular opinions go, I’ve never been terribly shy about disliking spring. It’s nothing personal; it’s not even universal. I don’t like spring in Seattle, and it’s all about the weather. Dreary autumns and rainy winters feel appropriate, but when spring declares itself with still mostly rainy days that are maybe five degrees…