Confetti cannons pop
during the party
adults showing children how to use them,
children who have never seen them before,
never seen bubbles in a bottle
blown by a plastic wand

They check their goodie bags
pulling out thin tubes of fluorescent green liquid.
What is that?
“It glows in the dark,” I say.

In the pool, swimming like fish,
blasting each other with pumping water guns,
laughter and huge smiles,
this is where they can be children
far away from where they were harmed

the day after,
I rake up confetti on the grass
then pick up individual shiny pieces with my fingers,
not wanting to find them all,
hoping some will remain
to remind me
of a perfect day


You can learn more about these beautiful Tanzanian children here.


High Five

blue boy

(photo by Gisella Klein)

The little boy was standing near the corner of 40th Street and 8th Avenue, across the street from Port Authority Bus Terminal. He was standing to one side of the amNew York newspaper rack and in front of his parents who were pouring over a map. I presume it was a map of New York City. Clearly, they were tourists.

The little boy could not have been more than four or five, his right hand held out to the side so people could “high five” him as they rushed by. Only they didn’t all rush by. Some slowed down, miraculously, to slap his tiny hand. New Yorkers are not known for slowing down for anyone. His smile so wide and bright you’d think this was Disneyland or some other fairy tale place, magical and full of wonder. His parents seemed either oblivious to what he was doing or felt he was safe, or both.

I stopped in my tracks for a moment, thinking this might be a joke, watching the man walking in front of me high-five the boy. I thought, I’m not gonna do that, it’s too weird. But then a flash of whimsy overcame me, and I slapped the boy’s somewhat grubby hand. What a smile! He was the human toll booth you had to pass, but didn’t have to pay. You could ignore him and walk on by, but why would you miss an opportunity for pure joy, however fleeting?

It made the bus ride home so much sweeter.

Age and Innocence

Ventura beach

E. Herd (Ventura, CA)

Holding hands in silence
walking out of the elevator
and into the hallway
boy and girl
following the leader
towards the activity room
girl drops boy’s hand
and hides in an alcove

Her absence is missed
she is brought out of hiding, and
walks hand in hand with the leader
it’s time for sand painting
vibrant colors poured on table tops

Girl looks at the sand and smiles–
light in her eyes
like sun shimmering on the ocean
then she looks towards the window.
Does she remember a moment
at the beach?
Is she seeing it now?

Some are in wheelchairs,
Some with walkers,
she sits in her chair
back tall, still smiling.




Hey There, You with the Clouds in Your Eyes


Samson & Quincy & friends

photo: E. Herd – Samson (back), Quincy (front)

I was inspired to post a photo of our cat Quincy after reading about Zeus the blind owl on The Dancing Rest.

Unlike Zeus with the stars in his eyes, my husband says Quincy has clouds in his. Both are beautiful. Quincy wasn’t born blind. We adopted him from a foster through FOCAS.

His foster mom said he contracted an eye infection that went untreated when he was a stray. He has no vision in his right eye and about 30% vision in the left. When we first brought him home in October 2011, he spent a full 24 hours scanning the house. He would not sleep. He memorized the house with his senses. He still loses his footing and trips and falls from time to time, but he knows the layout better than the rest of us.

Because of the blindness, he’s considered a “special needs” cat. A few months after we adopted him, he started having coughing fits, which, after rounds of tests, was found to be caused by tissue damage on one lung and asthma. He has been hospitalized a few times during bad attacks when he could not catch his breath. I’d say he’s lost at least two of his nine lives already. Most of the time we can avoid hospital visits with daily meds and his inhaler—yes, we have a kitty inhaler. Quincy doesn’t let any of this get him down. He’s very happy, playful and loving.

Quincy and me on sofa

Selfie of me and Quincy chillin’

Here’s to all the animals (human and non-) with clouds and stars in their eyes.

Happy Friday, everyone!