A Space Explorer

I’ve been feeling her with me this past week –
hearing her laugh, seeing her smile –

the night was clear, the stars glittering
above me and I asked Scott
to join me on a walk around the block
to look at the cosmos.
I always think of her when
I look at the stars – she loved to learn
about them. ¬†Scott’s just finished reading
a book by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and I remember
the photo of her standing with Tyson
and it makes me smile. Two of the world’s
great geniuses together – though she didn’t
recognize herself that way. She used to tell us
it was a miracle my brothers and I survived
to adulthood with her for a mother –

but we were so blessed by her! And the stars
feel so close tonight! I imagine myself
an astronaut – venturing out of my spacecraft
into space, tethered to my little home by
a simple rope, and my heart gives an excited
leap. And then it occurs to me – I AM
in space, traveling through the stars – I AM
a space explorer. And she is with me.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Blue Cosmos (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

 

Moz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jolene Unsoeld

Moz Molenaar, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jolene Unsoeld

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“It’s Good to be Up Here Again”

Dad was still in bed when I got there. I brought out the book that Allesandro had sent him and showed it to him – he said it was “beautiful” – and then I waited while Gwen got him ready to go on our drive.

Dad seemed happy to be back in the car with me. As we’re driving through the valley towards Sisters Espresso…
Dad: It’s good to be up here again. This is beautiful country. Do you like living here?
Karen: Yes, I do!

We stop at Sisters Espresso for a breakfast sandwich and a root beer float for Dad – compliments of Cindy Johnson, who left a gift card for us at the espresso stand (thanks, Cindy!).
Dad: Are we going to your house now?
Karen: We could do that!

As we’re driving to my house, Dad is looking across a field… and he spots what he’s looking for…
Dad: There’s Mount Baker.
(I assume he’s mistaking a cloud for Baker, but when I glance that direction – sure enough! There’s Baker, making a quick appearance for Dad! I pull over and snap a quick photo.)

I pull into our driveway. I spot Scott on the porch and give him a shout out. He comes down to shake Dad’s hand and give him a hug through the car window. Scott sees Dad holding his root beer float…
Scott: (Grinning.) I see you decided to go for something different this time.
Dad: (Smiling and nodding.) Yeah.

I decide to take us through Edison and then head towards the water. We pass a field of trumpeter swans and an eagle, and I pull over to take some photos. We turn down Bayview-Edison Road, go up the hill, and alongside the bay.
Dad: (Pointing to Bayview Park.) We’ve parked and walked down there before, haven’t we?
Karen: Yes, we have!

And now we’re heading back to Dad’s home…
Dad: You’ve taken me on this same drive before.
Karen: Yup!

We pull in front of Dad’s home.
Karen: Thank you for taking this drive with me.
Dad: Thank you!
Karen: I love you!
Dad: I love you!
I help Dad out of the car. Dietrick comes out to help him up the stairs. Dad has to use the bathroom now, and I give him a hug good bye.

(For more stories like this, go to Are You Taking Me Home Now? Adventures with Dad.)

Present Magic

Driving to work this morning –
lost in my thoughts
anticipating traffic, trials, and trouble
chewing on my worries and fears
enclosed in my own gray bubble –
when suddenly a cosmic moment –
the music in my CD soared up
and brought me with it
in the exact instant when a flock
of trumpeter swans winged
over me, their wings beating in time
to the music – and the clouds
diffused pink light, bursting through
my ruminations and waking me
from my trance to the present magic
going on all around me, always.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“One moment of divine consciousness, or the spiritual understanding of Life and Love, is a foretaste of eternity.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Bow Sunrise

Sunrise on the way to work. October 2, 2017. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

“Oh! I Love These Things!”

Dad is in his recliner in front of the television when Scott, Dave, and I arrive.
Karen: Hi, Daddy! (I give him a hug.)
Dad: Hi, Karen!
Karen: Look who else is here…
Dave: (Gives Dad a hug.) Hi, Dad.
Dad: (His eyes light up.) Hi, David!
Karen: Do you want to move to the dining room table so we can talk?
Dad: (Nodding.) Yes.
(David brings Dad his walker and I get his headset and we all help him move to the dining room.)
Dad: (Situated now at the table.) I’ve been watching Pete (his son, my other brother) play football. He’s always in someone else’s jersey, though. His name is never on his jersey. Did you watch the Cougar-Husky game?
Karen: Yeah.
Dad: Were you rooting for the Huskies?
Karen: I went to WSU, so I was rooting for the Cougars. They lost. Your Huskies won. But it was a really good game.
Dad: (Thinking.) I’m ready to leave here.
Karen: This is your home.
Dad: You’re always saying this is my home. This isn’t my home. I have three homes near the Canadian border.
Karen: And this is one of them. This home is near the Canadian border.
Dad: (Nodding.) Oh.
Karen: And I live 15 minutes from here.
Dad: (Nodding.) Good!
Karen: Don’t leave here because then none of us would be able to find you!
Scott: (Smiling.) Yeah. Don’t go anywhere. We like having you near us.
Dad: Oh. Okay.
Karen: (The white cat, Skittles, has jumped up on the table and is going from person to person for a pet and scratch behind the ears.) And Skittles the Cat, is here. She sleeps with you. She loves you. She would miss you not being here.
Dad: (Nodding.) Yeah. She’s my little companion.
(Megan brings Dad a root beer. Dad takes a sip and burps. He starts chuckling, and we chuckle with him.)

David talks with Dad about the move he’s going to be making from Boise to Olympia in a couple weeks. Dad nods and smiles when he understands Dave will be closer soon.
Karen: We brought you over for Thanksgiving a couple days ago. Do you remember that?
Dad: (Nodding and smiling.) Yes.
Karen: David’s kids, Claire and Casey were there. And Andrew and Xander. And Claire’s husband, Michael, and Casey’s girlfriend, Alex.
Dad: (Nodding.) Yes. Your children are good people. And my children are good people.
Karen: And we have a good father.
(Dad smiles and nods.)
David: (To Dad.) In seven months you’ll be 101.
Karen: Do you remember when we brought you to Mount Rainier for your 100th birthday?
Dad: (Nods.) Yes. (Thinking.) Kenny Foreman was there.
Karen, David, and Scott: Yeah! That’s right.
David: And the Whittaker brothers were there…
Dad: (Nods.) Yeah.
Karen: And Rick and Jana Johnson. We stayed at their place.
Dad: Yeah.
Karen: I don’t know if we’ll be able to get back there for your 101st birthday, though.
Dad: (Nods in agreement.) Yeah. That’s too far to go.
Karen: But we’ll do something to celebrate.
David: Can you sing the Dutch Christmas song?
Dad: (Singing.) Sinterklaas Kapoentje, Le waat in mijn schoentje, leg waat in mijn laarsje, Dank je Sinterklassje!

Karen: It’s time for us to take David to catch his shuttlebus now.

Dad nods and gets up. We help him back into his recliner in front of the television. Megan has brought in a bowl of cheese balls for Dad.
Dad: (Seeing the cheese balls.) Oh! I love these things!
Megan: (Laughing.) He does!

We give Dad hugs and tell him we love him and Dave says he will see him again soon for Christmas. Dad nods and smiles. He knows Christmas is not far away.

Dee Molenaar and David Molenaar

Dad (Dee Molenaar) and David Molenaar in conversation.

Dad singing Sinterklaas Kapoentje.

For more stories like these, click here: Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad

Someone to Blame

There once was someone else to blame –
– “Toblame” was the name of the game
– the Millennials, the Boomers,
and media with “fake rumors”
were targets for the blame and the shame.

There once was someone else to blame –
Just fill in the blank with a name –
the Jews, Muslims, Christians,
atheists, or immigrants from immigrations
were handy to blame when they came.

And then one day there was a metacognition
we shared in a moment of clear vision
when we saw we each held the key
– a better world could start with each “me” –
and we laid down the blame for our mission.

There once was something else to blame –
Anonymouses or those who had fame,
the poor and the rich,
or a computer glitch
– things never got fixed
when we had something else we could blame.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

earth NASA

Grandmozzy’s Blue Sweater

Warmth and peace, gentle
laughter and playful exchanges
father mother son daughter
niece nephew brother sister
friend grandpa nestled around
the dining room table in
a cozy glow of love and
grandmozzy’s blue sweater
on the back of a chair adding
to the sweetness of this
Thanksgiving.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

moz blue sweater