Autumn is always the time of great hope and coherence for me. Several things happened this month to make it more special. My niece, Elizabeth Rose got married to her love, Calland, in a beautiful outdoor site in Cambria California. I had a week of time at the beach house before that, enjoying monastic silence and beautiful weather, walks on the beach, and fabulous sunsets.

I had decided to rejoin the group Writer’s Relief, to try to help get some of the poems I have been writing published. This year, I got my sixth book, “Melody, Memory and Silence’ published. And when I was driving home from the gym about 3 weeks ago, the editor of the California Quarterly called to say she wants my poem about the Backpack for the Pilgrimage for her upcoming edition of the journal! This made me ecstatically happy, as I had begun to feel that maybe my poems are too old-fashioned, and that no one who is post-modern will like them.

I got to go to the event we have shared every other autumn since 2000, called “Through Our Own Eyes” — a retreat at Esalen on the Big Sur, for women physicians. This year was a joyful one for me, as we emphasized the necessity of telling good stories within our work, the way the story is told by the patient or the physician can influence how we SEE the diagnosis and the treatment. Storytelling is dear to my heart, as is poetry. One of the things we do is make necklaces of the beads we all bring to share, and each of us gets to take home a metaphor of the circle of women who hold us and help us be strong in the way we feel about our work, and how we bring resilience to it. I now have 5 of these necklaces, and when I wear them all, I feel like a tribal chieftain, in a fortifying costume which emphasizes what we hold sacred.

I also have been so blessed to see my sons stretching their wings and moving more deeply into their adult lives. This is a great joy for me. Seeing many of my nieces and nephews at the family wedding this month was also a joy. They are getting stronger and becoming more deeply themselves. I was glad to be given that time with family members who I don’t see that often, and really was so blessed to see them having fun together, also.

The weather is still good, although we have definitely entered our fall weather, the mornings have been clear and crisp. I am very grateful for the good friends and good health I still have been blessed with!

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