Archives for September 2017

über alles

One of the best things about living where I do is the cycling—routes and routes and routes along one-lane roads, up and down hills steep enough to receive categorization.

During July and August I did several rides along a loop that passes the old Pecan Creek rural school. (Most of my bike routes pass at least one of these schools.) There’s a spot on Weinheimer where the road curves around a bluff, next to something between a puddle and a proper tank. It was at that spot on a Friday morning, the last Friday of summer, where I had a Battlin Billie moment.

As in billy goats. As in the Fredericksburg High School mascot. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football readers named it the winner of the Mascot Madness contest. The district’s tagline is über alles, “above all.” My daughter attended through ninth grade and then graduated from somewhere else, an entire hour away. Moving her into that dorm was daunting, but looking back, it was the right decision for all of us.

I was thinking about that move as I traveled downhill, headed into the curve, when all of a sudden I saw movement on the private road coming down the side of the bluff. It was about two dozen goats, and they were making a run for it.

They charged down the unpaved road: Free at last! They moved as one bleating mass, bolting up the hill I was riding down.

So I slowed. Some of those fellas had horns.

Just as I braked, they saw me. They stopped too, right in the middle of the hill.

It was a small standoff.

I’m sure they’ve never seen anything less threatening than me—a middle-aged woman on a hybrid Trek bicycle. But that bright headlight? That black helmet? You never know. Might mean trouble, right here in River City.

When I was a kid, I used to ride my bike all over the neighborhood during the summer. I’d meet my best friend, and we’d go over every road, up and down hills. Even riding with someone, I always felt independent, as in control as any 11-year-old could. Although I could have left the neighborhood, I never did. Where would I go? I wouldn’t have known what to do with complete autonomy.

After a few uneasy moments, the goats scattered, their untidy monolith dispersing in at least three directions, along with their dreams of wanton consumption of paper goods. Still, I admired their gumption. They saw their chance and took it. Those goats were more daring than I’d ever been.

I resumed pedaling, not looking back. The feeling at that point on that particular ride, the hardest hills behind me, is pure freedom. The rains had made the Russian sage pop out, and the sun played peek-a-boo with the clouds while mourning doves whinnied. I felt 11 again, unrestrained within my confined space.

Four days later my daughter and I boarded a plane. Unlike her first move into a dorm, in which we filled the bed of my husband’s pickup truck with everything under the sun, this time she was moving by airplane, and we had only the allotted number of bags. But unlike those goats, she knows where she’s going. Above all, she wants the chance to explore outside the neighborhood/state she’s always known.

At the end of our journey, I left her in a dorm at the top of a hill. As I walked back down, toward the hotel, I did not look back.

Tweetspeak Poetry: Top 10 Books that Inspired Me (and You)

Live! Today at Tweetspeak Poetry.


Tweetspeak Poetry: Reading in the Wild: August’s Pages

My last catch-up post! Thanks for bearing with me. 


published September 1, 2017

Reading in the Wild: August’s pages

Tweetspeak Poetry: Reading in the Wild: July’s Pages

Still catching up! 


published August 3, 2017

Reading in the Wild: July’s Pages


Tweetspeak Poetry: Children’s Book Club: ‘The Buffalo Storm’

You may have seen my post on Friday linking to the second installment of Tweetspeak Poetry’s children’s book club. Here is the first one:


published August 18, 2017


Children’s Book Club: ‘The Buffalo Storm’

Tweetspeak Poetry: Children’s Book Club: ‘One Grain of Rice’

This one went live today!

Children’s Book Club: ‘One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale’


Tweetspeak Poetry: Literacy Never Melts: ‘The Snowy Day’ by Ezra Jack Keats

Back to catching up!


published July 20, 2017


Literacy Never Melts: ‘The Snowy Day’ by Ezra Jack Keats

Tweetspeak Poetry: Reading in the Wild: June’s Pages

Still catching up!


published July 7, 2017


Reading in the Wild: June’s Pages

Tweetspeak Poetry: Reading in the Wild: May’s Pages

I’m in the process of linking to my recent articles at Tweetspeak Poetry. If you missed it the first time, here’s some titles for your reading list.


published June 6, 2017

Reading in the Wild: May’s Pages


Tweetspeak Poetry: Reading ‘Thomas and Beulah’

I’ve been writing more at Tweetspeak Poetry lately, and I keep forgetting to share those posts. Today, I start playing catch-up. But don’t just go there to read my stuff — every weekday is filled with inspiration and delight. 


published January 4, 2017


Reading Together: Rita Dove’s ‘Thomas and Beulah’