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Author Archives: Jennifer

A Mother’s Love, 2021

You master crawling
 a spark of rushing energy
 I shut doors in your path
 as you crumble beneath me
 “My job is to keep you safe, my love”
 I whisper, and turn you back
 
 “I must keep you safe” I explain
 as I pull your small body down
 from the heights of the couch 
 hold your squirming hand at the ocean’s edge
 remove sharp scissors from your reach
 and catch you at the curb
 
 You climb ever higher
 into the canopy of trees
 you do not look back
 I steady myself below
 
 You delight in smashing rocks
 I buy you safety goggles
 “Safe” I say, also loving
 the excuse to caress your face
 
 “Keep you safe” I explain
 as I clutch you to me
 in the crowd at the airport
 once more we fly to see your grandparents
 Decades ago, I did not look back 
 and I did not foresee the price
 
 “Safe” I tell you
 as you shove against your car seat
 in a line of cars stretching to eternity
 in the SUV I bought to protect you
 when everyone warned my tiny
 fuel-efficient car was not enough 
 
 It is my most important job
 I stop you from touching the river
 which has bloomed with algae
 in the mega-drought
 
 It is my most important job
 I adjust your N95
 as we stumble from home to classroom
 in smoke as thick as night
 
 My most important job
 to keep you safe, I strap on your helmet
 made of plastic that will haunt
 the oceans of your lifetime
 brought by barge and truck 
 that have poisoned your tomorrow
 
 At COP 26 they say
 The people most affected by climate change
 are no longer some imagined future generation
 but young people alive today
 
 Holding you as you sleep
 my tears dampen your hair
 It is my most important job
 to keep you safe 
   

British Petroleum will Manipulate Me No More

I don’t remember when I first heard of the Carbon Footprint. But over the years, the idea escalated from a troubling thought into an obsession. The average American puts 16 tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year. That is 4 times the global average, and 16 times more emissions than people in the global…Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Fires: 25 Years in California

When I was 20 years old, I worked as a counselor at a backpacking camp in California’s Trinity Alps mountains. An East Coast city-girl by birth, I loved camping and hiking and mountains but I’d never seen a peak above 3000 feet, and I’d never set foot in the wilderness. That summer, I was graced…Continue Reading

The Four Seasons: A Creation Story

THE FOUR SEASONS A Creation Story, by Dani age 6 Once, before there were trees or plants or animals there were only the 4 elements:  Water, Fire, Air, and Earth. At first Water and Fire were enemies; Earth and Air were allies. But then a new alliance came. Earth and Water were allies – and…Continue Reading

Community After Disaster, a Therapist’s Musings

Here in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties, the entire community experienced prolonged and extensive hyper-arousal – days on end of watching and wondering where the fires would burn next, and far too many sleepless nights. According to the literature on disasters, what follows is a brief honeymoon period, characterized by community cohesion and gratitude. Sonoma…Continue Reading

Peekaboo

Ed Tronick’s Mutual Regulation Model describes the “dynamic organization of the behavioral communicative system” between a child and adult, “which regulates behavior moment by moment and shapes development over time” (Tronick p56). From this perspective, Dani’s development is shaped by an increasing capacity to comprehend my actions and intentions in any given moment, and to…Continue Reading

Language Magic Part 2: Eight Months Old

Watching children learn to talk has always been one of my greatest joys. It is a passion that has implicitly informed my professional path since I took a job in a toddler daycare fresh out of college. While there I could bear daily witness to the explosion in vocabulary that accompanies the second and third…Continue Reading