…so here’s a rough draft of a “long poem”…a request from my son for a day’s writing on the road…

Somewhere In The Middle Of Nowhere In Louisiana I Thought Of You

Sugar cane, white bungalow gone grey

a shack. I turn

the page in the story I read your father

and there you are

perched like a picture in someone else’s book.

Words scrawl sideways across the pale in disarray

as if the poet meant it that way

I’m sure he did

as you.


Southern humidity hangs

in green

weighted with summer. I imagine

you and your girl

sliding those silver Rockies down to the bay

pink with sunset

planning your tomorrows

beside that marble mansion. Candy clouds

close the chapter

childhood sinks, you rise

break the surface with your breath

nimble feet pump, kick. Laughing and proud

she comes

swimming like the weeki-wachee mermaids.

Softer than a siren she sings

calls your name in a way

only you can hear from sea-green eyes

only you can read.


I read it too

somewhere in the middle of nowhere

passing Abbeville, stopping for bacon at a quick store

photographing the swamp, the cypress knees, the moss


and just like that I know for sure you are gone.


The book of literary wonders, long forgotten, sits slack in my lap

I watch your father drive

through fields of sugar cane

sweetness on every side. I finger memories

of him at your age

how he turned when I called his name

swam to me

through pink waters beneath the moon.


…and So It Begins…

…so I left you last with a musing about “the reality of the yes” in which I wondered how Todd and I would fare on our month-long wilderness adventure (okay there’s a bathhouse at our campground and a/c in the tiny trailer). Those of you who know us well know our love story and our compatibility and how we partner in everything from parenting to fiction writing, but I am a champion when it comes to anxiety…and so we had to make a stop at my therapist’s before leaving town. “Well,” she said about my anxiety over how we would handle conflicts on the road, “We’ll find out.”

We rolled into St Andrews State Park on the bay of Florida’s panhandle last night at 6pm. Plenty of time to set up camp on a beautiful site, right on the water. 

Trailer situated. Check. Galley set up. Check. Firewood. Check. Attachment for the pahaque tent that perfectly connects to our tiny trailer so that we can leave the door open for our 70lb golden retriever so that he does NOT share the queen mattress that takes up the entire floor of the tiny trailer….not included. 


We bought the tent used from the nicest guy and he just forgot the other bag in his closet. 450 miles away.

At this point the Florida bugs are making an appearance, a storm is approaching, and we have a gaping hole in our trailer/tent system.  A windy squal whips up and Todd and I jump into action without hesitation. Together we jerry-rig the $300 custom tent ($450 new) to our tiny trailer door. Working in tandem, with nary a cross word, we finagled, suggested–and together, we improvised a way to make a place for Bo beside us. We were a dance.

Later–after grass fed steak, risotto, and a salad of local cukes and tomatoes made from the back of our trailer–as we lay side by side inside this month’s home, I let myself relax and breathe, with Todd, with myself, with god. 

Last night could have held an argument from which we recovered, but the touch of the divine was gentle–it chose to offer me a tender start, one that made it impossible to forget that Todd and I have been doing this for 31 years. Working together. Making a home. Dancing under the trees.

the reality of the yes

…was something my friend alice and i started saying some years ago. it’s the gulp-that-comes-after…that feeling of “oh shit, now what?” the reality of the yes.

today’s yes–one of them–is that my husband made it 30 years in the school system and we are blessed with the yes of his retirement as a school teacher. with politics and everyone certain our failing education system is the fault of the teachers, i wasn’t sure he’d make it and was half afraid he’d drop dead the day he retired. but as it turns out, he’s fine. so we bought a tiny trailer and in a few days we head out west for nearly a month “to look for america.” in 31 years of loving, living and raising four kids, we’ve only ever had one, week-long vacation alone. our 20th wedding anniversary when our baby was 10. she turned 21 this year.

that’s great, right? so many people have said, “you’re living my dream.”

one time, years ago when the kids were little, i was attending a PTA sponsored “boot scootin’ bbq” on the lawn of the elementary school. a woman with acrylic nails and palm-tree pants responded to my comment that when todd and i retired, he’d be fishing and i’d be writing. she said in disgust, not knowing that was much of what we already did, “you’ve been reading too many nicholas sparks books.” i hadn’t, in fact, read any, and it took a day or two to realize she thought i was in la-la land.

fast forward a decade: todd is retired and we are traveling america while i write in the shotgun seat. a few disney scripts, some treatments, a travel blog and certainly some human-geography-inspired fiction.

the reality of the yes. i made it to today. to this yes. i’m 52. the kids are grown and gorgeous, making their own way, finding their own paths in mind, body and spirit. todd and i are finally alone. heading west. seeing america like a couple of teenagers in “eddie the love wagon.”

herein lies the gulp. what will that be like?

todd and i are delightfully compatible. we can sit in the quiet, talk about life and words and things of the spirit. but we have never spent a month, day-in-day-out, alone in each other’s presence. straight up. no ice. just neat. and on the brink of this new adventure i wonder if the reality of the yes will not be neat. perhaps it is bound to be a bit messy, a little like those early years when we fought over how to tie the garbage bags. a couple of kids starting over, heart to heart, wading even deeper into the reality of the yes.

musing on the road

so todd and are about to embark on a nearly month-long road trip in our little eddie…our own version of a tiny house…and i thought i’d take a poll to see what topics ya’ll would like to hear me muse over while i am away. all of my thoughts seem to center around the words of simon & garfunkel, “all gone to look for america.” but here are a few other ways to focus my daily log:

  • road tripping with our golden
  • “tiny trailer” camping escapades
  • story recipes from local fixings (in eddie’s back-hatch galley)
  • poetry inspired by unfamiliar lands
  • spiritual visions and meditations recounted
  • flash fiction based on new locales
  • …other ideas?

and now i will hit “publish” and see if i successfully set this site to transfer to my new little pet blog which i THINK you can find under bartonstacy on tumbler.com… let me know…or if it is easier to just post it here and FB…

…still musing…

we bought a tiny trailer!

Todd retired on Friday and we picked up our new “Little Guy” teardrop trailer the day before! and we will soon be–in the words of Simon & Garfunkel “all gone to look for America…” but first we have to name out trailer…post your ideas here!

Anxiety 101

I’m sitting still; they are talking. I see their mouths move, but no meaning comes. I am quivering. I want to jump from my seat, yell, maybe run. At least hop on one foot. But I sit and try to take a breath. It is small, as small as I. I. I worry about things: the siren, the rain on the street, what everyone else is doing in the world. Somewhere someone is starving; someone else is writing a song; on the corner a homeless man waits. I am sitting at a white table in an aqua chair. I forget if I have a body and tremble like a spirit instead. I am just a vibration, an idea, a small bit of fear. Darkness hovers; I should do something. Get busy. Hurry. Be useful. I go into the kitchen and unload the tiny dishwasher. It is easy to find where things go. I wash the skillet from breakfast, put our dishes in the washer, wipe the counter with my palm (we used the last paper towel yesterday) and stand. From my bubble I wonder what is happening, why I feel this way. Through the clouds their laughter comes and I return, scoot my aqua chair and sit again. I count my breath in threes, like a waltz, and slow my core vibration. Their words slide into focus. I join them. We talk and laugh but my inside self still feels like bands of rubber breaking.

27 St. Stephens

They gather to hear

be heard—harmonic sounds

of the heart. In their ripening

they descend

toting mugs for tea

in twos and threes arriving

in coats they hoped to leave

behind at Easter.


Cold and rainy out

they bring their warm inside

and with wooden windows open

they fill the living


room. Pillows, blankets

scooting chairs. Shy, shuffling laughter

a caesura before


the music begins

taking us inside the language

of the soul. Bared spirits

meet, speak

of that unseen.

Naked, fully clothed

we know.

Back Bay in Spring

Colorless birds call

through dried sticks of wood;

yellow flowers defy death,

waving ruffled heads. All

the brown, the loss, the lack

quivers, rises, turns; you

can almost feel the birth

of song. Sunshine, shy,

peeks through April

clouds. I

tuck my scarf

bow my head,

and walk into the wind.