Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Brown-eyed Baby Brother's Birthday

Today is my brother Tim's 37th birthday. I'm sure he'll be quick to remind me that my 40th birthday is fast approaching, but today is all about Tim. One of the high points of Tim's life took place from 1972-1975, when he had the good taste to worship me and when I could get him to clean up my side of our bedroom. Since then, Tim has earned family kudos for his musical talents and for his ability to grow an astonishing amount of facial hair (for a Whalen). I happen to think that Tim's two most notable achievements are convincing the lovely Colleen to marry him and fathering two extraordinarily good looking and smart children (Liam and Molly). A close third would surely be his knack for being a cool uncle to Seamus, Jack, and Brendan. I predict good things for Tim in 2009; chief among them, I'm sure, will be a trip to Spokane to visit his favorite sister. I'm sure he won't forget to bring Liam and Molly--he knows better.

Happy Birthday Tim!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The spirituality spot

I think I've found a scientific explanation for my psycho-spiritual battles. It turns out, I have been trying to quiet the "me spot" in my brain. This gives 2009 some much-needed focus! Check it out...


Saturday, December 27, 2008


Snow stops the sounds
Running round in my head.
It covers all the crying
And creeping away.
It brings the breath from my mouth
And suspends it so I can see it.
It muffles my mind’s mantra
Of I want, I want, I want.
It saves me from my smallness
And sweeps me into the silence,
The whooshing expansiveness,
Of the great I Am.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cold Advent

It was sufficient for us
To be the seekers.
A new stellar sign
Was all we needed
To spur our pilgrimage
Through barren wildness,
Blistering winds, stinging nights,
With only our parchments
And our intellect
To bolster our certainty.
We did not need
The heavens to burst open,
Like those simple shepherds
Who, half-asleep on the job,
Wiped the sand from their eyes
And found the glory of God
Ripping open the sky.
Who had angels’ wings
And harps of gold
And Be Not Afraids
And Good Tidings of Great Joy
And all the style and spectacle
Of heavenly holiness
In one giant pageant.
Of course they got up
And did as they were told.
But for months all we had
Was a pinhole in the sky,
A nick, a puncture
In the darkness.
And when we reached the Babe
In that tomblike stable
It was enough to see Him
To know we were right.
We left with our dignity in tact,
Requiring no reward,
No unearthly visions
Of celestial upheaval
To inspire us
Or cling to
Long after
When the sky was resealed
As tight as a drum.
--Erin Davis

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The pantsuit

She had sewn for the others
so often before.
So when she made an outfit for me,
The chubby redhead granddaughter,
Not the cute skinny blonde one,
I was beside myself.
It was yellow and polyester
With a synthetic lace collar
And it made my skin all red and itchy.
It wasn’t all that pretty
And it didn’t feel natural.
But it was real.
And I would rather have felt
Its roughness on my skin
Than nothing at all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lyle May 22, 1925- September 16, 2008

You were not my dad but
You were my husband’s dad
And I loved you.
A generation older than my father,
You were not the kind of parent
I was used to.
This child of boomers
Became a daughter by marriage to
A child of the depression
And an Iowa farm.
You were made from austere
Midwestern stock
And traces of
Those hard times
Stayed under your fingernails
And in your pores.
You were hard labor personified
In your mechanic’s overalls—
A master of wrenches and ratchets
Until it hurt too much
To bend over an engine.
You were a man who did, who fixed, who built,
Even in the last years
That you spent mostly
In pain in your chair,
You were always willing
To fix the sprinklers
And drive to church
Where you would press
Your calloused hands
Together in prayer.

I have heard stories
Of your sternness and temper.
And perhaps that part of you
Somewhat shaped your four sons.
But more than that
I have seen how the time you had
With your youngest boy—
The child of your middle age—
And your second wave of grandsons
Softened you, gave you pleasure.
The gift of time and a slower pace
Brought new opportunities
To breathe in fatherhood
And grandfatherhood
A little more deeply.

To me you will always be
The man who welcomed a new
Red-haired daughter
With no hesitation.
Who was so nervous
To dance with me at my wedding
But did it with a smile.
The man who ventured into
The uncharted territory
Of my labor and delivery room
And, standing nervously on its perimeter,
Told me he loved me.
The man who stood up
Behind my son at his confirmation
Even though he was in pain
For many days after.
Who busted out with
The biggest of belly laughs
When surrounded by my sons.
Who never stopped traveling
And seeking adventure,
Even kayaking on the Little Spokane
When the day before
His legs hurt too much to walk.

Remember when,
In mock exasperation,
You would ask me why I couldn’t
Teach Rick any manners?
I would remind you
That you had him
In his formative years.
And that I got him after
It was too late to change him.
Of course we were joking,
But I wish I could have told you
That you gave me a treasure.
How could you know back in 1966
That the biggest surprise in your life
Would one day become
The love of mine?
It is in him that I see
The best of you:
He is principled,
Strong, hard-working
And funny.
And if I get 62 years out of him
Like Pauline did from you,
I will greet you with gratitude
In heaven.
And you will be laughing
At me—
One more naïve girl
Who took on a Davis boy
At a young, crazy age
And not only survived,
But loved every minute.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Stump Speech...

Determination, Grit, and the Desire to be Vice President

Guys and gals, I had the opportunity this morning
To indulge in the kind of bloated, fatty meal
That has become all too common in Washington.
But, I told myself, “THANKS, BUT NO THANKS”
To that donut for breakfast.
I had the power to stand up and break the entrenched eating habits
That have turned us all into fat cats
Because I am a maverick.
OK, so I had already purchased the donut.
And I went ahead and ate it.
But only because if I didn’t someone else might.
I may have been for the donut before I was against it,
But at least I took a stand and for one glorious moment
Faced down a threat that those healthy eating elitists
Have never had the courage to deal with.
When it comes to the kind of tough decisions
Real Americans face every day,
You can trust me.
Because I eat in small town America
And on a clear day,
I can almost see Canada from my house.

--Erin Davis

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I love the end of summer...

Here's a little something I've been working on. It's a work in progress, but I thought I'd put it out there since I haven't posted in quite a while:

Autumn’s Relief

I can’t help but welcome
Sun that doesn’t burn.
It’s gentler
And less threatening
To my wary skin.
I'm tired
Of the heightened
Expectations for fun
So it’s nice
Not to field
So many questions
About what I’m doing
This summer.
I did it.
It's done.
And it wasn't

Why bemoan summer’s end?
At its best it is
A flighty friend who,
Keenly aware
Of her own popularity,
Arrives late and leaves early.
The life of the party’s appeal
Is predicated upon
Limited supply
And great demand.
The illusion of celebrity
Is damaged by too much
Just like my skin
Has been damaged
From too much

And it’s such a relief
To feel order starting
To reinstate itself
In my loafing mind.
Soon the kitchen
And the classroom
Will be calling.
I will bake bread.
I will cook stew.
I will grade papers.
I will field all of those
First day questions
From my nervous students.
And I will sleep well
In the slowly

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June along the Little Spokane River

As I sat inside today, emailing and putting off doing laundry and dusting, I suddenly realized how crazy it was to be sitting inside staring at a computer screen. So, I took the camera and off I went to record the beauty all around me. These pictures were taken just down the road from our house. I sure didn't have this scenery in Garden Grove, CA!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So embarrassing!

I know we've had over seven years of "Bushisms," but he never ceases to amaze me. This gaffe is even more embarrassing than the "Thanks, Your Holiness, awesome speech" quote. Read it and weep:


Monday, June 23, 2008

Brendan on the Little Spokane

We didn't get to do this in Garden Grove!

For Rick

"If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” --Winnie The Pooh



Sunday, June 22, 2008


My niece! The first baby girl in our family in 39 years.

So perfect and pretty. So full of possibility....

Friday, June 20, 2008

some thoughts that came on the arrival of the solstice

Summer’s seduction
Makes it easy to forget
As I walk my tentative feet
On its warm carpet of grass
I no longer remember
The sting of biting ice
The cling of stubborn mud.
It whispers in the breeze
You are safe.
You are warm.
The sky is your ceiling.
No need for shelter.
Walk unafraid.
It’s time to forget
The cold that split your skin
The grey that weighed heavy on your head.
See my flowers dance
My rivers tumble.
Let my smile lift you
From east to west.
And just like that
The cold that came before and
The gloom that would not go
Is erased.
Belief comes too easily.
I slip into a certainty
That all that is now
Is all that was
And will always be.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Metal Sculptor

He pounds metal into shapes
Heats it, bends it to his vision
Faces emerge from his torch
A black Madonna and child
A primitive mask
A revered saint
A smiling sun
He weaves straight steel
Into intricate patterns
Celtic knots
Blooming flowers
Trailing leaves
From something cold
He brings traces of life
A moose on the river
Bison on the prairie
A kayak on the waves
And if his creation
Disappoints him
He heats it again
Pounds and twists
Cuts with an arc of light
Until he is satisfied
And I am sure sometimes he wishes
It were that simple with me
That he could take a torch
And fix me to his liking
Cut me into something
Stronger and shining
But I am not so easily bent
I don’t respond well to heat
It makes me sick
I react so much better
To a cooler touch
And even then I am not
So easily re-formed

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A poem about the slow onslaught of spring in Spokane. I'm grateful we've moved on (almost) to summer...

The Thaw

It is not in the bleak midwinter
That I feel the cold
For when the darkness of the dimmest days swaddles me
I sleep.

The indirect angles of the sun’s rays
Soften the sharpness
Of each bare branch and brittle bough
And lull me
Into slumber.

It is not the dry, soft secretness of the snow
That breaks me
For it cushions all my senses
And sweeps me
Into numbness.

But the dreadful dripping of the icicles,
The slow softening
Of the once firm and frosty ground
Shakes me from slumber
And I awake.

It is the unraveling of so many layers,
The near-warmness,
The threatening thaw of winter’s end,
That finally chills me
Into a deep shiver.

The shards of sharp sunlight
Glare on the gray spots,
Expose the cracked skin, the crumbling ground,
The dead things long denied,
And I see.

It is when all is laid bare and brown,
That I am exposed,
Facing the unfrozen, the long untended,
I shudder unguarded
Against the certainty of spring.

--Erin Davis

Triumph on the Little Spokane!

This may be as adventur-ous as I get, but I do love the Little Spokane River! Now if we could just get summer up and running this year, I could kayak without shivering...