Heart in Hand


An elk at The Antlers, Westcliffe

Past-election contention has brought many of us low. I don’t do contention period. Raised in a home where civility ruled and voices were never raised, my skin is thin.

Reading the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report citing 867 cases of hateful harassment or  intimidation in the United States within the ten-day period following the November 8 election did not cheer me up. And so I began wearing a safety-pin – symbolizing my readiness to take a harassed victim’s side.

Although I am still wearing the safety-pin, I’m not so sure that its political symbolism is perceived. Some people probably think that I’m prepared should my bra strap break or the stitching on my coat come lose. The possible uses of a large safety-pin are numerous: a large pin could come in handy if I’m accosted in a dark alley or on a flight commandeered by a terrorist.

dscn3839A better symbol might be the Shaker’s heart-in-hand. The Shakers were a charismatic religious sect of dissenting Quakers who left England to escape persecution and establish a utopian society. They came to the United States in 1774. Today, Shakers are estimated to number four. The sect’s celibacy no doubt played a part in their decline.

As for the heart-in-hand, the symbolism is obvious. My hand is open in a sign of peace, and my heart is there for everyone to see. My Christmas cookies say it all. Some might dispute the wisdom of extending my hand to “the others,” but show me the person who can say ‘No’ to sugar and butter.

In general, I am trying to be better about “living in the-moment.” I used to scoff at that phrase. Moment? What moment were they talking about? Was it the moment before I fed the horses, or the moment before I went to work? Maybe it was the moments before herding kids? Or the moment prior to eldercare or community service? Ha!


An Old World family piece in keeping with the season.

But the last few years have been better. I do have moments now. Not that I make the best use of them, but I can’t complain about outside obligations. Not too many months ago, inspired by Oliver Sacks, Mark and I decided that we needed to observe the Sabbath. We would not  work, cook, drive, or use any media on Saturdays. Rather, we would quietly observe our place in the universe.

Despite our aims, I think that we observed our version of a Sabbath on only two Saturdays. As the third Saturday approached, we noted that we had plans for that Saturday. Would Tuesday or Wednesday be a better choice? And, it was downhill from there.

What we have successfully accomplished is to cut our media time. Instead of ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts,’ we have begun to think of listening to world news as ‘Death by a Thousand Snippets.’

Wishing you Happy Holidays and hearts in open hands.


May the Circle be Unbroken

About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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13 Responses to Heart in Hand

  1. Bar Scott says:


    Thank you.

    I have to write because I’m still unsure of the words I want to say.

    Merry Christmas

    Love Bar

    Our cookies are gone.

    Sent from my iPhone


    • timeout2 says:

      “Our cookies are gone” just about sums it up. Sorry about that. On our return, we’ll compare Brent’s and Mark’s waistlines. The person who has gained the least gets more cookies. Your waistline is always good – if anyone gets cookies, it will be you. xo

  2. Jennie Ensor says:

    Another great blog post, timeout2! Finding a quiet moment isn’t easy for me either.
    Safety pin wearing – if you wore one in UK people would probably think you were a past-it punk 🙂
    “we have begun to think of listening to world news as ‘Death by a Thousand Snippets.'” so true

  3. Julie Stamper says:

    Thanks Doris. Spot on as always.

  4. H Brent Bruser says:


    Sent from my iPhone


    • timeout2 says:

      Trying hard to be in-the-zone, Brent. I understand that cycling can take me there, but I would have to cycle on flat terrain. Not locally where I’ve noticed that Silver Cliff is uphill from Westcliffe.

  5. Denise Pettengill says:

    lovely, as always, to hear your musings from your beautiful place in the world.

  6. Caroline Vornberg says:

    Very fine, Doris!
    Loved the Saturday report, along with wondering if anybody knew what the safety pin meant…..have had 2 comments….no more. Gladness and peace to you and Mark! We share your sentiments.

  7. Anne Relph says:

    Happy Christmas Anne

    Sent from my iPhone


  8. Liz says:

    Miss you Doris. Love your words.

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