Hello, everyone --

Well, it's come to this: March.

March is the reason I never wanted to move back to Minnesota. March is gray and brown and gritty and overcast. March pretends the clarion cold of winter never happened, and the glory days of summer will never come. March sticks in fur and tracks in on paws. This is one situation I simply can't pollyanna. March is a slog.
On the upside, I'm teaching a new Zoom class with Courtyard Fountains starting today! Haiku with You. (Three seats left, if you're interested. It's a one-hour class ... three sessions ... and we start at 2pm Pacific/4pm Central. More info here.) Spoiler alert: If you're signed up, you might want to wait to read the rest of this note later. :)

In preparation for one of today's class activities, I wrote a description of the view out my window:

The branches are brown, but behind the large plain tree, white birch bark twists and turns. The sky is gray. The grit on the streets and sidewalks is gray and black. My brown dog tracks it into the house. Muddiness. If I didn’t know better, I could believe the world outside was a sepia-toned photo. Even the house next door is brown and brown and brown. The rabbits are brown. In my window, though, is a glass picture: orange sun, yellow sky, blue water, green trees. Promise of summer?

Next I started crossing out words to create an erasure poem:

The white birch bark twists gray. The grit tracks Muddiness. a sepia-toned photo. Even the rabbits are brown. In my window: orange sun, yellow sky, blue water, green trees. Promise of summer?

Then I brought to these bleak words the haiku constraints I learned in grade school -- three lines, 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables:

branches etch the clouds
as rotting leaves turn to mud
—a sepia spring

And I found that after putting my observations of March into words, I felt a bit better about it. It's as if I took my mental camera, captured an image and turned it into something I can understand (words). Now I own it. March is mine. 

This is, in a nutshell, the beauty of writing down our memories. Whether they are happy or sad, pleasant or uncomfortable, when we write them down, we can own them. They can even become lovely to us.

(And that was, by the way, your writing prompt for this newsletter -- give it a try! paragraph -> erasure poem -> haiku) 

May we all find the best in whatever March brings our way!

Take good care,

An example of the power of story

Last week a friend in Vancouver, Washington, sent out an announcement to supporters and friends of an organization she founded to meet a need she had realized was going unmet: bedding for people arriving in shelters and escaping difficult situations.

Here's what she wrote:

Just last week The Linen Closet delivered sheets, blankets and comforters to a homeless shelter in Washington. We learned in particular that some people staying there are coming out of human trafficking and fleeing domestic abuse with small children (on the rise there in the past six months). We learned from the coordinator at that shelter that one woman, who recently arrived with nothing, was asked what her favorite color was.  "Pink," she replied. The coordinator gave her one of your fluffiest, pinkest, most charming comforters, and a pair of Snoopy sheets (another favorite), and the newly homeless woman left in tears and smiles to go make up her "new" bed in the shelter. 

I share this for two reasons. First, because I am struck by the way my friend, Lynn Finley, captured in writing this poignant moment and the simple thing -- new bedding -- that catalyzed it. 

Second, it is such a wonderful reminder that not one of us can do it all or even think of all that needs to be done. But together we can make a difference, by sharing something we have -- whether that's sheets and blankets, or a listening ear.


Spurred on by a friend (thanks, Linda!), I've begun sharing a memory every Monday. 

March 1 brought a bit of a love story, "Second chance snow," and March 8 took me back to a friendship that spurred my interest in other cultures, "Recalling Maria."

I decided on this plan at the end of February, and so far, I'm finding that I wake up on Monday mornings with a memory in mind.

Would you like to join me in this exercise? Just share a memory to Facebook with #MondayMemories, and tag me @SarahCoomberWriter. I'd love to see what you find!

March 11

Are we still doing that "in like a lion" part of March?
Thank you for your interest in The Same Moon and sharing stories! You are welcome to share this email with others who might be interested.

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