Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Written Receipts for Paid Attention
Carolina Wren 12/12/12 by Michael Douglas Jones

    At 12:12:12pm on 12/12/12, I sat on the small wood wall behind my cottage, near the line of tall pines, beneath the winter roost of the Cooper’s Hawk. A wisp of whitest clouds carried the sound of distant dogs, and the laughter of school children on the recess playground across the valley. The sun, to the south, settled low on this short December day, but warmed my cheek, like wool wrapped around me. Beneath the redbud, on the split-rail post, a Carolina Wren rattled a warning about the Cooper’s Hawk above. I breathed in the crisp cooling air that warms our ancient hearts, and knew that this was indeed an extraordinary moment, never to be repeated. A moment not unlike this moment; or this moment. Or this.

Monday, December 3, 2012

All the Day

All the Day
a composite photograph by Michael Douglas Jones

All the day, at every hour, the travelers wish, and worry; each with equal effect. Here, near the seven mile marker on a hundred mile rail, built on bridges above the rivers, I work one task at a time to quiet my mind, and watch the wonder of this world, all the day, at every hour.

#reverb12 Day 3: What do you really wish for?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter Rest

Waiting by Michael Douglas Jones

stands the empty vase in winter,
waiting for the summer blossom.

I am spent; you will not see me in my winter rest, thirty steps down the bank, off the burnt hill road, beyond the long line of scrub pines, where the split-rail remnants trail off; there I am, blending back into the breath of soft soil. My last companion is a wake of vultures, the black angels of carrion come. I am the ribcage in the cornfield.

I know I had more to give, but I would not walk with you, held back by my doubts, not in you, but in me. On every road, I turned off before reaching the ridge. This day, my will is too weak to return to the road, so I rest here until spring.

Try as I might, when I return, I won’t remember this; the days will grow longer; I will walk these roads with you again, and one day, we will reach the ridge.

Posted in response to Reverb12 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Perhaps Tonight

 How are you starting this last month of 2012?
That Last Day
composite photograph

 Death’s ice hand, scratching at my door front, cracking, tapping, like sleet, on my window glass; that reaper with the raspy whisper, that skeptic with a swindler’s smile, sending missives, and missionaries, to bring me over, to pull me under, to turn me into soil and water. Until dawn, I hear the tapping, of imagination, or memory, hammering my heart in the pitch of winter night. This year of disappointment and death waits for me until the dawn of the last day of this final year. I start this month not knowing.

 Wrapped in oakwood smoke and overwhelm, I rise, in ache, slowly from my pinewood cot; I rise in awe that I am still here as light arrives. I wish for little else.

 December sun is late to rise; just moments into dawning, the turkey vulture takes to his day, seeking the warmer sunlight that reaches the tallest dead oak in view, passing eight hand spans above my head, with wet wings sounding like distant dogs on the ridge. Giving me a knowing nod as he lifts higher, up and away; he waits to clean my bones, but I am not yet ready. Oh, Pensée; they have such patience; perhaps tonight, but not today.

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Brother, My Hero

Tracy, Jeff, Michael, Bruce

Life, in any form, should be impossible; every moment, however mundane, is a miracle. Very few people ever see that, and that is as it should be; otherwise we might stand about all evening, staring at leaves of grass. When I first read Walt Whitman, I saw that he knew the mundane miracle. My brother, Jeff, also saw miracles at every turn of the world. He had no B.A. or B.S., especially no BS. His word was truth, and you could count on it like coins.

He was a robust man, an eighteenth century man, cutting through the fog facade of politics, while felling a tree with an iron axe; laughing at the foibles of religion, while whispering with the spirituality of a saint. He held all people, of every station, in high esteem. He was my hero, even though he was younger by four years; he had grace, wisdom, and rough-hewn character. I thought he was invincible; death could not touch him. This day, he passed. He is invincible; even in death, he cannot be touched, unless one could touch everything at once.

There, reaching out, at the end of your fingertips, you will find him, in the miracle.    

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Rising the Moon

Rising the Moon (composite photograph)
Prints available:

    Raising the rising moon begins early, before the heat of sun holds it down. Commerce, with its attendant travelers, moves about the day, not noticing nature’s rising and receding, not noticing the receiving and returning rhythm of breath. It is not until the full moon rises into the night lighthouse that the weary ones, the waking ones, stop and watch for just a moment, to take in the wonder of the rising.

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Future Field

Written Receipts for Paid Attention 

   Each morning is our springtide, and a future field stretches out before us, curving over the horizon, beyond all imagination. Full of possibilities, it is ours to tend. If we think this field fallow, it will be, and we need do nothing further. If we think it fertile, it will become a garden, and blossom beyond all we know.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Building the Broken Heart

Scintilla Project. Day10. Broken Hearts
U. Building the Broken Heart

Prints available:

    Always on the equinox, he arrived with sheets of dreams; single-space, a black and blueprint of promises; of this time I will; this time I can.  And every time, he disappointed the every heart’s desire; the black and blueprint promises a tower, built with black and blue bits of broken heart.


For more information:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Faith as I Find It

Scintilla Project. Day6  Talk about an experience with faith.

Angels in the Air
Prints available:

    I have read the volumes about angels in the air, seen my share of Sunday sermons, stood inside the stunning limestone cathedrals, and sat beneath the vault of heaven, but this is my experience of faith, as I find it in every moment of the everyday.


You breathe out
and I breathe in;
where you leave off
and I begin,
I cannot say.
Where you leave off
and God begins,
I cannot say.
This is my faith,
simply said.


For more information:  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Wonder Wheel

The Wheel ~ Prints available

Once, we rode the Ferris wheel, from half past dawn to early evening. When we wished to visit wonder, we could see it all from there. We rode the sleeper train to Richmond, the night after our wedding day. When we wished to visit wonder, we could see it all from there. Now, we walk the sundown road to sit atop the fallen oak. When we find we've lost our wonder, we can see it all from here.

The Wheel of Wonder ~ L'assemblage by Michael Douglas Jones  ©2019



Friday, March 16, 2012

The Day Daddy Became Pop

The Scintilla Project. Day3.
What's the story of the most difficult challenge you've faced in a relationship?

Lesson Twelve

Daddy pulls his belt off, folds the strap in two, lets it slack, then snaps it back. POP! Like a cap pistol. CRACK! Like a firecracker, this hot July morning. What sorry soul taught him that cruel trick; the warning shots before the beating begins. I’m twelve now, so I get the strap on the backside because the baby spilled the sugar bowl. I’m twelve this time, so what daddy doesn’t know; I can only fight back by giving no satisfaction. I’ll not cry this time. I’ll never cry again. Go on Pop; snap the strap, let it loose; I will never cry again. Never.

Some moments are riverstones collected years ago, carried in the deep pockets of our memory. On the dark, doubtful nights, we run our fingers over the stone’s surface, feeling the same as when we first held it.

Today, I throw that moment into the middle of the river; forget, regret, forgive, forget.


For more information:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

This Morning, Predawn

Scintilla Project. day2. When did you realize you were a grownup?

This morning, predawn; a hobbled greybeard on the dew path to the fox hollow road; oakwood smoke in the air below the last half moon of winter; the slightest hint of Eos rising, beyond the eastern treetops, above the winding valley branch. Wrens and redbirds staccato in the maples before the crows take flight. All the players are in their proper place for the shooting star, brighter than the moon, from zenith to the valley in a second; a moment only, but in that flash, a greybeard becomes a boy again, a child of wonder, wishing on a star.

 He wishes for a walk upon a dew path to the fox hollow road.


Friday, February 17, 2012


Romance author Nora Roberts will host a Valentine's Book Signing on Saturday, February 18, 2012 from 12-2pm EST at Turn The Page Bookstore, 18 North Main Street in Boonsboro, Maryland.

I will be signing my book UNION.  Nora Roberts / J D Robb , Mary BurtonMary Kay McComas , Donna Kauffman & Sarah Wendell and Mary Alice Baumgardner  will be signing their latest books.

Free, limited tickets are available the morning of the event. For information, go to or call 301-432-4588. 

Today’s post is a journal entry that was not on the UNION blog, but is included in the book. If you would like to order the book online, please visit the TurnThePage online store.


Journal Entry: Wilderness, Virginia; February 9, 1861

Equality. This winter, around the fireplaces, there is hot debate in the high houses and the lowlands about equality.  Who shall have it; who is unworthy.  After all, the firebrands say, man was given dominion over the lesser animals.

When I was a boy, once a month, my father, brothers, and I took the wagon thirteen miles to Fredericksburg for supplies.  While there we would take the Rappahannock Bridge to visit my aunt across the river near the ferry farm. On one winter crossing, we heard a crashing and splashing from below the bridge; a horse had bolted, turning a wagon, its dry goods, and its driver into the icy river.  I turned to my father, but he was already out of our wagon and running to the river. He jumped in the frigid water to pull out whatever life was struggling there.  He did not weigh the merits of the man or the equality.  Whether the drowning there was a man, woman, light, dark, two-legged, or four, life was leaving and my father was there to pull it back.  I am convinced the firebrands would let a majority drown without a second thought on the matter, but where I was raised, life, all life was precious and was not ours to rule or roll over.

Where I was raised, everyone works hard; the man and boy, the woman and girl, the draft horse, the bee, the bird in the wood; all have equal worth.  At day’s end, we all eat and sleep, appreciated for our contribution. Not one is thought to be the lesser being.

If man was given dominion over all animals, no one told the crows.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Time

French Pail Birdhouse

Even before dawn, in the treetops, unseen, the Carolina wren and the tufted titmouse are awake, singing beautiful Valentine songs. On sky, high above, the crow joins in with his raspy caw; it's not about perfect pitch, it's simply love, and that is all.


Every time I say Valentine, my daughter corrects me, insisting it is Valentime.
 "Happy Valentine's Day."
"Valentine time?"
"Valentime Day."
"I love you all the Valentime."
"I love YOU all the Valentime."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Isle of Circ

The Isle of Circ (an imaginary land) by Michael Douglas Jones

Journal entry No.03/30  On the Island. I have abandoned my airship and now, on foot, move deeper toward the center of the Isle of Circ, my map showing the concentric rings that mark its depth. I can’t help but feel like it takes a leap of faith to move to each inner ring; each ring a smaller and smaller circle, until I reach a point where I am either spinning or perfectly still.


For the full story of the expedition to the Isle of Circ:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Leaving, Returning

We live, we learn, we leave, return;
 fly south and north, the back and forth,
 the fifth, the sixth, the palimpsest.

Our journal faded, overwritten,
never lost;

We meet, we sleep, we meet again;


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Restricted View

    The modifications to this blog post are in accordance with proposed guidelines for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261. In all manner of art and speech,  the government  reserves the right to remove any inappropriate matter which contains offensive material such as nudity, words, or colors that are not beige.


As an artist, of course, I'm against Web Piracy, but when lazy lawmakers write vague laws hoping the Supreme Court can sort out the details, we have to call them out. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Leaving You at Sundown

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day15

Sunset on Sundown Road, Laytonsville, Maryland. January 15

Leaving; riding beside the split-rail toward the sundown road. In the crisp winter air, the smell of oak wood smoke fades; the warmth of your whisper still wrapped like wool around me.


Friday, January 13, 2012

On The Dock of This Day

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day13

On the dock of this day, 1928

Eastern horizon quickening, lightening; sea of sun rising, readying, raising the mainsail of morning; dawn’s winter wind roars like stevedores on the dock of this day. Swaying ship masts of high hill pines creak and caution, as icy hatch hinges slam and shudder; flags snap and shiver. The crew of crows comes aboard from the valley, cawing commands; all is ready before the mast, this day may get under way. Day breaks cold against my face charting a northwest course; with the western moon over my left shoulder. I turn and face into this fine adventure.


Monday, January 9, 2012

UNION Exhibit & Valentine's Book Signing

Terah Ware ~ Modern Vintage Jewelry with a Neo-Victorian Style

The UNION exhibition will open in Boonsboro, Maryland at GiftsInnBoonsboro on February 4, 2012, and continue throughout the month.

I am so pleased to share the gallery space with Terah Ware. Terah is a jewelry artist, teacher, and writer from Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. Her website, An Era’s Ambiance, is a beautiful, modern vintage masterpiece.

Right next door to the gallery is Turn The Page Bookstore and I will be signing copies of UNION: The Courier Journals at the Valentine's Book Signing on Saturday, February 18, 2012 from 12-2pm  with Nora Roberts / J D Robb , Mary Burton, Mary Kay McComasDonna Kauffman & Sarah Wendell and local author, Mary Alice Baumgardner.

UNION is a mixed media art/journal exhibit commemorating the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. This exhibition includes a series of collage pieces that follow a personal journey through the fictional journals and love letters of a cavalry courier between 1861 and 1865. A slideshow of the art pieces is available here, and the book is available here. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Small Stones

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day8

Bowl of Stones. oil painting ~ Michael Douglas Jones

At our feet are small stones that glow brighter than summer stars, but only if we see the light inside them. Were we not distracted by the babble and chatter of the cobblestone city, we would walk on stars; the glow rising through our feet to our faces. You would see it in my eyes, as I see it in you. 


Saturday, January 7, 2012

More like May

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day7

More like May ~ Michael Douglas Jones

This warm January morning, more like May; a mockingbird, with mate, in the winterberry tree, plucks a berry ripe red, and flies to the top of the redbud. Turning back, he wonders; in this struggling economy, will there be enough berries to last until the June bugs return. Turkey vulture, high above, knows there is always plenty.


Friday, January 6, 2012

The Farm in Fox Hollow

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day6

Seven Buff Browns ~ Michael Douglas Jones

Down the ridge road at the farm in fox hollow, fresh this morning from the house of hens; seven Buff browns and the duck’s one daily. Down on the farm; no discrimination. 


Thursday, January 5, 2012

The January Garden

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day5

October’s uncarved pumpkins
in the January garden,
one by one, become
a winter dinner bowl
for passing passerines.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pristine Moleskine

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day4

Pristine moleskines,
four to a drawer,
tucked inside
the chiffonier;
waiting for words
I thought unworthy
of pristine moleskines,
four to a drawer.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Predawn Snow Shower

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day3

Winter. A collage sketch by Michael Douglas Jones

   Snow shower, sugar powder, dry and drifting down the ferry road, where I walk, winter warm, recalling summer girls, with funnel cake faces, waiting for the Ferris wheel.  


Monday, January 2, 2012

First Day Back

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day2

Fifteen minutes before dawn,
 black dashing in every direction,
 fifteen crows cawing, complaining;
 they’re already late for work.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

This First Day

Rainbow north, this first day.

one small stone in a riverbed of stones; day1

Seconds before sunset,
our ancient mother’s
 glowing smile;
 my doubts
 about this day