Author Archives: beauty70

Mastectomy: A Flowering Phoenix Rising

Photograph and poem and reading by Dan Windisch January 2, 2019

Click the play button above to hear the poem as read by the author Dan Windisch. You can follow along as you listen with the photos and poem below! This is part of my book “Alpha Martin and Omega Steed” available as an 8 1/2×11″ full color book on Search for Dan Windisch on Amazon if you are interested in the book.
Paradox and pain
Who am I without my breasts?
A woman? Not?
Me? Not?
Who am I now?

Life or death, keep my Breast?
The easy smiling soft colored blondish woman
in the lightly red green and white faded loose cotton top,
Smiled gently and moved with ease
In our meditation workshop at Hollyhock.
She stood out in her quiet gentle beauty.
Evening in the hot tub.
Naked we sat
as the golden sun set
over shining blue waters.
she enters our waters.
Flat chested with a scar on one side,
and a tattoo of a pink carnation,
on the other side.
She shines with beauty.
She talks of her pain of surgery, confusion.
Who was she? Was she a she?
Without her breasts.
She talked of her new blooming
And of the flowering tattoo
That was her new me.
More than breasts.
We are more than breasts or scars or bodies.
She was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.

Northwest Fog, Rain, Reflections, and Reality

Poem and and reading and photographs By Dan Windisch 2018

Click the play button above to hear the poem as read by the author Dan Windisch. You can follow along as you listen with the photos and poem below! This is part of my book “Alpha Martin and Omega Steed” available as an 8 1/2×11″ full color book on Search for Dan Windisch on Amazon if you are interested in the book.

For 69 years I grew up in, lived in, perceived in,
And will, in the not too distant future,
die in,
a land of mist,
shades of rain,
and fog.

I grew up in lands of tall evergreen trees; 
Spruce, Douglas fir, and Cedar.
Trees formed, from fog, and rain, and days of occasional sunshine.

I grew up surrounded by Mountains that exist only in days of
glorious sunshine.
Even huge, magnificent, 14,408 foot, snow-covered, even in August,

Mount Rainier.
She often disappears, stops existing,
between the mists and clouds that covers us all,
Then, surprising us all, bursts out glorious,
and brightly snow covered,
in sunshine;  for a few days,
then disappears, again, As if, never having existed,
back into the mist.
Was she always there?
Are we always here?

I live in lands of rolling hills, covered by thick tall green trees,

and dense underbrush,
and wet dripping leaves,

and those marvelous Madrona (Mad Rona’s) trees 
with their shining when wet, bright red skins,
and red berries,
and regally red peeling bark (do you see her face in the bark? I do).

I live in Western Washington; Puyallup, Olympia, Lacey,

Dupont, Tacoma.
Don’t ask me for exact descriptions of people, places, and things.  
All adjectives and nouns slide into,
and out of
the fog, the mist, the varying shades of gray.

The joys of living in a land of mist, reflections, shades of rain, and fog?
No sharp

The best aspect?
Sliding, mystical shape shifting Beauty, and a reality,
that slides from sunshine, to mist, to rain.
I hold, cherish, then let go, of everything,
even me,
back into the mist.

Yet, part of the my most beautiful, my most connected,

are the people, and moments of beauty and gratitude, that I so love,
They always remain in my soul,
even when I forget.
Even when they are hidden from memory by the fog, and the rain,

and the mist.
Like a dream, forgotten,
but still there,
Until I too slide back into the mist.

Currently, in this short moment in the long history of this land,
Currently in 2018, ours is a haunted land,
full of Walmarts, Costcos, strip malls, streets,  freeways full of cars
and frustrated, frightened,  angry, confused, lonely people,
glued to iphones, in hurried goings and doings,
to buy,
and store,
and throw away, and hoard, more and more.

Fearful people.
Yet also many kind, and good, and caring people.

Yet many of those that have more than their ancestors

could ever have imagined,
Are so full of fear of losing it all.
People unconsciously fearing Homelessness, which, realistically,
For most of them, is just a job loss,
and a few months away.
Scary thoughts, not thought about, but constantly there.  

I live in a land of homeless people,
with cats and dogs,
And too many clothes on hot days,
and needles on the ground,
and murmurings, and shoutings,

The pain?
No deep anything. Everything passes into, and out of, the mist.

Mist often leads me to,
the Mystical.
Homeless Please Help
and those with signs on too many street corners, ignored.
Veterans, beggars, Moms, down on their luck, or lazy?
“I need Help. Anything will do.”
“Why aren’t they working? Will they steal from me?”
Anger that they do nothing, while I work hard.
But do they need help? I’m sure some do. What do I do?

I’m both lucky and damned.  If I lost my job I would not lose it all.
I’m retired, have Social Security.
Yet I suffer from back pain, am blind in one eye,

and hurt most of the time.

Yet I am so grateful.

I still have a time, Just a little, (we die too soon)
before I die,
To cherish the mist, reflections, occasional sunshine, and

the mystical.

I will dance (if only in my soul) in the rain, and sun,
Stomp in the mud puddles,
Slide into and out of the mist,
and shades of rain,
And cherish our grandbabies,
as they marvel in the growing glory of it all.

Sacred Moment: Mt. St. Michel France

Photo Audio and Poem from Dan Windisch’s “Alpha Martin and Omega Steed” available on Amazon.

Sacred Moments read by the author Dan Windisch
I saw her in prayer.
And, sensing, in an instant, that sacred light, and posture, and place,
and time,
I respectfully, and slowly, and quietly, raised my camera
to my eye, and gently pressed the shutter release,
allowing the light to reflect onto my camera’s sensors,
this mystical moment, of
Her and God’s beauty, blending, melding, meeting, co-mingling,
in prayer, in a moment, sacred.
I love
The dazzling white light pouring through the three (Father, Son and
Holy Ghost) windows,
That brilliant light reflecting
on the altar, the tiled floor, her white Wimpled Coifed head cover.
I love
That brilliant Light resting,
on Her shoulder
leaning slightly-to-the-left, bent-in-prayer.
I love
That subtle light and shadow
on her puddled, circled robe,
on the floor,
like rings of a pond wave,
moving inward.
I love
that holy light
gently touching the red and white tiled floor, and softly reflecting on
Those thoughtfully shaped, centuries old, columns,
upholding it all.
I love
The tilt of her head
In contemplation and prayer.
I love
The red lit candle on the altar.
I love
That she is solitary, in prayer,
With her God.
I love
The carefree, and gorgeous flow, and shape, of her headdress,
As it wanders from her head, to her neck, and down her back.
I love
The flowing to the right
Of her white
I love
How she kneels on that hard floor
Lost to everything, but God.
I love,
How in this moment,
She, I, God, that red candle, that light, that place, all of us,
are One,
in contemplation and communion.

Unfelt Love and Hurricane Florence

Click to hear the Poem as read by the author.

This poem is from Dan Windisch’s  Alpha Martin and Omega Steed which is available on Amazon in a full color 8.5″x11″ paperback, and on Kindle. 

Wake Forest North Carolina Saturday, September 8, 2018.
By Dan Windisch 

Unfelt Love
Learning from my wise, beautiful, and soul friend Fran,
in her Reiki class in Wake Forest.
I am deep in meditation,
In my chair, feet on floor, eyes closed … breathing.
I become, and am only,
the slowly rolling rise, then fall, of my breath, my chest, my diaphragm.
My breath morph me, slowly move me,
Drift me, gently rock me,
between in-breath, pause, out-breath.
i am ever deeper flowing, being, calming, an empty vessel, now ready.
Then, in preparation,
(Not to be blown away);
I send down roots; visualize myself grounding, deeply, my roots
curling around solid granite.
Now ready, i, unfold, and allow, gentle, yet powerful, White, Loving
Energy to flow into, me,
Flow through those tingles in my head,
and down my rainbow-colored chakras.
As a filling with Love, then filled, then overflowing me,
I see, am, and consciously flow outward,
to all the world,
that Love.
Yet that Love,
(Thine, not mine),
tangible, real, flowing through me Love, is
unseen, unfelt by most the world.
But there.
Hurricane Florence
Outside, the sun broils and blusters and blasts,
Again, in Wake Forest North Carolina.
Hot, wet and sticky,
like so many days before, never-ending heat,
90 sunny sweltering degrees onto my humid, soaked, sweat glistened skin.
Of course, it will never end.
1000 miles away the future, unseen, unfelt, predicted, is coming,
Swirling at 120 mph with white capped, screaming wild, crashing,
careening, 50 foot, 5 stories high waves, and torrential rain, falling
green-brown sheets of howling water,never-ending chaos.
Death drowning, 15 foot floods, flooded basements, homes like splinters
broken,downed trees, dead people, unseen fury, are coming.

Love and death

Gema’s gone … gently

I wrote this is in 2000, when we had to put down our beloved Gema. Those who have had to put down beloved pets know our pain. This is in memory of Gema.


Gema’s Gone … Gently.

Copyright by Dan Windisch 080900

August 8, 2000 4 PM or so

Gema knew. Gema was ready. It was us it was so hard on. We will miss her so.

Usually when we took Gema to the Vet her whole body shook with fear. You had to drag her into the door. Gema’s fear eyes looked at us with soul eyes wondering how people she loved could bring her here. When previously we had lifted Gema onto the stainless steel exam table, her whole body shook. When receiving vaccinations she whimpered, trembled. She couldn’t wait to rush out the door.

Today Gema did not shake as we entered the vets office. Gema walked steadily, despite her labored, fast, heavy breathing. Her eyes did not flash fear as we lifted her onto the stainless steel exam table. She panted heavily in the hot afternoon, on that cool table.  That, and her distended belly were the only indicators of her failing heart.

She enjoys the cool of the table, my massaging her neck and spine, Mary Joyce petting her, Debbie on the other side petting her.  I’m looking at Gema’s face. Gema looks straight ahead, head up, a regal old red golden retriever, eyes focused at a place beyond the walls. Gema has that semi-smile golden retrievers have when they know they are loved. She does not notice our tears. Tears of 40 and 50 year olds are thin, and flow fast. Gema doesn’t notice. She feels only our love.

Dr. Pinckney is an old man. Stooped. Warm heart kept covered… perhaps that is why he had that heart attack so many years ago. Very professional, doesn’t say much.

His vet assistant is new. Her compassion is apparent. This is obviously hard on her. She says so.

Gema continues looking ahead, not shaking, enjoying our touch, feeling our love. Dr. Pinckney turns away from us. He tries not to let us see as he fills a syringe from a vial that says “Poison” in bold letters. I think only I see that.

Dr. Pinckney says “I will need to remove a bit  of Gema’s right front leg hair.”  With gentle quick scissors clips he removes the hair without even nicking Gema. I am surprised that this stooped, shaky old man has such steady quick hands.

He wipes the injection site with alcohol. I’m shocked, between my tear, with the irony. No worry of future infection here! No need… yet somehow comforting. Habits that are no longer needed are often comforting.

We continue to pet Gema, our eyes filled and flowing with those 10W weight tears, sending her our years of love and thankfulness for all she has meant to us.

Dr. Pinckney puts a rubber tourniquet around Gema’s right front leg, tightens it a bit, inserts the syringe, (Gema doesn’t flinch, continues to look forward), injects the poison, and then releases the tourniquet. For a second or two Gema looks ahead with just the slightest quizzical look, then lowers her head gently to the table, eyes open. Dr. Pinckney puts his hand on her side, says “She’s Gone.” He walks out the door.

I pat Mary Joyce on the back. I  wish I could do more for her, but there is this HUGE block of sadness blocking my throat. I can’t talk as the tears roll down my face. I’m mute with grief and sadness. Yet despite how hard it is, I am also glad I am here. Glad I could love Gema and pet Gema and massage Gema at the end. Honor her. Yet it is SO hard. The lump in my throat so huge. The sadness so overwhelming.

Gema’s eyes are open and she looks so relaxed.  Debbie asks if we can close her eyes, the vet assistant says they can’t be closed.

I continue to pet Gema, massage her. Mary Joyce says I don’t need to pet her anymore. She’s gone. I say nothing… The lump in my throat blocks my voice. Yet, if I could have talked I would have said that “I think Gema is still a bit here, and I want the last thing she feels to be my hands loving her.” And my the throat gets more constricted, the light weight tears flow faster … I don’t want to let her go.


        That night for the first time in a very long time I decide to go gambling. I tell Gema as I drive to the Casino that if I win, I’ll give half of my winnings to Mary Joyce. I play Caribbean Stud, have a string of  good hands, then the streak ends. I know it is time to stop, I thank Gema, win $56. The casino has a $15.95 steak and lobster special. I eat alone cherishing the lobster and steak, and between tears no one can see,  I raise a glass of ice water in Gema’s honor. Thank you Gema.


August 8th Midnight

Tears stain my clean pillowcase as I thank God for all that GEMA has added to my life.

Favorite memories of Gema

February 1, 1989. I meet this new lady on my 40th birthday via her response to my personal ad. It is snowing that day. Schools are closed, my young niece and nephew, Danika and Robbie, come over to my house. They recognize the photo of this new lady as Ms. O’Brien, a school teacher they know. They say I’ll like her. They are right. I call her that night and bring her some birthday cake.  She has this 5 month old golden retriever named Gema, named so because she is a gem. I love petting Gema, especially her ears, they are so warm and soft and can be rubbed between my fingers. I joke about wanting to have them after Gema dies.

Gema, Mary Joyce and I go on our first walk together. In the snow, up Lawrence Street to the University of Puget Sound, through evergreens, past the A frames on campus, and back. it is a magical night, fresh snow makes everything new, white, fresh. Gema wearing her young dog body rushes ahead, smells everything, leaves paw prints in the snow. Life is fresh and new. Many more walks will follow.


Ocean Shores and Newport.  Gema is a puppy still. We go crabbing off the docks. Wire cages with salmon head bait thrown into blue waters. Gema excited, sees the ocean for the first time. So much to see! Moving ahead she looks to the right and walks over the left edge of the dock! I have to lean over, with someone holding my legs, to pull her out of the freezing water. That night at the motel she is distracted again and falls into the swimming pool! For the rest of her life Gema is leery of water. And Gema is a water dog! It would take many years before she would walk into the lake on very hot days to cool off. She never swam or went out beyond where her feet touched the bottom.


Summer School. Mary Joyce and I are both teaching classes at Saint Martin’s. A call comes. Gema is starting to have her puppies. MJ and I rush home in separate cars. Gema is in the basement, in the cool. Puppy after puppy comes out. We hold hand size puppies up to her to lick. She hurts, and is exhausted, but does her mother thing. She’s glad we are there. Puppies new to the world with eyes closed snuggle against her, drinking milk in the frantic way new life does.


Later that summer. Puppies grow so fast, so many, Gema is a bit overwhelmed! Most of the puppies are given to family.


I pet Gema, she looks up, and lifts an eyebrow, and looks so deep into my eyes with her sad eyes. I stop for a second. She nudges me with her hand to start again. A pattern develops, every time I stop petting her or massaging her, her tail starts wagging. “More.” “More.”


Gema Loves chasing the tennis ball. Isn’t too smart though! Time after time I pretend to throw it one way, she runs in that direction, sees nothing, turns around, and I throw it in another directions!  She is so funny, I can’t help but laugh. She wants to fetch the ball, but doesn’t want to give it up after she brings it back. I have to pry it out of her mouth! Seems very human to me.


Gema is prancing, golden red, ahead of us on our walks in the woods at Dupont. Smelling everything, chasing smells into woods, looking back to make sure we are coming. Reveling in the fragrance of the woods.


Gema licks her leg, won’t stop. Over the years it becomes a gaping wound. “Loneliness” says the vet.


An ugly wart develops on Gema’s nose. We have it removed finally. It never totally heals.


Gema has heart failure, often can’t raise her head. Doesn’t eat for 3 weeks. I often go over and lay beside here, tears flowing, just petting her, reminding her of all the great times we’ve had together. Thanking her. Sometimes for an hour or more. Dr. Pinckney prescribes some heart medicine that might help in a few weeks. We think Gema is going to die. But she gets better! To my joy we walk again in the woods, Gema prancing ahead. Smelling everything in her dog ways. It is sheer joy to see her do that again.


For 6 months she is better. Then begins to degenerate. Slower on the walks, hard to get up, stomach starting to distend with fluids.  My final walk with her is August 7th. Gema is walking because she loves us, not because she enjoys the walk. The next day she goes on a walk with MJ and her dad. After she gets back, she falls down, can’t get up, has a terrible time breathing. MJ calls me. We both know it is time. Time to have her put down. I lay next to her on the cool floor once again. Tell her once more, and again, how much I love her, as I pet her. Tears flow, but that’s ok.  I stop … her tail starts to wag. I pet her again. We decide to call the vet. Gema goes outside lays on the cool pavement. Then lays on the beauty bark in the garden, smelling the smells as she breathes so hard and fast.

We call her and she gets into the car and we drive to Dr. Pinckney’s.


Thank you Gema for all your love.


Beauty in the photographs details: Summer Backlit Daisy

What I love about this lovely backlit Daisy:

I love how each white petal tip is uniquely beautiful, curved and pointed,
I love the orange yellow center, with their gorgeous geometric shapes,
I love the backlit whiteness,
I love the 2 companion daisies at the bottom of the photo,
I love the darkness contrast of the background.



The photo also reminds me of HAL in 2001 A space odyssey, 
where he sings “Daisy” as he is being dismantled by Dave.
“I’m scared Dave… will I dream?”

 “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do
I’m half crazy all for the love of you
It won’t be a stylish marriage
I can’t afford a carriage, but you’ll look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.”

Ribs of wooden deck chairs.

Ribs of wooden deck chairs
By Dan Windisch
June 3, 2017
On the Queen Mary 2

 On the wet, empty, reflecting,
Teak walking deck,
of the Queen Mary 2, 
in Mid Atlantic,

Ribs of wooden deck chairs,
face into the early-morning dense fog.

While gentle rolling ocean waves,
roll by. 

Beauty in the photographs details: Lily B&W

Below is the original photograph, and the final edited photograph of the lily.

I wanted to emphasize the gorgeous nature of the Lily, eliminate the distraction of the background, eliminate the orange of the stigma, and make the background black. What remains is the awe-inspiring shapes, curves, and texture of this amazing flower!