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Recent photo of me.

I decide to take a walk
Deliberately leaving my smartphone behind.
Because I want to be fully present
Uninterrupted by thoughts of taking photos.
Or whether anyone will like them.

As I step outside,
I notice leaves randomly-scattered on the stoop,
And resist the urge to go back and grab my phone.
Be here now.
Words I read somewhere a long time ago.

My husband and I walk in companionable silence.
Well, I’m mostly silent.
He talks, I listen.
Trying to wrap my mind around the beauty of dead colorful, but browning scattered leaves while absorbing his words.

Leaves speckling the still-green yards in various shades of red, gold, orange, and brown
And splashed against a backdrop of blue sky.

Reality: scattered leaves = raking = lawn care = work/money.

Metaphor: scattered leaves are like my random thoughts and impulses, in the days before law school organized them into neat piles based on common law precepts, briefing cases, and Socratic dialogues (that sometimes didn’t quite do the trick).

By the way, this is the formula for briefing a published court decision.

Brief = facts + issue + holding + rationale.

So, now you know what I was doing for three years in law school, plus the nine I spent practicing law. I just saved you three (or more) years of mental torture law school/legal practice. You can thank me later!

I may not be the picture of perfect health, but I am able to see and think about all of this. And walk through it. And find the metaphors.

PS: I also can’t resist taking this photo! 🙂

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Originally published at on November 22, 2019.

New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website:

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