About Tracy MacDonald

A joyful writer, photographer, mixed-media artist, and seeker of beauty on this amazing journey.

A Poet, A Parrot, and a View

Late afternoon, Ramsay and I returned from taking Biscuit, our Golden Retriever, on a quick walk. “oh, no, Rams, this key isn’t working,” I said while nervously trying to unlock the door, giving the handle a good shake. “Dad will be home soon, let’s play ball in the garage,” I said, hoping to convince us both that we were fine without water, a bathroom, money, or a phone.

Dad wasn’t home soon, so we ventured into the street. (Walking around in Tegucigalpa isn’t advised). Jose the guard approached us. In broken Spanish, I asked to use his mobile. “No credit, no money,” he said, turning his phone upside down as if to show us nothing was inside. “Gracias,” I replied. My heart sank.

In two years of living here, with high walls, barbed wire, and fortified garages, it’s rare to know neighbors. We rang the bell next to us. No answer. Then I remembered: Nina and Claudia, behind the big green gate down the hill. “Let’s try them!” I grabbed Ramsay’s hand, making haste before darkness fell.

Standing before their doorbell box with a camera, I pressed the button. Please be home, I thought, sending positive energy through the gate. I guessed it had been about an hour and a half we had been locked out.

A door cracked open. Footsteps were followed by dogs barking (four of them, it turns out) behind the wall. “Hello? It’s Tracy and Ramsay- I can’t get into my house!” Nina’s cheery voice replied,” Oh, Tracy! Hello! I’m coming!” The metal door unlatched with a loud clack. We were beckoned inside with friendly greetings. In the era of COVID, we knew letting us in without masks carried more weight than “before.” Rams and I kept a respectful distance.

Claudia’s home was an oasis of calm and safety. She warmly asked if Ramsay would like lemonade squeezed from local “sour” green oranges. “Yes, thank you,” he said, taking a sip with a smile. She handed me a glass of water and her phone. I called Brad and made a plan.

Rams fed treats to the dogs and kicked the ball around with them. The women took a seat on the patio. Claudia poured me a glass of red wine and the conversation turned to writing. “What is it about?” she asked when I told her about my fiction draft. “I’d like to read it,” she responded kindly. She spoke of studying multiculturalism and linguistics.

I asked her if she knew of the Mexican poet Octavio Paz, whose beautiful poem, As One Listens to the Rain had recently been introduced to me. She nodded.

“I’m a poet,” she said casually, then went to look for a book, which happened to be her published copy of bilingual poetry, called Mariposa Amarilla, The Yellow Butterfly. The inside cover told me she obtained her PHD in the US and was the Head of the Letters Department at the National University of Honduras for years. I asked her to inscribe it for me.

Ramsay met Paco, Claudia’s parrot, also age 8. Paco knew how to call the dogs by name, making us laugh. Brad called to say he was home. We didn’t want to leave yet.

“Would you like to see the view from the roof?” asked Nina’s husband. (He and Nina had been visiting his Aunt Claudia a year ago when the pandemic extended their stay). Ramsay and I climbed the thin rungs of the ladder bolted to the garage wall. We stepped through a hatch and out onto the roof. We took in the great expanse of the city lights surrounded by hills at sunset.

I thanked her profusely taking us in.

“I’ve lived in many places, many countries, and I’ve found there are kind people everywhere who are willing to help,” responded Claudia.

Indeed.

In the end, Ramsay and I felt fortunate to have been locked out. “That was fun,” he said on our walk home. “Sometimes unexpected gifts come in strange packages, and sometimes, those are the best kind,” I replied.

Here is “Yellow Butterfly,” the lovely poem for which Claudia’s book is named.

I’d love to hear your tale about the kindness of strangers. Please comment below.

Love & Light, Tracy

P.S. We bought some of those green oranges to make lemonade at home.

Collective Lights

January,

a month to dream, to castle-build. A time for renewal.

I settle into stillness, listening for whispers from my core being about my heart’s desires.

I’m quietly gathering 2021 aspirations. (I don’t want to call them resolutions because that sounds like work instead of dreaming about what I want my life to look like). So, a couple of aspirations this year are to be present- really present– during any opportunity to connect with loved ones, and to commit to finishing a fiction manuscript draft.

And I want to be mindful about my days so they don’t disappear into a blur of “being busy.”

There’s a lot of social media advice on setting intentions, and tools for transitioning into the new year. I’ve tried many, and a few favorite concepts that have worked for me in recent years are:

  • Choosing a Word (or theme) of the Year to guide intentions. Have you ever done this? (My word for 2021 is “Realign”).
  • Taking stock of the past year before launching into goals for the new ones. I like using a workbook to reflect and gather inspiration, like Unravel Your Year by Susannah Conway. And Mel Robbins’ video series “Incredible Year,” in which she says to chart a path forward, we must know where we are first. (Both of those linked resources are free).
  • Setting micro-goals and deadlines in my planner (and boundaries to protect my time and energy).

Knowing what I don’t want helps shape my vision, too. I don’t want 2020 baggage to drag into this new year, like an anchor holding my soul captive. I want to let go, to feel free and untethered.

What are your New Year rituals or dreams for 2021? Whatever you choose to do, don’t hold back on shining bright and taking up space in the world. The world needs our collective lights.

Wishing you Peace & Prosperity,

Tracy

The Reclaiming

 

Hurricane Iota hit Honduras the week my son and I returned from the U.S. after a long evacuation. Eight months of creating a home away from home, where there was love and green space and freedom, but without my husband, without a sense of normal, and not knowing when we’d be reunited.

The night we landed in Tegucigalpa, there was wind and torrential rain, but also peace: we were together. The roof leaked in several places, like tears running down the walls. Walls I had not lived in for quite some time, within which I could not find things. Where is the pasta strainer?

I opened drawers and cabinets, rearranged furniture. I put on my favorite fuzzy socks, straightened books, and washed blankets, seeking coziness and order. Re-establishing my presence, reclaiming space here.

Tracita! Bienvenida!” said the store clerk I hadn’t seen since winter. “Donde esta?” she inquired with wide eyes behind thick glasses. The answer felt too big to fit in my mouth, so I said simply, “Away, but I’m here now.”

On the first day of sun, I gathered groceries. I cooked all morning, stacking copper pots in the sink, stocking the fridge with nourishing food. It felt healing and made the house smell good. I missed those copper pots, missed cooking in my kitchen.

We set the table, lit candles, and fostered togetherness, not taking it for granted. Unity. Connection. Hugs. Cocooning ourselves; not hard to do in an era of Covid, but now welcome.

There are a few things I had forgotten about living here:

  • the need to gird my loins while avoiding errant mopeds on the road
  • don’t drink the tap water
  • fireworks-loud ones, late at night
  • how fortified the city is with its high walls with barbed wire

And yet so many things to love:

  • morning coffee and conversation on the patio
  • rediscovering our belongings and creative spaces
  • the palm tree and hummingbird in our garden
  • roadside tiendas selling vibrant flowers, fresh pineapples, and avocados
  • how good it feels to sit at my desk, surrounded by writing instruments, books, and journals

 

….and a million little things about home that hold my heart.

 Love & Light, 

“Tracita” (little Tracy).