For Tina

Weeping cherry on Meadow Way in San Geronimo Valley

Odds are, if you’re reading this, you already know that my wife of nearly four decades, Cristina Kessler Noble, has been struggling with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It began to take its toll in Tina’s late forties. It’s now in its mid-stages, and has left her profoundly disabled. Her awareness, her steady sunniness, and her fierce determination to stay engaged with life humble all of us every day.  Last year, Tina seized on wabi-sabi, the delicate Japanese aesthetic of impermanence, as a way of coming to terms with what is happening to her. This poem is my attempt at expressing our ongoing sense of loss.


Let us honor the rust streak,
this windy snow of petals,
today’s umber sky of clouds.

Lilt some half-voiced song
of the imperceptibly thinning
radiance in my wife’s eyes,

of this pen, raised and then
put down. Of a frog, leaping.
Of the enduring empty after.



  1. Irene Brady said,

    February 6, 2010 at 3:10 am

    thank you for sharing the small bits of beauty you have found in this monumental sadness, Bill.
    hugs to you and Tina both.

  2. Savannah said,

    February 6, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Words when there are no words

    Eat themselves one by one

    Rather than step in the clear water

  3. Maggie MacPherson said,

    February 12, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    What a great resource this will be for me, a wildflower seeker. I have a list of Marin wildflowers I have identified over the years that I take with me on my hikes along with various identification books. I think it is part of the hunter/gatherer in me. Thanks for sending me your blog. We enjoy Tina’s visits!

    • billnoble said,

      February 12, 2010 at 11:42 pm

      I wouldn’t know where to find the cart to load the thanks to trundle them up the hill to you for all the kindness and adventure and delight you have shown Tina. Thanks, Maggie! 🙂

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