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Halloween, 2011. On a clear and frigid evening in the city, we’d walked from the newer shopping district of Klein Basel across the Rhein River, and up narrow, cobblestoned streets to ancient Groß Basel, looking medieval with its cathedrals and leering timbered houses. At the top of the hill, in comical contrast to the severe flying…

Our Time Machine

Highway 20 is a time machine. An east-west corridor a few roads north of the bustling Interstate 90, along which we now live, Highway 20 is less traveled than the freeway, which goes eventually to Boston, and also than Highway 2, which goes to the faux-German village of Leavenworth and various other agricultural destinations. Highway 20…

Not Busy

Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 It’s not early, but it’s still dark upstairs when I sit down on the floor, in front of the open, ashy mouth of the wood stove, to build a fire. It’s a new task for me….

Where We’ve Landed

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. John Muir, “The Yosemite” After a supper of delicious hamburgers with my parents, I leave the chalet half an hour before sunset, turning right to walk up our short road…

Fernweh

Fernweh: (n.) an ache for distant places, the craving for travel A few years ago, a small niche of young American women on Pinterest with some experience in German taught me a new word: Fernweh. While its antoymn Heimweh has a direct English translation–homesickness–Fernweh (pronounced FAIRN-vay) claims no English equivalent. The closest approximation, in fact, is another German…

Our Villages

“Raise your hand if you ever taught me in a Sunday school class,” Timmy requests on Sunday morning. I’m sitting in the front row of a fiercely air-conditioned sanctuary, shivering while outside the temperature climbs to 90˚ F before 9:00 AM. I’m not in Germany anymore. Where I am is Virginia Beach Community Chapel, Timmy’s home…

Places as People

And having answered so I turn once more to those who      sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer      and say to them: Come and show me another city with lifted head singing      so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning. Flinging magnetic curses amid…

Walking Towards Waterfalls

The trail turns steeply upward once we’ve left the road. We’ve been walking along a creek in Lenk, Switzerland for a while, carefully skirting the edges of the path to avoid marring the smooth grooves of the langlauf, or cross-county skiing tracks. Now, the signs take us off the wide, flat track, into deep snow…

Only If

I wasn’t going to lead a small group this year. I remember this Thursday night, as I climb the stairs of one of my senior small group girls’ homes, ready to partake in the birthday feast that the girls have prepared for me and my co-leader, Allison, whose birthday is one day before mine. Earlier…

Of Prayer {From A Puddle of Yogurt}

“Do you know what this means?” He pushes his workbook over to where I’m sitting on a couch in Maugenhard’s living room. I’ve helped set up an ice cream sundae bar tonight, and made a blueberry coffee cake now in the refrigerator, ready for Maug’s dorm mom to toss in the oven tomorrow morning. Now…