For Sale: A Good Tent

I have a confession to make. Though I fear that this admission may lead to the recall of my Dahlstrom Card, for the sake of honesty and the all-important Need To Tell A Story, I make it here with fear and trembling: I haven’t slept in my tent–or any tent, for that matter–in four years….

One Step Ahead

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 “Just remember, it’s not scary.” The juniors giggle nervously, fidgeting with blank-screened phones and tapping pencils on their blue journals, open to pages filled with questions. At the beginning of class, I…

Haunted By Homes

“No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home.” Creed Bratton, The Office Luci and I halt abruptly in front of the kitchen/toy/hardware store window display on Hauptstrasse, because I’ve spied a familiar word. Beside an elegant box containing three ceramic egg-cups and…

Remembering How To Read

In order to arrive at what you are not You must go through the way in which you are not. And what you do not know is the only thing you know And what you own is what you do not own And where you are is where you are not. “East Coker,” T.S. Eliot…

Thoughts From the Valley

“With every job when it’s complete There is a sense of bitter-sweet That moment when you know the task is done…” Mary Poppins February 2010. I’m crying in a theater in mid-town Manhattan. Heeding the advice of one of my bosses from college, who regularly travelled to New York for business, I’ve taken this evening…

Angelina & The Lupine Lady

“That is all very well, little Alice,” said her grandfather, “but there is a third thing you must do.” “What is that?” asked Alice. “You must do something to make the world more beautiful,” said her grandfather. “All right,” said Alice. But she did not know what that could be. In the meantime Alice got…

Sewing Machine

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,  some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.  I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.  Elizabeth Bishop, from “One Art”   The sewing machine came from downstairs. Also Americans working in missions, our neighbors have been in Europe for decades, so I correctly guessed that she…

The Fear Jacket

  I’m troubled from the start, Friday morning. Living nine hours ahead of my friends on the West Coast, the ongoing ugliness of election season in America unfolds mostly in the morning for me. I wake up and see it spattered across social media, the messy barbs of rhetoric flying between two people I don’t…

All Here

What I Expect of You: 2. You’ll be Present. Come to class on time every day.       When you are here, be fully present with your body, mind and soul. Some of you know one another very well, but your social life belongs in the hall. In here, you are scholars, readers and…

More

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…