National Forest & Black Forest {Or, Where You’re From}

Dear Luci, John Denver plays over the stereo. The morning fire is down to embers now, and through the upstairs window all I can see are the dark arms of fir trees, calm and complacent in the autumn sun. On the counter sits a bear made of yellow cake, waiting for frosting, because tomorrow is…

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….

My Doorways

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald This quote, snatched far out of context from a tense scene of The Great Gatsby, makes its rounds every September. And while I agree, as much a lover of fall as any girl who likes sweaters, hot drinks and orange leaves, for…

Shorts

“The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.” Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer It’s been a summer of changes. We’ve slept in four different time zones, moved to a zip code neither of us has lived in before, and begun the process…

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…