Bells, Books, and Echoes

I think I hear church bells one night. I step outside onto our back doorstep, lean over into the humid, still-hot evening, and strain my ears, my soul, my whole being toward the sound I thought I heard. Nothing. Just summer-still evening air, quieter even than a normal August night. No bells. This is maybe…

Blank Days and the Bulletin Board

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,even in the leafless winter,even in the ashy city.I am thinking nowof grief, and of getting past it; I feel my bootstrying to leave the ground,I feel my heartpumping hard. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.I want to be light and frolicsome.I want to…

Much Beauty Everywhere

There is much beauty here, because there is much beauty everywhere. Rainer Maria Rilke I pull on tall rubber boots and forge a path through the snow down to the lake. For the first few minutes, it’s Little House on the Prairie snow, the insistent cloud of blizzard crystals stinging my face, the accumulated weight…

Strength In Striking Root

In college, I read a lot of poems. Long and short, rhyming and not, epic and lyrical and imagist, poems dashed in and out of my academic life for four years (and still several years before I would begin to actually enjoy them). With the great abundance of good poetry in my life at the…

Ten Years & A Longer Table

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community… Let him who is not in community beware of being alone… Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of…

Re-Discovery

Long ago, a bunch of friends and I spent a Saturday moving all of my roommate’s and my things from one part of Seattle to another. It was a pretty typical move, complete with trips to the dump in someone’s borrowed minivan, and furniture crammed in someone’s borrowed truck. The crowning achievement, at the end…

Choosing To Imagine: An Ear of Corn & A Border Camp

I’m feeling very American, standing at my kitchen island and shucking corn. I hardly knew anyone with a kitchen island the whole time I lived in Germany, and the corn—well, that’s about as American as it gets. Because though I’ve spent plenty of summers running and hiking past cornfields in southwestern Germany, Europeans don’t eat…

Grown Up Summer

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet “What’s your favorite season?” I’ve asked this question countless times, to kids all over the place,…

Build Houses & Plant Gardens

Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce.Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile,…

Sometimes You Can Go Back Home

Winter Greenlake Saturday afternoon, I venture out to Trader Joe’s. There are two, about equidistant from our new house by Greenlake, but honestly neither is terribly convenient. I know this, because I’ve had this problem before. This EXACT problem. Because I grew up about a mile from where we live now. So I remember thinking,…