Twenties Questions

With many recognitions dim and faint,  And somewhat of a sad perplexity,  The picture of the mind revives again:  While here I stand, not only with the sense  Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts  That in this moment there is life and food  For future years. William Wordsworth, from “Tintern Abbey” It takes me…

Appreciation

I went to ninth grade afraid.  Like many students who leave Christian schools, I entered the “real world” (in my case public high school) with a head full of warnings. I was somewhat apprehensive that in my first month of school I—a fourteen-year-old honors student, a decent violinist and a mediocre volleyball player—would be ridiculed…

An Eclipse and An Inauguration

My daughter wakes up at 9:00 PM. I hear her upstairs, stirring, waking up from what she must assume is a nap, in her pajamas, in the dark. Someday, I’ll put her to bed and she’ll just stay asleep. But not today. Oh well. Anyway, I’m hardly busy. I’m literally lying on the couch in a…

The First Day of No School

Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there, To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not, You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy. In order to arrive at what you do not know You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance….

Last Day Letter: Our Better Country

Ever since the student-teaching days, I’ve ended school with a letter. It’s something I remember loving in high school—the one time a teacher did it—these final written words that summed up a year. Now, I write as much for myself as for them, this summing-up providing my own version of closure. I started posting them…

Questions From Under A Table

Each spring, the juniors at BFA end the year by writing college essays, personal statements that answer one or both of two broad questions: “What has made you who you are?” and “What do you care most deeply about?” Every few years, I feel inspired to write an essay of my own to share with…

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…

The Crucible: Classic & Current

You must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. This is a sharp time, now, a precise time—we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world. Now, by God’s grace, the…

Home Is Where We Start From

Three days into spring break, I find myself on a windy hilltop, alone and reading poetry. At my back is the high outer wall of Rodborough Fort, a well-kept castle of indeterminate history or function, not open to the public but apparently available to lease. I text Timmy a picture of the castle and the…

Of Exile {In The Library}

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,…