The Art of the Ordinary Moment

The Farthest Edge: The Story of a Photo

August 1, 2013

“You’re not going any farther than this,” the man said. There was a warning tone in his voice and a charge in his eyes, which gleamed blue-gray in the last light of day, like the sky that was fading to dusk. We had walked from the street above us down a wooden staircase to this […]

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Questions into the Deep

May 9, 2013

A song by Peter Mayer, Blue Boat Home, depicts the earth as a boat sailing the universe, and we, “kindred pilgrim souls,” lean over the edge of our boat “in wonder, casting questions into the deep.”* The moment that the song queued up on my car’s old but good CD player on a recent morning, […]

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History and Transcendence

March 8, 2013

The sun was striking the hoarfrost on the trees yesterday morning, and even though we’ve had a surplus of such winter wonderland vistas this winter, I took 15 minutes on my way to somewhere else to stop at a local park with my camera. The morning was fresh. It was pristine. The birds were singing […]

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Heaven Knows, This is a Heartland

July 22, 2011

A Christian is, quite honestly, the last thing I’d want to be considered when I hear the versions put forth by candidates whom God has allegedly called to run for the highest office in the nation. And here in this heartland, there is supposed to be some special values added stamp, as if merely being born here and living here gives one a primeval virtue blessed by God. But virtue isn’t regional, and the heartland, while dear to me, oozes with its own primordial tangle in its virtue talk. A lot of it seems to me to be mere blood lust, not virtue; a swift and sharp judgment for those who have not imprinted the model of family or relationships that the talkers have carefully defined in, oh, say, 14 point bulletins.

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The Legacy of Grandpa John, or the Buddha in a Rocking Chair

April 19, 2011

If there is some universal standard or karmic principle that calls out what is good, I’d have to say that letting giggling kids sit behind your rocking chair and mess with your hair when all you wanted was peace and quiet is one of the highest definitions of it. For all I know Grandpa John was having an internal dialogue that went like this: “For the love of God, why am I being tormented by grandchildren that I didn’t even spawn when all I wanted was peace and quiet?” But outwardly he remained as composed as the Buddha, if the Buddha ever sat in a rocker.

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Patrick the Pit Bull–Sometimes it Takes a Dog’s Spirit

April 8, 2011

Those caring for Patrick have said that in spite of all that he has suffered, he is gentle and trusting. Sometimes it takes a dog’s spirit.

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The Wild, Strange Heart of El Salvador

March 18, 2011

The mountains were cool, and in a couple of hours we’d be back in the heat and traffic of San Salvador, the humidity and the smoke and the coiled barbed wire and the craziness; the voices of the guards drifting through the window at dawn. But even before the sound of their voices, when the curtain that blew all night in the breeze finally came to rest in the first faint light, I heard, earlier and wilder than any other voices, the calls of birds, or some kind of animal–I never found out what they were. The calls seemed distant, as if they came from a mile or more away, but also loud, amplified. They were not chirpy calls. They were like peals. Maybe they were laughter. I heard them in the silence before the city awoke, and wondered at the wild, strange heart of El Salvador.

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Kolaches and Transcendence in New Prague

March 7, 2011

The bright sunlight outside illuminated the windows as we stood in the silence, and the centuries seemed to pour through them along with the light. We studied their inscriptions in Czech as we walked slowly along the length of the sanctuary. The detail was incredible and the symbolism, intriguing. The windows were telling stories.

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On Silver Dollar Pancakes

August 7, 2009

To my great surprise, I found a website for a restaurant called Silver Dollar Pancake House. To my great dismay, it’s in Corona, which I found upon further research is in southern California. I’m in Minnesota. Still. I have a brother in Oceanside and an open invitation to visit. Would I go all the way to Oceanside to then go all the way to Corona (dare I do the math?) just to eat the silver dollar pancakes at Silver Dollar Pancake House? I just might.

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The Lovely Ordinary

August 6, 2009

What is larger than life than this? The sun is setting; I have made a breakfast of bread and milk for the morning, my dog is lying by the front door, Geoff is reading on the steps above me, for I am sitting on the stairway in order to be near the west window. It is quiet. The sky is rose. And it is always all that we have…this moment, and it is enough.

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