Friday, July 22, 2011

How Long?

How long will it take me to get from there to here? From the place where I was to the place where I am?
I start off with freeze-dried lentil curry and lots of water. I have a good map and strong legs. I miss my music. I hum fragments of Kind of Blue, bits and pieces of Two Little Feet, a bar of Concrete Sky. I stop to wash my hands in the spring and notice a callus where I used to grip my pen. It seems lonely.
The birds sound the same in the morning here as they did on my mountainside. The dawn chorus. Pink and mauve light filling feathered throats, an old view weathered by many visions. Lonesome, haunted. Crepuscular despite the early hour.
I make up songs as I go along now. My mother said she used to do this all the time, not just as a child, but all her life. The little old man on the tractor was so ugly he got a song all to himself, an homage to his puckered face. I make up triptychs of verse about Queen Anne’s lace, bear scat, and why crows always seem to travel in threes.
I pull at a loose thread on my flannel shirt. It wraps itself around my finger and the snap of string from sleeve is gratifying and crisp. My socks are wet and I want to go home.
The blackberries I find taste good and they get stuck in my teeth the way they did when my grandma made cobblers for us. All that crystallized sugar and flaky dough swimming around in a big white Pyrex casserole dish. These berries go into a baggie and I count them out on the bone of my knee as I watch the sun go down.
I had a dream last night about a bracelet I used to wear, a yellow rubber thing with a famous athlete’s name on it. It disappeared at the Y one afternoon when I went swimming. I didn’t miss it at all until I had this dream but now I wish I had it back.
How can people live without writing things down?
Pretty soon the loop will be complete. I’m still not sure where the time went. The crows are still coming around in threes, but there are also more hawks than ever flying above me.
I like the way I think music will sound when I’m driving in my car.
There are no blackberries left.


  1. Hi, I came across your blog, and want to say hello. 7th grade, kirtan, William Stafford, Van have a dark side. Grok. Are you a member of the kirtan/Krishna group around Blue Ridge? I went to a high school in Rome Georgia called Berry Academy (graduated in 1972)...many roads since then have called to me. Volunteered one summer with the forest service in the Conasauga (sp?) wilderness area. Taught in Waldorf schools in California and Wisconsin for 8 years...7th grade was beautiful (as were all the grades). I saw your e-mail, and will send you an invitation to my blog. I hope you will visit. Thank you. Robert
    (here is one of the more positive things I have written)


    out on the gentle prairie
    sycamore and red-tailed hawk
    between twilight and dawn
    dreaming dancing wild rose listening heart
    rolling field of Queen Anne's lace and bluegrass
    white pine and water cress wandering laughing
    food and fire burning warm loving delicious
    and waiting walking in the dark
    breathing in only love
    breathing out only love
    the heartbeat of the night
    gentle brilliant creation that whispers
    I Love You
    in my ear
    and my heart
    into billions of suns

  2. Ah, the Conasauga wilderness. I once created a holiday called Lake Conasauga Day.
    Chapel perilous....feels like I should get that allusion but I don't.
    No to the kirtan group, but I'm curious.
    I know Berry. My grandparents are from that area.
    I tried to visit your blog but after a long day settling into a new classroom managed to screw it up. Can you send another invite if you get a second? Sorry for the bother.
    Pax, and thank you very much for reading.

  3. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for replying. It brings joy to read about crows in threes and grandma's cobbler berries stuck in your teeth...dough floating...lost bracelet memories on kneebones that hinge our life together....driving dancing music in our soul, and the berries are gone. Your two little feet are busy and yes, the loneliness is real. You write.
    Chapel Perilous was a creation of Bob Dobbs, founder of the Church of the Sub Genius, sort-of-a lone wolf stick it in your face screw the establishment look at religion in America where a lost soul could breathe church air until the inside of their head became larger than the outside. Yes, I know that makes a lot of sense...sort of like the question "who would Jesus bomb?" :)
    What does Pax mean?
    If you are interested, I can dig through e-mails and find a contact for the Krishna group in Blue Ridge. Her name was Carol. They made some nice music, but I am not a Hare Krishna, so I never visited. I lead kirtan, but am not religious, if that strikes a chord.
    What is your interest in Ondrea and Stephen Levine? (That is actually how I found your blog). They are my heroes in life. I'll send you a link to their "apologies" page. Very moving. That is what I aspire to. That is what makes sense to me. Crepuscular?
    ok bother. no sorry. you're welcome.

  4. Your blog and writing are amazing.

  5. Thank you. wow. that made my day.


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About Me

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Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at or