Sunday, February 26, 2012

Epiphany Ashes

from 2007

The last time I was here
a mountain of coniferous fuel
awaited the snickering flames,
and we loaded on the greens,
hauling limbs and branches and trunks
and snapping pieces of tree
into the orange mouth of the Epiphany fire.
We stood around in down and flannel,
hugging ourselves and shivering.

A coyote howled up on Sassafras Mountain.

Today I pull together a snarl of rusted metal,
the pale green glass nose
of an old-fashioned Coke bottle,
 a dented metal bowl,
and a stick, long as a branch
but barer,
to frame a place of ash and pagan collusion against the cold,
a marking of the passage of winter
and the exchange of sacred gifts.

The dry grass crackles around my heels.
The auburn pinestraw
and the green imperious blossom
of an invading dandelion
have become the gifts these Epiphany ashes offer me,
the sacramental metal of the bowl
the perfect shade of gray
(not silver)
in the summer light.

©Laura Sorrells 2007
all rights reserved


  1. From the bright light of epiphany to the solemn reminder of our mortality on Ash Wednesday...


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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