Saturday, April 21, 2012

shine and crackle

The dark slope of lawn did not catch, did not need to catch the yellow light of the full Easter moon or the orange glow of the pinwheel sparks ascending skyward from the little pyramid of lumber smolder on the grass. Things were already burning when I got there. The peaks of monks' hoods seemed to hold all the secret energy of the world. The candle they lit for me singed my knuckles with its crooked tumble of white wax. I didn't give it room enough above the sphere of paper and it became a truncated stub too soon. Still it flickered beautifully for awhile in the brightness of the church. The heat within moved outwards and I stood with its scorch until I could not any longer, weak in the knees and dizzy with strange light. No one else seemed heatstruck, lightstruck, candlestruck, or stuck in any way. They stood and sang and held their candles easy: calm and fresh, clean, awake, uncluttered or confused. I wanted the wood of a choir stall to cling to, to lean against, but only air was there. A negative space peopled with shine and crackle, ache and arch. My candle died and I did not know what was happening when someone offered me a flame to wake it up. The light above me was very bright and I tasted salt the way you do with nausea but no nausea came. My heart warmed on into my throat and kept me upright. Warmed and cooled simultaneously. Synesthesia at play in the fields of the Lord. Dizzy but strong, I listened to the blue air come alive, watched the psalmody sing itself into the morning, tasted the scent of myrrh in the swing of the censer, dreamt the cold metal sides of the folding chair my fingers clutched was a cradle, an empty tomb, a big stone rolled away from a space no longer needed.


  1. It's so difficult to use words to point to spiritual experiences. But, this is beautiful. Do you observe Easter on the Orthodox calendar?

  2. I'm not Orthodox; it's a Catholic monastery. Actually I am Episcopalian. But I have friends who are Orthodox and they do celebrate it, just at a different time. I am not entirely sure how that works. Thank you for your kind words. It's been a most interesting journey.


Search This Blog


About Me

My photo
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