Sunday, January 29, 2012


The vagaries of everywhere
meet in a blue wander,
a teaching of pause
and twinkle.
The soul's green word
shakes the sky
with its elemental body.
See: this tangle
of frolic
is the reply
your world receives.
Not rare,
but eager,
a ship of crystal nothing
come to swim you far

©Laura Sorrells 2012
all rights reserved

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

the grace of small wantings

I want to learn how to have a cup of loose green tea in the morning rather than three tall steaming cups of strong Italian roast coffee.
I want to learn to remember to wake up early like I used to so I can sit on my deck and watch the sun come up over Sharptop.
I want to learn to know more birds by songs and how to tell the difference between a redtail and a cooper’s hawk from far away.
I want to learn how to forgive myself for forgetting something every morning when I leave for work, usually something that seems essential.
I want to learn how to breathe deeply, all the time not just when I’m stressed and fumble for it like a line tossed to a drowning swimmer.
I want to learn how to play an instrument, preferably an old one with someone’s initials carved in it shallowly before it was handed down to the person I will get it from, a musician maybe who will see me on the street and just hand over this spare guitar or fiddle with a bow, stop busking, and wish me good fortune as I try to overcome the clumsiness of my tiny fingers and teach them how to become friends with string and wood.
I want to learn how to bake an amazing pie, not just a good one. One layered with berries and sugar and latticed with stripes of dough. A house and a rooftop, sustenance, comfort.
I want to learn how to build something out of wood. A shed, some rafters I can lean on when I’m tired, a glider I can prop my feet up in and hear the silence of the winter woods.
I want to find the space for the prayer I’ve always wanted to feel.  Not just to say but to offer without speech. Words will be there, and emptiness, and long loose strands of squirrelnest, and acorns. Pens, because I hoard them and would love to begin to give them away. A swimmer’s goggles, faintly redolent of chlorine, a bar of lemongrass soap, a dog’s collar still husky with the holy wolfish domesticity of dogsmell. A bandaid or two adorned with cartoon characters, maybe Spongebob Squarepants or Spiderman. A sheaf of index cards I stuffed in my raincoat pocket with notes on them from my observations in the Atlanta airport. An old pair of eyeglasses so thick you could start a brushfire with them. A bright blue paper clip. An Indian head penny. A recipe ripped from my stepmother’s Southern Living on the sly, promising me a perfect bowl of gazpacho. When I assemble these things I will stroll around them with my camera out, searching for the perfect angle from which to send up this prayer, and then I will sit down in the short winter grass in front of this prayer and I will watch it start to rise, carried up and off and then back down to me on a current of salutation and numinous grace, the breath of God speechless in the clouds I breathe as I listen.

--©Laura Sorrells 2007
all rights reserved

I wrote this in response to a website writing prompt about what I wanted, back in 2007. I have moved closer to some of these things since then but most of the wanting still applies.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

the game

I haven’t done this in a long time. Maybe I’ve forgotten the rules. No written words to go by. I pull the slips of paper out of their tiny painted box and feel my fingertips prickle with the familiar nip of resurrected nostalgia this little plaything brings me.
Not many people have played this game, because I made it up, and its only rules are the ones that feel their way into being as we play it. The playing board is fashioned from tattered handkerchiefsilk and cardstock, and it lives most of the time with a palmful of tiny blue musselshells, some hemlock twigs, three bits of scarlet ribbon, and the backbones of leaves.
This game is a theater of exploration and restoration, a tiny stage of reverent discovery.
It works best if you forget most of what you know about how to find things. No passwords, no strictures against revealing sacred clues.
You can say anything now.
When I built this game I used some marbles and some acorns and some clear glass beads as playing pieces, and then a little green toy mouse with a German name, and then an old Christmas tree decoration, a tiny globe of opalescent glass attached shakily to a strand of wire. A sphere of eggshell thinness like the blessing of a moth’s breath.
You can’t lose this game and you certainly can’t win.
It’s best if you play with someone who likes to laugh and who appreciates nonsense but who also loves the holiness of thimbles and thick smudgy stubs of carpenters’ pencil.
This game is like coming home to me, like being led through a cool oldgrowth forest by the hand, a blindfold of desert sage and rosemary nudging me (and you) into a place of total trust and abandonment of anything but the now.
Come play with me if you will.
Surrender to the foolish joy I offer you
and know you’re home.

©Laura Sorrells 2012
all rights reserved

I rewrote this just now; when I originally wrote it in 2007 it was a response to a website writing prompt about creating a game. I have no idea where it came from either time.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


This rendered clay
of bell and clapper
hangs faintly blued
by canvas in the heat:
a dome and a tongue,
The lake of its body
ripples like a river
in the light
and all the unearthly wideness
of the cloth above it
settles in its stillness.
Its voice pools up
and laps the water from
the small of my back,
a dog thirsty for touch,
a sky.

--lks 2007
©Laura Sorrells 2007
all rights reserved

bliss and blessing

Audacity of Bliss, said Jacob to the Angel--- “I will not let thee go except I bless thee” -- Pugilist and Poet, Jacob was correct.

--Emily Dickinson, from her letters

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


There are no secrets between us. I tell you all the lame stories I can’t manage to heave into the waiting human ears around me. I complain about my cold extremities, my shivering toes and my fingers that need more cloth than these thin gloves give me. I make a joke out of the way I collide with desks and trip over electrical cords while teaching. I assume you know what I’m talking about when I say see how this piece of fruit feels (not how it tastes.) How it goes down kind of rough, with tattered saline edges, not like the bittersweet citrus tendrils of grapefruit or the gentle slump of a soft banana sliced into cubes. How it has a skin on it, one that smells like the kindness of fresh air after long confinement. How it lingers on my palate like the swell of field berries almost gone with summer. How it carries me back to the chipped porcelain saucer of that night in the borrowed cabin and to the story we told each other about moths and their secret language: not two stories, but one, a handshake and a private disaster owned and befriended, a nod to the impossibility of living in that place. A private vow, a set of initials inked into a margin, a claim and a release, a triptych of seeds to remind us where our mouths were and of what they held, as if there were any chance we might forget.

I wrote this for Donny in 2008.

©Laura Sorrells 2008 
all rights reserved

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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