Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mary Street

Walking home alone
in the electric sheen
of post-thunderstorm
April evening,
the night is lambent
with reawakened moonlight;
the street is tossed
with foolish bits
of flying energy
released from
pre-storm torpor
by the punk
of lightning’s sulphur,
by the voice of thunder
in these mountains.
Branches arc
across the streetside,
narrow dark curves
of dispossessed tree
flung down from
home by wind.
Leaves, like paper-thin mice
with brains made
frantic by rain,
hurry past,
their voices the sylvan inheritance
of each season’s violence,
done to trees:
the pressure of ice
in winter,
its weight on branches
in leafless stillness,
the intemperate blasts of spring,
as cold air gives
way to warm,
as frost is displaced
by the small
bright fires of
growth in wood.
I recall the August blasting
of a favorite white oak by lightning:
A ravaged ash
alone in a dry field,
a scorched sentinel
made electricity’s victim.
Then autumn’s disavowal
of green, its dismantling
of that cloak
of shuddering chlorophyll,
its dispersal of color
into earth,
the souls of sweetgums
made ready
for the ascetic
winter lives of owls
and sleeping creatures,
each naked branch
a voiceless prayer
of restoration
and of pagan grace.

©Laura Sorrells 1996
all rights reserved


  1. I like how you weave in the trees and the experiences of the walk after a storm. Nice!

  2. Thank you. I wrote this right after moving to Jasper, in the summer of 96. I was seeing things with different eyes. Glad you like this.


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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