Tuesday, February 12, 2013

the generosity of thirst

The generosity of thirst
is changing incredulity
into love, here
where the palpable
affection of God
bends rivers into
silent fire, then
back into
the insouciant,
singing grace
of water.

©Laura Sorrells 2013
all rights reserved

Friday, February 8, 2013

another rediscovered

from 2007

This ravine, still green and furious with foliage, is a kind of gap, its thirty-three descending wooden steps obscured by ferns and moss in October’s unseasonable heat. At the bottom, in the trough near the grotto where I stood with the spiderweb last month and played with light, I once buried my cat Tess, a gray and orange tortoiseshell who loved my mother. I wrapped her in a thinning ancient towel, white with marigolds across it, a brightness I saw the next morning from my deck, knowing I’d made the grave in that hard dark earth too shallow. That unearthing, however it happened, seemed to me then a kind of seamless holy thing, like Annie Dillard’s bloody tom, distributing gore across her waking body at dawn, his compact hunter’s form a tawny stamp of fecundity, much like the flare of vivid yellow I saw in the forest that morning: a flag, brash and empty.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


When I was a kid, I had a subscription to Cricket magazine. I loved the running commentary from Cricket and Ladybug and the fat snail and the blind earthworm, down in the margins. I read each issue hungrily and memorized the artwork with my hungry little writer’s soul, fantasizing about pairing my own words with such beauty. When my parents split in 82, the magazines disappeared—or so I thought.
A couple of Decembers ago I found one of them under the sofa in my father’s house. Mice and elves on the cover, 1973. and then in January another, in a basket in the upstairs bathroom beneath Lake Wobegon Days. 1974, a Valentine’s issue, aswirl with candyhearts and paper roses imprinted with tiny cricket footprints. And, a few months later, still another, this time on a shelf beside the basement stairwell. Christmas 1974. I began to search for others, and they started turning up—in a small stack in one of the closets in the garret bedroom upstairs, behind the old yellow Ethan Allen dresser in the basement. I became obsessed with finding the Hallowe’en issue from, I think, 1974, simply and solely for the graphic on the cover. Having apparently nothing better to do for two days over spring break that year, I shuffled through the attic, determined to unearth that magazine. The cover was for me a completely perfect expression of Hallowe’en, always my favorite holiday. On the front was a city alight with the small and large peregrinations of the night, and on the back was a thrillingly haunted country scene depicting an assortment of ghosts and goblins and witches and jack o’lanterns marching and dancing through the fullmoonlit countryside. Hallowe’en was for me the cusp of the year, even as a child, a time when it seemed the progression of the seasons tilted and moved into newness. The magazine held all that—-the scent of pumpkinflesh carved and slightly scorched, the sense that anything was possible and that all the thin places of the world were standing open, enshrouded in a playful beneficent witchy silver mist. If I could only lay eyes on those goblins again!
I never did find the magazine, at least not yet.
But I did find a box of marching horses—a porcelain gray prancer with an illfitting white plastic saddle and a velvet sorrel with a stillsilky mane and tail and wide eyes. I found the gray tabbycat handpuppet I told endless stories to as a child, her green eyes milky and shot out. I found a journal I kept from the fifth grade through the seventh, beginning with a description of a November rainstorm and ending with a reminiscence about wandering the bridlepaths of the horse pasture behind our woods and imagining I was a deer. I found my guide to the care and training of Shetland sheepdogs, with my beloved Sheltie’s papers tucked inside. I found a pair of thick glasses with brown plastic frames in a bright red cloth case, the left much thicker, as ever, than the right. I found a decoupaged box with three of my baby teeth and a set of tiny castiron salt and pepper shakers in it. I found a yarn panda bear filled with foam, put together by my Grandma Floyd.
The thin places did open for me, it seems, in a seamless beckoning into the deepest satisfactions and sweetest treasures of my girlhood. Were they there all along, and I just didn’t look?
I’ll keep my eyes open better from now on.
copyright 2007 l.k. sorrells

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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 riverrun67@gmail.com or lksorrells@hotmail.com.