Monday, August 5, 2013

the last time

I wrote this in January of 2008 in response to a writing prompt: "When did you last stay up all night?" For some reason it resonated for me this evening as I ran across it accidentally in some old files.

It was last season, before all the leaves fell. I sat by a fire and renewed it when it diminished and read poems and wrote some things down in my notebook. I listened to the quiet. I held my old gray cat against my bare knee and rubbed his head. I thought about my grandmother and her painting and how she didn't start doing it till she was over fifty. I took some pictures of small things: a silver pendant, an old acorn I found under a tree in New England, the plumes of color coming off the burning wood in front of me. I didn't even try to sleep. I walked out onto the deck around 3 a.m. and the wind was blowing leaves down in big drifts. I made myself some popcorn and dusted some brewer's yeast onto it. I felt happy in my solitude though also a little lonely. I find that when my singularity is challenged I cling most intensely to these times. It’s good to stay up all night alone from time to time.

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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