Wednesday, July 9, 2014

one edge of things

This part of the woods is unfamiliar. Its edge is the kind of place that looks like it’s going to open up into a strange city, with light the color of another world entirely. I wonder if you know what I mean. I can remember another such place, a woods of pine trees in symmetry and then---expansion. Or what felt like it was going to be. In reality a little clearing existed there, and within it a small grotto that seemed to belong in a fairy tale. I could sometimes hear water running there if I paid attention and we weren’t in the middle of a dry spell.

The edges of this place claim a part of my soul that is afraid to step into its light. I’ve been told there is a river just beyond the sweep of trees. Not a city but running water, alive and wild. Dizzy with imagined possibility, I hang around in hiking boots, feet clad in leather watertight and unsuitable for toeing the edges of rivers. I keep thinking I’ll go beyond the place where I always stop, someday. I’ll just keep walking over the little ridge and there will be the moving water that will tell me something I’ve always needed to know. It will want me to learn its language. It won’t be scared, even though I might be. I’ll be wearing tough-girl Tevas and I will sit on the bank of the river and let my feet find the flowing coolness below me. I’ll sit there with the eddies of the river around my toes and the tops of my feet, remembering the pine-woods grotto and its delicate underwater voice, tracing new places in clay. 


  1. When nature invites us to learn its language --its touch, smell and motion-- and in turn learns ours, there is a bond of trust. There is an enchantment. You describe it beautifully.

  2. A beautiful write, Laura. xo

  3. Thank you both. Geo, there are all sorts of languages to learn, and not all of them use words, right?

  4. This is lovely Laura. Very evocative. I can smell the forest.


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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