ten good things

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"God has been so good, so unexpectedly, strangely good. My heart is full of trust and peace."
(Georges Bernanos, A Diary of a Country Priest)

To say those words, I hope:

01. sour cherry pie bars from the queen anne farmer's market
02. packages at my door: homemade granola from mom, long lost running shoes, and lilies from a. (don't know what makes me happier than granola and flowers)
03. sitting on a bench along the canal with mr. wolfe today as he smoked his cigar and we talked about things
04. just to be here: isn't that itself what i prayed for?
05. the difference between being and becoming, and the grace in both places
06. unexpected friendships and the kindness and spontaneity of strangers
07. kerry park and the baseball field nearby and trader joe's free coffee in the evenings
08. all this rare time that is suddenly mine
09. j. & l. and people to worry about me if i'm not home by nine
10. sylvi, really, and jayne, and emma, and elise, amy, mary, rebecca, sam, taylor, michelle and all of those who have been angels unaware to me these past few weeks

[pc: andrew wyeth]


on prayer | 9

Psalm: First Forgive the Silence

First forgive the silence
   That answers prayer,
Then forgive the prayer
   That stains the silence.

Excuse the absence
   That feels like presence,
Then excuse the feeling
   That insists on presence.

Pardon the delay
   Of revelation,
Then ask pardon for revealing
   Your impatience.

Forgive God
    For being only a word,
Then ask God to forgive
   The betrayal of language.

(Mark Jarman, Five Psalms)


spaces places spaces

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"Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity."
(Simone Weil)

I have been thinking lately of all the places that I have made home in the past few years. There was the room in Oxford, where I bought fabric from the art store to cover the walls. There was the room in Durham, with the cathedral just across the cobblestone street. There was of course the many different rooms in Chicago-land, dorms and tight attic spaces. There was the hobbit hole in Berkeley, with my trundle bed and Jess' impeccable eye for beautiful things. There was (and is) of course the morning room at home, always tinted with the scent of that earl gray candle. There was the upstairs room where I spent the last month, with the creakiest hardwood floors and slanted ceilings and Em just next door. And now there is this little basement apartment in Upper Queen Anne. Soon there will be some other unknown place in a convent in northern Italy.

I have attended many churches and had favorite coffee shops in each of these places. I have walked up and down a lot of streets. I have called a lot of spaces my own. But, I think of them all, Honey is still my favorite spot that I have claimed and felt some kind possessive relationship with. I can probably tell you a story for every table in that space: who I sat with, what we talked about, what we ate, maybe even what I was wearing. These pictures come from an afternoon spent there with Emma and Heather. We jolted off to Honey after classes one day at the end of the semester. I am missing that place. (Or, maybe, I am really just missing those lovely two.)

[all film pictures]


ivy and rain

 seattle i am

"We are, after all, our own crosses, but we will be given the strength to bear them."
(Madeline L'Engle)

And so I am in Seattle. Upper Queen Anne, to be exact. I will be interning at Image starting Thursday, so these first few days have been empty and free in a way I have not experienced in awhile. I like it and hate it at the same time. It has meant that I have written more in two days than I have in two months and that I have had time to explore my new surroundings and that I can read in bed for an hour or two each night. Those are good things.

I am living on a back street where every home is twenty stairs up and then ten stairs down just to get to the front door. There is a baseball field across the street and I have found comfort in being an anonymous observer at the little league games in the evenings. This neighborhood is all ivy and rain. It is not my city. I feel that acutely when I walk around. But perhaps that can change in two months.

Today I woke early and packed my bag and strolled down the steep hill to Seattle Center. I felt like I was in Disney World, surrounded by tourists and colorful sculptures and fountains and space-like things (mainly, the Space Needle, of course). I even took the monorail to the city center. I unexpectedly walked by the original Starbucks, explored the largest map store I have ever found, and walked through Pike Place Market. The flowers! Poppies and peonies and snapdragons in the largest bundles all for just $5. It was a good adventure, but I was glad to come back up the hill to this slower-paced neighborhood.

(And I left my camera cord and my Holga spool in Chicago, so I have no means for pictures except my phone for now. Soon that will come.)



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Upon Running to the Sea

It happened as I ran towards the Pacific, like one of those moments you imagine
will flash by like a news reel when you first arrive in heaven, surreal patches of colors,
sunspots, children let loose to run, running, running, running towards the cool blue

submersion, then splashing and letting loose the fear in an involuntary forgetfulness,
and then this—in a stand still moment—the imperceptible reality of the greater certainty
surrounding all my uncertainties, which have, anyhow, dissipated in the sand, swallowed

whole like the snail I feed to the sea anemone, and I find myself attempting to convince
myself of doubt to convince myself of faith, until I just stop it all, and believe—
for once in my life faith is effortless, sweet like the juice of a nectarine in my mouth.

[disposable camera, sky and ocean off the coast of pt. reyes, california]