Walking through cemeteries, I have learned over the years, is a lesson in awareness. We are reminded, of course, that we are dust and to dust we shall return. But we also learn the power of quiet, of stillness, of non-busyness. It’s hard to hurry through a graveyard, and why would we want to?
We all need a place to pray with others who share our faith or just to be alone with our thoughts and our God. Washington, D.C. has many such places for believers of every kind. And with the weight of the nation and the world on the shoulders of so many of these men and women, it’s a good thing.
Someone hoped that 150 years later these walls would still be standing, echoing back the prayers and songs and sacraments of a community of faith. To stand outside the walls and consider the baptisms and first communions and weddings and funerals is to see the history of an entire community in one cold-stone place. It’s imperfect, like so many places. But it is sacred ground. I can feel it.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Chicago for a professional meeting of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, where one of the scheduled speakers was Mike Eruzione. Please tell me you know who Mike Eruzione is. Please…
Okay, I realize that not everyone is a sports fan, but Eruzione played a [...]
Out on the beach today, I saw an old guy sitting in a wheelchair, staring out at the surging ocean. The waves off Daytona Beach were crashing loudly just 50 feet out, but by the time they reached the wheels of his chair they were just harmless bubbles and foam. He sat there for some [...]
The point is this: We don’t really own the land. We are given the blessing of calling bits and pieces of it “home” for a while, but it belongs to the creator and to the lives of all who have touched it and worked it and walked it over the years.
As a writer, I am reminded of something I once heard the late Frank McCourt say at a lecture about writing “Angela’s Ashes”: “Nothing is significant until you make it significant.”
Here’s what I learned today standing on a beach in Fort Bragg, California: Even if time can’t heal all wounds, it at least can make even the seeming dregs of our lives beautiful. Just add water and an overwhelming force.
I visited the churchyard in Stoke Poges occasionally to experience the peace, beauty and quiet of both the churchyard and St. Giles Church, part of which dates to the Saxon era. On one visit, this poem emerged, a reflection on the death of my father just a few years before.
(for the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain’s death, April 21, 1910)
This poem recently won first place in the Big River Writing Contest sponsored by Chesterfield Arts and Stages St. Louis. The contest celebrates Mark Twain & the Missouri River Valley region.
It is you, the spinner and weaver, we see
big and brash and full of [...]