Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Large, the Little, and All

The Large, the Little, and All

You have given me the large, the little, and all.

My body with curves and quirks and breath to fill it,
and a mind, a heart, and the complement of senses;
the plot and the characters of my life,
the turns of the journey that leads me free
and leads me always, and always home-
Home to generous and forgiving you, home to loving you,
home in the open heart, come to me,
eternal you.

You, in whose image I
am created to bear your syllables breathed,
your radiant Word spoken and made known
so that your glory might take on bone and blood
at the beginning and in your son and at my own birth.
Seen best directly, straight on and exposed,
no shade of fear, no cloak of doubt…
Oh how it shines where your love is home!

Your son died for me- you suffered to give me all.
A love that rises, love that seeks and stays, and says Always
and says Everywhere and Nothing can separate you from me, ever.
The complete love that says Do this and Remember me,
follow, serve, be broken open, welcome, accept,
lay down your life, take up your cross…
Your verse of life, your full humanity, your body given
that I might be freed by Love.

Grace upon grace, your love fills my life!
I am not worthy—but I am grateful.
When I wander, you remain.
When I avoid, you challenge.
When I need, you give.

In the large, the little and all,
it is enough that you love me.

c. MperiodPress

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Further Thoughts on Poverty

...poverty is being in a place where you know dispair or misery is just on the other side of a very thin line and you are doing everything possible to not cross over. To be there with others is living this vow in fullness to me.

To stand alongside and help someone look for the face of God ; and to stand with God and be that face, that attitude, that act of love.

It occurs to me that I might just have learned something new about what it means to be transparent. To put myself on that thin line...

To put myself on that thin line...

The line is where Jesus walks. Being the face, revealing the face, opening eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to recognize...

Thursday, November 4, 2010


(With thanks to GM Hopkins for his line for Christ plays in 10,000 places)

Let me live openly,
simply, as you
who play in ten thousand places.

Let me live loosely
in all but relationship to you,
the fire that beckons and gathers and warms-

and dies and rises in glory and is discovered
in wonder and by the calling of our names.
You send us to tell the others...

Help me live where you play and weep and walk
and learn to move unbound, unrestricted,
as one enfolded in the whole cloth of love.

Face to the sun, ear to the story,
heart to the new day, hands to the task
of helping spin hope from the unraveled threads

of what is scuffed along, too much to be borne alone.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Best Adventures

"The best adventure of all--living openly and allowing life to touch the heart."

This past weekend was full of these best-adventures. One began with the simple need to leave the house for a bit, to get fresh air, stretch the legs, go on an amble amidst a greater reality. I went with one of the other Probanists who was looking for chemical-free cream. In our walk along the Tiber we were beset with "carcajadas" (loud guffaws/silliness/laughter--SUCH a great word) as well as the quiet rumination and wandering conversation that is allowed when two people are at ease and trust one another.

That feeling is a precious one and I have been gifted with two friendships like this in the months I have been here. Who knew it would be that way? I am filled with such a depth of gratitude.

We continued along the river until the bridge that would take us to the Plaza Argentina. Across the river, in between checking pharmacies, we stopped at a pen/paper store and somehow began a conversation on the history of colors while looking at the rainbow of sheets they had stacked on the walls. In hearing Spanish being spoken, a woman in the next aisle said, "Oh! It is SO nice to hear people speaking Spanish!" She came over and engaged in conversation. Turns out, she is an engineer from Venezuela who has lived in Rome for 16 years.

In a short time, we got the brief version of her last twenty years or so and also shared with her who we were and why we were in Rome. She was so kind, so open and interested...and helpful and generous as well! When we told her about the cream and the need to find blank cds, she set out on the walk with us. She showed us the Jewish quarter of the City, pointed out stores we should visit for different things we needed, told us about her family, and dropped us off at an herbalists' shop. But, the shop was temporarily closed. So, she invited us to join her for a classic Italian sandwich at a shop just around the block while we waited for the clerk to return.

The deli specializes in "paninos"--especially those filled with mortadella. I admit to having previously snubbed the thought of mortadella...think really huge bologna made from pork, small chunks of pork fat, pistachios, and various spices. Note the use of the word Previously... this sandwich was amazing. Foccacia bread split open, paper thin mortadella stacked inside, wrapped in a brown paper wrapper and handed to you to take outside and eat on the go. The line was out the door, the shop was insanely small and jammed full of people calling out "Largo!" "Piccolo!", indicating sizes with handspans, and a clerk who could make change, toss change, and keep order with an ease I have not often witnessed.

The sandwich practically melted in my hand...so tender, so delicious, so...of the moment. Walking the streets of Rome with a friend, accompanied by an incredibly kind woman we did not know an hour ago, speaking Spanish, eating a mortadella sandwich wrapped in crispy brown paper, and wiping crumbs onto the cobblestones for the birds to find.

This followed by a slow walk home, God-filled conversation, more laughter, watching the river...

And then another walk in the evening, this time with a group of people... to look for the Mariachi Mass that never was. Turns out the information we had was wrong about the day. Some opted to stay in the same place and wait through the Rosary until Mass began. The two of us who had been together earlier opted to walk back toward home and find another Mass instead. Those who stayed ended up in the midst of a Latin Rite Rosary and Mass. We, however, ended up in a simple, though lovely, church, with a cantor who had an incredibly lovely voice--so rich and round. We followed this with a walk in the Trastevere and pizza while sitting outside.

Then, a fabulous movie in the community room with others who were knitting, braiding hair, and simply being with one another.

Indeed..."allowing life to touch the heart..."

Friday, October 29, 2010



I am a woman of bone and blood,
of air and ink and fire and clay.

A woman created, and meant to create...
meant to touch and feel and breathe,
meant to love and shape and hope
burning embers into light.

This, while letting go myself-
allowing the One and the Many
to reach in and stir
my own deep heart flame.

This, while letting go enough, loosening until
it no longer matters or is possible to know
spark from fire from sunrise
and whether the glow is inside or out.

c. MperiodPress

Friday, October 22, 2010



You have had my yes
for years--
and I have had yours
since the sun, the seashells, and the storms at sea.

But now, ah...you and I
are more than yes.
As time moves with, within, and around,
this yes of ours takes on wings, takes on colors I never imagined,
challenges that strengthen and soften me,
glory that stills me, stirs me, extends and opens me.

It becomes a murmur of love that we share.
Love that frees me and compells me
to choose you again and yet again...
that I might respond as I wish to respond...
openly, knowingly,
even a little mysteriously...

as the bush in the desert responded to flame.

c. MperiodPress

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Vow

A Vow

To desire

to stand before you and bow before you
and be within you
and feel you within me
and see you, reveal you,
know you, and touch you
in the others I meet along the way…

To do so with my life,
with any ache or wonder I know
of heart or mind,
that comes from the glimpses of you
I sense in the eyes and wounds,
in the humming joy and confusions
of the earth that roots me and the love that moves me

is yes and yes and yes
the vow I make to witness
to your glory, your mystery,
ever alive and always becoming.

c. MperiodPress

Friday, October 8, 2010

Canticle of Flying

After returning from Assisi...

Canticle of Flying

Loosen me Lord, and free my spirit!
I want to fly!
To know the wind as the bee knows the wind;
to taste the salt water rain of tears
that act as prisms do, reflecting the fullness of light.
When the thunder comes moonless,
when the fields are ready in a ripeness of green,
let me fear neither the darkness nor your glory.
I want to juggle the sparks between lightning and stone,
while riding on currents of grace and mystery.

Oh yes!
Teach me to fly with my feet on the ground!
Take me by the hand, with your hand
that makes a chain with time and space,
through the clouds of witnesses and history!
And let my other hand reach
for the hands of the ones on either side;
And let them reach as well!
Oh, let the circle be unbroken
so that when you ask each of us—
Where are all the others?
We may bow together, humbly,
and stand as well…
Standing with our faces toward the sun.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

So too, the heart

I get up at roughly the same time every morning. It is good for my body as well as my spirit- the constancy of it, but also what it allows. Establishing a routine can allow for noticing variations in the pattern that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. Scientists have approached curiosities in this way for years; however, for me, it is less an issue of resolving curiosity than expanding it, allowing wonder to be in greater and greater dimension.

The nuances of sunrise, for example. By watching it every morning here in Rome, I can say that yesterday's was a vibrant, confident, proclamation of glory and today's is a bit misty...sifted through the clouds and emotions of a just-waking sky. How lovely to know that both are complete, both represent a fullness. What will tomorrow's add?

In a similar way, these weeks have taught me new things about the capacities of my heart. Each day brings unique feelings, opportunities to go to the rooftop and proclaim my "YAWP" (thank you, Walt Whitman, for that) as well as times of more subtley. A gentle curve, a bend around which one finds a stand of honeysuckle perfuming the night air. The boldness of one, the quiet of another...each yeilding a fullness my heart is pressed to contain.

And sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I can do no more than weep in gratitude...or in fullness or in awe or simply as a response to the intensity. Sometimes my response is a ripple of quiet floated in the pond. Sometimes laughter...

But, it occurs to me as I sit here with coffee, perfectly milked, and quiet all around, save the nubby bumping of my fingers on the keys, that the love that lives in those moments is like the sunrise.

The sunrise is the expression that comes in different ways...in different colors and intensities and nuances...

but still, it rises.

Because that is what the sun does.

And so too, the heart. It loves.

God is good.

God is enticing.

What will tomorrow be?

for now it is enough to know the sun will rise.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hills and Bridges

I am in Rome. ROME. I dreamed of many things as a child...dreams that seemed big to me at the time... but the idea that I would one day be walking the streets of Rome is beyond what even my intense imagination could have thought possible. Philosphies were born here, art was created here, science was advanced here--ROME.

I am in Rome, living with 15 others from 8 different countries, speaking in Spanish and English all day long. I am experiencing new aspects of my religious congregation, learning tangibly of its history, and trying to dance with my sisters from Congo and Kenya. I have eaten gelatto, learned how to conjugate three verbs in Portugese, and laughed and cried and been quiet and shouted the "grito" for Mexican independence.

And, in the City of Seven Hills, I have learned about bridges. Yes, bridges. The languages of this five months together are Spanish and English. I am comfortable in both, others here are not. A chance to be a bridge. And there are challenges with that. I think that it is not a coincidence that bridges must stretch to function, must reach and touch edges and be strong enough to withstand the tension. I am fortunate in that there has been someone here with whom I connect well and can share what it feels like for me to be one bridge between languages. That has been a grace, actually, and though the time has been short, it has been a huge help and a lovely beginning to a friendship I hope continues.

I took the tram home tonight with a group of people after we had visited the mother house for supper. Between the tram and where I am staying, a quartet of us ambled slowly, enjoying the evening life of the plazas in our neighborhood...the musicians serenading those out for an evening meal, the human statues, the vendors, the sounds of languages from all around the world. The moon was nearly full, only adding to the mood. And, it occured to me as we walked and told stories to one another, that there are many ways to be a bridge.

It isn't simply a matter of spanning space y ya, punto. It might be a bridge between languages, but it also might be a bridge between points of view or ways of being... introvert/extrovert, helping someone see a defict as an asset, or any number of points where the desire is for connection... And instead of a fixed span of tension, perhaps it is an invitation--an extension of arms and hands to invite someone to another place, new way of seeing, or simply a different viewing point.

With my head at a certain tilt, it takes little effort to see Jesus as a bridge, actually. A bridge or a point of unity, an invitation to view the world with broader vision, a place to rest on the journey. And Jesus calls me to go and do likewise. To connect when I can, to allow the passing and pausing of others through my life, to use my being-ness in service, and to also enjoy the fish when they tickle my feet and ankles, passing beneath, offering a greeting. Now and then bridges need to be repaired as well, and that is okay. It happens. And who doesn't need reinforcement now and then?

Bridges help. Bridges are important.

Much care goes into the design and building of a bridge... Bridges can be beautiful.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Stormy Friday

Friday Five: Storms of Life Edition

I'm listening this morning for word of Hurricane Earl. Is he coming to visit, or will he bypass my part of Maine and move further Downeast, or veer toward Nova Scotia? Should I buy those bottles of water, just in case wind brings branches and power lines down? And how many times will the tracking map change today?

Herewith, a Friday Five about the storms of life:

1) What's the most common kind of storm in your neck of the woods?

Nor'Easters. Horizontal rain, wind...

2) When was the last time you dealt with a significant power outage?

During and following the earthquake in Chile this past February. This was accompanied by a water-outage as well. I'll take no power over no water ANY DAY.

3) Are you prepared for the next one?

I know a heck of a lot more about what do do when there's no water than I did before, so yes, I'd have to say I am much more adequately prepared. Bleach is your friend, let me just say. Wonder worker, that. Power outages? Small radio, stash of batteries, sanctuary candles (in glass all the way up, tall, burn forever...), kitchen matches and a coat hanger holder for them to stick them down in pilot light holes or deep candles...add bread, water, fresh fruit and raw veg...yep, basics covered.

4) What's the weather forecast where you are this weekend?

Rain should be coming--will be something of a relief for the heat, actually, though I am sorry it comes because of Earl because of what it will mean for the others who will feel the brunt of it.

5) How do you calm your personal storms?

Ah... I'd a friend, sadly felled recently by a brain tumor, who used to remind me, "There is no problem in this world that sleep will not help." Solve, no, but help, certainly. Also, I am a believer in the utter goodness of massage as a way to re-unify body/psyche--two aspects of myself that sometimes tend to wander their own ways during those storms. Writing helps me as does sitting alone in silence in a space I find comforting. Both the writing and the sitting are part of praying for me, so that too is a part of it. Good friends are a help too. As safe places to bounce things around a bit or as necessary distraction.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Firefly Saints

And so it is that I find myself gearing up for another adventure. Goodbyes are being said, hugs given, and blessings bestowed. It all continues to fill me with a depth of gratitude beyond my capacity to contain. I am simply and humbly aware that those gifts of friendship, support, and love are part of the foundation beneath my feet. With every step, so moves this communion with me.

I have taken the ring I will use for profession with me to various gatherings of late and many of the people I know and love have held it, touched it, prayed over it, blessed it. Those who are also nearest my heart but furthest away in distance are also a part of this--because they are within me.

Someone recently asked me how that felt--the awareness of how many people live in your heart. Fireflies came to mind. Who can look over a hill, see fireflies, and not smile? And what is the light? A second, a blink, a delight, a hope, a surprise. That is what it is like. Now and then in the midst of the whatnot of life, blink! The light of a friend. In the midst of disorienting night, flash! The reminder of hope.

And sometimes, sometimes you actually get to see one up close! But, you have to let them go as well. Because there are others who watch for their light too, others who need them. But, the light they bring has a staying power beyond anything the technology of today can ever hope to achieve.

For that moment though...the phone call, the email, the chat, the hug, the laugh, the being with, the re-read, the memory... the whole hillside might as well be filled!

Love, the ultimate re-newable energy. And somehow, I find it all the more appropriate that it comes in the wondrous complexity of simply being. For the fullness of its becoming, love is both internal and external. It is a draw for others, and a joy for the one in whom it dwells.

Makes me smile to think about what it would look like if a hillside of firefly saints got to laughing together... pure glory.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hot Time, Summer in the City

It's a Summertime Friday Five from Rev Gal Blog Pals!

I love summer, and wait anxiously for it every year. So how is it that we have arrived at the hot and humid "Dog Days" of August, and I have not done nearly enough of what I planned to do? I want to pack in as much as I can before snow flies once again.

How about you? And what is happening for those of you who are in a different hemisphere than I, and it may be cold?

1. What is the weather like where you live?

HOT. STICKY. Weighty. Clingy. Thick. In need of a cleansing.

2. Share one thing you love about this time of year.
Farmer's Markets...and how the heat calls out the fullness of the scents of the fruits and vegetables and herbs.

3. Share one thing you do NOT love about this time of year.

Being in a perpetual state of sweatiness. Eww.

4. How will you spend the remaining days leading up to Autumn?

Getting ready to leave to go to Rome for five months! Going to gather with an international group of 13 others in my order for conferences, giving presentations, a month long retreat...and final vows in January!

5. Share a good summer memory.

Making homemade icecream as a kid...sitting on the board while Dad churned. Mom always got the paddle when we were done and she slurped away merrily in the middle of the yard.

And, I have to add...kool-aid icecubes in a yogurt cup! My grandmother had an icecube tray that made a zillion little square ice cubes at a time and she'd fill it with Kool-Aid and then pop out the cubes and give us yogurt containers full of them to go suck on outside.

Bonus: What food says SUMMER to you? Watermelon, a bowl of sliced peaches and blueberries, tortellini salad with artichokes, cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, parmesean...burgers on the grill and corn on the cob...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Free Agent

I have had reason of late to consider the idea of “free moral agency” as it pertains to several people close to me. Free moral agency…the right to make choices and decisions on one’s own, provided it is deemed that no harm is being done. Deemed or determined by whom and against what measure remain questions to me, but that is a whole other theme.

The expression came to the forefront of my mind and heart while talking to a social worker who was bandying it about while explaining someone’s legal rights. I began to imagine a sliding fulcrum that teetered loosely between the rights of one to their agency and the obligation of others to intervene when those rights to choose result in a lack of care, a lack of whatever well-being is within their means, and pain for those who love them.

There is an undeniable and certain obligation to allow for free moral agency. I understand that, believe that, and also know that the results can be both beautiful and achingly tragic. One person I care for happens to fall closer to the latter end of that spectrum, but he is at least not hugging the border of danger quite so firmly as he once was. Sadly, not so with all.

I think that aside from issues of legality, the call to love is partly a call to allow that agency--to allow for free will while fully aware of the possibility that the full-flowering of that might lead to unfortunate results and sad situations for those we love. But, the nature of love is that it “pervades all things” (as Wisdom) and continues on through, bearing the challenge of watching someone live with the circumstances that arise from the exercise of their agency--being with someone, not condoning a poor choice or trying to pretty-up a mess…not abandoning the ones we love, while also understanding one’s own human limits, one’s own responsibility to personal well-being and healthy self-agency.

This gets me thinking about the concept of obedience….and the vow of it. My experience and this musing are leading me toward describing it, this vow, as something that radiates from a point (the individual), not a force aimed at a point from a larger, more powerful swarm of points who seek to absorb or consume as many other points as possible, and are only able to do so once those points have “obediently” conformed their thinking and way of being to that of the swarm. I believe obedience is something offered instead of imposed.

Obedience to whom or what? To the responsible exercise of my own moral agency because it is best for the larger group that I do so. That larger group might be family, religious order, church, society…however you want to look at it. My responsibility, well-exercised, frees me to focus outward and eases the burden of others as well, thus freeing them.

With this line of thought, a whole new light is shining on the primacy of the individual conscience in Catholic theology. Within all of this, we each remain a unique image and likeness of God, are given a conscience by God, are endowed with the freedom to listen to revelation or ignore it, to choose wisely or not. Removing this primacy would seem to negate the idea of agency in the first place and without that, we are not really free.

God is an invitation, not a command. So is, then, by faith-filled extension, well-being. Perhaps the best that can be done is to interpret the invitation to wholeness when others seem confused by it.

All assuming that no harm is being done along the way…

Hmm. Yes. Now, as to that...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Trite, but True! I-Heart-NYC

Back in the Saddle with Friday 5 and RevGalBlogPals! It's the I-Heart-NYC edition!

Friday Five: Love the One You're With

This Friday Five will post while I'm at the beach which for me is more than a vacation destination, it is a trip home. I have found it quite easy to wax nostalgic about the places I used to live (well, except for one) and have begun to wonder what it is I like about the place I'm living now? For instance I sure do love the beach, but this picture was taken about 30 minutes away from my house - not too shabby!

And so I ask you to please name five things you like about where you are living now... and as your bonus - 1 thing you don't like.

1. Diversity Diversity Diversity!! New York is a slice of the world passing by! Languages, faces, politics, food, histories, mysteries... Love it. People watching is the best free thing going in the City.

2. Public transportation! Yes, the rate hikes are getting ridiculous, but you can get practically anywhere... fabulous.

3. You WILL fit somewhere here in the City. Got a unique interest? Someone else does here too. Haven't found a place you feel comfortable elsewhere? Bet you will here--though it might take effort to find it, it's here waiting for you.

4. Parks and public spaces--funky finds all over. Little surprises of green civility.

5. Walkability and ease of finding one's way in Manhattan. Three cheers for the grid system! (Until you get far enough south...but....) Going out on a wander just to see what there is to see is such an awesome thing here. Hidden independent coffee shops, historical markers, unique architectural details, flower stalls, fruit displays, public art...

And one thing I don't like...

Let's just imagine... 8 million people and their garbage + an insanely hot summer. Sometimes it just plain stinks.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Bearable Lightness of Being

It is not often that one has a chance to pair the absence of coffee in the can with a curious sleepy ponder about whether there actually is just a little less gravity holding things in place.

So it was this morning at 5:30 when I opened the cupboard and was reminded in one sad sandy shake that I’d forgotten to replenish the grounds of caffeinated morning glory. Ah, well. There was no paper yet either. Well, ah.

Yet, there was the corner of the couch just like usual and the table with a bare spot just big enough for the plunk of two heels. There was also the fleeting peace of being the only one downstairs and engaged in the quotidian personalized rituals of rising wakefulness.

Coffee or not, these moments are precious to me and I was keen to take advantage. I tucked into the corner, put my journal on the next cushion, and closed my eyes.

Whether it was the lack of liquid stimulation or simply the temporal proximity to my former state of being, I quickly entered that embracing in-between-ness of neither completely asleep nor entirely awake.

I love that place. I can’t describe it to you, and in fact, think it is different for everyone, but I know that it is a place where I feel intensely close to God. A space of welcome vulnerability where, as I wrote later, “things can float freely though your mind and heart for an hour—an hour when gravity has a little less hold and things can be examined, removed from an internal pocket and set in front for flipping, spinning, touching, tracing, manipulating, with the aim to come to know and perhaps, though not necessarily, understand.”

This morning, some of those things included shedding some residual from a conversation I’d had recently, concerns about my father, preparations for Rome and things left to be done, upcoming travels, future ministry and living situations…

It is a place of trust and presence and safety. It is a place of desire—a place I desire to be, a place to discover God’s desires, a place where I am desired to be by God. And it is not something I can plan or even where I would choose to go every time I pray. Which is a good thing, because it certainly doesn’t happen every time I pray.

This morning I went one place among many places—many rooms. Some spaces are bare, some are crammed, some are with one cushion, some have stadium seating, some lit with a candle or the stars, some without power.

This house of prayer is a fascination, it is. It is entirely enticing and without end.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


In these last weeks, I have been to the library quite a bit. I have found new mystery authors to enjoy, yes, but the real thrill has been 641.5. Not six-hundred forty one and a half, 641.5. Cookery. I have been devouring cookbooks and food writing books. And not only reading, but putting into practice! I have made lime-chili-sesame green beans that sagged my socks, a blueberry cake, the left-overs of which made 5:30 in the morning a truly dreamy moment, and roasted tomato-garlic pasta with balsamic parmesean zucchini that did little somersaults of joy all the way down.

In thinking about this spate of spatula toting, I was drawn back to earlier journal entries.

From my journal entry of 28 March, 2010, written after a much needed massage soon after returning from Chile…

I get a good vibe from S…it is that feeling that allows the trust to have her care for me in that way. It is not there for me with everyone…I am grateful when I do feel it. It is the sense that with her you can let go and she will help you and keep you safe all at the same time. For that hour, someone you trust is helping you on the journey…and it is okay to rest and allow it.

And a quotation I found yesterday, 13 July, 2010, while paging through The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters….

It is the many dimensions of sensual experience that make cooking so satisfying.

These two ideas are intimately related, I think. And the link has something to do with the absolute need for the beauty of the senses in my life. I feel the lack of it when it isn’t there. I remember thinking just before the massage—Ahh, touch! Thank you, God, for that. For the touch of someone I trust…for being able to feel the relaxation moving within me, the gratitude, the warmth, the sense of being home in those moments, of being with God.

In the kitchen, it is the textures, the colors, tastes, feels, smells, that do it. The sensory input, the providing for others, the delight and marvel of the science of it…how an understanding of the chemistry leads me to new understandings of the depths of relationship—relationships of harmony, that lead to beauty or a fullness of taste that could not otherwise be achieved.

The idea that certain spices draw out the best in certain foods is not unlike the idea that certain people draw out the best in certain others. Friends! We know our best ones because they accept and allow our humanity while calling us to be our best selves, to live more intimately our important, though fractional piece of the image and likeness of God. And, in my experience, they do this by the questions asked, by support given, by being still enough often enough to allow the other to do likewise and together create peace.

And I imagine that this sort of peace, rightness of relationship, is something like the meal created in Babette’s Feast—balanced, flavorful, full of joy and surprise and both personal and communal exposition and delight—if we allow ourselves to participate in it, to be touched by it, to be made vulnerable by it.

And how often, in the midst of such a meal or such relationship, silence comes welcoming with the coffee or quiet smile--silence not for any sort of lack, but for the sake of savoring the fullness.

Amen, I say.

And then comes the joy of bringing some small part of that experience and knowledge to others...not by dint of force or subjection, but rather by allowing it within myself. Allowing it to shape me, touch me, yes, change me. And that is what I walk with and the well from which I share... and cook.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


From the journal

6:07 AM

And so the morning begins in cool and breezy silence….at least for some moments. It is a passing but welcome peace that settles here in the living room where I am tucked into a couch corner with the front section of the paper and mug number one of caffeinated glory. But first, important and handy words I learned while translating last night. My favorite is matiz, nuance. SO nice to know how to say that! Amparo- protection; al amparo de- with the help of; to say nothing of learning the words for each sense! There were more than a couple moments of “Oh, wow, there IS a word for that!”

I was telling someone about the wonder of that and she asked, “Why didn’t you simply look it up in the dictionary if you needed it before?” In other words, the word has always been available to me, why such a revelation?

Hm. To explain or not to explain? I opted for not. But, for the record, here’s why.

Some of it is because of the moments of “I need a word that means….” Sometimes you know the meaning of the word you want to translate but not the word itself, which renders a riffle through the dictionary potentially interesting, but not precise.

And then you have those times when you might be thinking of the word, but when you look up the word, it is not translated with the same word you might encounter later on that more accurately suggests it. Matiz for nuance is an example. Faceta, facet, is ~ish to matiz, nuance.

Also, sometimes it is simply neat to know that a word means multiple things. Colmar can be used for both fill-to-the-brim and to fulfill. Knowing both translations might color your choice between various options and on a rather basic level, you have the added satisfaction of knowing that you made a conscious choice to use the fullness of a word. You chose the word for a particular use because you were aware of its depth. The reader or other half of a conversation might never know that is why you used it, but the writer or the speaker knows. For me, that counts for something.

This is much, I imagine, like the feeling might be to just once pull out the stops when you drive in order to feel the full potential of the engine’s design when under ordinary circumstances you might be testing it at about half capacity. Ever after the layout, the driver knows the engine’s fullness. It is felt within and at the same time both a thrill and something that passengers need not necessarily know or experience. The driver knows and that is enough…most of the time.

But sometimes, it is just too cool to not share.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ingredients or Durante el Después (During the After)

As I sit here and type this, I have chicken that I will eventually slice for dinner cooling on the top of the oven. There is something pleasing to me about the simplicity of the preparation and ultimate result of baked chicken. It is a complementary food that, done right, is flavorfully polite to other elements of the meal, juicy, tender, and nourishing. This will be served room temperature alongside a batch of slightly more daring creamy smooth gazpacho I made earlier in the day that is presently getting to know itself better in the refrigerator.

I had been reading back issues of Cook’s Illustrated when I chanced on a recipe for this summer soup. It is filled with nothing but refreshment—tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic, green pepper, a jalapeño, a little kosher salt-pureed together with a torn slice of bread, olive oil and a wee hint of wine vinegar. Post-blender, I spooned a little in my mouth to taste. It was like being invited to a small enough party where the guests have forged a group identity that puts everyone at comfortable pleasant ease. Still, you can tease the identity apart and tell that there are those who barb (jalapeño and onion), those who smooth and cool (cucumber), the interesting and unique (green pepper) and those who are at ease nearly everywhere (tomato and garlic).

It is an interesting exercise to look at things that way every now and then. Dish-ingredients, sum-parts, macro-micro.

I think about that also as I look at my desk and notice an empty and relatively nondescript blue, extra-fine point, roller ball. It is the only pen I have used for writing since returning from Chile and it ran dry three months to the day after my first moments in California, where I landed at the end of March.

While I certainly did not start out knowing the outcome, I see now that this pen, in its emptiness, has provided an answer I can offer to often posed questions—“Kim, what have you done since coming back? How have you been spending your time? Have you been working?” Instead of groping in my pocket to find more syllables among the inter-cultural, -continental, and -state, memories and mystical dust, I can say “Dejo a contarte la tinta corriente de mi pluma.” I leave the flowing ink of my pen to tell you.

This ink that has described the last three months of my journey for history and memory begins at this source—sitting in the chapel after my arrival at the last bedroom in a hallway of an RSCJ infirmary in the northern part of California, after a twenty hour journey with my leg immobilized. It speaks of going to the doctor for consultations, a scan of all bones, and the queasy uncertainty of the outcome. It addresses the dawning realization that I am no longer physically in Chile. It bends and ripples playfully through the joy of feeling at home among my elder sisters and the laughter shared at table, in the hallway, and over the computer when I could help them. There is gratitude for tasting Word anew in English when reading during Mass as well as the realization that I continue to pray the Our Father in Spanish and it feels right within me to do that. And, there is relief that no more lesions were discovered and surgery does not seem necessary at this moment-- while also knowing that the ligament remains torn and that knee is not now and likely never will be again, the same as its companion.

The blue river of words speaks gently and deeply and widely of the quiet awe of being at the bedside of two people as they died. Their feet continue to move the inky waters when I revisit those passages.

My grandfather died at home, face turned toward the sun coming in the window, listening to flute music, on April 15th. My mother, grandmother, and I were with him. I had been there helping for a week before his death and stayed on with my grandmother for two weeks following. I had not spent that much time around family for at least twenty years and for many reasons, this visit was a not always proportional blend of gift and challenge. Nonetheless, gratitude is the navigating sentiment.

Nancy Kane, RSCJ, died at Oakwood on May 13th. The ink sings of her soul for a week prior to her death as vigil is kept. Her final day is a horizon of her sisters surrounding her, singing Spirituals and offering lines of scripture, letting her know that it was okay to wade in and go. She did, humbly, quietly, without tremor.

A week later, there was a rather abrupt need to head into the rapids of my father’s life and situation. I spent three days with him, doing the best I could on his behalf and simply loving him and loving God and being thankful for the strength of the company of the saints and my sisters as I made my way. There are times when I write where minimal ink means maximum emotion…this is one of those moments.

Were you allowing the current to take you, the ink would next break open into the riotous amazement of being back in New York City…reconnecting with my community, visiting with friends, updating my resume, gathering documents for my Visa to go to Rome, and writing reflections at the request of my parish, Saint Francis Xavier. I have written four pieces for them recently and had them appear on-line and in the bulletin. The fine point strokes dance pages of gratitude for again being a part of this community, especially at this time in its history, and being encouraged to reflect and write about it for others.

I can look at all of these things individually and savor the events, taste and experience their flavors, contours, textures, complexities, on their own. I can also read the whole and see what is made of them all when brought together. It is a rich and round meal I eat on this journey. Nourishing, pleasing, con bastante pica para mantener interés y bastante dulzura para equilibrar…with enough bite to keep it interesting and enough sweetness to balance. It is a meal of the Mystery of God, the Invitation of God, to come to the table and stay there--to explore and invite others to do the same…to realize anew that the table is our whole world and to choose with passion to be open to it…to the continued experience of the complex simplicity of Love.

I am leaving soon to share my ink, my story, with others. I am leaving to say a formal YES for my life, binding myself in perpetual vow to God and thousands of others. It is good that the table we share is big--many are needed, so grand is the work, to serve and to receive, to laugh, weep, encourage, support, speak the truth as we experience it, to discover and reveal the love of the heart of Christ in a beautiful, wounded, world.

What an awesome thing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How Awesome is this Shrine!

In a recent blog entry about returning to Xavier since the completion of the major work undertaken over the last year and a half, I wrote of an overwhelming desire to “walk around wow-ing as respectfully as possible.” With each tracing of the cleaned and defined curlicues on the bench ends and each moment of gazing at the statues, the windows, and the sunbeam that continues to fall precisely on pew 39, I find myself saying as Jacob did after his dream, “How awesome is this shrine!”(Gen 28:17)

But, this “shrine” we know as the Church of Saint Francis Xavier, beautifully restored and renovated as it is, takes on most of its notable character because of “inner dispositions,”—the people who gather in here and worship here, the people who come to serve and be served, the thirst that is quenched here, the rest that is sought and offered here; those who carry this love, this respite from struggle and hopelessness, with them to stoops and chapels and shelters and clinics and and and… here in the City and incalculable distances beyond .

The space serves those who gather. There are more ramps for ease of accessibility as well as a “No Standing” zone on the street. The “unseen until too late” subtle variations in the topography of the floor have been smoothed out. The choir has a dedicated space, the sacristy is ample… The space inspires and encourages. We are surrounded with restored paintings and cleaned statues that tell the stories of those who have given their all for the honor and glory of God. The windows are prisms of glory that draw the eye upward, delight, and fascinate.

The space serves those who gather—so that those who gather may leave. The space serves those who gather—so that those who gather may leave—to gather together others along the way. The space serves those who gather here in whatever way or grouping—so that those who gather may leave—to gather together others along the way—in the name of Love. When we leave this space, nourished and inspired, we are bound to share that strength, to offer the welcome we receive to others. In effect, to be the Body of Christ…people of communion, humble servants, people of God.

For me, even with all of my wow-ing and tactile inclinations toward experiencing beauty, I have to say that one of the most inspiring revelations of the recent work is the quotation above the arched doorways at the back of the church. Non est hic aliud Nisi domus Dei Et porta caeli.

Some of the Ah!! Is because of the translation and some is what it means to me because of where it is. After Jacob’s post-dream proclamation of awesomeness, he continues—“This is nothing else but a dwelling place of God and that is the gateway to heaven!” To see this quotation over the doors, one must be looking out over the people gathered—certainly dwelling places of God, each one. When do we have this perspective? When proclaiming, when serving as Eucharistic ministers, when singing, incensing, dancing, returning from Communion.

And we also see it when leaving that way. In a way, these gateways lead to the kingdom of God here on Earth, the streets not yet paved in gold or flowing with milk and honey, where not everyone has enough, not everyone is loved, and not everyone is safe… Not yet. But to that end we gather, we pray, we hope, and we love and we work.

And we do in gratitude for this awesome shrine that invites us in to rest in glory, to be challenged, to be touched by beauty and community, and to leave again to share it all by our actions, our words, our lives.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Anticipating the Feast

In anticipation of this Friday's Feast of the Sacred Heart...

Feast of the Sacred Heart, 2010

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
to you I offer all.

You find me, you call to me,
you taunt me, challenge me, entice me.
You reveal your mystery to my senses.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
to you I give my life,
my imagination, my strength, and endurance.

You intrigue me, confound me,
teach me, sustain me,
and startle me with love.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
you who are in all things,
always, and everywhere…

You who are

Air current, wing, and point of view,
stamen, petal, meal for the bee,
tides, wetlands, rainforest, and desert;

Gong, bellows, hum of the living,
timpani, cello depth, orchestral jungle,
children weeping and the laughter of fish;

We count on you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
infinite in glory,
you who are

Nucleus, quark, molecule, synapse,
ore, element, thought, foundation,
inspiration, exhalation, cycle of the seasons.

Bluegrass, haiku, sonnet of love,
epic. classic, ever new,
sculpture, painting, jazz, and flamenco;

We trust in you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
eternally divine,
you who are

Human, spirit, bread, table,
hunger, thirst, need, wound,
blood, hope, Word, and light;

Love undiluted, prophetic and just,
adamant, entire, all encompassing,
world without end;

We ask your mercy.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
we believe that you will not fail.

c. MperiodPress

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On Returning to Xavier

“So??? What do you think??” With heads tilted nearly perpendicular, arms spread, and palms shrugging upward, these were the questions that most frequently followed A. hugs, B. inquiry into my well being, and C. commentary on the length of my hair, when I returned to worship at Xavier this past Sunday after having been gone since September.

In generating a response, I had to admit to myself that I had built up the renovations as something far more radical in my mind. I was struck at how the space felt the same. Yes, the grime is gone, the details are exquisite, and I have an overwhelming desire to walk around wow-ing as respectfully as possible and touching everything, but the essence of the space, the essential cumulation of character that has made Xavier, Xavier, seemed to remain within the stripped and stained wood, the polished marble, the tooled capitals and power-showered statues.

That observation led me to say in reply—“I think it woke up.” Fall and Winter are great seasons in their own right… there is something satisfying, even comforting, to me about sleeping under thick, floppy blankets that in their heft and weight seal in the goodness and seal out the chill. Spring and Summer, however, also have their merits: light and life and blooming things…and crispy cool sheets after a day’s labor in a City field. Architecturally, it seems that we have woken up into a period of Spring after a long stretch of Fall and Winter.

But, for a moment, back to the essential cumulation of character…ours is a storied space, a space where you can walk and touch the tale that lively quivers beneath the surface…a space and a people who at their best, beckon and say, “Ah…welcome…come!” At its best, it is a place that inspires being home rather than guest.

One of the signs, I believe, of being home somewhere is being welcome in the kitchen. And, in the community house where I live, at least, that means gathering around the wobbly, long tended table that has the dings and scratches and stains--the table that has taken and heard much over its history; that accepts for seating whatever the number who happen to be gathered; that has been oiled and sealed by touch, by being in the living midst of quotidian moments that speak intimately of the heart.

Now and then, the table gets a new cloth put on, the kitchen a good scrub--but we know what is at the heart and we love it—wobbles, flaws, beauty, welcome, history, nourishment of all kinds, and hope. If we didn’t know that, if we didn’t believe that, there’d be no need to work at taking care of it.

Without trotting out the sampler adage about what makes a house a home, it occurs to me that Home is a relational feeling. I feel home because I am in healthy relationship with the people and life and happenings in a given space at a given time. That relationship is sometimes rife with tension, sometimes seemingly remote even when well-seated within me, sometimes the necessary air that fills me. Such is the full, round, nature and limitation of human love--the human love I have for creation, for home, for our triune communitarian God who was, is, and ever shall be without bounds or border or finite end.

Florence Nightingale was an early proponent of fresh air as a part of healthy living. Fresh air is also a part of springtime. As I sit in the newly cleaned pews, gaze at the restored beauty created first for the honor and glory of God alone, I breathe deeply, and sigh my thanks, praying that I may store some of the detailed awe that begs to be known in all its contours as nourishment for the journey that I know is ahead.

It is a journey I make with others in, through, thanks to, and because of, the Love of God that tells us when we are Home.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday Five

From RevGals... It's another Friday Five! This one being written once again from NYC...just returned this evening after being away since September.

There is a German expression: ich würde die Hand dafür ins Feuer legen, which means: “I would put my hand in the fire for that.”

So, what are five things for which would you put your hand in the fire? Things / people / causes in which you believe passionately and completely? This might be demonstrated in that you would take extraordinary (for you) action…donations, marching, writing letters…or merely in the way you live your life. You may give as much or as little detail as you wish.

1. Light will overcome darkness. This is an absolute for me...Hope WILL have the upper hand. Darkness will be there, but I believe resolutely and by experience that light will NOT succumb.

2. God is a God of love. Bottom line. End of story. Not just for me, but for everyone and the whole of creation. And if that is what we believe as people of whatever faith, then that SHOULD mean something in our attitudes of welcome, our stance of justice, our actions of solidarity, our approaches to disagreements, our own esteem.

3. Listening to children...showing them by action and attitude that they have valid and worthy thoughts, that their experience might be limited, but it is important and it matters, that they are capable of thinking great and original things and teaching them how to use their mind and their heart together.

4. The importance of being able to change perspective or point of view to look at an issue or circumstance. The point is not agreement, but to be able to see something a different way can lead to a greater, deeper, understanding of whatever is going on.

5. We never know the stories borne within based on what is seen on the outside.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Organic Mystery

Today is the feast of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, RSCJ. Religious of the Sacred Heart, former RSCJ, students and former students of Sacred Heart, Associates, and colleagues around the world, are celebrating her vision, her gift, her life, in varieties of ways. Sometimes that celebration includes wishes in voice or emails sent to one another in friendship and faithful bond. And sometime in the course of the day, there might be a sharing of favorite maxims, or sayings.

Several quotations crossed my mind and heart this morning as I sipped my mug of caffeinated glory, and gave thanks to be back in my room here in California. I returned yesterday afternoon from a quick and challenging trip to see a family member. It was a journey done in love, a journey whose fruit is sadness and uncertainty on many levels and the sure knowledge of bringing joy, how ever fleeting, to someone on another.

This mix got me thinking about walking with it as a part of who I am and praying that the reality of the situation may shape me, may soften serrations of personality, may serve to enrich any sense of compassion and understanding that I bring to other people and circumstances...whether that sense converts into word or action or simple presence.

I do believe that experience shapes a person's presence, their feel, their being. May walking with this serve to nuance mine, to flavor it with depth and breadth and a pinch of wisdom. May it flavor with equal parts of a far more complex and far more elemental understanding of what it means to love someone.

It occurred to me too that I usually think of more elemental or foundational things as being simpler, more basic, but I wonder if that is true. Or, it could well be that the other side of that idea is that the more simple a thing, the more true or basic or elemental a thing, the more Mystery is involved as well.

Organic mystery. Integrated mystery. Naturally occurring Mystery.

Yes, I find that a pleasing thing to consider...that Mystery itself is part of the truth, part of the elemental order of things.

The maxims I recorded today are two...and I like them together.

"To live without suffering is to live without love. To live without love is to die."

"Be humble. Be simple. Bring joy to others."

What is the alternative but to love in full freedom? Live in that love...that includes the marvel and the mess and the mystery entire.

Happy Feast.

Monday, May 17, 2010

On Journal Writing

Most of the time when I write in my journal, I simply pick up the pen and begin.

There is a modest initial structure in that entries begin with the time of day and a brief account of my surroundings at the moment. Perhaps a theme or thread will emerge according to the flow or cohesion of what I write, but if so, it does so only by virtue of linear thinking and not by overt intention.

One of my joys is to record sensory observations and experiences because it is through those observations that I can re-member or re-enter a moment, a thought, an encounter, at another time. Another pleasure is simply laying down a running commentary of circumstance and seeing where it goes. This writing also helps me to know what I am thinking or feeling..I actually think better with pen in hand.

In a way, these lines, these quotidian paragraphs of this and that, are like the moving photographs of Harry Potter. The language is fixed to the page, but the words are not. They rest, shimmering as a fish scale bent in motion...ready to catch light, to reflect, to layer with others and create dimension--and sometimes to simply be cast off, shed into the ocean of moments.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stepping Path

Stepping Path

When I go home, Lord,
I want to walk on song-
yes, lay me my stepping path
with a love that sings.

Line my way with
orange blossoms, Lord,
that hum your honeyed Word
of beauty and praise!

Let the rail at my hand,
Lord, be the rays of glory
that wake the sleeping chorus
with their morning Amen!

Oh when you come
and you call my name,
I might be afraid, Lord,
yes, I might be afraid.

But your song has a way
of calming me home.

Oh, lay me my stepping path
with a love that sings.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Journal Entry

8:34 p.m
Sitting with N. Have been here since 7 p.m., F. coming at 9 p.m. This act of "being with" is amazing to me and I pray I will never grow accustomed to it. Comfortable with is one thing--accustomed to is another.

The nurses just came in to rotate the side on which she's been positioned. They, too, are so tender-- some stopping by periodically just to pause a moment, just to touch her face or forehead in a sort of permissive blessing-- or, better, a blessing of permission, of freedom, to go where God is beckoning.

It is as though God is calling upon the community to walk her to the riverside. Not that God needs the help, certainly, but it is almost like an invitation to help because God knows it is important--for the community and for the one dying. What a privilege to be a part of that...part of a whole group hearing and accepting the invitation to accompany someone to the waterside.

And as to the why this feels so important, so right... well, I am left reflecting on the fullness of what it means to love God and love one another. It is part of that perfect freedom that binds us. The freedom to receive, the freedom to give, the desire that no one be alone and the recognition that sometimes all we can do is be and that being at its best is being with even when alone and that is enough. Beyond enough, actually. It is at the heart of being humans created in God's image and likeness. It is right and important in ways I can not quantify with syllables.

We do not actually accompany into the arms of God, I think, but to the point of that final giving...at some moment known to God and the one whom God calls, everyone who is journeying with the one who is dying must stop at the mystical intersection of here and beyond here. We must stop at "Where I am going you can not come," and there set free the one who is headed home.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How evening it feels

How evening it feels

How evening it feels
to be thick tired yet drawn
toward the secrets of firefly telegrams
and how it is that spiders
knit star-glow in their webs.

Here among the orange blossoms
and the moon heavy coolness
I sigh awake the hope
that lullabies in this glory
of presence and of mystery.


Friday, April 30, 2010

It began with a Turtle

I am once again able to do the Friday Five! It feels good to be doing it again-- and on what better topic than friendship

Many of us have friendships - past and present...so today we will celebrate Friday with friendship:

1) Do you remember your first best friend? What did you do together? Are they still in your life?

Absolutely I remember my first best friend! I met him when I was three. I was bellowing in the back yard because there was a dinner plate sized turtle by the chain link gate, had never seen one live before, and was not too certain I wanted to. My hollering caused him to wander over from across the street and we both squatted down to examine the creature. My mom came outside, we walked across the street and met his mom, and then we took the turtle down to the creek to let it go. I have not been in contact with him for years and years, but I still remember him...

2) Did you ever have to move away or have your best friend move away from you?

Yes... I have two best friends. One that I have known since eighth grade...and we have not lived in the same place since heading off to college--but are still dear friends and in regular contact. The other is someone I met in grad school. Moving away from her was much harder. But she and I too are in regular contact. I am a fortunate woman to be blessed so richly and consistently with good people in my life.

3) Are there people in your life now that you can call 'friend'?

Absolutely. It is one of the things for which I give eternal thanks to God... I have friends all over. Not loads of them, but good ones. Ones where your reaction is to throw open your arms and close your eyes and laugh or cry or smile or say nothing at all and give a great hug.

4) What are some of your favorite things to do with your friends?

Running errands and doing the whatnot of life with someone you care about; coffee and conversation; cooking with friends; reading...when you can be in the same room as someone and the quiet between you is welcoming and hints at the ease of your hearts with one another; road trip...maybe with a purpose, maybe just to ride.

5) What is a gift friendship has given you?

Life, joy, confidence, self esteem, freedom, love, the chance to give to someone else.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Three weeks and a Day

It has been three weeks and a day since my last posting. In those three weeks and a day, I have been witness to illness, death, and the feeling of someone's sure and certain resurrection into the glory of God.

I have witnessed other illnesses as well and the debilitating effects they can have on those who surround them. I have felt the tangle of some relationships and the liberation of others.

I have felt sadness, awe, fear, joy, wonder, vacancy, frustration, and the heart of the word impotencia. I have felt the gratification of returning home upon arriving in San Francisco last evening and know that I will have that joy again when I head back to NYC at the end of the month.

I have been overwhelmed by the love and support of my Sisters and overwhelmed by the emotion and multi-faceted intensity of being with family during stressful times.

And, thanks to a letter I read last night before going to bed, I know that there are yet other potentially sticky familial tasks that lie ahead of me between now and September- tasks that have nothing to do with the last three weeks and a day, yet promise more of the same.

My faith tells me that God created the world in six days and a day of rest to contemplate its goodness. A lot can be done in six days if you are God. A lot can happen in three weeks if you are human.

It is pleasing to me to think that God took a day of rest to consider things. I need to do the same.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Friends of God and Prophets

Friends of God and Prophets

The morning sun,
out beyond the irises,
is writing the icon of her praise
on the wall beside my chair.
This, after passing through me,
borrowing contours
of breath and being.

Wisdom's startling portrait,
coffee included.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter and Dynamic Stasis

It is Easter Monday. It rained gently all night and the flowers in the raised beds are enjoying a prismatic, glorious morning stretch sun-ward thanks to the moisture. Floral resurrection. There were even a couple bees for musical accompaniment--seemed fitting.

No surgery is necessary on my knee right now, thanks be to God. I am to keep on with the brace at all times (except night/sleeping) for six weeks and go back to see the doctor. The ACL will remain torn for now--stability will improve with time, though the tear will not heal on its own. I will bring the brace and a cane to Rome to use when a major walk is in store. How my knee behaves in Rome will color the Dr's decision about whether to surgically reconstruct the ligament or not. I have no vanity issues about using a cane, can walk quite nicely with it, and find it helpful when it is needed, so I am not overly worried. Some friends have joked that a cane even suits me...fits in with that writer/intellectual vibe thing they say I have going. Don't know about that, but do know that it works for me to use one.

Hospice has told my mother that this is the end for my grandfather so I am headed to WI on Thursday to drive with my mother and step-father to OH on Friday morning. Not sure whether he will still be alive by then, but that is up to God and my grandfather. It is good that I have the time to be there for my mother now and it will mean a lot to my grandmother as well. Being able to do that for them is important to me.

I read about the quake in Baja and continue my walking pleas to the Earth... Enough, already, enough! Thinking about and experiencing the amount of energy on which we walk every day has altered the way I think of terra firma. Firma is more about equilibrium, it seems, than any sort of real solidity. Firma is firma because of synergy and harmony, things being held in a dynamic stasis. I don't know if that is a scientifically sound pairing of concepts, but it is what comes to mind with ecosystems, for example. There are cycles that happen, giving and taking and serving and receiving (dynamism), within that particular ecosystem (stasis)that will continue until some part of that pattern is disrupted. When it is disturbed, something must be done to restore it...volcano, earthquake, tsunami, etc.

Makes me think of Madeleine L'Engle's question in her young adult classic, A Wrinkle in Time. Do I dare disturb the universe?

Sometimes it is called for...and the results are not always containable or predictable. But that does not mean the question goes away.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Glory unto Glory

I am leaving Chile with many things --only several of which have physical form. Yes, there is a volume of Neruda packed in my bag, there is a medal of San Alberto Hurtado keeping Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat company on the cord around my neck. (I love that, actually, and have no doubt whatsoever that the two of them would have been friends had they known one another.) There is a copper picture frame my community gave me last night before we went out for empanadas at Las Delicias. There is the stone in my pocket from la tierra chilena in Pelarco.

But, more importantly and more lasting, there are other things...intangible wonders...that are also coming with me.

New words to describe concepts. Some of my favorites include: Hermandad-- a word that for me encircles much more than sisterhood. Hermandad, in addition to having a more pleasing sound in my ear, has the added dimension of the feeling as well as the concept. Hay que averiguar... there is the need to discover/determine/figure out/piece together. Pues, no sé, fíjate...Huh, you know what, I don´t know! Involucrar--to engage the other in such a way that the other is motivated to lend support or assistance...

There are so many more complex, stark, juicy, dense, colorful, pared and honed words...and so incredibly immediate are they that it is hard to think of them being of another language, really. Simply more options, more ways to speak of this incredible journey. I am grateful beyond telling to welcome them into the pool of language that waits for the dip of my mind, my pen, to offer her treasure.

There are new feelings as well. New levels of frustration and impoténcia, unique experiences of awe, moments of glory and desolation and desire and fear and support and wonder and even a little whooooaaaaa that is coooool. Among other things, realizing that I was looking at the other side of the moon fell into that category.

A friend wrote in understanding that it is difficult to leave a place where you heart has been stretched and where you have had to stretch to make room for your heart. There is much, much truth in that. I wrote to someone this morning that...

I just got an email...suggesting that perhaps God has done all that he had to do in me here in Chile. While that may be, I replied, I remain with serious questions about that. But, hey, questions allow the conversation to move forward. It is more a curiosity than anything else-- If not here, where, then? And, what? And, when? A somewhat frustrated, sad, and yes, disappointed, curiosity at the moment, but curiosity nonetheless.

As I wrote that, I could not help but think of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, the Religious of the Sacred Heart who brought the Society to the United States. For years before being given permission, her burning desire was to come to the United States and work with the Native Americans. In 1818, the desire to come to the US became real...though at first, her work was in founding schools and establishing communities rather than working with the Native Americans. She never managed to learn English or the language of the Potowatomi, never felt herself any sort of success. and filled letters with her doubts and uncertainties, her frustrations. What she wanted, as she wanted it, did not happen. Something else, did, however. And it is thanks to that something else that I am here, experiencing my own frustrations and moments of enlightenment.

On Saturday, a wise, caring, brilliant, laugh-filled and tear-filled, 64 year old rscj died as a result of a brain tumor in California. In thinking of her, in thinking of Philippine, in thinking of the rscj here that died several weeks ago and the stories people have told of her...in thinking of this wild and mysterious, rica y redonda journey, I propose that instead of "dust unto dust," however ultimately concretely true, we go with the image "glory unto glory."

It is equally mysterious, equally incomprehensible, yet filled with awe and eternity.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fourteen days

One´s world can be spun a startling number of times in fourteen days.

Being in a historic earthquake; the consequent upheaval and uncertainty; as well as profound devastation in much of Southern Chile.

Near daily aftershocks-including three (7.2, 6.9, 6.0) within a half an hour the day before yesterday that were accompanied by a tsunami alert with Caribineros sending all people and vehicles to the hills. This required us to evacuate all students from the school, each leaving only in the company of a parent.

The funeral of a 97 year old rscj and having the incredible experience of accompanying her to her final resting place in the mausoleum by singing and praying aloud as we walked the halls and courtyards. Other families that we passed who were also mourning would reach out and touch the casket-one putting a flower on top-most stopping what they were doing, turning to face us, and quietly signing themselves. This mausoleum, with the cracks and crumbles that mark the effects of the recent quake. What an amazing thought, that even to those who have died, the earth still speaks.

The news of the advancing illness of another rscj.

Continued news of my grandfather´s declining health and the toll it is taking on my grandmother.

The absolute desire to be doing something concrete that can help the people who have suffered such devastation, losing everything and sometimes, everyone. The desire to go help our sisters in Concepción by being two more ears to listen, two more arms to carry, one more voice to speak of love and hope amidst the fog of confusion and pain and overwhelmedness.

And, along with that coming to know with great pain and difficulty that the continuing problems with my knee and leg do not permit that now... and that instead, for the sake of everyone, the responsible thing to do at this time is return to the United States, figure out what I need to do to get my knee back in order, do that, and go from there.

So I shall.

This coming week, I leave Chile with my tears adding to her glaciers, my sighs adding to the Atacama winds, and my hope to return living in the song and cry of her people.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

This God

This God I know, this God who created the complexity of my being, the intricacy of a molecule, the simple beauty of a rain-spattered spider web... This God who created in six days the forces, the energies, the potentials, the being-ness, that over time have brought the world to the present moment... This God of love...

...is more a mystery now than ever before and I´m fairly sure I did not think that possible. In a way, it is like moving from those Encyclopedia Browns that I thought were the be all and end all in my youth, to discovering Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. More mystery is revealed as growth occurs. Actually, it is more the relationship shared that is the mystery to me these days. The relationship that is gift, purest gift, covenant, a promise of being so profoundly, intimately, a part of one another that the binding can not be overcome.

It is this Mystery that has provided space to say in the midst of this devastated country, God is good. Mystery allows gratitude amidst such suffering. Mystery inspires youth to organize caravans of supplies and people to help remove rubble, listen to the stories, and be faces of love.

At the same time, there is space in Mystery for my desire to sit with Jesus and ask, what exactly is going on here? Earthquake, ill grandfather, grandmother who is not dealing well with that, and now to know that the reason my knee is still swollen three weeks later is that there is a lesion on my tibia. Tests to follow this week.

There is space within this Mystery to offer thanks and express gratitude and ask what the deal is...and I have done that.

In a nutshell, the most mysterious thing to me is the core simplicity of my reaction, amidst the nervousness, the uncertainty, the sadness:

What is, is. And so am I and so are many others and so is God. With that, the new day dawns, the work continues, the hope lights the path so the neighbor too finds her way. Those who have died know the fullness of Glory and are part of that hope now too, as are all the saints.

It is a living out of the covenant here on Earth, really. The binding of one to another in time of need and suffering.

Thanks be to God, mysteriously.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

From an Email

From an email I sent to Xavier in NYC, my wonderful, wonderful, parish there.

Know of my profound gratitude for all of the prayers and love sent from those at Xavier. As to how I am doing... I have only reasons to praise God while my heart is breaking to see the devastation and hear the stories and feel the "impotencia" of not being able to do much that can help. Right now, word from our community in Concepción and the news is that it is too dangerous to go to the region, though there are those here in this area who are organizing a caravan that will leave tomorrow. People suffered multiple times with nature. Now, the fear is the people themselves. The looting, the violence, the raids of houses, the fires, the complete, complete, chaos.

Just being here in Reñaca Alto, where damage was so minimal, the memory of that early morning still lives in my body. I know now that a 7 on the Richter Scale is worthy of a quick review of all that is most precious as one is made to dance along the shores of the Jordan... I can not imagine an 8.8....where the river, the land, the ocean herself, came to take away so much and so many. Fatalities up to 711 at last reporting.

No, safe to say, I was not expecting all this.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day following

The earthquake hit here at 3:40 in the morning on Friday, February 27th. It hit the epicenter as an 8.8, moved up north, and hit here as a 7.

The south is devastated. It is bad in Valparaíso near here.

All in my community are fine.

Please, please, pray for the pueblo chileno.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wind in my Praying

Part of the response to a friend who emailed and mentioned that I seemed to be really in "it" here...meaning the experience and the living.

Yes, I guess you could say that I am in "it" here, but I still go "there" as well.... and sometimes my heart doesn´t know where to go and just takes off, lighting on images and faces and memories and places all around the world. A in India, C and I in Brasil, I in France, L in Indonesia, M in Canada, folks in various places in Mexico, all over the US, S in Japan, all over Chile, L in PR, memories of England, images from the news, Haiti, NOLA, SF Xavier in NYC, the schools where I have been, years and years of dear and wonderful friends, people who have passed through the community.... Often I walk with beads and let each one be a name, a place, a face, an image, praying. If not beads, then with a flip of the stone I carry in my pocket...it is just the size and roundness and smoothness to fit in my hand and turn over with a scootch of the fingers of that hand.

At the same time, I like it when my heart goes free like that--to feel wind in my praying... and there is also a desire to be grounded too.... the grounding is what lets the other happen with such joy. And wow, to think that the grounding is God and hope and love that I know in the here and now...

Friday, February 19, 2010

From the Journal or, Driving in English

An excerpt from yesterday´s journal entry, after the visit to the National Library of Chile (click here to read ). Point to note before reading, since September, my journal entries have been 98% in Spanish. For reasons that are difficult to explain, it is easier for me to do it that way... otherwise, there is a sort of freeze-up in the brain when trying to think in one language and being surrounded by another, both of which I understand.

6:10 pm. In the dining room with a fortifying, strong mug of tea. A prize for having finished a slice of whole wheat pan de molde and a wedge of unripe avocado. I have come to really enjoy this civil ritual of afternoon tea--there is something so balanced about it. So balanced and pleasing, in fact, that I shall do what five months ago would have been unthinkable, and double-dunk. Two cups, one bag. I must also add here, while the steeping is in process, that it is a genuine pleasure to be writing in English for an entry.

The best I can do is liken it to slipping behind the wheel of a car you have detailed and cared for--a car who purrs for you, who knows your touch and style and responds with fluidity and throttle. A car you shift seamlessly, feeling the potential of the engine, feeling the smooth thrill of low-seated velocity, the slope of a curve well taken. A car that seems in perpetual idle, waiting for the driver and an open highway, or blank page, so it can do its thing--both what it was meant to do, and what it and the driver learned it could do when patience, capacity, and a certain marvel for mechanics meet.

From Humitas to Gabriela and the Greeks

It has been some weeks since last posting. There are several reasons for that, but they don´t seem so important to mention right now. Let me just say that I am glad to be back at the keyboard, finding a way to share with a crowd the insights and adventures that come my way in this wild and wonderful life.

Humitas. Sounds like something Latin, to me. On the one hand, it reminds me of the word humble. It also makes me think of humus, the rich soil that is good for growing. The reality actually combines both of those things. I learned about humitas during three days in the Chilean countryside with the large and welcoming campesina family of one of my sisters. These days followed two weeks of meetings with the entire province in a retreat house outside Santiago and were a welcome break from that level of engagement. They were days filled with delicious, simple, incredible food. Tomatoes, corn, raspberries, peaches, chicken, honey, watermelon, ají, onions, basil...all straight from the earth to the mouth. So very juicy and flavorful! So incredibly delicious. One morning I was invited to help in the preparation of what would become lunch. Yes, humitas.

Humitas are the Chilean version of tamales. One group of people shucked the corn, one group sliced the corn from the cob, I helped hand grind the corn into, well, corn-paste, and another group diced and cooked mountains of onion. Onions and cornpaste are mixed together and the leaves of corn are stuffed with the mixture and folded into little packets, tied with thin strips of wicker from the garden that have been boiled into strong, flexible, string. The packets are dropped into boiling water to cook.

While this process was going on outside, some folks inside were preparing various tomato-based chunky salsas to spoon on top. Chancha de piedra involves peeled tomatoes and garlic in a mortar, mashed into goodness with a pestle. Pebre is diced tomato, ají pepper, cilantro, garlic, and onion or chive, all dancing cheek to cheek.

A little of either one of these on top of the steaming packet of corn-onion perfection, and you have a delicious, fresh, healthy, flavorful party going on in your mouth!

From Pelarco in the country, I came to Santiago in the city this past Monday. I will be here until Sunday. My time has been filled with sleep, finding a knee brace (according to the doctor, I have a nasty sprain--and all I did was stand up to get off the bus, honest. Swelling, funky looking muscles, the whole nine. Getting better, though, thank goodness) and going to some museums.

One day was a trip to see the terracotta soldiers from China, one day the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos--The Museum of Memory and Human Rights. The latter chronicles the dictatorship here in Chile and what happened, or didn´t, as far as human rights during that period. It also has sections on Human Rights around the world. An amazing and humbling expose of the atrocities and the desire that they never happen again.

Yesterday, I went to the National Library of Chile! It is such a library! A techy, papery, booky, marbley, monument to learning and scholarship. Part of my time there was spent in the Gabriela Mistral Sala de Lectores, writing, describing, observing. Funny thing with Gabriela. There she is in the center window nook, overlooking all in the room. To her right and left are other busts...Virgil, Homer, Demosthenes, Voltaire.

I thought it a funny combination, actually. But still, was glad for her company and watchful presence as I sat there in a sunbeam, in my wooden swivel chair at the green-felt and glass topped wooden tables. If I tilted my head just so and closed my eyes, I could almost hear her saying "Bienvenida compañera, escritora..."

"Welcome, fellow writer."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The allure of a pencil named Minerva

One of the things I have come to know over eleven years in religious life is that I am a better person because I live in community. The company, the accountability, the sharing of resources, the communal concerns shared and shouldered, the prayer, the polishing of my own edges. It all makes me more able to understand others and I take that understanding with me wherever I go...allowing it to inform whatever work I undertake.

That said, it is human nature to also need and want time alone. That has been my gift these last days. I talked to a friend on Skype last night and he pointed out, "It is a chance to live without self-censoring." Before this experience of being fuera de la casa--outside the house--for an extended time, I have never before been so aware of the reality of that and the energy it takes when the "casa" is country, culture, and language. But, he is absolutely right.

It is the nature of community living to think about the impact of one´s own behaviors on the group as a whole. Here, that means not speaking in English when others are around who will not understand. It means not speaking one´s mind with fluidity because my way and nature of expression is culturally influenced and does not translate into castellano. There is the need to rethink, to express differently, to find other words for... To speak the truth, yes. But, the point of speaking truth is having it understood, I think, and in order for that to happen, adjustments must be made.

These last days, when others in the house are on retreat or visiting family, I have been listening to NPR news broadcasts and other shows on the computer speakers. I have been working at the table instead of my desk, have prayed there with a candle lit in the open-heart holder, have headed out on wanders without destination and returned to cook when my body tells me it is hungry.

One of those wanders took me to a stationers. Before leaving, two in the house asked me to prepare the community´s "corner" for the upcoming provincial assembly. That required the trip, which, I confess was not a suffering of any sort for me. I love office supply stores!

It was there, in a eraser-crumblies covered bin in a back row, that I found Minerva. There was only one. She was covered in a blop of ink at the tip and dinged up on the back end. But what was perfectly clear was her name. This pencil was Minerva.

I have to say, my writing soul did the dance that surfaces unsummoned at things "right in the world." To me, a pencil named Minerva seems just about perfect.

What other name could a pencil have that would suit so admirably? Practical, serviceable, loyal, a little retro, classic... Minerva.

Sadly, this Minerva, that someone used as a would be dip-pen, was the only one in the store. Would they be getting more? They did not know. Might they be in another branch of your store? Maybe.

One day, on a wander unpredictable, perhaps our paths will cross again...

Until then, I shall enjoy my alone time, I shall enjoy my community time, and I will continue to write.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Along for the Ride

During my ride to Antofagasta, I made a list of things that caught my attention...

1. A business called Frenos Daytona 500 (A brake repair shop)

2. Not one but several mattress repair shops. Who knew it was an industry?

3. Women´s pick-up soccer played in a field along the highway

4. The trees with branches and leaves all headed in one direction because of the wind. An arboreal comb over!

5. The need to report name, ID number, and emergency phone contact to the assistent on the bus...just in case.

6. The positively mauve colored sunset the first night on the bus. No other word for the color...I have a theory about that, but don´t know anyone to ask...and my first attempt at explaining the idea in Spanish tanked...no wonder, really, because it has to do with the curvature of the earth and topography and latitude. Will work on that.

7. The periodic roadside shrines--not all of which are for people who died in accidents. Some are just little shrines. None bigger than a doghouse, most decorated with shiny things and lots of what I will call religious articles. Beads, bitty statues, medals, etc. CDs are a popular choice for decorating, too. Reflective.

8. Periodic expanses of white salt deposits

9. Periodic small hills of oxidized copper dust

10. Wind farms with huge turbines in the middle of lots of nothing else. What a perfect place! I wonder,though, how they tap into the energy produced? And where-how is it stored?

11. Why is there the need for a curve in the middle of the desert? It is nothing more than a bump out on a straight line.

12. I saw one enclosure...in the middle of seemingly nothing else. No structure, no people, no worn path or road, no vehicles...just a cement walled square.

13. There is nothing boring about this ride. It is long and it is fascinating. God is so creative! And so vast and, well, powerful, but not in a wielding sort of way. More in a grand, sweeping, awesome, sort of way...

Between the desert and Haiti, it was a week of seeing forces of nature loosed and active, the whim and caprice and devastation.

Friday, January 15, 2010


RevGal Friday Five composed in Antofagasta, Chile. A 21 hour bus ride north of Santiago....through hours of the Atacama desert...fascinating, really.

1. If you were a color, what would you be?

My dream job as a child was to be the one who thought up names for paint colors... So, I´m going to go with Ruminative Oceanic Blue-Green.

2. If you were a flower (or plant), what would you be?

Cactus. Sturdy, hardy, colorful, though not obviously so at first, can take in a lot and can live through a lot.

3. If you were an animal, what kind would you be?

Definitely an elephant. Contemplative, compassionate, loving, loyal, seemingly slow but of long memory and far reaching vision.

4. If you were a shoe, what type would you be?

Gotta go with the Birks here. Simple, free, comfy.

5. If you were a typeface, which font would you be?

Oh, I can´t remember the name...something like SchoolBook. Clear, clean, not overly girly or curly, easy to read, practical.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Y las estrellas bailarán And the Stars will Dance

Desde Antofagasta, Chile... From Antofagasta, Chile.

Primero en castellano, luego en inglés...

Hoy fui con A a la casa de retiros de los Jesuitas para caminar, sentar, rezar, mientras ella acompañó O quien está haciendo su retiro acá. Allí tenía un momento de oración diferente de todos los demás que he tenido aquí en Chile...profundo y necesario. Estaba escribiendo y lo siguiente pasó...

Me di cuenta de algo interesante aquí, sentando entre mar, montañas, y desierto. Me di cuenta que hay veces en que la cosa mejor es no preguntar. O, mejor sería decir que hay momentos en que sería mejor si las preguntas esperan...

Momentos en que Dios dice-- Buena pregunta, buena observación, pensamiento... guárdelo y te aseguro que llegaremos al momento de descutirlo. Confiá en mi. Ahora hay mas que vivir, experimentar. Te prometo que llegaremos al momento. Y sí, sé que a ti no te gusta sentir puesto al viento sin orientación. No estoy diciendo que no puedes sentir--claro--como si fuera posible-- ni que no puedes expresar tus sentimientos o pensamientos o gritos o lágrimas. Por favor, sigue compartiéndlos.

Lo que sí, estoy diciendo, es confía en mi. Vamos a tener una conversación que en ese momento tu no puedes imaginar. Una conversación en que van a bailar para ti las estrellas, van a conversar contigo las olas poderosas que a ti te gustan tanto. Y tú y yo seramos Creador, creación, pregunta y comprensión, inseperable.

Estoy diciendo también que no hay tanta necesidad de buscar con prisa, escuchar con fuerza. Estoy aquí. Estoy contigo. Siempre estoy. No soy capaz de dejarte ni lo haría si fuera capaz. Tú sabes eso. Si lo has olvidado, aquí estoy para que recuerdes. A mi no me gusta mirar tu frustración, tu tristeza. Sé que hay estas dos, y sí, entiendo por que.. Pero, te digo, confía en mi. Llegaremos juntos al momento de entender.

Te quiero, pero además a mi me gusta estar contigo, conversando, escuchando, y compartiendo silencio.Tú eres buena compañía para mi. Recuérdete eso y confía en mi.


Today I went with A to the Jesuit retreat house to walk, sit, pray, while she accompanied O on her retreat. During that hour or so, I had a moment of prayer unlike any other moment I have had so far in Chile. What happened follows...

I realized something interesting sitting here, between mountains, sea, and desert. I realized that there are times when it is best to not ask questions. Or, better said, there are times when it is best if the questions wait.

Moments when God says-- Good question, interesting observation, thought... save it and I assure you we will come to the right moment to discuss it. Trust me. For now, there is more to live, more to experience. I promise you, we will come to the moment. And yes, I know that you do not like being set to the wind without direction. I am not saying do not feel...naturally, as if that were even possible... nor that you should not express your thoughts or feelings or shouts or tears. Please, continue sharing those.

What I am saying is trust in me. We are going to have a conversation, you and I, that you can not right now even imagine. A conversation in which the stars will dance for you, in which the powerful waves you love so much will speak to you. And you and I will be Creator-creation, question-understanding, inseparable.

I am saying too that there is no need to search in a hurry, to listen so hard. I am here. I am with you. I am always. I am not capable of leaving you, nor would I even if I could. You know this. If you have forgotten, here I am to remind you! I do not enjoy watchng your frustration, your sadness. I know that they exist and I know why. But, I say to you, trust me. We will come to the moment of understanding.

I love you, but even more than that, I like being with you, talking to you, listening to you, sharing silence with you. You are good company for me. Remember that and trust in me.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

After Reading Neruda

En castellano primero...luego inglés...

Para que todos vivan / en ella / hago mi casa / con odas / transparentes.
--Pablo Neruda en La Casa de las Odas

Deseos Después de Leer Neruda

Que mis odas sean escritos de piedras y aire-
hechos de muros y sílabas permeables.

Que su cocina sea con el sol en las mañanas--sol
y una mermelada de palabras para endulzar el pan cotidiano.

Que la tinta corriendo de sus llaves sea fresco-
con el gusto de ser nacidos en las montañas y la sabiduría.

Que haya en sus rincones un pequeño destello de polvo-
oraciones ofrecidas desde mis lágrimas, mis gritos y asombras.

Que los que lean mi casa se sienten acogida
abajo de su techo tejido del canto de pajaros y verso.

c. MperiodPress


That all might live in her, I made my house of transparent odes.
--Pablo Neruda, from The House of Odes.

Desires after Reading Neruda

That my odes be written with stones and air-
made of permeable syllables and walls.

That their kitchen have sunlight in the mornings--
sunlight and a sweet marmalade of words for the daily bread.

That the ink running in the taps be fresh--
flavored from a wise and mountainous birth.

That in the corners there be a glistening hint of dust--
prayers offered on my tears, shouts, and surprises.

That those who read my houe find welcome
beneath her roof woven of birdsong and verse.

c. MperiodPress