Category Archives: quotations and poetry

a tree too huge to see at once

I can remember only one of its exhibits, which I loved: a large wall of little doors, arrayed from floor to ceiling, each with a tiny handle. Some I could reach for myself, while my father would have to lift me to others. I must have worn him out with my desire to open and […]

the utterly vast spaces between us

In every important way we are such secrets from one another, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our […]

Astonishing material and revelation

Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time. Let it be. Unto us, so much is given. We just have to be open for business. ~Anne Lamott,  Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers I’ve read Help Thanks Wow, and loved it (I’ve read all of Anne Lamott’s non-fiction, and none of […]

the work of soul-making

But isn’t transformation, the spirit’s education, most often effected by what is out of our hands, the sweeping forces – time, love, mortality – which shape us? The deepening of the heart, the work of soul-making goes on, I think, as the world hammers us, as we forge ourselves in response to its heats and […]

Life itself is like a story

The storyteller’s claim, I believe, is that life has meaning – that the things that happen to people happen not just by accident like leaves being blown off a tree by the wind but that there is order and purpose deep down behind them or inside them and that they are leading us not just […]

How we pay attention

Most of us spend our time seeking happiness and security without acknowledging the underlying purpose of our search. Each of us is looking for a path back to the present: We are trying to find good enough reasons to be satisfied now. Acknowledging that this is the structure of the game we are playing allows us […]

Moving towards the solstice

I interrupt my reminiscences on 2015 to bring you this poem, on this day, as I have for so many years in a row.  I’ve written so many things about this poem over the years, yet the same lines jump out at me every time I read it. I am trying to hold in one […]

too large and brilliant for us to see

That design – ferocious wisdom, implacable light, time’s ineluctable unfolding – is too large and brilliant for us to see, though sometimes we can feel the edge of the storm. – Mark Doty, Heaven’s Coast

makes the whole planet less lonely

This is not our holiday card, but I sort of wish it was.  Totally unrelated to Mary Karr’s beautiful quote, but it’s how I feel this morning, home again after 2 weeks of travel.  Exhausted but very happy. But I still feel awe for us – yes, for the masters who wrought lasting beauty from […]

noticers of life

Literature makes us better noticers of life; we get to practice on life itself; which in turn makes us better readers of detail in literature; which in turn makes us better readers of life. – James Wood, How Fiction Works I read this wonderful quote, with which I believe wholeheartedly, in Mary Karr’s The Art […]