• I Never Thought I'd Be In This Situation,  Reflections

    On The Trail

    Sunday is soaking down into the soil like the day’s rain, and it will soon disappear completely, and Monday will sprout during the quiet hours when the spring drives our ticking clock with its relentless pendulum, while we are unaware that the work week has already blossomed. Unless I am going to be off the next day, I spend part of every Sunday dreading Monday. Dreading the brusque, self-absorbed people with whom I work, them and their shallow chitchat and their endless references to current popular culture figures of whom I have no knowledge and even less interest. Dreading the curdling hypocrisy of working in a field driven by profit…

  • Reflections

    A Day Late

    For most of our decades together, my wife and I have not paid much attention to Valentine’s Day, seeing it for what it is: a manufactured “holiday,” of benefit only to makers of chocolates and greeting cards, to florists and restaurants and jewelers. My heart is not completely quartz, and so I usually try to take my wife out for a meal to celebrate this American custom, but we never do this on Valentine’s Day itself, preferring to avoid crowds of desperate, overreaching couples. We go when we feel like it. Yesterday at my work, I watched as a few of the females had flowers delivered to them. I smile…

  • Reflections

    Catch His Eye

    The things I miss about attending church are almost all surface things…the singing, the community ritual, etc. I’ve examined myself closely, and cannot bring to mind a single deep, interior thing I ever garnered while attending a church service or function. One of the things I do not miss is the holiness-signaling that is a large part of corporate church life. It’s a scrambling, competitive, spiritual one-upmanship that wearies the soul. The most mundane conversation can be perverted into this way of thinking. I have often gotten the impression that Christians seem to be competing among each other for God’s love. This is a tragic category of behavior. ~ S.K.…

  • Reflections

    Era’s End

    Many of the older men in my life have told me repeatedly, “The older you get, the harder it is to accept change.” And I know that there is a reason why men repeat such sayings. For well over a decade, I have daily fed the crows who come to the far parking lot at my job. I have fed them crackers, bread, croutons, cookies, pork rinds, and on one memorable occasion, sushi. The crows have been there every day, in various combinations of groups, and they recognize both my car and my face. My coworkers and some of the people from other offices in the surrounding buildings have become…

  • Reflections

    Treasure Recovered

    It is time, I think. If you come with me, you can watch as I draw the blinds, turn on the outside lights, and touch flame to a stick of incense –myrrh, yes — because it is no accident that darkened rooms with thin ribbons of sweet smoke tend to run the mind down a chute into a holy place. It is Sunday night; it is time to let the holy inform us. Imagine if you will that someone uses modern technology to locate and contact you. Imagine that this person turns out to be a sibling with whom you never lived, never had a relationship, never shared the quotidian…

  • Poems

    Green Hedgehogs

    The day tricked me into a belief that it was spring, but the sixties and the yellow lamp above us were as false as a workplace confidant. What soggy ground, and I picked my way among moss-coated rocks, massed like a platoon of Saint Patrick’s own hedgehogs, and a woodpecker high up yonder let it slip that he knew Morse code — I caught him making fun of my gait with his dots and dashes, in a tree that will soon be ashes. One bee, one wasp, and what have they to light upon? One hour, one quarter until sunset, and who will make apologies to tomorrow? ~ S.K. Orr

  • I Never Thought I'd Be In This Situation,  Reflections

    Februum

    It is snowing lightly here, and the cold air seems all the more cruel after having spent the past few days in Texas.  We had one truly fine day there, with the temperatures in the sixties, and we went with the grandchildren to a park and watched them exhaust themselves on the swings and slides and climbing apparatus. We were sheltered by ancient live oaks, and a bird whose call I did not recognize kept us company as we called encouragement to the little blond boys and marveled at all the movements and actions that we can no longer perform. How many of our own feats we take for granted…

  • Poems

    The Visible Slavery

    It’s a Carhart, the affluent talker told me. And the boots are Timberlands. Catching my look, he waved his hands and said Labels mean nothing to me; quality is what I’m after. Prove it, I said. Remove the tags. But he went away exceedingly sorrowful. ~ S.K.Orr

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  • Memoirs,  Reflections

    In The Shadow Of The Senses

      Even now as I sit here, placing these words onto the page, the presence lingers. Our senses not only pick up on external stimuli and alert us to their presence, they also remind us of both the effects and the significance of those stimuli. Sometimes it would be desirable if the senses were not so diligent in their duty. We fell asleep last night in our chairs. More and more, this is the pattern, especially on weekends when I do not have to rise in the dark and prepare for a work day. The very ritual of preparing for sleep — turning back the covers, placing a glass of…

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  • Memoirs,  Reflections

    Cleansing Motion

    Sitting at a traffic light this morning, I saw something I did not expect to see, something I realized that I have not seen in a long season. It was a man sweeping the sidewalk in front of his shop. I can remember as a high-schooler, working after school and on Saturdays at a small haberdasher’s in my hometown. One of my tasks was the sweeping of the entrance-way and sidewalk out front, a task I actually enjoyed immensely. Sweeping outside gave me the opportunity to get out from beneath the high banks of humming florescent lights and the drone of my boss’s conversations with his ossified friends who were…

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