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

    From The Place I Love

    As I went this morning from the place I love to the place finances demand that I be, my thoughts went down a well-worn road. Someone once said that we can infer much about a man by examining what he thinks about when he is free to think about anything at all. At certain predictable times — when I am driving, when I am mowing the lawn, when I am washing dishes — my mind so frequently drifts to thoughts of God, of the eternal, of the un-graspable metaphysics of this earthly life. At such times, I tend to think of my place in this world, the chances I’ve missed…

  • Poems

    Uncovering A Marble

    Double-dug, fifteen feet square, my kitchen garden plot was ready to receive the roots and stalks of nightshade, shoots, pods, grasses, legumes — all prepared to settle in the divots of Appalachian soil and send their roots far down to find the lurking nutrients and bring them back to where the nearby star can work its wonders, spreading supper on the ground before us. But as I hoed the clods into a finer loam, my blade produced a clink and then laid bare a clear sphere streaked through with green, the green of sage or sea-foam swirls. I brushed it clean and held it to the growing light, feeling like…

  • Poems

    Blackberry Winter

    This morning was the final one, The last day that I warm the engine Then depart the farm and drive Between the knolls where birds have not Yet perched on posts because their eyes, Like mine, are too devout upon Milky wraiths in the valley Pockets and the diamonds in the Grass. After today, the sun Will mount again in power and Rout the rime of shorter days And let the growing season loose.   ~ S. K. Orr

  • Reflections

    In The Garden, My Garden

    Rain for two days, blessed rain, and I move among the glistening green and feel the drops stripped off the grass and the weeds and clinging to my trouser legs, melding with the fabric, absorbed into cotton and cooling me as I make my way. Flowers of frail beauty, their color-flames calling to the butterflies who await the cessation of the rain, beckoning the hummingbirds who perch hidden in the honeysuckle, watching me as they bob their heads side to side in time with their own secret music. The fence is slick beneath my hand, the weathered posts with their dots of lichens and the tiny divots where wasps and…

  • Reviews

    The City of Earthly Desire — A Review

    I have been away for a while due to health and other personal issues, and I thought on Mother’s Day I would break my silence with a review of an outstanding book. Ever since “accidentally” discovering Francis Berger via a comment he left on another blog, I have enjoyed his perceptive writing and his broad knowledge of many subjects. But mostly I have come to appreciate his warmth and deep humanity, qualities I consider to be the mark of a great spirit. Francis and I began corresponding shortly after I found his website, and reading his blog has become one of the daily rituals to which I look forward.  Francis…

  • Reflections

    Voices In Dark Skies

    When I arrived at work this morning and stepped out of the car, a noise startled me. A female mallard was flying straight at me, and she rose just a bit and swooped only a few feet above my head. The parking lot lights illuminated her sleek shape as she flapped her way out of my sight. I stood still and listened to her call, the urgent and rhythmic quacking. Who is she calling? I wondered. Perhaps she was just calling out to be calling out, an instinctive expression of herself through her own voice. Perhaps she was warning some of her kin about the old man who had inserted…

  • Reflections

    April’s Begun

    I managed today to evade any attempts to ensnare me in April Fool’s shenanigans. When I look back at some of the jokes I played on people in the past, I am embarrassed. I am also grateful that I was never the victim of some of the more cruel jokes people play on this day. Some of the cruelty is unintentional, but it’s wise to remember that practical jokes can sometimes assume a life of their own, and once they do, it’s difficult to euthanize them. I’m thinking of a woman with whom I used to work. She made a point of telling everyone in the office, “Do not play…

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  • Reflections

    The Fourth Sunday Of Lent

    All of the impetuous young folk who ran to the gardening centers and nurseries and loaded up on annuals and vegetable seedlings and then straightaway planted them in the March soil are ruing their decisions right now. A frigid system has brought wind and sub-freezing temperatures to the mountains, and the impatient gardeners will either have to cover & protect all their plants tonight, or they will lose them to the bitter bite of April’s beginnings. I walked the fields and woods tonight and looked again for the bull about whom I have worried and prayed. I didn’t see him, and so I will leave him to the One Who…

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  • Reflections

    Coveting What I Do Not Have

    Latin liturgy,Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony,meat-less Fridays,fasting before Mass,the Rosary,the Baltimore Catechism,retreats,the novena (in 1938, seventy thousand people attended thirty-eight novena services at Our Lady of Sorrows in Chicago every week), kneelers, large families dressed in their “Sunday best,”mantillas and chapel caps,religious in habits,statues,large Gothic or baroque churches with dark,quiet places and side altars, elaborate priestly vestments,the smell of incense,the sound of bells at the Consecration,the feeling of awe at the miracle of Transubstantiation—these were all common features of the American Catholic world in the time of the Church’s fastest growth and greatest self-confidence. from America’s Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen, by Thomas C. Reeves (2002, Encounter Books, p. 172) ~ S.K. Orr

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  • Prayers,  Reflections

    Fragility Of Life

    I took a long, slow walk last evening, saying my Rosary as I strolled. Tiny spring flowers were peeking up through the mast, winking in the dimming light, reminding me that life returns, that certain promises are always kept.  While whispering the ancient prayers, I also kept an eye out for the bull over whose health I have been so concerned lately. I never saw him. I will continue to look for him, and in the meantime, I will continue to hope that he was healed as miraculously as our little dog Dixee was. I hope he is on a sunny slope this morning, cropping grass and eyeing the cows…

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