“I write because I have not yet found how to say what I long to say. Words can’t contain the fullness of what I see and feel and know. There is a spruce tree outside my window; that the spruce tree exhales what I breath in, and inhales what I breathe out. Our necessary exchange is a silken thread in the invisible, infinite web of breath, nutrients, ideas, feelings, and love that continually pours into and out of all beings. How can I say this so someone else can feel it? That’s why I write.”

~Therese DesCamp

WideSpot: Beautiful

“Our fingers imbibe like roots,” begins a prayer by Francis of Assisi, “So I place them on what is beautiful in this world.”   Beauty may feel like a shaky reed these days, nothing much to hang our hat on. Most of us are more inclined to attend to what’s ugly: environmental degradation, wars, famines, loss …

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Wide Spot: Get Ready

I remember looking up at Goat Mountain from the Kohan Garden that evening. We’d had a lightning storm about an hour earlier and now the trees were candling, just up the mountainside from our house. Close enough that if the wind kept up, we’d be evacuated before the night was out. I sprinted home and …

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Wide Spot: Set the Table

If I had five bucks for every time I’ve heard someone grieve over feeling like they don’t belong, I could spend a month in Costa Rica with money left over. I don’t want to denigrate the sincere yearning for community. Many of us lack friends who are willing to hear the longing of our hearts. …

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Wide Spot: Temper, temper

First you heat carbon and iron to 1450 C, then cool it rapidly. This makes the steel hard, but it shatters easily. Next you heat it to a lower temperature, say, 650 C, and cool it slowly. The end result is hard but not brittle, with springy strength. This is tempering. I thought about tempering …

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The Destroyer

I look out my window through a haze of choking smoke. Over 33 million acres have burned in Canada and we’re just halfway through the forest fire season. It’s not an unreasonable question to ask where (the hell) G*d is in all this mess. There’s been a Destroyer lurking in every pantheon since the dawn …

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Wide Spot: So say the lichens

She was getting out of her van by the beach, clearly unnerved by the thick smoke in the air. “Did you hear that they’re evacuating all of Yellowknife?” I blinked; I didn’t know her from Adam, but she sure needed to talk. “Yes,” I said. I felt anxious too. But I know how to listen …

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Wide Spot: Don’t Kick

I had a list a mile long, I did, of plans for July. Not only family visits, but writing space, study time, a week-end board planning meeting, a personal retreat week. My overall longing for this month was for big blocks of quiet reflection time, something that’s felt sorely lacking during the last six months. …

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Wide Spot: Stung

Last year, my revered teacher made some unconsidered remarks to a board on which I serve. Part of the problem was that she didn’t recognize the competence of the people in front of her; that stung us. Another board member pointed out her misconception, and the group went on to vote in favor of the …

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Wide Spot: Sacred

When I was a kid, sacred was about church. It was the Lord’s Prayer repeated each Sunday; it was the consecration, the communion cup, the baptismal fountain, the ashes on the forehead. In Braiding Sweetgrass, the indigenous biologist and author Robin Wall Kimmerer recounts an observance enacted daily during the summer months that her family camped …

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Wide Spot: Bull’s Eye!

I recently participated in a difficult conversation. The conversation was difficult primarily because I responded badly to a remark made by the other person. Since this person is the one with whom I cohabit, it is not the first time I reacted in this way. Regrettably, it is also probably not the last time that …

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