Category Seeds

Burnt mill in Perry County, Missouri

A recent post by my first mentor in photograhy, Ken Steinhoff, reminded me of this painting of an old mill in Perry County, Missouri, not far from my hometown. The stone mill was built in the 1850s to replace one destroyed by a flood, and it burned in 1866. The painting was done by my […]

On keeping Sabbath

Today is the anniversary of Emily Dickinson’s birth in 1830. According to The Writers Almanac, she published fewer than 15 poems during her lifetime. Most of her poems were enclosed in letters or given with gifts. When Dickinson died in 1886, her sister-in-law wrote in an obituary: “Very few in the village, excepting among the older inhabitants, […]

A field where we meet

Already the 2016 presidential election campaign weighs heavy. As weary as I am of the volleys between candidates, I’m more concerned – not to say disheartened, which I’m not, at least not yet – about the deep rift in the body politic to which these symptomatic candidates call our attention. So these words from Parker Palmer today seem […]

Tempus fugit, memento mori

“It is when we are confronted with…poignant reminders of mortality that we become most aware of the strangeness and wonder of our brief life on Earth.” —Kathleen Basford

What’s past is not really past

The past, it may be, is not really beyond changing, and perhaps nothing is irredeemable. Not even me. Here’s a poem that came to me from Parker Palmer. Thanks, Robert Frost by David Ray Do you have hope for the future? someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end. Yes, and even for the past, he […]

Choice and blessing

“The distresses of choice are our chance to be blessed.” —W.H. Auden


“Wherever I am, the world comes after me. It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it. Now I understand why the old poets of China went so far and high into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.” ―Mary Oliver

The hardest work

“The wisdom of the Desert Fathers includes the wisdom that the hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self – to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince, or control, but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison […]

God Knows

So I stand once again at the beginning of a new year, trying to clear my mind and heart of things past in order to behold the brand-new life that lies ahead, and trying to trust what and where I cannot see. My ritual for New Year’s Day has long included reading this poem, the […]

Death and life

“God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.” — Dag Hammarskjöld