May 2011

  • Ruminations Under an Oak

    On Wednesday we visited the Angel Oak near Charleston, South Carolina. It is a vast thing, probably over a thousand years old, twisted and hoary and huge, like a cross between a live oak and an elephant. From a short distance away, it looks like a whole grove of trees; under its boughs, it is… Continue reading

  • Moss, Mire

    This week we’re in Charleston, South Carolina, visiting the Angel Oak. It’s considerably sunnier and wetter here than it is back in Pittsburgh: the earth is sandier, the blue skies paler, and the waters warmer. In the morning we went out jogging past the stately homes, the gardens lush with semitropical bushes, huge magnolias, and towering… Continue reading

  • Eyrie of the Garuda: Meditation on Changing Relationships

    Some time ago I was meditating on relationship and boundary-setting — specifically with a friend who threw a bit of a fit at me. She asked me to do her a big favor, trying to downplay the size of the favor in the asking. I refused (reasonably, I thought); and so she got snippy. Alison… Continue reading

  • Rain, Wind

    It’s been a cold, rainy spring here in southwestern Pennsylvania, and though there are lilies blooming in the garden and birds clamoring in the yard, I’m nevertheless wrapped under two blankets, the windows are shut tight and the rain and wind are beating at the glass. 3 AM – I am awake to the downpour,… Continue reading

  • The Song of Self

    A puzzle: Do you exist? Descartes famously answered this one by saying cogito, ergo sum: I think, therefore I am. Is it true, though? Does “thinking” have to be attached to a “thinker”? And what is “thinking” (cogitare) anyway? For Christians, the Self definitely exists, and is in fact eternal: after you die, your soul… Continue reading

  • Temperance, Terror, Torch, Torture

    My old blog, the Word of the Day, is defunct, and I’m getting ready to take it down. Before I do, though, I’m going to repost some of the best words here over the next few weeks. Enjoy! Temperance Ultimately, temperance comes from Latin tempus, “time”. No one knows where Latin picked up tempus –… Continue reading