Volume 28 Issue 1, 2003
Works by Parker Palmer, Kim Stafford,
Nancy Mairs, Gary Paul Nabhan, Nasdijj, Mary Rose O’Reilly, Diane Sylvain, & more

from “Words Along the Way”
“I really don’t know why I should so much wish you to walk with me through what is right outside my door--unless it is that I think it almost the best thing that I do out here--it is so bare--with a sort of ages old feeling of death on it--still it is warm and soft and I love it with my skin...”
~Georgia O’Keeffe


Georgia O’Keeffe Ghost Ranch,
New Mexico

Photo by Todd Webb/ Courtesy Evans Gallery

from “Selfhood, Society, and Service” ~ Parker Palmer

As May sarton reminds us, the pilgrimage toward true self will take ‘time, many years and places.’ The world needs people with the patience and the passion to make the pilgrimage not only for their own sake but also as a social and political act. The world still waits for the truth that will set us free--my truth, your truth, our truth--the truth that was seeded in the earth when each of us arrived here formed in the image of God. Cultivating that truth, I believe, is the authentic vocation of every human being.

from “Nicey Nancy and the Bad Buffalos” ~ Nancy Mairs

When I wanted a pen pal on death row. then. I knew just where to turn, and Kathy put me in touch with someone who agreed to correspond with me. It was just bad luck that a warrant for execution was issued before we’d exchanged more than a handful of letters. Today a five-member board appointed by the governor would hear arguments for and against clemency....Although so used now to public speaking that I do so calmly and even with pleasure, I felt jittery as Kathy turned off the highway, presented our IDs at the checkpoint, drove past razor-wire fences, across flat, featureless desert, and pulled into a parking lot. As I often do when entering unafamiliar territory, I slipped into a kind of fugue state, hyper-laert, alienated, not at all sure I was who or where I wanted to be.

from “The Canyon Between Us” ~ Diane Sylvain

When an injury ended my backpacking days, I had to learn to love the canyons in ways new to me. I live with my heart full of places that might not hike again, and sometimes I paint pictures of things I touch from far away. I keep the memory of dust, and the heat of stone, and the smell of blooming barberry. And by the difficult grace of God, this beauty fills and feeds me, and it colors the intimate shape of my solitude, filling it with wings. I can still hear the silence of the Goosenecks, and also the peace inside it. That is an old and holy land and it doesn’t need me in the slightest, and it will be there with its rocks and its ravens long after the man and I are gone. The river will cut more deeply into rock, the shadows of clouds will gather, and pass.
I don’t know why this makes me strong.
But it does.

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