Contemplation

Sunny view of the Mississippi River in St Paul, Minnesota

All Gift

My family occasionally prays down by the Mississippi River with the Nibi walkers, a group of Indigenous women and other water-tenders.  Water is life, so we plant our feet in the sand and offer thanks.  One morning, the Anishinaabe elder Sharon Day translated her prayer for us:  “Great Spirit, Gitchi Manitou, have pity on us.” …

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image description: berries ripening beside green leaves

All Gift

These glorious summer mornings, I grab my cereal bowl and head out first thing for garden strawberries, blueberries, and, dripping from the brambles, raspberries like red wine. The sun heats my neck, the chilly breeze raises my hairs, the exuberant sparrows greet me, and I snack right there, bursts of pungent sweet obliterating all else. …

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Black and white photograph of person facing away in ocean

Relax! Relax! Relax!

At my daughter’s swim lesson a few years ago, an enthusiastic teacher stood hip-deep in the pool with a plastic clipboard, laminated sheet, and wax pencil.  The eight-year-olds water-wheeled by, chins awkwardly raised above the surface in desperate attempts to doggy paddle their way through the crawl.  As they passed he shouted, “Relax! Relax! Relax!”  …

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Feeling Small

Through November and December, each night’s darkness clamps a degree tighter. Much as my rational brain knows I have a critical role to play in creation, I can’t explain my way out of despair. I am nothing. I am dust, a wisp of Elizabeth, here then gone. How can I carry on?

Die Before You Die

Every year I’m surprised by how much spring looks like autumn. I’ll walk to work, delighting in the crab apples blooming pink or the fruit trees snowing petals, then do a double-take: The elm shakes with brown seeds; the maple’s winged clusters are bright red.