Be Like the Hill: A Quote from Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry blew me away today. I’ve got a quote from him up at the Sabbath blog.

Yesterday in worship each of us received a prayer word printed on a star-shaped piece of paper. Mine was Breathe.

Berry’s quote gives me space to breathe. May you find similar spaces today.

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‘Our Ugly Failure to Evolve’ — On the Mystery of the Incarnation, after Newtown

160229699212188623“On the Mystery of the Incarnation”

It’s when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother,
the Word.

Denise Levertov (h/t Andrew Foster Connors)

Image source

I Need a Quote! Contest and Giveaway

“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” 

I love a good quote, and this one from E.B. White is one of my favorites. It’s the first of twelve epigraphs in my book, Sabbath in the Suburbs.

The trouble is, there are thirteen chapters.

A big publishing house that will remain nameless didn’t bother to answer my request for permission to use a verse of this wonderful poem. So, I need a new quote and I need it by tomorrow.

No sense in drawing these things out, eh?

Obviously the quote should have something to do with Sabbath, or time, or living gently in the midst of our days. It can also come from the other direction and highlight the frantic busyness that grips many of us. It must not require me to seek permission, which means it can be from a book but it can’t be more than one line of poetry, hymn, song, or prayer, unless it is in the public domain (generally pre-1923).

Comment here or on my Facebook author page or e-mail me at maryannmcdana (at) gmail (dot) com with your suggestion by 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday June 26. If your quote is chosen I’ll send you a copy of the book when it comes out, plus an added surprise bonus.

Image: bonus photo of my Meglet, who improves the world simply by enjoying it.

Today’s Thought, Compliments of Carrie Newcomer

Carrie Newcomer has written the soundtrack to my life for fifteen years now. She posted this quote on her Facebook page yesterday:

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?  -Gabrielle Roth

We’ve gotta get the dancing in there sometime this week; otherwise, check, check and check.

Hope you have space for the same. Peace, friends.

This is Now

Heads down time for me: This is my last blog entry for a while—see you when the book is done. Until then, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes about the passage of time.

When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, “What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?”

“They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,” Pa said. “Go to sleep, now.”

But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the fire-light gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.

She thought to herself, “This is now.”

She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the fire-light and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.