Manna Meditations

when i find holy ground in the weedy underbrush …

Manna Meditations, Day 30

I am going to tell you a story, and you will probably not believe me.

I’m deciding that’s okay.


Yesterday, I go out to a place by the river where the orderly, shinier parts of the city give way to rust and refuse.  Most of the houses here hunch wearily with their weight on one hip, as if they’ve been here just a little too long.  The water’s edge is littered with beer bottles and sandwich wrappers and fragments of orange peel.  The trees are spangled with castoff grocery sacks.

I am learning that this can be beautiful, too.


I am also learning to  photograph less.

This is a hard things, sometimes:  not to go out snapping at everything.  There is so much beauty, so much wonder, that it’s easy to get lost in trying to capture it all.

But the Manna won’t really be captured — not by me or anyone.  Not ever.

So I go out and I walk long and I learn to trust that little voice inside myself that says:  “Not yet.”

Or, “still not yet.”

And sometimes: “Right here.  Right now.”


So I walk.

I walk long.

Miles in, I’ve resisted the urge to go chasing beauty at every bend.  I’ve passed by the lean graceful branches of the willows, stretching out to embrace the water.  I’ve passed the beautifully mottled bark of young sycamores, the hard dark lines of concrete bridges kissed by wet green.

And still, no little voice.

But then I go around the next bend, to a place where the trees collapse into the water in a weedy, trash-strewn thicket, clogged with mud and pooled rainwater, and then the voice comes:

“Here… Stop right here.”

So I do.

I stop on a dime, turn forty-five degrees exactly to the left, and walk straight into the thicket, pushing past low-hanging branches.

When I do, three or four paces in, I stop short and find this at my feet:

A holy name.  An old one.  So old, in fact, that it’s been lost to most of us entirely, forgotten.

And now it’s here, carved hard and deep into a fallen branch, as if it had been left there for me to find it.

(Maybe it was.)

And here’s the thing:  you can disbelieve this, if you want.  I wouldn’t blame you.

But maybe – just maybe – your heart could make space for the idea that what I’m telling you is true.  That it matters.  That the message isn’t just for me, but for you, too.

I won’t try to make meaning here.  I won’t clutter this place with my own pontifications about what all this ought to tell you, what you ought to learn.

The holy ground is yours to step into — here, now, if you like…

I hope you do. ❤

Manna Meditations

headfirst into the wonder …

Manna Meditations, Day 29

There are those who travel the world to witness the cataracts …





But yesterday, I stand on a cliff in my ordinary town, watching the blonde grass plunge in a perfect cascade and come crashing down to the treeline below:

And I am overcome – for the thousandth time – by the astounding beauty of ordinary things.  Everyday places.

I go out hungry for it, day after day…

It’s never failed me yet. ❤

Manna Meditations

the words i need you to hear today …

Manna Meditations, Day 27

I drive out to a solitary place, where the forest gives way to open fields.

When I park the car at an overlook, the only sound is the wind tearing around the car, trying to find a way into my little shell of warm air.

I have my big camera with me, but for some reason it feels right today to leave it on the seat beside me…  To trust that the Manna need not be caught with a telephoto lens.  That it’s right within arm’s reach.

So I roll down the window and point my iPhone at the horizon instead.  There’s nothing here but a lone tree lingering against the blue.  Nothing but bare ground and open sky.

So I wait.

And I wait.

I wait until the Light and Presence begins to fill the car … until a cloud or two floats into the frame, soft-bodied and slow.

The clouds move close to the tree, until they look almost within arm’s length of those limbs.

And then the clouds wait, too.

I snap a picture, realizing as I do so that I am here to remind you of just one thing:

Ah, friend … You are not alone.