Manna Meditations

one for the weary …

(…because we’re all still children sometimes … frenzied… exhausted… in stubborn rebellion against that old human need for Rest…)

Blown snow.
White, not yet wet —
sifted sugar.

Airspun, storm-sung:
it beds down gentle,
tucks the lawn in tight,

settling over the branches
like a soft hand on a forearm:

Hush…

Rest now.

Just be.

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Manna Meditations

what grace looks like …

Manna Meditations, Day 5

Honest words?  Yesterday, my heart was heavy.

I was thinking about a few dear friends who are suffering, quietly and without much support, and the things I knew — the hurt I was carrying for them — hummed behind my eyes like a headache.

It wasn’t a good day for walking or climbing or wandering — the cold felt like it could crack bone — and so I felt trapped indoors with the weight of the hurt… No place to go.

But.

After church, T took the wheel.  He steered the car into the blue hills, the unbroken forests, going nowhere in particular … just aiming toward the quiet.

And the quiet was there.

After awhile, I blinked back tears and saw sun — so much sun! The world was bathed in the warmest, thickest, woolen-blanket kind of light, and its sparks caught in the treetops, flickering and winking in the highest twigs. The road ahead of us gleamed wetly with it, even though the air was bone-dry.

I leaned my face against the cool of the window, and suddenly I felt my soul settle into the comfort of just … being.  Not working.  Not making — no hands on the wheel.  Just … looking.  Letting in the light.

And it struck me, how precious it was, to be in a place safe enough to just be. To lay back and receive the day’s goodness, not as reward for effort, but simply as a gift.

Manna.

I let the landscape flash past, and then after awhile I held my phone to the window and snapped without looking, believing that I was in the presence of so much wonder that any of it would have been beautiful … any of it would have been enough.

And you know what?  It was.

💛

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Manna Meditations

quiet …

Manna Meditations, Day 2

Blue Ridge Parkway. Black ribbon of road:

I let the car swoop and dive through the curves, trying not to look at the vistas.

The views: it’s why people come here, you know. There are overlooks every few miles where you can pull your car off the road and stand in awe. The valleys unroll before you, cloudswept, for fifty miles or more.

But this is not what I have come for.

There was a time in my life when I feared winter. It closed over me every year like a black curtain, walling off the light. Suddenly I’d find myself in a small dark room, with a darker presence hunching in the corner.

In those winters, all I could see was ugliness. Shade after shade of dark.

But now, I stop at the overlooks and scuff around in the weeds, my soul flooded with wonder.

I am not looking at the vistas. I’m looking at tufts of long winter grass, waving like soft pale feathers against the sky. I’m marveling at the still-brilliant green of the moss. Finding elegant lines, cracked into boulders, or water-carved into soil.

Something has changed in me. That I have eyes to see all this?  I call it Miracle.

On an overlook, my iPhone dies, so I cannot take more photos. That’s all right, I think. I breathe in the frozen air, and with it, the initimacy of this moment… just the mountains, the Maker, and me. I walk down the slope, looking toward Poages Mill. Stretch out a hand and clutch a frozen stalk of frost-killed Daisy Fleabane, its once-white petals now crystallized into tiny copper stars. A constellation in miniature. And suddenly I am overcome by the idea that this dry dead stalk is just as lovely as the flower in full bloom.

Yes.

Yes.

A different kind of beauty. Subtle as a whisper. Pale as winter light.

God, I think, give me new eyes and ears, out here in the quiet.

I climb the hill to the car. Fire the engine. I trace the Parkway back the way I’ve come, not looking at the peaks, but listening to the wind around the car as I swish and swerve down the spine of the mountain.

Quiet.

Quiet.

Ah, Lord. Sometimes your voice is nothing but a whisper… And it is good

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Manna Meditations

into the woods…

Manna Meditations, Day 1

I walk into the woods, looking for the Maker.

It has been a long time.

Today the path is tiger-striped with hard gold light, the long shadows of trees falling in bars over the ridge. The air is so cold you can feel it taking up space in your lungs, feel the ice of it in your nose when you breathe.

I am listening for the voice of the Maker, and I am looking for Beauty.

Beauty: this is my daily bread. And lately, I’m believing that in this season, the bread is more like manna… Manna, a mystery of a gift, dropped in the wilderness where I might find it.

So I follow the trail of breadcrumbs up the ridge line, winding my way up staircases of rock, ladders of fallen limbs. I walk slow, stopping every twenty yards or so to bend low and look … to photograph the trembling skeleton of a fallen leaf, or white veins tracing through old boulders. The light is so hard and so solid that it catches in everything, outlining every pebble and snatch of pinestraw, throwing every fallen feather into bas-relief…

Manna…

And I am thinking…


There was a time (hear me) when I fancied myself a creator. A maker of beauty. A crafter of lovely words, lovely lines. And maybe I *was* that… maybe one day I’ll be that again.

But for now, in this season, I am here in the woods, wanting to make … nothing.

I am here not to make, but to find.

I am a wandering pilgrim, finding the promised land right here, in this wilderness of small things. I don’t call myself Planter, or Reaper … I’m Forager. Finder. Collector of breadcrumbs, of broken bits of beauty.

And this is its own kind of feast – believe me.

And so, for the next 40 days – six days a week, with a sabbath rest for good measure – you’ll find me here, in quiet meditation on my daily Manna. I’ll share small bits of loveliness I never made, but merely discovered along the path.

Wherever I’m going, I know there is goodness here… Maybe you’ll come, too.

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Confessional

hungry and fearless and thirsty and supple …

I’ll tell you a secret … I’ve been a little distracted lately.

Harried.

Fractured.

Busy.

(Which — I’ll tell you — is a very modern and grown-up kind of brokenness.)

But today, I went for a walk in the woods — something I haven’t done for months now. 

I disappeared into a hole in the trees — freckled dark shade and lush underbrush.  I felt alive and at peace, and when I came out, I walked home and rustled through the bookshelves until I found this little gem by Mr. Cummings (or cummings, if you like) … 

It’s a poem, but today I’m saying it like a prayer… For me and for you:

e.e. cummings

May we stay hungry and fearless and thirsty and supple, always. ❤  

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Wordless Wednesday

Say nothing …

Today.

Home.

*

I spent the weekend in a little cabin in the woods.  There was firelight.  There were books.  There was wine and good food, and better company.  

I walked in a woods dusted with snowflakes, over a carpet of furry wet ferns.

I rested.

And I come away from that time with a renewed respect for silence — for sitting still and making space for the magic.

In response to that, I’ll be implementing a new feature here on the blog:  Wordless Wednesdays.  If you’re a reader who’s new to WordPress, please know that I’m not the first to come up with the idea; in fact, there are many great bloggers sharing beautiful images, sans explanation, at the midpoint of every week.  But the photos I post here will be (as always) my own.  

I’ll try to share shots that strike me as provocative, but which I can’t yet pin down into language (and maybe I don’t want to).  If you’d like to respond to them or build on them in some way, feel free to do so in the comments section.  Or don’t…

cabin7  

Either way, I hope you find space to take a breath and drink in some wonder. ❤

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