‘echos of the uncanny…’

I didn’t know if there was anything like a God. I didn’t care. But it was mostly clear to me we were not just castaways in some tohubohu bearing an ensign of meaning only for those desperate enough to concoct one: I felt mostly certain more was going on than met the eye—despite not having a real clue just what that “more” might entail. My assuredness on these matters owed less to faith than it did to experience, for I’d been hearing echoes of the uncanny since early childhood.

It is that time of the night. The time when this side of the world is quiet in slumber, the time when hearing ‘echoes of the uncanny’ may not be so unusual.

I lay in bed – listening.

It may be the voice of my grandmother or the laughter of my aunt, long since gone before my eyes. I may hear rain tapping on my window or the call of an owl high in the sturdiest branch of a tall pine by the lake.

Tonight I invite these echoes. This is the evening of Thanksgiving, a time of gathering. Today my sister’s house was filled with family, ever-growing. We celebrated my nephew’s wedding this summer and happily the new couple was among us. There were partners and their relatives, parents from different generations, for which we are ever grateful. And for the first time, in more years than I can count, my brother, his wife, and youngest daughter joined us at the table having recently moved from the West Coast back to North Carolina.

Reflecting on this celebration, I begin to reminisce on Thanksgivings from times past. My first year in college, far away, in Colorado, I can hear echoes of laughter from my aunt and uncle’s voice as we sat with my cousins around a huge table in New Mexico. My first year in graduate school, again too far to come home, my apartment was the place to go for all the divinity school “orphans” spending the holiday in Cambridge. I can hear echoes of Boston accents and remember the taste of New England chowder. Over the years this particular holiday has always been filled with new voices and unique stories

The echoes of these voices, and many more, never fade. I consider this group of people travelers on life’s journey. There is no rhyme or reason as to how most of these gatherings occurred. They were opportunities to experience something greater than what can be organized. Doors were opened and one more place at the table was set.

As the quote above describes so well, ‘more is certainly going on than meets the eye’. To be comfortable with this description creates a world filled with curious and blessed moments.

I lie in bed listening for echoes that stir a grateful heart.

Quote: Ayad Akhtar, Homeland Quote: Elegies: A Novel (Little, Brown and Company, September 15, 2020)
Photo: David Kanigan


Noticing that everything is interconnected, that love and light exist amid the darkness, and that not all is lost, can nourish us on our paths.

Quote: Rose Zonetti
Image: Pop and Zebra

from Gratefulness.org

all saints


All Saints Day! How this ended up to be my birthday is a mystery but I always feel its blessings and Grace.

Many have come before me, creating the path I now follow. The saints of my ancestors are all around. My great grandmothers – I have memories of these women. Memories like short movies. I remember their homes. One lived in a grand Southern home with a huge kitchen complete with marble slabs to make candy and living rooms decorated with a tall grandfather clock that looked like a skyscraper. I remember lying in front of that clock, looking up and listening to the constant tick of time. The other lived in a cottage-style home with a big front porch that filled with students from nearby acting schools and a kitchen highlighted with the bright colors of Fiesta-ware. 

I see them in my life today, in my love for chocolate and in my own kitchen filled with the colorful dishes and mugs of the fiesta style.

My grandmothers and grandfathers, each of whom I knew if only for a couple years. I remember being taught to respect them and listen as they spoke. They showed me how people live with abundance and scarcity. They nurtured me as a child and honored my work as an Episcopal priest.

I remember their homes. One set of grandparents had the newest technology for their time. I would crawl throughout their house and lie in front of their closet door – watching the light turn on and turn off, turn on and turn off, as I opened and closed the door. The other grandparents lived in a home filled with the smell of corn and apple fritters. There were card games and ice cream trucks. I would lay in bed at night and watch my grandmother as she brushed her long hair over and over, her silhouette outlined by the moon’s light.

It is important to be still and remember. Many Saints have gone before us and now in this life, we forge ahead. Someday we will be the ancestors who others will remember as they move forward on this same path, extended.

A great thing to keep in mind on All Saints Day and throughout the year.



The things that frighten us just want to be held.


Quote: Mark Nepo
Image: Huda Nur


from Gratefulness.org


Silence can be a plan
rigorously executed
the blueprint to a life
It is a presence
it has a history a form
Do not confuse it
with any kind of absence

It was an old theme even for me:
Language cannot do everything.

Adrienne Rich, Cartographies of Silence, 3 and 7 [extracts]


thank you, Karl DuffMindfulBalance