Infinity in the palm of your hand

Helix Nebula, from Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.”  -  William BlakeWhat is a sense of place, anyway? What place?  I tend to focus on the human scale, most of the time, as most of us do.  But the universe is a place.  Your body is also a place.  To a mitochondrion, a cell is a world, and you are a vast, unimaginable universe.  (Thank you, Madeleine L'Engle.)  Less poetically, but still true, to the myriads of m … [Read more...]

Different And The Same

NetherlandsFlight3

Over the past week I have been in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Glasgow, Scotland; London, England; and now I am in Manchester, England. The rain has followed me everywhere. I can see by the news that each place has gotten sunny after I leave it, so the rain must be following me around like a lost puppy. But the rain isn't the only thing that seems to be following me around. Lately I've been dogged by wisps of deja vu every where I go.I'm not talking about the kind of deja vu where you sit … [Read more...]

Leaving Greensboro

LeavingGreensboro

It seems as if Greensboro, North Carolina did not want me to leave. Of course, it's all just coincidence. There is no meaning behind the force of nature. That's what our scientific knowledge tells us, anyway. The world just does what it does. The laws of physics and the chaotic nature of the global systems that interact with each other cause weather patterns. The Spirit of Place has no say in the snow fall or ice conditions that hindered my travel. That's just silly talk. But there it is.Not … [Read more...]

The Garments of the Gods

Druid Grotto

We have our reasons when we travel.  Work. Vacation. Friends and family and all the rituals of life and death with which we celebrate our existences and world our stories into each other. Sometimes wanderlust or curiosity, the need for refuge.  Sometimes we flee a horrible place in hopes of security. Sometimes we travel towards a new place, one we do not yet know.I don't know if we take our gods with us, or if they are always in everyplace, but I know they often look different.  I wonder so … [Read more...]

The Place of Death.

Photo by Anne Burgess

Two weeks ago a friend of mine was feeling unwell. She'd been under a lot of stress. She was prone to anxiety at the best of times, but at that point she was overwhelmed completely. That Sunday she'd collapsed in the park while she walked her dog. She thought that she'd fainted from a panic attack. A neighbour helped her back to her 3rd floor apartment. The next day, she reached out to friends to ask for help with walking her dog and dealing with other practical matters while she tried to get … [Read more...]

Wide Angle Vision Part 1: A Useful Meditation

Photo by Elisheva Sterling. Some rights reserved. cc by sa

This is the first in a multi-part series I'm calling "Wide Angle Vision." It's a series that contrasts reductionist thinking and holistic thinking, considers the place and value of each, and then brings these ideas to bear on some aspect of a spiritual relationship to place.There are many different techniques for meditation. Some involve clearing the mind entirely. Others involve focusing on a single thing to the exclusion of all else. Others involve a discursive flow of thought, a dialog … [Read more...]

The Train as Merkava

Train Tracks

It was two days before Thanksgiving. One of my coworkers had sent out an email late the night before asking if we all wanted to cowork in Seattle the next day. We're almost never all in the same city, so sitting in the same room for a few hours would be good. I sent a reply back that I couldn't. I was still in Chicago and wouldn't be in Seattle until Friday. I was hopping on the Empire Builder train at 2:15 on Wednesday afternoon. The next day as I was heading to a meeting right near the train … [Read more...]


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