April 20, 2021

Here in Green Ridge, the snow has been falling thickly since just after dawn. The squirrels don’t seem to mind, leaping clumsily between green branches covered with white. The robins don’t seem to mind, still battling each other in the backyard. The cows and donkeys across the street aren’t surprised either. Very little will deter them from enjoying the chilly grass and hay.  But the humans have been betrayed.  Snow in April is abominable,” said Anne of Ingleside in L.M… Read more

April 13, 2021

In Eastertide, God is no longer willing to restrain his abundance. It pours out on us as we sleep, on the cold, fresh wind that does his will.  It begins with a mist of green.  A trickle of purple henbit.  A steady rain of dandelion and daffodil.  Then, a deluge: Violets. Toadstools. Spring beauties. Forsythia. Spirea. Cherry blossoms. Dogwood. Redbud. Worms. Ants. Toads. Lambs. Calves. From the first morning chickadee to the evening’s last frog, the earth is singing. His… Read more

April 7, 2021

The doctor was a tall, lean, eccentric man. No one knew quite what his medical specialty was, so instead of calling him “Doctor” they just referred to him by his first name. He didn’t take offense. He was not a Green Ridge native, but he might as well have been. He was a farmer’s son, an outdoorsman, a river rat. He rented a small apartment above the general store. He was welcomed and accepted in a way few outsiders enjoyed…. Read more

March 27, 2021

Willow trees are greening, robins are mating, and the Worm Moon is waxing full this weekend. Here on our little patch of earth, shoots of cilantro, lettuce, peas, spinach and radishes are springing forth from the ground. It rains every other day, and it is as wet as wet can get. Our yard has become a marsh where the spring peepers play. When you walk through the grass and listen close, under the song of the frogs you can hear… Read more

March 23, 2021

We who live in temperate climates are privileged to experience God’s love in relation to the changing of the seasons. Especially in the country, each liturgical time and feast can be marked by planting and harvesting, snow or rain, even the blooming of a particular flower.  Here in Missouri, the months of February and March are a long, cold slog toward a promise. For each day of spring sunshine there are two of rain. Cold winds scour the fields. Frost… Read more

March 16, 2021

“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” -1 Corinthians 12:26 When I enter my hometown parish church, I am passing through the doors to my own house. I was baptized here. Here I received my first absolution and my first Communion. So did my father. So did my father’s father. And his father. This is the sidewalk on which generations of grandfathers and uncles stood smoking, where aunts quietly nursed their babies, where… Read more

March 12, 2021

Spring is sprung here in Green Ridge! In the past week, we heard the first spring peepers and spied the first fat robin. Mourning doves are nesting, and red-winged blackbirds are singing again. Early flowers are sprouting and blooming. The maples are heavy with fuzzy buds. Radishes, spinach, lettuce and mint are beginning to grow. Our first spring thunderstorm rumbled through in the night, and the next morning, the world turned green right before our eyes.  This week on the… Read more

March 9, 2021

In the past decade, many Catholics have been looking back to generations long-gone for guidance on how to navigate the present. There has been a popular resurgence of all things “traditional:” The Traditional Latin Mass. Gregorian chant. Habits and cassocks for religious people. Classic devotions and works of Catholic literature. A nascent back-to-the-land movement characterized by family farming and homeschooling. Some Catholics devoted to tradition emulate even the smallest details of style, like pipe smoking or mid-20th-century dresses and suits. … Read more

March 5, 2021

In my past, they were all over town. They hung in the entryway of the bank, next to the exit at the restaurant, above my grandmother’s corded telephone. They were stained with highlighter, pocked with tack marks, and laden with handwritten notes, business cards, auction notices, and handbills for chicken dinners and lost dogs. Cork bulletin boards were the single most important medium of mass communication for small communities in the time before Facebook. Even the newspaper wasn’t as widely… Read more

March 2, 2021

It has been a hard weekend in this corner of Green Ridge.  On Saturday night, just as I began to say my prayers, the fire siren began to sound. The noise broadcasts as loudly as the tornado siren, filling the whole town and calling the volunteer firefighters to assemble. When our family hears it, we always stop to say an Ave. But I was the only one awake. I prayed quietly and then went about my business. It was only… Read more

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