April 15, 2024

For generations, people quoted the Bible for non-religious purposes, including the phrase, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”  We all know what it means. Or do we? In two days I shall be on my way back to France, as mentioned in my last post.  While all the details are accounted for, down to a roll of toilet paper, there is always a lurking sense of uncertainty.  “What have I forgotten?”  This feeling will only grow until I am actually on... Read more

April 5, 2024

While getting ready to rerturn to the pilgrim trail, I am listening to the St. Matthew Passion where I was brought up short by the aria, Erbarme dich, ‘Have Mercy.’  Rather than tell you why that aria is so powerful, read this article which I found, by Elizabeth Joyner on Earth & Altar. What has this to do with my upcoming return to the Via Francigena? Nothing directly at first.  But as I watched (a version ‘staged’ by Peter... Read more

March 28, 2024

Long ago I saw a quote from Gertrude Stein, to wit, “I’m getting ready to read Proust.”  There is no question one must get ready for Proust, whose ‘fleuve’ is among the longest novels in the world. There is also no question that a pilgrim must get ready before setting out.  Jennifer Westwood’s book, “On Pilgrimage,” has a chapter on this step, which is as important as the trip itself. I am getting ready to return to the path, to... Read more

March 11, 2024

Pete Seeger was telling an allegory of Viet Nam with his song “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” but I really was Deep in a Big Muddy a few years ago.  Memories of that came back as I contemplate a trip to New Mexico to see my sister. I am thinking of one day and how it reminded me what Pilgrim Life means. “It was Back in Nineteen Forty Two” In my case it was 2015. I was in Albuquerque... Read more

February 28, 2024

Call it bait and switch or just click bait, but a whole lot of the internet wants to say, “Made you look!” I am as susceptible as anyone, but resist and resent the idea that more likes and looks and clicks are what a blog is for.  Sure, without an audience, what good is it?  But is building the audience itself the point? A Drop of Water in the Comprehensive Ocean No doubt the internet and its children – blogs,... Read more

February 18, 2024

It’s been over a decade, but I made it back to Texas last week, a place so vast that the song – “I Saw Miles and Miles of Texas” – only touches the surface.  We lived there only four years, but any time you go back to your past you are on a pilgrimage to your past, to connect with “miles and miles of memories.” Needless to say, I wrote about it in my diary “This morning I took a... Read more

February 5, 2024

This is what I did a year ago, February 4th: It is my birthday, marking the biblical three score and ten, so naturally I decided to come to Israel and honor my passage here, with a long walk in the biblical woods, in the Shefla of Judea to be precise.  No snow, no ice, no cold, no party, no cake, just the peace of walking in the land of milk and honey. Think again. If you do a quick check... Read more

January 23, 2024

Where have I been?  Down A Rabbit Hole. I’m Late! For those who do not know, the phrase (originally “Down The Rabbit Hole”) comes from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, when Alice follows the rabbit and ends up in Wonderland.   It has since appeared as a metaphor in various forms and meanings, which now most often is, “we got interested in something to the point of distraction.”  and it all started with the image of a rabbit with a pocket watch... Read more

January 9, 2024

Holy books are given to catch phrases, like this one, “Verily I say unto you,” which appears in Christian Scriptures upwards of 75 times.  But does saying it make it so?  Another catch phrase, Russian in this case, comes to mind when hearing someone say, ‘verily.’ ‘Trust, But Verify’ That’s what separates me from other pilgrims in Israel.  Just because someone says this is the place where (insert event) happened, does not prove it did.  Did I not mention the... Read more

January 1, 2024

On News Year’s Day everything seems simple – what could be simpler than 01/01 – but in fact “it’s complicated.”  Full disclosure.  I have not seen the movie, and when I use the phrase I mean something more than rom-com tropes. I mean that no slates have been wiped clean, no pages have been turned; what was true yesterday is true today.  and what was true centuries ago is still true, driven home to me nearly a year ago. Now,... Read more

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