Monday, December 8, 2008

Scrubbing the Kitchen Floor

This evening, at the end of a long and trying day, I found myself down on my knees…

(I can imagine what you might be thinking right now: “Ah, well, she IS a seminarian, shoeless though she be, down on her knees in prayer? I’m sure. Atta girl!”—Laughing yet?)

Down on my knees, yes. In prayer? Well, maybe not exactly…

For there was no Bible in my hands, there were no poetic praises flowing from my mouth, and my eyes were anything but uplifted. Rather, in my hands was a soapy rag, from my mouth flowed mumblings and grumblings, and my eyes were honed in on that oh-so-difficult ground-in dirt.

This evening, at the end of a long and trying day, I found myself down on my knees scrubbing the kitchen floor.

But you know, sometimes there is nothing better than the act of scrubbing a floor clean. For no matter how dirty the floor may seem or how futile the job may appear, to see the dirt stripped away and the light beginning to reflect off the surface as it is meant to... To see the floor once more washed, cleansed, refreshed and renewed…

Perhaps you think I exaggerate, but I tell you, it is an amazing thing to behold!

But in the end, the gleaming floor was not the most amazing result of scrubbing the kitchen floor on my knees this evening.

Not at all.

Because the floor was not the only thing that came away washed, cleansed, refreshed and renewed. The floor was not the only thing that once more began to reflect more clearly as the layers of grime were wiped away. For as the steady scrubbing of my hands wiped away the pesky ground-in dirt, my very being was scrubbed raw—scrubbed fresh.

And those mumblings and grumblings that once flowed forth?

In the beginning there were few words of praise and thanksgiving to God for my day, there was no trust in the gracious protection of God, and there was no plea for forgiveness—I guarantee you.

In the midst there was silence.

And at the end? At the end I found myself able to talk with God in a way I haven’t been able to do for weeks. At the end I found that posture of scrubbing truly to be a posture of prayer.

And so as I crawl into bed this evening with hands wrinkled and red as a newborn, I am reminded not only of the power of water to drown the dirt of my kitchen floor. I am reminded also of the power of water—coupled with God’s Word—to drown my sin and birth me anew.

This evening, at the end of a long and trying day, I found myself down on my knees praising and thanking...

confessing and commending...




(The reality that my mum will arrive on Friday to a spotlessly clean kitchen floor? Well, that's merely an added bonus!)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

At Least It's Something...

Hey Everyone!

Sorry! It's not that I'm not doing any writing this year, but more so that I find myself doing SO MUCH writing that when I come home, I'm just too exhausted to write anymore--hence the lack of blog posts. So, I've decided to post the newsletter article that I wrote for the ALC Messenger this month.

As part of my internship I am in charge of the Senior High Youth program at ALC, and I've been using David Anderson & Paul Hill's book, "Frogs Without Legs Can't Hear: Nurturing Disciples in Home and Congregation" (Thank you!!!). If you've never read it, it's a great resource for all entry points. It's easy to read, to the point, not that long, and has lots of short illustrations to help get the point across. In it it talks about the 'Four Keys of Faith Formation' as being: 'Caring Conversation, Devotions, Service, and Rituals & Traditions'. And so, after introducing the book and the idea of Faith Formation, I have been spending by Intern's Page Newsletter articles talking about the different 'church frog legs' that these four keys represent and encouraging the stretching and strengthening of those legs. Last month I talked about Caring Conversations, and this month--since it IS the month of Advent and Christmas--I couldn't help but write about Rituals and Traditions.

It's not my normal blog material, but it gives you a peek into my world!

Apologies and Thanks to my family for the fact that I've written about all of us...

Dear Friends: Happy New Year!!!

As of last Sunday we of the Christian world have entered into a new year—a new church year that is. And with that new church year we have begun a season of waiting, of preparation, a season of hope and renewal.

We have begun the season of Advent.

It is a season that much of the rest of the world forgets in its eagerness to get to Christmas. Often times we end up skipping the quiet preparation and jumping headlong into the celebration. Or, other times we find ourselves so caught up in the seemingly endless preparations to make THIS Christmas bigger and better than any before that by the time Christmas arrives we are too exhausted to enjoy it.

It is also a season full of ritual and tradition. Just take a look around at the lights, the decorations, the trees, the santas—and if you’re lucky, you may even see a baby Jesus here and there. All around us the stores remind us of the tradition of gift-giving, and I have been told that our sanctuary will be packed on Christmas Eve for the traditional candlelit service. And in my family there is one Advent ritual that will always stand head and shoulders above all others:

The Christmas Tree

This is my favorite night of the year—A night that far outstrips Christmas Eve for me. And while there may not be a traditional ‘day’ on which this occurs, this night is deeply steeped in tradition for me.

First and most important is ritual of my family gathering together. The Christmas Tree may only be decorated when all are present and accounted for. Because we all have our roles to play: Dad is in charge of making sure the tree stands straight and tall. My brother Josh and I struggle to detangle last year’s strings of lights. Mum brings out the eggnog and retells our family history as she unwraps funky ornaments from crinkled paper towel.

Our ornaments are neither beautiful nor fancy. There is neither color-theme nor coordination. But they are beloved. There are the ornaments from my parent’s first Christmas and the “Baby’s First Christmas” of both my brother and I. There are the crumbling play-dough ornaments made so long ago by little hands in Sunday School. There are the ornaments containing childhood photos—me in my pink-and-purple-checkered shirt, my brother with his ‘Friday Night Smile’. And there are lots of violin and music-note ornaments.

And in the background always plays the same CD—a Christmas recording by the Boston Pops Orchestra. I still remember the first Christmas when my brother’s wife, Megan, joined us in the tradition of the decorating of the Christmas Tree. Megan, a professional singer, laughed that we were the only family she knew who listened to a wholly orchestral CD of Christmas songs. But tradition IS tradition.

And after the squinting and the unwrapping and the hanging and the story-telling the most magical things happens. We all curl up on the couch—eggnog in hand—and sit in silence before the peaceful glow of the tree. And for that one moment, all stress departs, all fights are forgiven, all distances are bridged, and we are simply a family.

In that moment we are whole.

And though I will not be home to decorate the Christmas Tree this year, whenever I catch a whiff of evergreen, or taste eggnog, whenever I hear a piece from that CD, or see a tinfoil and pipe-cleaner bell, I am transported to that moment and that feeling of peace and hope and joy…

We all have our own rituals and traditions of the season—we all have our ‘Christmas Tree Night’. Maybe we don’t always think of them in these terms, but they are there. And so this Advent Season I invite you to uncover—maybe even dust off—the rituals and traditions that truly make up the season for you and to share them with one another. What makes them special? What memories do they hold? What feelings do they evoke? How is God present in them? How does the Christ child enter into your Christmas traditions?

And you never know. You may find that Advent and Christmas lie less in the expensive gifts and hectic preparations. You may find that Advent and Christmas dwell within presence of loved ones and the silence of a moment…

May the peace of Christ dwell within you and shine forth from you this Advent Season.
Intern Elly

Saturday, November 1, 2008

33 cans of tomato paste in the cupboard...

Okay, so I know, it’s been forever since I have posted, and I do apologize! I have begun many a posts, but somehow I never seem to finish them, and they become doomed to sit in Microsoft Word files until one day I meander through my hard drive and delete them.

But, I am sitting here at my kitchen table, about to use two more cans of tomato paste in a very large pot of chili, and since I have been meaning to write to you about my cans of tomato paste since I first opened my kitchen cupboards in August, I figured this was about as good a time as any!

When I first arrived in Norway I was so excited to finally have a kitchen once again. I love cooking and baking (often at midnight, as Kim, my roommate from my undergrad can attest to), but for the last three years I’ve been living in dorms or sharing a house, and I haven’t cooked nearly as much. One of the very first things I did when left alone in my new abode was to check out the kitchen! Large, spacious, lots of cupboard space, and cupboards already stocked with canned goods from both the previous intern and my new congregation.

And at the back of one of the cupboards stood, neatly stacked, two rows, double-high, of cans of tomato paste—33 in total.

Now, I don’t know how often you find yourself using cans of tomato paste, but I doubt I’ve ever eaten 33 cans of tomato paste in one year in my life and my jaw proceeded to drop at the seemingly endless supply of tomato paste spread out before me.

So, I decided to make utilizing all 33 cans of tomato paste one of my goals for my internship year. Now, this goal that I am about to share with you didn’t quite make it into my official ‘Learning Service Agreement’ which is sent to my seminary, but it did made it on my own ‘fun’ list of internship goals. And so, since my official Learning Service Agreement was due into my seminary this last week, and since it’s nearing time for my three-month evaluation, I put forth for you tonight this, my ‘fun’ Internship Goal, and an ongoing evaluation:

Goal: To utilize 33 cans of tomato paste in new and creative ways throughout the coming year, stretching and honing my cooking presence.

Resources & Strategies: 33 cans of tomato paste and some imagination.

End Date & Plan for Evaluation: August 2009. A cupboard empty of tomato paste cans.

2 and one-half month evaluation: After 1 tomato-based curry, 2 batches of homemade pizza sauce, and 1 very large pot of chili

…took 5 down, passed them around, 28 cans of tomato paste in the cupboard!

Not bad, I’m about on track, but I may need to kick it up a notch to meet my goal. If you have any creative ideas about cooking with tomato paste, I’d love your comments or emails!

All in all, doing very well!

Shoeless in the Kitchen

Sunday, September 14, 2008

If pears are sitting in a box on a hedge, does that mean they're fair game?

While the weather in Norway is still balmy and the streets aren't covered with ice, I have been walking to and fro between my apartment and church. It only takes about 15 minutes, and I'm even beginning to recognize some of the people that are often walking at the same time. There's been one question lingering in my mind though, and that has to do with a box of pears.

At about the halfway point of my walk is a house on a corner surrounded by a hedge. Inside of that hedge is a big yard. And in that yard there are two trees: a pear tree and an apple tree. Both of these trees are covered in ripe fruit right now, and my mouth always begins to water as I wander by.

And sitting on that hedge, bridging the border between street and home, is an old cardboard box top. It has been carefully bungee corded (yes, I know, that's not a word) to the hedge and inside the box is an abundance of ripe and juicy pears. For the past three weeks I have been walking by and wondering if that means I can eat them?

Not to say that I haven't eaten any of those pears before, but this morning I was officially welcomed to eat the pear offering!

As I walked by on my way to church, there was a man inside the yard sorting through the fallen pears from the pear tree, throwing out the bad ones, and placing the good ones in the box on the hedge. I smiled and nodded, saying 'Gud Morgen' (pronounced 'goo morn'), and in response this man started speaking to me in Norwegian. I didn't understand a word he was saying, since my Norwegian doesn't really exist yet, but through his tone of voice and his gestures, it was obvious that he was offering me a pear from the box. Walking back towards the hedge, I reached my hand out across the hedge, and the man reached his hand out and placed a juicy pear in my open palm.

We couldn't say much else to one another, at least not with words, but we shared a smile before I said 'tusen takk' and wandered on my way. And the pear? It was gone before I reached the church, my face and and hands sticky with juice to prove it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Many Shoes of the Shoeless Seminarian

Being away from school as I am this year, I find the deluge of emails left to wade through about the daily on-goings of seminary almost insurmountable at times. While everyone else is heading off to bed back in the Midwest, I wake up to find 30+ emails! Normally, I take a brief glance and quickly trash them, but a string of emails, to which I have merely been a spectator, caught my eye the other day.

I don’t know the background, but it appears that there has been, and is continuing to be, conversation concerning hats and shoes—particularly, when and where they are and are not worn. And it started me thinking about the many ‘hats’ we wear in life, or, perhaps more applicable in my case, the many ‘shoes’ we don along the journey.

And so, today, I share would like to share with you the many ‘shoes’ of the shoeless seminarian. For, although it may surprise you, there were no less than eight pairs of shoes that made it into my allotted 100 pounds of luggage this year. Some are more presentable than others, some more practical, some more frivolous, but somehow they all seemed necessary when push came to shove.

The Running Shoes

First of all, the running shoes. These are the shoes that, for me at least, carry great hopes. Those hopes never quite seem to come to fruition, yet the running shoes continue to carry the idea of ‘hope’.

If I pack them, I will go running three times a week, I will explore my surroundings, I will take that time for myself…

But they’re also a symbol of the busy and ‘running’ lifestyle that is so easy to fall into. Am I really doing my job if I don’t need to don a pair of ‘running’ shoes to keep up? Can I really be productive if I’m curled up on the couch reading a book? If I’m not multi-tasking, does it count?

And I have to ask: Can these two types of ‘shoes’ really be one in the same? Can my running shoes at once stand for both my own health and wellness AND work?

Poor, poor confused shoes.

The Sturdy and Dependable Black Viking Rain Boots (or Wellies, if you like)

The newest shoes to join the family, I gave in and purchased my rain boots on my last day off. Like many of you, I hadn’t owned rain boots since I was a young child, and, although they held a fond place in my memory, I never thought I would own a pair again.

Three weeks living in Norway changed my mind.

There have been a couple of days filled with nothing but clear blue skies, but more often times it seems that the days are a mixture of sun and rain. My jeans and skirts and shoes have been soaked more than once already. And with Fall in full swing, I’m told that that’s not about to change. Besides, rain boots are everywhere! Not the cute and flowery ones that made their appearance a couple of years ago, but black and green ones. Tough ones. It’s not only the hunting stores that stock adult sizes; almost every shoe store has one or two pair of serviceable rain boots. It’s not only the backpacking, mountain climbing type that wears them; it’s the most fashionable men and women. Rain boots are not a frivolity in Norway, they are a part of life. And therefore, they are a new pair in the many pairs of shoes that I find myself wearing.

And you know what? I like them! Yes, they’re black and rubber. They may not be considered ‘cute’. But on the inside, where no one but me will ever see, they’re a green tartan. And they make me feel fun and fancy-free like those long-ago memories of mud puddles.

And, well… they make me feel safe.

The world around me may get mucky. I am more than likely to get mired down. But in my new ‘shoes’, I feel secure. They will not be ruined; they will not be sucked in; they will not be lost; they are made for the purpose of walking with me through the gunk. They are not afraid of the muck and the mire.

The ‘Presiding Shoes’

And then there are my ‘Presiding Shoes’. Yes, I know, I am only an intern, I am not an ordained pastor, I do not preside over the sacraments, but my worship and liturgy professor once talked about her ‘presiding shoes’.

Flat and black, they do not call attention to themselves; they do not click-click; they pose problems neither to my alb nor to the steps in the sanctuary. They do not shout out ‘ME! LOOK AT ME!!’ but help me to fulfill my role. They do not proclaim me, but hopefully they support me in proclaiming of the word of God. And I’m much less likely to break an ankle while wearing them than I am when I attempt to walk in stilettos.

The Patent-leather Ruby Red Slippers

Just in case you thought all the ‘shoes’ I wore were serviceable and boring! These shoes are just plain fun. Maybe they weren’t all that ‘necessary’ to the packing process, but some days you just don’t want to wear your black shoes, and you just don’t want to wear your brown shoes. Therefore, the shoeless seminarian needs a pair of red shoes!

The problem is, although they’re shiny and fun, they don’t quite fit. My feet slide around in them. There’s not that much support. And, they tend to give me a blister…

The Worn but Warm Fuzzy Boots

mmm… But then there’s the boots you simply want to cuddle up with!

These boots have been with me since my winter in the mountains of Austria. A Christmas present from my Grandma, they have lived through many memorable moments:

-There was the great big snowstorm when we got two feet of snow and, despite the boot’s protection; I ended up with snow both inside and out.

-There was the trip to the salt mines in Bavaria with the really cool wooden slides!

-There was the ice storm last winter and the subsequent ‘let’s all try to get the ice off our cars together’ Party that ensued.

-They came to the wedding of two of my best friends last December.

-Oh, and there was that really embarrassing moment when I looked at the tag inside of the boots and freaked out because it said that the lining was wool, and here I thought I had bought a real pair of sheepskin boots! Unfortunately, it took a little while for me to realize that since wool comes from shearing the wool of sheep… umm… yeah…

They’re not as pristine as they once were. I have scuffed up the toes. The insides are a bit matted. I spilled fabric softener all over then last fall. But none of that matters. They’re still the boots that I pull on when the snow mounts or the temperature dips. They’re still the boots that I know I can count on to keep me warm and dry.

The Favorite Shoes

Finally, as you might have guessed from the name of my blog, these are the ‘shoes’ that you are most likely to find me in.
Dirty and callused as they are, these are my favorite shoes, and if I could wear them every day, I would. I don’t wear them to make a statement, to be annoying, or to offend you. They may not look pretty, they may not look clean, and they may not look ‘presentable’. But they are the most free, the most grounded, the most vulnerable, the most me.

By the time I was three my parents had realized that shoes and me were a losing battle. In the grand scheme of things, they figured that there were more important things they wished to instill in me.

And these really are the most amazing ‘shoes’. When dirtied, they can be washed; when wet, they can be dried; and although they wrinkle, they never need ironing. They even adjust to their surroundings, hardening their soles to the rough ground.

I never have learned to play my violin or viola when my soles can’t touch the ground. When I try to play with shoes the music just comes out all wrong, as if my emotions are closed in like my feet.

And although shoelessness is my norm, it doesn’t mean that I am impenetrable to comments about my behavior. Some days it takes more courage than I have to let my dirty and callused feet show. Some days I just want to cover them up and blend in.
Some days I feel like I need to be a shoed individual to be acceptable.

On those days I long for the one who does not look upon my feet and say, ‘Cover those up, you’re disgusting!’ On those days I long for the one who says nothing at all. On those days I long for the one who, stooping down, takes those dirty and callused, those sometimes smelly and disgusting feet in his hands, and tenderly washes them, wiping away the dirt and the grime with his own towel.

The best of shoes can hide whatever we perceive to be our imperfections. The best of shoes can attempt to shore up our insecurities. But the freedom that comes from knowing my feet are washed clean day after day after day, that is better than the best of shoes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Norway: Week One

Well, it’s been one week since I left the US, and about time for an update of some sort. There’s no way I could write about everything, so, instead, here are a few sketches and anecdotes:


I’ve settled into my new apartment, and still can’t believe I’m living here for the next year! I’m in a 1-bedroom walk-up just off of Bogstadveien—one of the great shopping streets in Oslo. It’s about halfway between Frognerparken, in which Vieglands-parken is situated (pictures later, I promise), and the Slottsparken and Dronning-parken surrounding the Royal Palace. It’s also an easy walk to church, and, well, just about anywhere. But it’s also really close to bus-lines, trikk-lines (think trolly), and the T-bane (think subway). The apartment is incredibly cute and well-stocked, with 2 grocery stores and a 7-eleven within a ½-block radius. One of these days I’ll upload some pictures for you.

Prices in Norway

While I have settled into my apartment, I haven’t yet settled into the prices of things in Norway. When I visited in 2003 I was extremely spoiled by my Uncle Buv and Aunt Janell who met Kim and I here, and their friend Helge too. I don’t think Kim and I paid for a thing. And I’m still extremely spoiled this time, don’t get me wrong!

But, I walked into a bookstore today to pick up the first Harry Potter book in Norwegian, turned the book over to check the cost, gulped, and very slowly set the book back down, afraid that I might damage it. The price was 289 Norwegian Kroner, or, almost $50US at today’s exchange rate. If you’re wondering, it was a paperback.

And while I couldn’t quite justify the $50US for the paperback children’s book, I went shopping this afternoon and spent almost the equivalent on, well, let’s just say not a lot of food: 239.90 NOK.

On the other hand, being able to walk into the grocery store and buy geitost (yummy, yummy brown cheese that makes my toast say ‘yay!’), flatbrøt (flatbread), lefse, and rømmegrøt (mmm…) is quite lovely!

But, just in case you decide to come and visit me, let me know and I’ll email you a grocery list!

American Lutheran Congregation—Oslo, Norway

And, of course, the congregation that is taking me under its wing for the year!

I don’t even know where to begin!

I have been taken care of so well this last week and profusely thank ALC-Oslo for their hospitality. From the moment I stepped through the doors at the airport with my bright green suitcases, members of the congregation have been there to help me find my way, to feed me the most scrumptious meals, and share begin to share with one another our stories.

For these first two weeks members of the congregation have signed up to share dinner with me, to introduce me to Oslo, to take me to events, and to make sure that I get settled in. Having already spent time with many members of the congregation by Sunday morning’s services, I felt quite at home assisting, and have never heard a congregation answer “we will!” with such enthusiasm when asked if they would support me and pray for me this year. Pastor Kienberger, my supervisor, and his family have been wonderful, and I’m so excited to learn and grow and share in this setting!

We’re still figuring out my areas for this coming year, but we have a preaching schedule ready for the fall, there’s a violin and banjo rehearsal set for Thursday, and my first newsletter article is written and handed in.

It’s going to be an exciting year!

Measure twice, cut once... or something like that

And last, but not least! While this story may not make you laugh, it certainly made me laugh:

So, the musical group I’m in back home has gone through many names over the past two years. In Summer Greek, Ben & Jon decided that we should be called Sinaiticus—yes, after the 4th C. Greek codex, and if you don’t know what that is, that’s a good thing, and if you do, well, no offense, but you might be a little bit geeky.

In the year following Summer Greek Renee and I tried our best to come up with a new name, but to no avail, and when the first real ‘gig’ that required a name came along, we came back to Sinaiticus.

At least, that was until after the posters came out. About that time, Ben came up with a great new name: Avderling. We printed Avderling on our CDs and drove off to Nebraska.

Upon our return to school, Hanne, our friend and fellow-student who hails from Norway, well, Hanne very kindly told us that, actually, there was no such Norwegian word as Avderling, and if we had been aiming for Norwegian, we had spelled it wrong, and actually, it was Avdeling.

A bit abashed, we printed new CDs, changed our email address, had the ‘r’ scribbled out of our matching tattoos (just kidding), and became ‘Avdeling’.

A couple of months later Hanne approached us and asked, “Why did you pick ‘Avdeling’ for the name of your group?”—a question we often get—but a question we thought would be more easily explained to someone who grew up speaking Norwegian: “Well,” we said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. John 15:5.”

Hanne looked at us, shook her head, and said, “I was afraid of that…" "You see,” said Hanne going on, “while ‘Avdeling’ does translate into English as ‘branch,’ it doesn’t have anything to do with a tree or a vine in Norwegian. It refers to a branch of a company…”

Um… Yeah…

Apparently it is helpful to check with someone who speaks the language from whence ones proposed group names comes, before one names the group.

But why does this anecdote make it into my very first Norwegian blog?

Well, yesterday, while sitting on the steps of the American Lutheran Congregation waiting for a ride, I happened to glance across the street. Parked on the other side of the street was a white van. I thought nothing of it at first, but then realized that it had a familiar word on the side of it. I racked my brain, but I couldn’t come up with my reason for being familiar with this Norwegian word: it wasn’t close to German, it wasn’t close to French, it certainly wasn’t close to Greek or Hebrew! Yet, I knew that I knew that word.

I stared at it… And stared at it… And stared some more…

Then I burst out laughing.

The word I’d been staring at for the past few minutes was ‘Avdeling.’

Well, I’d better get going, it’s pretty late and my bed is calling. Thanks for all of your prayers and emails and support!

the shoeless seminarian

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Liminal Space

As the title of my post suggests, I find myself in a period of transition.  As a Lutheran seminarian from Canada at seminary in the Midwest United States, I am not unacquainted with the liminal space of transition.  Yet here I am here once again, and it is not the same.  

As my 'About Me' will suggest as I get around to editing it, I am just beginning the final preparations to embark upon my year of internship in Oslo, Norway.  Not only am I exploring what it means to be an intern for the year, I am exploring what it might mean to be a pastor in the Lutheran church, as well as what it is like to be immersed, surrounded, and encircled by a congregation that is very international, in a country that I have only ever visited for a week five years ago.  And most of all I am exploring, pondering, and trying to figure out to what and to where God is calling me.  

It is all extremely exciting and frightening at the same time.  

Therefore, I selfishly write this blog for me as a time to reflect upon, well, whatever happens!  If you know me and are wondering what I'm up to this year, I hope this will keep you updated.  If you don't know me and somehow stumble upon it, I hope you enjoy it.  If you read it and connect with it, please, write, respond, dialogue!  

To begin, I post something that I will likely never post again:  a poem.  

I am not a poet, nor have ever been a poet, but I recently had the pleasure of making one of my favourite trips, a 24-hour drive from the Midwest back to Canada.  I have made this drive with my family countless times, but this time, with Norway looming on my horizon, during the stint from 3-8am, driving across the plains of Saskatchewan, snippets of this poem were written.  Whether it is literal or figurative, I don't know.  It is no great piece of writing, but it is from where I am coming, and a fitting start.  

Liminal Space

Awakened at three
by the lulling motion
which comes to a stop, 
the door opens
and the 
refreshing breeze
sweeps in.  

Petro Canada,
Tim Horton's,
I crawl behind the
and drive North,
always North.  

To my right,
the deep blue
is already
with a lighter blue.

The chaotic sea
hangs inverted
above my head;
or perchance
it is I
who hangs
above the chaos.  

For the
is more expansive
than the land
which stretches out
before me
behind me
for countless

The dotted trees
of the horizon
both hide away
and point to
the prairie homesteads.

The majestic
wooden grain elevator,
rising out of
the sea
of grass,
is the only thing
to scrape 
the sky.  

I turn off my lights.  
They are or
no use
the sky
too bright.  

As I
the inhabitants
come out
in welcome.  

The swift fox,
the loping coyote,
the bounding jackrabbit,
the cattle
the sea
of grass.  

Yellow heads
mingle with
red wings.  

The familiar 
of the 
is replace by
the passing
of the

A mixture
of French,
First Nations--
the names of towns
flash by
and bring forth
long dormant
in my mind.  

Moose Jaw,
je pense...
I think...

is awakened
within me
in this 
liminal space
the dark of night
the light of day.


the ray 
of sun
the swirling clouds
the spell.  

Until next time,
The Shoeless Seminarian