Holy Saturday

While Christ lay dead the widowed worldWore willow green for hope undone:Till, when bright Easter dews impearledThe chilly burial earth,All north and south, all east and west,Flushed rosy in the arising sun;Hope laughed, and Faith resumed her rest,And Love remembered mirth.  “Easter Even,” Christina Rossetti (x) It is hard for me to accept that itContinue reading “Holy Saturday”

today in language is never just grammar

1. In Quechua there is no naturally occurring word for “to have, to possess,” so when the Spanish came and introduced money, they had to mangle their word for “to be” into a possessive. DO YOU EVER METAPHOR SO HARD 2. There is a specific word in Quechua for men with large beards (chhapu), whichContinue reading “today in language is never just grammar”

yachay

Quechua has one word for to know and to learn: yachay. “You cannot ever really know something, after all,” my professor says. Even in Spanish, saber (to know) comes from sapere (to taste). It is a flavorful but incomplete action, and we all know it. I am grateful for this one word, yachay, because learning this language has required more and more self-knowledge withContinue reading “yachay”

Little Walsingham

I am always grateful to small English villages that provide their own descriptors. Such a village is Little Walsingham. There is, after all, only one way for a village called Little Walsingham to look: stranded in grassy plains and smooth hills, made of grey roofs and dusty rain. There are locals, but I can’t seeContinue reading “Little Walsingham”

runasimi

In Quechua, the word for boyfriend/girlfriend is yana. Yana means servant. It’s also the only language I know where that word is genderless. There is no word for thanks in Quechua. “We don’t need it,” my professor says, “we have reciprocity.” No word for hello, either, or for good morning. “No rhetorical language, just concreteContinue reading “runasimi”

Best of 2013

Eve Tushnet has a great series where she posts her favorite books, movies, etc. from each year. I liked her post so much this year I decided to do my own! Best books read for the first time (non-fiction) Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx. This decade-long journalisticContinue reading “Best of 2013”

St. Maria Skobtsova

If we decide responsibly and seriously to make the Gospel truth the standard for our human souls, we will have no doubts about how to act in any particular case of our lives: we should renounce everything we have, take up our cross, and follow Him. St. Maria Skobtsova, “On the Imitation of the MotherContinue reading “St. Maria Skobtsova”

A ‘citizen’ is always unfree

A ‘citizen’ is always unfree, always feels the whole weight of oppressive power upon him, of public opinion, tradition, everyday life, the history of his country. We all know this, because it all took place in our own lives. We know that in the time of the Russian civil war, choice implied death, imprisonment, exile,Continue reading “A ‘citizen’ is always unfree”

Sunday morning

I like London when the sun has not yet come up, when the streets are a Saturday night massacre of glass and broken umbrellas. It is the city’s one quiet hour, when the drunkards have given out at last and the workers are not yet on the move and Mayfair might as well be aContinue reading “Sunday morning”

the folly of the cross

The Gospel confounds. The Gospel enrages. The Gospel inspires. If we choose to continue following the Gospel, we will continue confounding the world. And yes, we just might be crucified. But, as Dorothy Day once wrote, “The most effective action we can take is to try to conform our lives to the folly of theContinue reading “the folly of the cross”