Essays

Our Only World

When readers of Wendell Berry see that he has a new book coming out, we tend to read it on reflex. The themes are seldom new; that’s part of the appeal. We read because it means immersing ourselves once again in a particular mind and set of values, expressed with clarity and conviction. In that… Read More Our Only World

Education, Writing

Why bother?

“When we reflect that ‘sentence’ means, literally, ‘a way of thinking’ (Latin: sententia) and that it comes from the Latin sentire, to feel, we realize that the concepts of sentence and sentence structure are not merely grammatical or merely academic — not negligible in any sense. A sentence is both the opportunity and the limit… Read More Why bother?

Fiction

A Place in Time

These stories went straight to my heart. I’ve been a Berry-reader since the mid-nineties and have read everything he’s written, but not since my first reading experience (The Memory of Old Jack) have I been so deeply moved by something he’s written. A Place in Time offers twenty short stories about the people and events… Read More A Place in Time

Novels

Jayber Crow

I read Jayber Crow when it first came out, and I didn’t like it as much as I expected to. Over the last week I’ve reread it, and I liked it better this time around. Purportedly the life story of the barber in Berry’s fictional community of Port William, I enjoyed the reflectiveness, the way… Read More Jayber Crow

Novels

Praying with Jayber

I’ve been rereading Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow. I’m bearing down on the end, but I wanted to quote this passage here (though it’s long) because it seems important and is indisputably beautiful. It concerns prayer, and Jayber’s ongoing effort to understand what happens in prayer. It expresses some questions and feelings that probably all of… Read More Praying with Jayber

Nature Study

Mystery Bird

I woke this morning thinking of a birdsong, heard way back in July. Maybe it’s because I’ve read references to the warblers in two different books lately. Or maybe it’s because it was cold and windy today with light snow, and I went to a sunny, green place in my mind. In any case, this… Read More Mystery Bird

Nature Study, Poetry

Sabbath

I’ve taken a few walks this week. This shaggy little fawn, along with his mother and sibling, greeted us on one of them. I worked hard to photograph these little birds in the brush, and this is the best I could do. “It looks like a chipping sparrow, but that can’t be, this time of… Read More Sabbath