Woman peeling potatos%2c or potato peeler. 1886

Inside the Sitar’s Buzz, the ‘Dissolving Voice" of Rain

The trick is finding your own pocket of silence within sound. This is what I was thinking when Stephanie Khoury and James Hamilton, seated on cushions on the floor of Churchmouse Books, improvised an Indian classical raga, a mesmerizing, melodic tune that enveloped us in its repetitive strains. Rapt, we all sank... Read More

Cuckoo clocks in triberg im schwarzwald

Tick, tock, sssh!

I offer here an aural collage to introduce the upcoming edition of After Hours, the first of 2018: Sound & Silence.   Time to gather stories, poems and songs to share on Wednesday, January 24—or just mark your calendar and get set to cock your ears.     Churchmouse After Hours Coffeehouse: Sound & Silence... Read More

Paschal candle 2017 13

Epiphany Letter 2018

Arise, shine; for your light has come,and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.—Isaiah 60. 1 Dear friends, Last night was Twelfth Night, the last evening of the Feast of Christmas. Remember Christmas Eve? The miracle of God’s incarnation in the form of a vulnerable child, the angel choirs appearing to humble... Read More

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Part of my own motivation, when we planned a “storm chasing” night for After Hours, was curiosity. Why do people chase storms? Why is there such an appetite for all-day weather networks; a fringe element known as tornado chasers; and why, during a hurricane, will people converge on the shore and risk being swept... Read More

800px robert salmon   ship in storm

Wild weather forecast for After Hours tonight!

  Dear Churchmice, In the cultural weather forecast for this evening, watch for a storm or two at sea courtesy of Newfoundland bard Michael Crummey, a conversation during a blizzard (as reported by Gwendolyn MacEwen), a squall in the mind of Milton Acorn, and Patricia Young's defiant "Tornado in the Bible Belt,"... Read More


Glimpses in Passing

  Toronto poet Gwendolyn MacEwen died in 1987. She was exactly the age I am now: 45. Circumstances aside, no one can really say why one person lives to 90, another to 10, or 25, or 40. That doesn’t stop us from believing certain people go “before their time.” In the case of MacEwen, she “went” before what further... Read More

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The Dutch cleanser woman led us to infinity

Last month at Churchmouse After Hours we plodded through deserts, rode ships, dug tunnels and escaped tyranny.   We followed T.S. Eliot’s magi at “Just the worst the worst time of the year / For a journey, and such a long journey: / The ways deep and the weather sharp, / the very dead of winter.”   We roamed with... Read More


We Creatures of the Earth Must Move and Move Again

. . . a matter of sense—the thousand-eyed, thousand-eared alertness of a flock. The strategies are given names— I don’t know them. What sticks for me is how the air itself is altered. The way light bends back from bellies and wings as they turn. Churchmouse is back home—only to ponder what it means to go... Read More


Is a stair any place to belong?

“In the country where I now live, there is no word for home.” That’s the first line of Isabel Huggan’s 2003 memoir Belonging: Home Away from Home.   As we prepare to confront the power of the sun at Churchmouse After Hours in approximately 17 hours from now (7pm Wed evening!) my mind is turning to the last two... Read More

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Its Place Among the Elements

  I didn’t hit me until I began choosing things to read for April’s Churchmouse After Hours, “Beginnings and Endings,” just how often stories end at the beginning, or begin at the end. There’s “The Closing Down of Summer,” Alistair MacLeod’s haunting 1976 story about a group of Cape Breton men—all related—who are... Read More