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April 13, 2021

from About Franz: Remembering C. G. Jung—A Son's Story, by Mary Dian Molton

As I turned toward the stairs, I was met with a great surprise. I was faced by an enormous, stunning, blue-and-white star. It was painted on an inside corner wall, close to the stairway. I stood stricken, almost dumbfounded, by the star’s majesty and incredible power. I had neither read nor heard of this wall painting! Franz later said he thought it had never been photographed as the light is poor, and the distance from wall to camera would not be enough to get a good picture and do it justice. This was the only moment when I was completely alone during this trip to Bollingen, and it was also the moment in which I felt closest to the singular spirit of Carl Jung. Such glory in such a small and private corner. I remained there for a time, imagined Carl Jung standing just there, painting an image of such incredible symmetry and mystery in this silent, narrow space and thought of how he must have needed, for himself, to paint this glorious star on this particular wall. It seemed to me an act of highly personal spiritual intensity. Even now, I think of it as my own special surprise, maybe a symbol for me of the hidden power of Bollingen. I have never forgotten it. A truly wondrous star, so close. In succeeding years, when I’d again hear Carl Jung’s response to the question of whether he believed in God—“I don’t need to believe; I know”—I think of this star.

—Mary Dian Molton, About Franz: Remembering C. G. Jung—A Son's Story

March 25, 2021

from “In the Waters,” by Jeri Ann Griffith, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Spring 2021: My Deep Love of Place

I was no longer a child when I began to dream I could play the violin without having had any study or training. In the dream, I pick up the instrument and bow my way through a classical passage or a waltz. In the dream world, this is as easy as opening my mouth to sing. I can’t play the violin, and I don’t know what the dream means. Maybe that’s the point. It’s not necessary to understand the dream in any literal way. It’s only important to feel the mystery of its potential.

—Jeri Ann Griffith, “In the Waters,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Spring 2021: My Deep Love of Place

March 16, 2021

from “Red Dust Suspended,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Spring 2021

The first time I saw New Mexico, before I owned a cell phone or computer, I wrote a story about a woman who walked through the desert as the wind peeled the flesh from her bones. Her bones turned to dust and blew away. I meant it as a story of transmutation, dust returning to dust. That story foretold my own, how once in my lifetime a place grabbed hold of my soul. But it was never my land to own. I could only borrow it for an infinitesimal speck of time.

—Suzanne Finney, “Red Dust Suspended,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Num. 41, Spring 2021

March 11, 2021

Now, in our own global pandemic, I consider how easily our familiar institutions can be disrupted and our sense of continuity shaken to the core. Yet everything on the Outer Cape is in a state of perpetual and reassuring impermanence; nothing ever stays quite the same. All you can do is be vividly awake to the living continuum.

—William Bless, “Outer Shores,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Num. 41, Spring 2021

image credit: m01229, Cape Cod National Seashore, 2014. Wikimedia Commons 

March 4, 2021

from “The Power of Belief,” Fires of Heaven, by James B. Nicola

You know beliefs are “myths more true than fact,”
but some believe that what they believe’s exactly
true, and even murder is no sin
but their responsibility when in 
the presence of the devil, which is you,
no matter that you know it isn't true.

In any time zone, any latitude
where people have endured, the attitude 
endures. The ecumenical is not
welcomed, nor an elucidating thought
allowed. In my experience the danger
is most acute wherever you're the stranger.

—James B. Nicola, from “The Power of Belief,” Fires of Heaven

February 2, 2021

from The Clue of the Red Thread, by Julie Tallard Johnson

The richness of our life comes from making meaning with what arises day to day, moving forward with increased clarity of who we are and what truly nurtures us. 

—Julie Tallard Johnson, The Clue of the Red Thread: Discovering Fearlessness and Compassion in Uncertain Times

January 14, 2021


One of the lessons I took from “Babette’s Feast,” a short story by Isak Dinesen, is the magical effect good food can have on the consumer. The twelve dinner guests that gather around the table to eat Babette’s sumptuous meal are elevated in thought and speech by the superb cuisine. Old wounds are healed, unrequited love is acknowledged, petty gossip is forgotten. Good food affects my psyche too—like a sunbreak after days of gray skies. A simple preparation of asparagus mimosa elevates my mood. A rich dish like osso buco satisfies my soul. A perfect risotto makes me incredibly happy. I don’t know why. I only know it is so.

—Susan Knox, “Sustenance A to Z,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Winter 2020, “Food and Memory”

January 5, 2021

from The Rhythm of It, by Anita Sullivan

Poets have always walked the world with their ears extended like antennae, sifting the air for poetic snippets. They know the basic rhythms by heart, but need a constant supply of new images and ideas to pour into these rhythm patterns. . . . The only catch is that poems have a mind of their own. Each time we try to marry a rhythm pattern to a set of words that seems to fit, the pattern is either smitten or not by the supplicants. If not, we can’t look to meter or rhyme to bail us out; we have to put on our boots and go back out onto the land, like a bridegroom becoming worthy of his ideal bride.

—Anita Sullivan, The Rhythm of It

December 29, 2020

from The Grammar of Untold Stories, by Lois Ruskai Melina

Some fifteen years later, not long after we’d moved onto our land, I turned the dirt on the south-facing side of our house into a vegetable garden with raised beds I built myself. I filled them with carefully measured proportions of topsoil, sand, compost, blood meal, and bone meal, concocting a balanced environment of calcium, phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium. I turned the mixture over and over, placing the spade into the dirt and stepping on the ledge of it, until the loam and the bone and stench were one.

When the soil was ready, I planted: basil and oregano and sage in peat pots that I started inside under ultraviolet light; sugar snap peas and red leaf lettuce early from seed; zucchini and spaghetti squash a little later; red peppers, Japanese eggplant, and finally, Roma tomato seedlings when I was certain there was no chance of frost.

For a few years, we had fresh salads, well-seasoned chicken and fish, and an August of zesty stews made with peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. But the growing season in our microclimate was too unpredictable, too short. There were too many rows of green tomatoes hanging in the garage each fall. The rich soil and the cool climate, I decided, were better suited to roses like those my mother planted wherever we lived.

Despite my own passion to reproduce the gardens of my youth, I discouraged my husband from propagating our farm with the hardwoods that reminded him of his origins—oak, maple, and hickory—trees that grow slowly, live forever, and drop richly colored leaves in the fall. I’m fond of them, too, but I didn’t want to be like the early settlers of the West who brought cuttings of their favorite Eastern plants with them, trying to make the strange open spaces of the West look familiar. I didn’t want a farmhouse that pretended it was in Ohio. When my husband showed me a small hickory tree, I placed my hands on my hips before passing judgment. “Put it behind the barn where I can’t see it,” I told him, as though it was a rusted old bicycle. He ignored me.

One day I looked out the kitchen window, across the lawn and partway into the pasture, and saw him watering the tree. We squabbled over its location for a few days until he finally looked me in the eye, and with his chin set, said, “I want to be buried on this farm, beneath a tree like the ones we had in our yard when I was growing up.” He looked away before continuing. “And I want it to be in a place where you’ll see me when you look out the window.”

My husband was in good health, but as we moved into the second half of our lives, I understood not only his thinking about his own mortality, but the desire to have a sense of continuity--to bring his past to his present and imagine it his future. When we got married, my husband left the house he had lived in since he was one year old. He’d helped plant the hickory and maple in the front yard and measured his own growth with theirs. My family moved frequently. I learned to adapt to new environments. I did not become attached to a particular house, but to the gardens my parents created wherever we settled. When my husband planted hardwood trees and I planted tomatoes and roses, we were reproducing not just vegetation, but our histories. We were thinking of heritage and legacy, of unbroken chains, in broader ways than people do when they have biological children, because we had to.

—Lois Ruskai Melina, The Grammar of Untold Stories