Wednesday, August 13, 2014


"What would happen if you just shut a door and stopped speaking? Hour, after hour, after hour of no spoken words. Would you speak to yourself inwardly? Would words stop being useful? Would you lose language altogether? Or would words mean more? Would they start to mean in every direction, become all somersault and assault, like a thuggery of fireworks? Would they proliferate, like untended plant life? Would the inside of your head overgrow with every word that has ever come into it, every word that has ever silently taken seed or fallen dormant? Or would your own silence make other things noisier? Would all the things you'd ever forgotten, layered there inside you, come bouldering up and avalanche you?" – Ali Smith, “There But For The”

“I used to think the power of words was inexhaustible, that how we said the world was, was how it was and how it would be. I used to imagine that word-sway and word-thunder would silence the Silence and all that, that worlds were the Word, that language could lead us inexplicably to grace, as though it were geographical. I used to think these things when I was young. I still do.” – Charles Wright, “Body and Soul”

For nearly a week, each morning has come to this area filtered through a solid grey blanket that eventually, by mid-afternoon, somehow gathers itself into a mixture of both dark and white clouds, here and there an opening to let one know the sky is still there, but rain possible if the wrong color drifts overhead. Today, however, the dog, still with too much pup in him and refusing to stop his barking on the leash where I’ve secured him in the back yard, has drawn me outside to sit there on a bench while he explores the area under my supervision; and, hallelujah, the sun, rising over the hills to the east, spills over me there. An airplane passes somewhere overhead, it, like the highway traffic flowing in both directions, hidden from my sight by nature as it exists all around me. A cool breeze plays with leaves and branches, solar heat not yet enough for me to remove the light hoodie worn to such location; but it’s peaceful, quiet otherwise, and the above quotes borrowed earlier from Whiskey River have my thoughts. The Bible says that “In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It seems to me that humanity, in truth, is but an expression existing only by the breath of that which was spoken, linguistics being the very core of our identity and that which “holds us together” yet a mental verbal message continually being spun in our head. The only question is: out of whose well does creation come? The choice has long been ours to make, free will established in the Garden. Clean-up is messy, the part we want to hand back to Him, often with no real remorse. Panic, maybe. Sorrow, perhaps. But putting it all into words is beyond our ability to capture and somewhere along the way, if any wisdom at all has been gained, we learn that communication is better accomplished in a surrender, a silence wherein two become one, connection established in a flow that needs no form. Give me the Holy Ghost and a quiet moment. Sometimes my head hurts………


  1. Mr. Jim,

    I really like this post. It reminds of a quote from our old pal, Thomas Merton:

    The inspirations of the Holy Ghost are quiet, for God speaks in the silent depths of the spirit. His voice brings peace. It does not arouse excitement, but allays it because excitement belongs to uncertainty.

  2. Merton quote speaks to me concerning prayer, those times of being alone at the oasis. There are those times also, however, when He speaks through you, sometimes in a way that you may not even recognize, but often in a way that comes up with passion from that well (not to be confused with getting just as passionate out of your own head)....

  3. Not enough people drop by here for me to remember to hit "reply" instead of going through the "comments" myself. Wanted to express my surprise and pleasure at finding your voice here this morning. Come back when you can...

  4. I have grown fond of our conversations here at school, and will undoubtedly miss them this year, but this seems to be a great forum to continue them. Cheers to your retirement.

    By the way - my cell phone met its unfortunate doom on my trip last weekend and I lost all of my phone numbers. When you get a chance text me so I have it again.