Posts Tagged ‘home’

My Letter to Wendell Berry

My Letter to Wendell Berry

February 4, 2014  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Two and a half years ago I wrote to Wendell Berry. I had just turned 30 and, reflecting back upon my life, I felt the need to write him a letter of thanks for the guiding force his words had been to me. At the time, I had known of his work for ten years and had his book "The Art of the Commonplace" for nearly as long. Below is an excerpt of my letter to him, and below that is the great compliment I received from him only weeks later....

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Memories of Alabama

Memories of Alabama

September 24, 2013  |  Blog  |  No Comments

A while back, a memory came to me vividly — more so than most memories do. At the time, I was feeling homesick. I doubted what I was doing here in Amsterdam. I wanted to have a home. Why do I keep leaving home, I asked myself. My memory was from my childhood: a boy, maybe eight or ten years old. I was with my grandparents and siblings (or cousins) on a summer day in South Sauty, Alabama. I went to Alabama in the summers to visit my grandparents, who spent years building and refining their historic log cabin on the banks of the Tennessee river....

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From Portland to Amsterdam via Seattle

From Portland to Amsterdam via Seattle

August 7, 2013  |  Big Picture, Blog, Thoughts, Travel  |  No Comments

As the plane rounds onto the runway from the tarmac and the engines started to rev to full acceleration, it begins to hit me: I’m leaving America. In the past month, I haven’t had time to think or feel anything. It has felt so surreal. Saying goodbyes to friends hasn’t felt like long goodbyes, but more of the sort of goodbyes said before a long vacation. I want to come back to Portland, but I want to come back more confident, secure in myself, what I do, much more experienced, and having crafted my talents into something more extraordinary. I want to have stories to tell, knowing that I have lived this God-given life to the best of my abilities.

I don’t know where this journey will lead me, but I’m happy for that. We spend so much of our life looking for answers, for some direction and guidance — but my life has always been lived in the tension between doubt and faith. Of the two, I lean more on faith because it is more beautiful in the mystery it holds. Do I really want to know exactly what will happen to me in five years? Isn’t the surprise what makes it beautiful?

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Ignorant Pilgrim

Ignorant Pilgrim

October 18, 2011  |  Blog, Thoughts  |  No Comments

This passage comes from Wendell Berry’s novel “Jayber Crow”. I’m heavily struck each time I read this. I relate so much to how the character, Jayber, feels here. I love this.

If you could do it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line—starting, say in the Dark Wood of Error, and proceeding by logical steps through Hell and Purgatory and into Heaven. Or you could take the King’s Highway past appropriately named dangers, toils and snares, and finally cross the River of death and enter the Celestial City. But that is not the way I have done it, so far. I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimage has been wandering and unmarked. Often what has looked like a straight line to me has been a circle or a doubling back. I have been in the Dark Wood of Error any number of times. I have known something of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, but not always in that order. The names of many snares and dangers have been made known to me, but I have seen them only in looking back. Often I have not known where I was going until I was already there. I have had my share of desires and goals, but my life has come to me or I have gone to it mainly by way of mistakes and surprises. Often I have received better than I have deserved. Often my fairest hopes have rested on bad mistakes. I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led—make of that what you will.”

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On Travel

On Travel

May 4, 2010  |  Blog, Featured, Travel  |  1 Comment

In 2007, I quit my first real job that I had for over three years. There was one main reason in mind for doing so: travel. I’m not necessarily one of those travel junkies like Rick Steves (which is fine if you are), as he seems fascinated with always getting away. I like getting away, but it's not my point. I may just be floating my own boat, but I feel I view travel differently than most. The idea of traveling to most people is seen as vacation and escape. For me, I’d often rather engage the local community than have a fun and relaxing time, even it that means being uncomfortable sometimes. Traveling has become a way to free myself of self-absorption and the poor decisions I make in that inebriated state. Traveling and its experiences give me a fresh perspective on the life I live at home....

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A Native Hill

A Native Hill

April 29, 2010  |  Big Picture, Blog, Featured  |  2 Comments

The title I’ve chosen for this blog, “A Native Hill” comes from one of my favorite authors and social commentators Wendell Berry. He wouldn’t much approve of the idea of me writing this on my new laptop consuming a real amount of electricity (with an old but perfectly functioning laptop downstairs connected to a new TV), and especially lobbing this content onto a virtual world of computers linked together with industrialized “server farms” across the globe in an isolated community of individual web users. But nonetheless, he might appreciate my attempt to express even a small amount of what I’ve learned from him to other open ears....

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