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A Huge Step

In March, 1968, we drove all night long in order to get to Florida for Spring Break, Daytona Beach. When we got there--as I remember--it was late evening, and the beach was wild with college kids. We looked for some place to stay but didn't find a thing until we stumbled into what seems, in my memory, to have been a retread army barrack. We got in line. We were third. It was late, almost midnight, and we were desperate.…
January 1, 2009

January Thaw

Here's how I imagine it. She knows he's there but she waits, time being of little consequence, after all. He died in the fall, when the leaves were drenched in reds and oranges, and to the north the sharp lines of shorn soybean rows looked like something cut into the land. She thinks he chose the right time of year because autumn is so beautiful, and there's relief--the corn finally out, although harvest is much easier now with those lumbering…
January 1, 2008


Every time I've been in Charles Mix County, South Dakota, in the last few years, I've stopped at a ghost town called, simply, Academy, about an hour north and west of Platte, not all that far from the route of Lewis and Clark on the broad Missouri River. What's there in Academy doesn't really amount to much--a couple deteriorating houses (a few people still live there) and one sizeable old building that sits up on a rise. That old building…
May 16, 2005

In Just Spring

It's a basic tenet of the Calvinist faith by which I was raised that those sinners who haven't plumbed the depths of their own darkness simply are not capable of comprehending the blinding luminosity of grace itself. I rather like that equation, but then I live on the Great Plains, where the Lord wrote the textbook on winter. Because out here we know winter, I'm willing to lay down hard cash that we know, therefore, more deeply the joy of…
May 16, 2003