"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

24 January 2019


In his new hermitage – a modest cement block cabin set back in the woods – he said Vespers, cooked his oatmeal, listened to the rain. He toasted bread in the fireplace; sat on the porch, cordwood stacked behind him. At the desk, which faced a large set of windows, he wrote poems and journal entries, and created ink drawings. If silence grew more precious and joyful to him, it was no less complex. Even in his more solid hermitage, the world intruded.

Deep in a storm-soaked night, he could celebrate the intensity of the rain: "There is no clock that can measure the speech of this rain that falls all night on the drowned and lonely forest."

But the beauty of that rain, even in the countryside and within his monastery’s grounds, could no longer be separated from the larger powers of human aggression. Fort Knox wasn’t far away: "Of course at 3:30am, the SAC plane goes over, red light winking low under the clouds, skimming the wooded summits on the south side of the valley, loaded with strong medicine. Very strong. Strong enough to burn up all these woods," he wrote.

"When speech is in danger of perishing … it becomes obligatory for a monk to try to speak."


Thank you, Kurt.

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