458 Slices
Medium 9780892727605

Once More to the Lake

Down East Books ePub

E. B. White

O ne summer, along about 1904, my father rented a camp on a lake in Maine and took us all there for the month of August. We all got ringworm from some kittens and had to rub Pond

See All Chapters
Medium 9781927068304

Humdinger

Lloyd Ratzlaff Thistledown Press ePub

HUMDINGER

Humdinger: A striking or extraordinary person or thing.

In the Green Forest and the dear Old Briar patch, near the Laughing Brook and the Smiling Pool, lived the wonderful bunch of characters of Thornton W. Burgess’s books, which our teacher began reading to us in the first grade. Sammy Jay, Unc’ Billy Possum, Shadow the Weasel, Chatterer the Red Squirrel, Prickly Porky and the rest contended with each other’s nasty ways, getting into remarkably human scrapes and adventures while steering clear of Farmer Brown’s boy and his dog, Bowser the Hound. When my daughter and her children gave me The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk for my birthday one year, the whole cast came popping up from the pages and from a long-overlooked corner of my mind.

One late fall day in Diefenbaker Park, I was startled by a little critter as it emerged from a gopher hole — ears round like Mickey Mouse’s, face like a tiny lion’s peering from above a curiously long neck. It took off for another hole, stood for an instant, snaked in and out of the earth, ran again with bulbous black-tipped tail flying behind, vanished into the next hole, and appeared again from the ground.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781771870825

The Heart of the World

Virgo, Seán Thistledown Press ePub

THE HEART OF THE WORLD
Yehuda Amichai

Barry Callaghan

Leprous, I sit among potsherds and nettles,
at the foot of a wall eaten by the sun.
— Rimbaud

JERUSALEM IS STONE WANTING TO BE WATER. Jerusalem is a dry wave at the centre of the earth: “When God created the world He placed the waters of the ocean around the earth. And in the heart of the inhabited world God placed Jerusalem … This is the heart of the world.”

Jerusalem has a heart as crooked as ecclesiastical sheets, as crooked as yellow thorn branches, dry in their silence. In the alleyways there is no sound of water. By a wrought-iron window in a stone house on a rise called Yemin Moshe, looking across a gully to Jaffa Gate, Yehuda Amichai the poet sits hunched forward, solid and fleshy through the shoulders and his face is red from the sun. “And what about love?” I ask.

“It goes without saying,” he says.

“It goes?”

“Sometimes it goes, sometimes it doesn’t come.”

See All Chapters
Medium 9781771870849

An Improbable Sunshine

Ratzlaff, Lloyd Thistledown Press ePub

]>

CARL JUNG COINED THE TERM “SYNCHRONICITY” (and later referred to it as “a term for which I am to blame”) after long discussions with his friends Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, and Wolfgang Pauli. The concept has been extolled as profound, vilified as sloppy and “mystical”, or quietly ignored as an embarrassment to psychological science.

It’s not a difficult word to understand. Jung described it as a coincidence of causally unrelated events which have a similar meaning. Suppose one night you dream of a long-forgotten childhood acquaintance, and next morning she phones you from the other end of the world. You catch yourself doing something playful, something you’d long ago become too busy to do, and a sudden freshness pervades the quotidian round. Or you have a day like Hermann Hesse’s: the devil spits in your soup, all colours are faded, all strings are out of tune. You push on, supplicating the world to send help from somewhere, and a butterfly lights on your shoulder. You see how a lowly worm has become a winged, ethereal creature, and there is a small gleam in the world again.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781927068304

No Biscuit Blues

Lloyd Ratzlaff Thistledown Press ePub

NO BISCUIT BLUES

One Sunday afternoon when I was ten or twelve years old, in an upstairs bedroom of my uncle’s farmhouse I found a blood-red booklet titled The Lake of Fire, which nearly impaired forever my capacity to trust. The cover showed contorted bodies leaping and falling back into a lake of molten sulphurous bubbles, and a man at the head of a long line flailing at hell’s brink with eyes bulging and fists grabbing the air. The text told how the doomed would try to escape, how they would be driven down nevertheless by the order of the Judge: “Away!” I tried to fathom this Jekyll-and-Hyde Christ, who was said to be compassionate and forgiving though we have sinned against Him, yet who would come with a sword in His mouth to smite the nations and tread the winepress of the fierce wrath of Almighty God.

About that time I also received a monthly magazine from a well-known evangelical organization. One especially vivid issue showed a great stone pyramid with a legion of steps mounting to a platform at its top, where Jesus or God sat on a resplendent and awful throne. On judgment day, the writer said, I would be summoned from an ocean of people to mount those steps, to hear my life reviewed in the presence of celestial, terrestrial, and infernal powers — and what chance would I have there, shrivelled up before Omnipotence unleashed? Like the Rev. Sprague in Tom Sawyer, my tradition “dealt in limitless fire and brimstone and thinned the predestined elect down to a company so small as to be hardly worth the saving.”

See All Chapters

See All Slices