Desert and Flood

By Candace Bright

She opened up about her suffering and we drew our collective breath. A dozen voices hummed musically when she confessed that perhaps she had been blind. She had poured herself into an effort for years, only to miss problems that had scorched the ground she had cultivated. Handing it off to others in a turbulent ending to her season of investment, she now grieved what had been lost. Time. Opportunity. The struggle to bring forth good only to find herself in a desert partly of her own making.

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First Annual Seed Sightings: A Glimpse of Things to Come

By Gina Sutphin

How many of you have specific events that are a yearly marker in the journey towards spring? I have several. My computer currently has a browser open counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the First Day of Spring. The start of Daylight Savings is marked on my calendar with a picture of the sun, flowers, and butterflies. But the earliest—and always completely unplanned—marker of spring’s coming is the First Annual Seed Sighting.

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When Dreams Wake Up Different

By Jennifer Hildebrand

When I was a kid, practically every story that danced across the screen hinged on a character who was running down a dream. A big dream. I just ate that stuff up, because I was completely certain that dreams had to be these colossal, magnificent feats worthy of being chased down, maybe even worth dying for. And planted deep in my young heart, I was already tending one of my own.

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What the Wind Goes Whispering: An Exploration of Longing in The Wind in the Willows

By Chris Wheeler

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is perhaps my favorite book, or at least in my top ten. I rarely re-read books, but this one is an annual read for me, and only recently did I think to explore why I have loved and continue to love this story so much.

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How To Grow Good Wool

By Suzanne Tietjen

I used to be a shepherd, keeping natural-colored sheep for their fleeces. Most sheep grow white or off-white wool, but ours, bred from the occasional black sheep any commercial shepherd would reject, grew amazing-colored wool: ebony, silvers, grizzled grays, and countless shades of chocolate.

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Gardener’s Heart: A Love Story, Part 1

By Lanier Ivester

“You must remember, garden catalogues are as big liars as house agents.”
—Rumer Godden, China Court

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Mary Oliver’s Gift of Stumbling Stones

By Elizabeth Harwell

Last fall, our family took a morning to hike up the craggy paths of the North Georgia mountains. We knew our end: a precipice overlooking the tops of the newly bronzed and coppered trees. But there was a long path between us and that view, and it was not a level one.

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Now I Belong

By Julie Spencer

Several years ago my husband and I made the leap into learning Spanish and more about the Mexican culture and Hispanic culture in general. All was fun and exciting and we felt very daring, I’m sure, until we actually entered language school and faced the reality of learning a new language.

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The Resident

By Mark Geil

I lay on a cold metal table, pondering death and mortality, while Theo Huxtable dragged a scalpel down the middle of my chest.

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Talk to Strangers—Everybody Has a Story

By Jonathan Rogers

In a recent episode of the Radiolab podcast, producer Latif Nasser shares some of his techniques for finding stories to research and write about. The episode grows from this article, in which Nasser offers even more techniques, which range from setting Google alerts to rummaging around in library collections of personal papers and oral histories to repeatedly clicking the “random article” button on Wikipedia.

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To Be Whole: A Call from the Fringe of Society

By Kevin Morse

Have you ever wondered about the artwork that decorates the covers of so many of Wendell Berry’s books? I have, and so years ago I went digging to find out what I could about the pieces, and the man behind them. In doing so, I was introduced to one of those fascinating characters that hides behind the curtains of history.

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Self-Expression As Worship

By Hetty White

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my mom and I watched The Man Who Invented Christmas. It’s the mostly made-up origin story of how Charles Dickens (played by the delightful Dan Stevens) came to write A Christmas Carol. It was especially fun to see how his characters physically showed up when he learned their names. “Scrooge,” he finally says, after fumbling around with “Scratch” and “Scrounger,” and then suddenly an old, ornery man appears in his room who continues to follow him around for the rest of the movie, yelling at him.

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