Category: Matters of the Spirit

Based in Batignolles 4: Love Locked Down

Posted May 19th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 4: Love Locked Down

The novelist Federico Mocci (b. 1963) published a story in 2006 called Ho Voglia di Te (“I want you”), some variation on the star-crossed lovers theme, in which a doomed pair affix a lock to the Milvian Bridge in the northern suburbs of Rome as a symbol of their eternal devotion, and toss the key…

Christmas Letter 2016

Posted December 13th, 2016
Christmas Letter 2016

Dearest all, I made the pilgrimage on my own, from our moorage on the Danube in Passau, Germany, up the Wallfahrtsstiege, the 321 steps to the Mariahilf.  I counted off the Stations of the Cross and contemplated the gifts people had left, pleas for help and expressions of gratitude. No one else was there, no…

Beautiful Blue Danube 4: Pilgrimage

Posted June 6th, 2016
Beautiful Blue Danube 4: Pilgrimage

I was alone in the church, and the two people I saw as a reached the summit had gone when I came out. A slight breeze tousled my hair away from perspiring neck, a mother’s caress; I was still slightly breathless after the climb. Birds sang and the sun shone on Mariahilf, deepening the colors…

That Is Such Sad News

Posted August 22nd, 2015
That Is Such Sad News

A Facebook friend inquires, “Is death always sad?” The comment followed former president Jimmy Carter’s announcement that he has terminal cancer. A number of people from NPR’s Diane Rehm to ordinary friends have found the news “sad.” My FBF continued: “Although I greatly admire Carter, I disagree. Of course, I don’t want him (or anyone)…

Šeima Means Family 6: In the Loops

Posted May 24th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 6: In the Loops

You think you know what to expect but you really don’t. I had a vision of the Nemunas Loops Regional Park (Nemuno kilpų regioninis parkas) as a sprawling area, a place needing vigorous hiking skills or better yet a car. The park is 25,171 hectares—a quantity that meant nothing to me. That’s 61.8 acres, though,…

Šeima Means Family 5: In My Dreams

Posted May 17th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 5: In My Dreams

It was possibly the best day of the trip. Or maybe not best. Maybe it is the one most firmly nestled into my visual cortex, the collection of images most likely to reappear when I am asked about Lithuania, what I experienced, what I remember. In television programs like Who Do You Think You Are?…

Šeima Means Family 4: A Heart Left In Ashes

Posted May 4th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 4: A Heart Left In Ashes

The location is still marked on Google Maps: Balbieriškio Švč. Mergelės Marijos, Holy Mary of the Rosary in Balbieriškis on Vilniaus gatvė. On maps.lt, the church is outlined, a classical basilica, a rectangular nave with a semicircular apse at one end. Yet if you search the pictures that line the bottom of the Google map,…

Šeima Means Family 2: The Determination of Memory

Posted April 30th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 2: The Determination of Memory

Most of us choose what to remember. We cherish feelings illuminated through rose-colored glasses and forget the uncomfortable; sometimes we nurse the grievances and grudges that give us our sense of self. In any case, the content and color of the past, the limning of our history is largely up to us. In Lithuania, memory…