When life speeds up, I want to slow down. As I change the tempo of my life, I notice my breath deepen, my pulse slow, and my gaze narrows its focus. I may fix my eyes for a while on something small that catches my attention: a lizard-y critter scampering along the lanai screen, a brittle leaf blowing across the driveway.

Before I knew better, I used to chide myself for simply staring into space. Now I regard such an impulse as a survival skill. Especially at this stage in my life. Especially now.

There is a Sanskrit word, drishti, which loosely translates as “focused gaze.” After a brief trip out of the big city last week, I returned with a need to find balance, restore equilibrium again. Walking around my home intentionally, in spaces both inside and outside my house, I could slow down. The photos here have become the focus for my meditation for this past week, a collage of light and dark, sunshine and shadow. An altar in the world.



A window on the world. . . fresh view


Open hand, outstretched toward the day’s possibilities


View outside the window of my writing studio


Evening glow






I fill the feeder with nectar often, even in February. Maybe feathered friends other than hummingbirds are finding sustenance here.




Blessed are you

who bear the light

in unbearable times,

who testify

to its endurance

amid the unendurable,

who bear witness

to its persistence

when everything seems

in shadow

and grief.

Blessed are you

in whom

the light lives,

in whom

the brightness blazes—

your heart

a chapel,

an altar where

in the deepest night

can be seen

the fire that

shines forth in you

in unaccountable faith,

in stubborn hope,

in love that illumines

every broken thing

it finds.

© Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons



Books to inspire

Wendell Berry, A Timbered Choir: Chronicles twenty years of the author’s walking through woods; a book of poems which pays attention to trees, fields, warblers, and light. Sabbath meditations.

Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World, A Geography of Faith. Invites readers to observe what’s easily overlooked; for example, the author regards the soft earth as a guest book where deer, turkey, snail, and a raccoon deposit their signatures, a parade of evidence that she has had company on her morning walk.


Temporal vs. Eternal

. . . for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.



“This checkered life we were living, patches of darks and lights stitched with tight threads, was beginning to reveal patterns, proof we were on a good path together, facing the same direction most of the time. Such commitment, however, does not ensure a trouble-free life as Cliff and I discovered again one Friday in 1994.”   (Excerpt from Chapter 18 My Checkered Life: A Marriage Memoir 2023)


Happy Valentine’s Day!


What prompts you to stop and stare?

Something you’ve seen recently that arrested your attention?

Any book titles to add to the recommendations here?