In My END Is My Beginning

In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.
These verses begin the second of T.S. Eliot’s four quartets, and vividly illustrate a cycle of renewal and decay that Europe had come to know all too well. Writing during the beginning of the Second World War, Eliot was not the only person to blame the harsh conditions of the Treaty of Versailles for creating an atmosphere in which military conquest once again became an attractive option for Germany. And this, it seems, is only the most recent iteration of a cycle that began even before memory.

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Everyday Beauty

A Different Way of Being

As an American living abroad, I am asked constantly about the upcoming presidential election.  People are curious about the electoral college, about what makes a swing state swing, about why red and blue are the conservative and liberal party colors (they’re reversed in the UK).

A New Season Together

The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun. In this season of transition when we welcomed a new baby into our family and prepared for an international move, these words (and the song they inspired) keep running through my head.
Moments of change and transition are challenging. When we step away from familiar routines, places and people, it makes us much more aware of how vulnerable we are. This is especially true when we don’t have control over the change as it happens.