Category Archive: Random Thoughts

Sep 25 2013

On mountain ash and other miracles.

My heart goes pitter-patter when the shuttle leaves Minneapolis and I catch the first glimpses of Minnesota birches. Then one after another birch groves begin to pass by and patches of tall, straight pines crowned at the top. Mixed foliage of maples, aspen, and ash, linden trees… This is the North, and I recognize the …

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Sep 15 2013

On the big and small.

Unoriginally, I must start with a sunrise. Yet another sunrise. I thought I would write today about the parable of the prodigal child – today’s gospel, but the sunrise, you see… Here at the monastery, I live on the roof. Well, on the fifth floor of a four-storey building, so a door leads right out …

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Sep 05 2013

On Peter and the mysterious Russian soul.

A couple of weeks ago, I had another one of my regular spats with friends or acquaintances that happen whenever there’s something Russian or other I refuse to explain or declare untranslatable. As much as I protested and tried ineptly to describe my bi-lingual, bi-cultural dilemma, all was in vain: I was once again accused …

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Jul 30 2013

On falling asleep and putting to sleep.

My neighbor just put his dog to sleep. I’ve met the dog – a vivacious, playful lab, unquestionably happy and full of spirit. I went on a walk once with this neighbor and his two dogs. What the man did, he did obviously out of care and compassion, and now he mourns. This is common. …

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Jun 27 2013

A prayer.

Today was a long, marginally strange day filled with words and roads and streaming thoughts and tiny emotional upheavals. Tomorrow will be another day, and I fly through the sky and land and fly again, and say good-byes and hellos. I don’t want to go another week without talking to you, my friends, but I …

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Jun 15 2013

On my wind-blown heart.

I am in Kansas now, like some through-the-looking-glass Dorothy, where left is right, and I know this isn’t home but my fleeting, exhausting, ruthless and wind-blown fairy tale, and soon an airplane-shaped tornado will carry back home the little old me, just the same as I was and yet not the same. Because I’ve been …

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Apr 07 2013

On gratitude in safety, or “There but for the Grace of God!”

I snapped at my best friend three days ago. I came pretty close to yelling at him and essentially accused him of being selfish, unfeeling, and disconnected from fellow creatures – unfairly, mind you. My best friend is none of those things. In fact, he is one of the nicest, kindest people I know and …

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Mar 12 2013

On the waving and burning of flags.

My family is not really much for flag-waving. It’s a sweet thing to do – and we do still on occasion – but I suppose the bitterness of the dust kicked up by our collapsing civilization, flags and all, twenty some years ago spoiled our taste for it. I see all around me houses, balconies, …

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Jan 24 2013

On what I miss and don’t. Part II.

Last week, inspired by Julia Ioffe’s article “What I Will (And Won’t) Miss About Living in Moscow” (written about her three years in today’s Russian capital), I began to write about living in Leningrad in the 70’s and 80’s. What I miss and don’t miss about my city, about Soviet Russia – about my first …

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Jan 14 2013

On what I miss and don’t. Part I.

I was going to write about something else entirely, but thoughts and other things conspired and interfered and changed my mind. First, if you are my regular reader, you know that I am moving, and so I’ve been doing much talking lately about home and leaving it and being away from the places we love. …

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