About The Silken Tent 1999-2005

This section of The Silken Tent contains most of the material posted to the site since its inception in 1999. The material has been edited to achieve a uniform look and feel (no more floral sidebars and cute dividing lines) and to remove dead links.

The separate volumes that formerly comprised The SIlken Tent include:

  • My Letter to the World — I used this title from 1999 through 2003. The first post is dated February 13, 1999. This was by coincidence my mother’s birthday, the day she would have turned 88. The title comes from Emily Dickinson: “This is my letter to the World . . . Judge tenderly — of Me.”
  • The Gestures of Trees — I intended the 2003 posts to be the raw material for a collection of essays chronicling a suburban year. The title comes from Loren Cruden’s book The Spirit of Place: “Life moves most gracefully in the gestures of trees – resilient, responsiove, unafraid.”
  • Dwelling in Possibility — I returned to Emily Dickinson for the epigraph of the 2004 series. “I dwell in possibility,” she wrote. The subtitle was “A Year of Change.”
  • The Soul Ajar — I used Emily Dickinson again in 2005. “The Soul should always stand ajar, that if the Heaven inquire, he will not be obliged to wait.”
  • Sursum Corda — At the beginning of my online presence I kept a separate section of essays on spiritual matters, something of a religious autobiography in the making. I posted only fourteen essays from February 1999 to February 2000. In The Silken Tent 1999–2005 they are filed by date among the other posts and identified by the category “Sursum Corda.” The title comes from my mother’s favorite part of the Latin Mass. “Sursum Corda (Lift up your hearts!)” says the priest. The response is “Habemus ad Dominem! (We have lifted them up to the Lord!)” I hear it in English now in the Lutheran liturgy I participate in. It marks the shift from the Service of the Word to the Service of the Sacrament, and when I hear it I feel connected to my mother and my religious history.
  • No Brief Candle — Ten essays posted between May of 1999 and July of 2001 were the beginning of a family history project. Like the Sursum Corda pieces, they will be file by date among the others and identified by the category “No Brief Candle.” The title comes from George Bernard Shaw: “Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” Shaw is rebutting Shakespeare, whose Macbeth cries, “Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.”
  • Enormous Moments — Before I used WordPress at the silkentent.com domain, I used space at Typepad.com to post material from my summer travels in 2004 and 2005, as well as the Holidailies posts made beginning in December 2005. These pieces, too, are being filed in chronological order and identified in the categories as either “Vermont,” “Wyoming,” or “Holidailies.” The title comes from Natalie Goldberg’s Long Quiet Highway: “Every moment is enormous.”

Please see the front page post for this section for a short history of the site. Happy reading, and thanks for being here!


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