Lost Art: A Letter To Something Gone Missing

“A Quiet Place For Words” Letter Number Nine was mailed out to subscribers yesterday. On the wings of Tiny Letter. From me to you. Join me there once a week or so. Slipped quietly into your inbox. I promise to tip toe in. Not make too much extra noise.  To subscribe click the link here: Tiny Letter: Elizabeth W. Marshall.  

Lost Art: A Letter To Something Gone Missing

Dear Smallness:

Sometimes I pad around sock-footed or bare-footed, really it is more of a meandering. I am hunting in the corners and out in the open for the smallest of things. It is hard to sneak up on the small things when you are shod in street shoes. Clugging and clunking scares the memories. The repositories of once-upon-a-time, sepia souvenirs of past lives, faded places of remembering. They go a-hiding. This house holds tiny treasures tucked away or in plain view. It depends on how intensely you look. A home built in 1908, one housing family memories – generations of photographs, books and art- will call you into its smallness. That’s where the richness is held. Lodged in the in-between.

At Woodland Heights I wander. Slowly search for new smallness preserved among the old pine floors, wallpapered bedrooms and oak paneled walls. Minutia lies waiting in the mad and crazy world. It leads to big discoveries. The kind that reveal the best stories of birth- day parties with little girls in dresses and donkey rides to school. Stories of adventurous sun-browned summer boys jumping off of high dives into Lake Susan. Of first born Christenings and five generations of black and white family portraits hung proudly on a dark stairwell. Of family, then and now. Of love and loss.

Yesterday I marveled at snowdust. It is the first cousin of fairy dust. Driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains, it snowed. But I wanted to rename it.  A mixture of icy confetti-like precipitation with the look of volcanic ash, it was barely snow. It looked like snow globe snow or dust bunny fragments, but not at all like the real thing. In the right light it looked like fragments of glass. Sometimes the real deal is hard to find. But it was snow. And the flakes were small. And it was beautiful. I pictured each flake under the microscope. And remembered being a child and marveling at the shapes of flakes under the glass, one hundred times their real life size. Icy art sculptures. The eye deceives. This itty bitty, tiny snow was snow, after all.

 And I know small can be deceivingly big sometimes. The time one small mosquito slips into your ear at 10 o’clock on a cool summer’s eve just as you are about to fall asleep. You remember the painful amplification of a single miniscule bug turning your nocturnal world upside down. And you never forget. One sunburned nose. One stubbed toe. One bloodied up skinned knee.

I know the big sting of one cruel word. The raw hurt of one hurtful slight. The pain of one rant, one unforeseen verbal punch or one lost friendship.

Small can hurt too.

But hope calls forth the beauty in the ash. And forgiveness and restoration wash over brokenness and bruises.

Small, mostly I want you to reveal yourself to me. The cool trickling creek by a partially snow-covered path, a quote from John Muir right at the start of a frigid walk in the arctic mountain air. Timed just right to warm the soul. The just rightness of its poetic balm soothes you as you shiver.

Small, come by here. Reveal yourself.

Small, come back to us and never leave.

You are welcome here. You are treasured. And we delight in all you are and in all you are not. Sacred smallness. Come and delight us in your discovery.

Amen. The end.





Dear Marvelous:

You found me. Perhaps I found you. We found each other. We are now sojourners for a journey of days and weeks and seasons, through the calendar of 2016. While the earth spins and turns, we will look for the poetry. Together.

We missed the early days. We had not found each other yet when January began her spartan dance, slow and waltzing. Fresh with hope. So we are shy a full deck of 365. But we press on in the remaining. Linked. Arms hooked. You are an encourager of delight, a finder of the extraordinary and a lover of whimsy.

You are not the Pollyanna that some may think. You are not the eternal optimist. The wearer of rose-colored glasses. You are green with new birth. Effervescent with joy in the face of discovery. Yes, you are life-giving and eager to delight in the best. Often the simple.

The “m” sits on the edge of pursed lips, determined and brave and pushes off like a swimmer doing the butterfly. A graceful lunge. Into the realm of wonder and possibility. A sea of mystery and marvel. High tides, low tides. Ebbing and flowing. Always tossing up the treasures to be collected on the edges of our walk.

So there you are. Light in the dark. Warmth in the cold. You shade and color the nuances of life with glorious richness. With exquisite simplicity. Elegance in the simple. You are regal as a peasant in her everyday-ness. You are riches in the rags. Hope in despair. Light in the shadows.

Marvelous, you are a mindset. A lens. A capturer of life’s best and rarest. A treasure seeker. A seeker of intrigue.

Thank you for choosing me. Here’s to a year of marveling together. At all the mystery. Through the pain. Into the dark days. Around the deep ditches and past the hurdles of sorrow. Over, under, around.

Here’s to uncovering the marvelous. For you and for me. In the everyday. In every day. In Him and by Him. Glory be to the Creator of the marvelous.







Lost Art


Lost Art

A hundred  years from now
Will they lay blame
Squarely at our feet
Like a tom cat
Depositing the spoils of his latest feline
Hunter-Gatherer session in the pines,
a limp songbird clothed in broken robe of red

The extinction of all that is lost
Weep for us at least
At the scarcity

For along with the earth, the sky and sea
Damage to
Mountains, rivers, ponds and streams
It seems we’ve lost the art of
That and this
Those most beautiful of things
Take inventory
Line them up
And see along with me
The dim memory of the art of life’s fragile
Finest things
Savoring, simplicity, longing and lingering in quiet wait
How cruel to let them die
Expire from our midst
I still want to string these things
That make our life a masterpiece
Like pearls along a silky cord
laughing, loving, and really listening
And these?
An out of order, unalpha-ed partial list of things
That we used to know the art of
Practiced at their practice
Refining them with runs up and down the scales
As if our lives depended on it
Perhaps in fact they did

Discover the art of being lost in forests
Over-grown with grace
Scavenge with me among the fields of broken hallelujah’s

Excavate thankfulness
Resurrect forgiveness

(A renaissance of simplicity is waiting to be re-born)

For all is not lost
Afterall, after all these three remain
Faith, hope and love

hang the masterpieces of our lives
on the sacred nail

Sacrificed with blood and flesh and
Restore the things
But now I’m found
Find these things with me








Tiny Letter #7 goes to subscribers tomorrow. I saved a spot for you there — “A Quiet Place For Words”. Subscription is free. Click the link to sign up. It is on of my favorite places these days because  it is where I hear from so many of you. Thank you for writing me and for responding and for journeying with me.

peace and grace,




If I Tell You A Secret: Plus my #oneword365



If I Tell You A Secret

Well, tell in the figurative sense
Tuck them in the cracks and creases of places
That demand some unraveling
Shallow dives into the mystery, the murky
Chip away
Would you, or toss aside unknowing
Wait don’t tell me

It is better that I don’t know

You have told secrets
Laying in wait
Listen for the poetry

Dormant in the pages
Some beg, others ask
To be told

I listened to an artist once
Then tried to stop
But eye to eye it was hard
To listen, well
Hubris got in the way of an otherwise great story
Telling is the artist’s gift
I grew thirsty, parched
Really for her to pour a tall glass
Of humility
She dipped her brush, the fat one
Into the loud colors, neon’s and school bus yellow, hospital wall green
Drops dripped on the canvas of her telling
On the places that begged to remain white
I found my breath
At the end of her pride

I used to say I wish I could paint
Repeated it until it grew dull and lifeless
As a phrase
I birthed my own cliche

Now, it seems
I long to tell more secrets

floating just beneath the surface of our souls
where the healing lives



One Word 365

The word found me. And I linked arms with it. The word doesn’t dictate the other words. It shades and reminds. It doesn’t boss. It leads. It doesn’t demand attention, it whispers inspiration. It doesn’t seek the spotlight. It shares it.

It is  marvelous.  Because I want to marvel more in 2016 at the wonder and the beauty. Tease out the threads of extraordinary in the ordinary. Leave the dull and life-less on the shelf. And dip my pen into the inkwell of all that this word whispers to me.

Thank you for journeying with me in 2016.

peace and grace,































































That is no secret
That is the truth