Posts in: Memories

Darcy brought me two prayer cards from the Pisa Cathedral. One is for “Madonna di sotto gli organi” (Madonna under the organs–referring to the location of the painting), which mentions the painting’s escape from the cathedral fire in 1595. The other is for St. Ranieri, patron saint of Pisa.

Translation of the prayer on the back of the Madonna card, via Google Translate:

Virgin Mary,

Mother of God and of every man, who watches over Pisa and protects her, look at us who confidently turn to your maternal intercession.

In your image, which escaped the devastation of fire and is venerated with love by the people of Pisa, you show us Christ your Son as the path that leads to the Father, as the light that shines in the darkness, as the brother and savior of those who seek truth and life. You who trusted God teach us to rely on his will and his providence: in our difficulties, give us strength; in our anguish, increase hope in us; in our sorrows, communicate your joy to us.

May your help and your affection as a Mother support us on the path of the Gospel, because enlightened by Christ, light of the world, we bear witness to it to those we meet on our path and together we give glory to God who lives and reigns forever and ever.


Auto-generated description: The image shows two religious artworks: one depicts the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus, both crowned, and the other features a saint-like figure with a dove near their head. Auto-generated description: The image shows two texts side by side, one in Italian and one in English, containing prayers and religious invocations to the Madonna of Pisa and Saint Ranieri.

Darcy is home and we’re all very thankful. The Abels are not a traveling people. Rachel and I already knew this about ourselves but Darcy is discovering it also. She had some good moments but it was mostly a stressful experience for her, for various reasons.

Now having contributed–perhaps unwisely–to election talk, I return to ignoring politics and focusing my attention on what is mine to do: long-distance parenting for the next three days, accounting at the end of the fiscal year, furniture restoration, and enjoying our Limestone Festival.

We sent Darcy off to Europe for 12 days this morning. (Spain then south of France then Italy.) That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Darcy was having second thoughts but we talked her through it. Once we parted, Rachel and I sat on a bench and cried for a good while.

I’ve been pretty okay with this whole high school graduation thing but then Rachel sent me this pair of pictures and whew boy.

Today was launch day for an endowment management system that a group of us have been working on for 18 months—and so far, so good. This is the third such system we’ve built over 20 years because there’s nothing on the market quite like it. Great system, well-managed project, but I’m glad it’s over!

For a brief time in the spring here in the White River watershed, the redbuds fairly glow with their pale purple blooms. It’s one of the signs of the shifting seasons. You suddenly notice how widespread the trees are: all over the hillsides, along the roads. Who knew that those small trees–unnoticed for the rest of the year–were capable of such beauty?

As I write this, our neighbor is having his healthy redbud cut down. Something about it making a mess on his roof. Suffice it to say we have very different ideas about trees.

During that spring bloomtime, I can walk up my stairs and see the redbud framed in our bedroom window. It’s astonishing, every time.

One day I had been changing clothes in our bedroom with the door shut. As I turned to leave, I was caught up by the light playing on the door. Later, I wrote the following:

I reach to open–
pause–the redbud behind me
glorifies the door.

I’m on the road today—driving from Salem to Paoli to French Lick to Loogootee, looking for old tools in junk shops and flea markets. Listening to the Why We Drive audiobook, appropriately enough.

A couple of cops had a car stopped in front of our house last night around 2am. Probably a drug arrest, since they were searching the car. First thing I thought: they’d better not run because they’ll end up stepping on one of our plants. Thankfully, they did not.