“In every ending . . .”

In every ending there is hidden a new beginning. It should be no surprise then that my journey from the North Star State to the Lone Star State brings with it an end to Laughing Water and the birth of something else. That “something else” is called Tumbleweed Almanac, which you can find here: http://neilwillard.com/

Take a look!

Quoting Wendell Berry: “Let others come.”

So this was my last view from the windows of the Rector’s study at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina, Minnesota, on Sunday afternoon. It was the last day that I stood at the Lord’s Table as the Rector of St. Stephen’s to give thanks to God with the people of that congregation. Afterwards, I took this photograph.

That particular moment, both the view and the occasion, brought to mind the words of a poem by Wendell Berry from his book Leavings. It’s one of many poems that come from his Sunday morning walks and observations of the world, but this one has fitting last words: “Let others come.” To that, I say, “Amen.”


In time a man disappears
from his lifelong fields, from
the streams he has walked beside,
from the woods where he sat and waited.
Thinking of this, he seems to
miss himself in those places
as if always he has been there,
watching for himself to return.
But first he must disappear,
and this he foresees with hope,
with thanks. Let others come.

Penultimate Walk by Minnehaha Creek

Wow. Since my last post a lot of things have happened in the life of the Willards. Next month we will be moving from Minnesota to Texas, where I will become the Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston. The easiest way to get caught up on the events that led to all of this is to read this post on the blog of my wife Carrie: “From the North Star State to the Lone Star State . . .”

This past weekend I said farewell to the people of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina, Minnesota. As you would expect, it was a bittersweet moment. I was a little emotional in the pulpit and, at the end, when I walked down the aisle with our two sons, each of whom was born in Minnesota and baptized in that church.

The picture below shows the windows of the Rector’s study at St. Stephen’s that overlook Minnehaha Creek. They’re the ones on the upper-left side. From there I’ve seen everything from bald eagles in the winter to all sorts and conditions of humanity floating downstream in the summer in kayaks and canoes and on inner tubes and at least one homemade raft that Huckleberry Finn himself would have admired. All of that and so much more inspired this blog, Laughing Water.

I took this picture on Saturday afternoon, when the Rector’s study was mostly empty and I decided to take my penultimate walk by the creek – a holy moment.


Beneath the Winter Hat and the Parka and . . .

Yesterday marked the 50th subzero morning of winter in the Twin Cities. It’s not the snow but the extreme cold that makes it brutal. According to the National Weather Service, this winter ranks fifth for Minneapolis and St. Paul in the total number of subzero low temperatures since 1871, when the U.S. Army Signal Service began recording weather observations in downtown St. Paul. So I hope that you’ll understand why I’ve looked like this while outside in recent months:

Winter Hat

In case you’re wondering, here’s what is beneath all of that: Continue reading