cover image WISDOM IN THE WAITING: Spring's Sacred Days

WISDOM IN THE WAITING: Spring's Sacred Days

Phyllis Tickle, . . Loyola, $14.95 (130pp) ISBN 978-0-8294-1765-4

Respected author and PW contributing editor Tickle (The Divine Hours series) pens a thoughtful, memoir-like second installment in her three-book "Stories from The Farm in Lucy" series based on the liturgical year. In these 14 Easter season essays (including the award-winning "Final Sanity"), set against the backdrop of her Tennessee farm, Tickle skillfully illustrates that the rhythm of the land and of the natural world are mirrored in Christian liturgy: "the intertwining of physical and spiritual seasons is virtually inevitable." She subtly draws analogies about the period of Lent through Pentecost from everyday happenings in the Tickle family—and with seven children, there is no shortage of material. From watching distinctively marked caterpillars housed in her daughter Rebecca's bathroom turn into swallowtails (Ash Wednesday) to celebrating the first late spring evenings when fireflies illuminate the fields (Rogation Days), Tickle understands that "religion has always kept earth time. Liturgy only gives sanction to what the heart already knows." In one particularly poignant essay, she writes of the agony of waiting to discover if her missing young son had drowned in the family's pond, beautifully tying it into the passage of time that falls between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Her stories are often humorous, never cloying, sometimes gritty and always memorable. The prose is pure Tickle, her word choices as distinctive as a set of fingerprints. This small jewel of a book should engage the hearts and minds of thoughtful readers preparing for the Easter season, as well as invite reflection throughout the year. (Feb.)