cover image WHAT THE LAND ALREADY KNOWS: Winter's Sacred Days


Phyllis Tickle, . . Loyola, $14.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-8294-1766-1

Tickle provides 11 autobiographical essays that tie her experiences at the family farm ("The Farm In Lucy," she announces, with all words duly capitalized) with various aspects of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Tickle's understanding of time is also shaped by the lesser feasts of the holiday season, such as St. Thomas's Day (an opportunity for reflection on doubt and defeat, as she felt weighed down by the responsibility of managing Christmas gifts for her seven children), and the Feasts of Saints Stephen and John. Two chapters use the Mary and Joseph candles of the Advent wreath as springboards into marvelous essays about how Tickle and her husband manage their roles in their household; another uses the saving of a frozen calf as a vehicle for a profound Epiphany reflection. With wisdom, humor and deep insight, Tickle's gorgeous compositions speak to the spiritual riches of the entire season. (Sept.)