Advent Ghosts 2021: “Presence”

The Paw Paw Tunnel is a 3,118-foot-long canal tunnel on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Allegany County, Maryland. Located near Paw Paw, West Virginia, it was built to bypass the Paw Paw Bends, a six-mile stretch of the Potomac River containing five horseshoe-shaped bends. 

Winding my way. The commonwealth for an hour, but now it’s the oldest county in the state no one seems to believe is real. I can feel the old. It looks into my windows. Trying both to outrun it and let it ride with me.

The turns. Always the turns, then blindness, then an opening. Pressing fuel but now another turn. 

Four hills, and narrow. Speed lost, though I look for it. A crumbling stone bridge suggests in silence I can’t cross.

I cross and the stones disappear behind me.

It will be soon. And all out of my hands.

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Advent Ghosts 100 Word Storytelling is put on by Loren Eaton at I Saw Lightning Fall. You can read this year’s entries there. Visit back here throughout the day for a growing crop of spooky stories from a range of writers! Loren posts them all day as we approach the darkest day of the year.

This is an exactly 100-word flash fiction piece for a tradition of writing ghost stories on Christmas Eve. We acknowledge a sinful and hopeless world, and welcome the dawn in full awareness that Christmas day brings us light.

Search tag “Advent Ghosts” to read all of my 100-word stories for this project over the years.

Labor Day: The Day of the Prophets

From the National Archives: Photos taken by Jack Corn in 1974 of coal miners working for the Virginia–Pocahontas Coal Company, at Mine #4 near Richlands, Virginia

“This Labor Day, we Christians should stand in solidarity with the American worker, in the spirit of the “Social Creed of the Churches.” Labor Day is one of those national holidays that once commemorated an important dimension of the American experience, but more often now it just serves as another three-day excuse to eat hot dogs and watch fireworks. Labor Day ought to be an annual celebration of the American worker, an acknowledgment of the importance of the working class to the common good of the United States. With all due respect to the “job creators” to whom US economic policy is so subservient, the health of our economy and our democracy depends on labor, on the production and consumption of our working class. Labor Day offers a ritualistic reminder of our indebtedness and responsibility to our laborer-citizens. It invites our country to annually renew its pledge to protect the working class, in the name of the common good.”

Read more from my good friend, James Calvin Davis, here: https://jamescalvindavis.com/2021/09/05/labor-day-the-day-of-the-prophets/

You can purchase his book, American Liturgy: Finding Theological Meaning in the Holy Days of U.S. Culture, here (it’s SO GOOD), and everywhere books are sold: https://wipfandstock.com/9781725271319/american-liturgy/