This is Where . . .

Autumn pond.  Photo by Callen Harty.

Autumn pond. Photo by Callen Harty.

This is where I find my god–in the woods and the prairies, in the birds and the flowers all around me; in the bowing grasses and wind-bent trees that surround me; in the rivers and streams that never cease; in my stream of consciousness. In the rippling and light-dappled pond I see a reflection of that god and fall to my knees in prayer and reflection.

This is where I lay my sorrows–at the base of a bent and gnarled tree, at the horizon where the grass meets the sky; in the clouds that envelop me; in the hand of a hill reaching down for me.

This is where my peace resides–in the soul of a robin and the sound of a cardinal; in the flight of a dragonfly and the humming of hummingbird wings.

This is where I am alive, where I connect with my ancestors and where I better understand my brothers and sisters. This is where I pray, simply by being. This is my church, my synagogue, my place of worship, and my place in the universe.

This is my temple. This is where my god speaks to me–in the breath of an autumn breeze, in the roar of a winter wind; in the silence where I face myself and my own nature. This is where I find my god.

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of four books and numerous published essays, poems, and articles. His most recent book is The Stronger Pull, a memoir about coming out in a small town in Wisconsin. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, is a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His play, Invisible Boy, is a narrative with poetic elements and is also an autobiographical look as surviving child sex abuse. All are available on (and three of them on Kindle) or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he started as an actor, writer, and director in 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him their annual Courage Award winner for his activism, writing, and speaking on sexual assault.
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