Cliff Penwell

Trust in the Imperfect

My priorities are changing. On a jog through our little housing complex recently, this fact was called out to me by a bold message scrawled on a neighbor’s driveway. “I  My Neigbors,” it declared. The big heart, scratched bold on the cracked pavement, caught my eye first. It used up the better part of a big …

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Unpacking Our Fears

There’s an old phrase among hikers that says we tend to pack our fears. That is, if left to our own devices, most of us will compensate for uncertainty by adding “just in case” stuff to our backpacks. Maybe it will snow, so I’d better bring along those extra gloves and some winter gaiters…or, on the …

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Redefining Pilgrimage

A few months before the Current Era began I had an outrageous thought. I decided it would be a good idea to walk the length of the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,653-mile path that fingers its way from the Mohave Desert at the California-Mexico border to its terminus near the 49th Parallel, up at the furry …

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Memorial Day Message

On this US Memorial Day weekend, our message is one of gratitude. We acknowledge the many men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country–and, in the midst of this hopeful and haunting time, we add our thanks to those who serve in ways that remind us of the …

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Finding Our Forever Pace

One Until late yesterday afternoon, my wife and I were packing to begin our annual migration from the Southwest (winter) to the Northwest (summer). We were to leave in a couple of days, part of a yearly ritual that finds us saying goodbye to friends here in Tucson and returning to our “northern” friends for …

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Love Is the Helper and Hero

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are …

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