Raised a Catholic and serving as an altar boy as a child, Nicholas Trandahl still has a fondness for the faith even though he is no longer fully aligned with its beliefs. He writes: ‘I’m certainly a fan of Pope Francis and the changes he’s tried to bring about in the Church. I was thrilled when he recently took a trip to Iraq to visit with the Grand Ayatollah and visit holy and historic sites—the first time a pontiff has ever done so, I believe. Sort of doing his small part to heal a long-standing hostile rift between the Christian and Muslim worlds that has festered since before the Crusades. Updates of his trip were inspiring to me, and I wrote the rough draft of Francis and Sistani one late winter morning before my wife and I went on a snowy hike in the backcountry. I read it to her while we lunched on the high rim of a canyon, surrounded by snow, mountains, and scattered pines.‘
Francis and Sistani
after Pope Francis’ trip to Iraq, 2021
Like a tired old ghost, one great white soul moves, nearly luminous in the shadows, through Najaf’s ancient back alleys to make peace with another— all in black, frail hands resting, perhaps nervously, on his thighs as he waits. Amend.
Nicholas Trandahl is an Army veteran, poet, journalist, outdoorsman, and traveler. He finds inspiration in new adventures, nature, books, good food, and the understated beauty of everyday life. His writing communicates a sincere search for truth and answers and his fondness for the natural world in an age where humanity’s connection to the earth is tenuous at best. Trandahl lives in rural Wyoming with his wife and daughters. His poetry collections are Pulling Words (Winter Goose Publishing, 2017), Think of Me (Winter Goose Publishing, 2018), and Bravery (Winter Goose Publishing, 2019). His novel Good Brave People was published by Winter Goose Publishing in 2020.