In The Hollow


In The Hollow

By Rich Earl

When I first came to Pennsylvania from my native Long Island, NY to attend college, I fell in love with the mountains and hills and hollows. Their majestic beauty and ability to shield and cover were a glorious mystery to me. In the past few years hollows (those cozy places between two hills) in particular have provided great comfort and solace to me during some health crises experienced by the people I love most.

Hollows are special places. You can usually find a stream at the bottom, and these are especially active, and even violent in the spring. Wildflowers proliferate, as well as all forms of wildlife. At the same time, not all is rosy. Hollows can be buggy, and falling trees are a danger to be reckoned with. I find hollows to be a metaphor for the presence of God, a secret place or retreat in the midst of the darkness that often engulfs us.

Our minds sometimes require seed to get thinking started. Some folks are fountains of creative thought, but the engine of my thinking requires a catalyst. My hope is that this volume will provide you with daily seed to tune your mind to things eternal. I trust the nuggets will find good ground to take root in your life.

I intend this book to reach a wide audience. This is not just for the devout believer. There is much here to appeal to those still searching for truth or faith. If it draws you one step closer that will be wonderful. Or perhaps it will simply cause you to question something you thought was true, but now see it differently.

You will notice that the entries are taken from a variety of sources, both spiritual and literary. The Bible is the source of truth, but we can find sparks of truth every corner, and from some unlikely sources. I have been pointed in the right direction by some unlikely musicians, authors and professors, and a few preachers too. Sometimes I had a revelation when I realized that a certain idea was completely wrong, and I moved in the other direction.

Do not be mistaken, my source is the Word of God and my experiences as a new Christian and eventually as a pastor over the past 35 years have done nothing to undermine that foundation. But I was not always a believer and I believe God used many thoughts, ideas, songs, books, movies and people to draw me to Himself. The earth is the Lords and everything in it, and it is a small act for Him to use any good thing to plant a seed of faith in us. 

There may seem to be an air of randomness to the selections. There is some method to the monthly choices. I tried to keep the images appropriately seasonal, but the thoughts are more random, as our spiritual life does not always align with earthly seasons. Rather than micro-managing the arrangement, I have left room for God to speak through the arrangement of entries.


The commentary found under each quotation is written for the purpose of illumining the idea. I must admit there are quotations which I felt needed little if any explanation, so I tried to avoid verbosity.

This volume does not contain simplistic formulae or pat answers to spiritual questions. In fact, it leaves many questions unanswered, and may raise more questions than it answers. Life with God is not that orderly or routine. We each have a unique journey, and each day must be faced with a fresh vigor!


The Images

Almost all of the images were taken with my Olympus OMD EM5 mirrorless camera. None of the shots were “staged’. I prefer to shoot things in their natural state, as if God placed them there for me to capture, so I left them undisturbed with the exception that I sometimes move a twig or leaf that is obstructing the shot, but this is rare.


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