Thin Spaces

My friend Rebecca wrote this thought-provoking post on ‘thin spaces’, the Celtic concept of places (or moments) where the spirit world comes very near to our world. We can reach through and touch it; or it brushes us. She asked where we find our thin spaces. It might be a physical place, or it might be an experience. It might be something we can seek out, or it might be something that we can’t, that just comes upon us.

Here is my short list, the things that jumped immediately into my mind:
– being with someone during labour and birth
– sometimes while writing, when the words seem to come from beyond me
– when someone reads a poem out loud
– when my body is working very hard and my mind becomes very quiet

I was out with my siblings last night (and Kevin!), and I was thinking about how all five of us Snyder kids are both creative and impractical (thank heavens Kevin is practical). I don’t mean we’re disorganized or incapable of functioning in the world, but I do think we look at some practical things, such as work and earning a living, differently. Somehow, we must have been raised to value the making of things more than the buying of things. I think within that is some quiet value, never spoken of, of thin spaces. And our thin spaces maybe aren’t that profitable, but we were raised to choose unprofitable over practical if unprofitable feeds us in other ways.

I think many people choose the work they choose because it brings them closer to those thin spaces. What’s your work? Does it take you to unexpected moments or places of peace / calm / meditation / joy / insight / grace / giving / acceptance / fill-in-the-blank-with-your-word-for-a-thin-space?

Our Yard


  1. Janis

    I love this idea of thin spaces, Carrie, and definitely chose my work in a desire to seek them out in my work as well as in daily life.
    My short list:
    Gazing at my children when they don’t know I’m doing it.
    The feel and flavour of delicious food in my mouth. Fresh fruit especially.
    Finishing a really well written book (reading it, not writing it – I’m not as talented as you)
    Being outside in a beautiful space.
    The right song at the right time.

    I think that accessing these spaces feed us and it is important to seek them out. But even better is when they sneak up and find you.

    Thanks for a thoughtful entry.

  2. Carrie Snyder

    Thanks for your comment, Janis. It reminded me that I’m sometimes greedy for thin spaces … but that they can’t really be grabbed, and they’re special because they’re rare.


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