Green fields and barbed wire 2 cr.jpg

By Timothy Collins

May 26, 2017: Magical Twilight

20170509_204743 fx.jpg

 Sitting out on a quiet evening is certainly one joy of small-town living.

 If  the neighbors have their lights out (they usually do), life tends to settle down around 8:30 or 9:00. It can be quite still, with an occasional interruption from a train on the BNSF line a few blocks away. Amtrak, when it races by each night, is, for whatever reason, comforting.

A rising moon can cast wondrous shadows through the old trees, as it did during our early May full lunar spectacle.

By now, the fireflies have started to come out, and the yard is alight with hundreds of sparkling gold fairy-like lights.

All of this deepening twilight is magical, often marked by a flock of geese crossing overhead.

The proliferation of night wildlife this spring has broken the silence in wondrous ways. Because we have had so much rain, the tree frog chorus is the biggest I’ve ever heard. We seem to have some ducks or something else nearby, perhaps in a neighbor’s pool. An owl has taken up residence in a nearby tree.

Simple gifts, all of these.

I am grateful.

I cannot ask for more.

Except for the end of buffalo gnat season, which isn’t too far away.

I hope.

Night Sounds audio


May 7, 2017: Rural Sunday, a Reflection

2017 Rural Life Sunday b .jpg

The American custom of observing Rural Life Sunday (also called Rural Sunday) during the spring transcends denominational boundaries. It has its roots in the ancient custom of “Rogation Days” from the Latin “rogare” ― “to ask.”

(In modern English, we find the root in our word, “interrogation”).

Late in the Easter season, Christians in farming communities would ask a blessing on their fields, their seeds, their farm animals, and their own labor, that their planting would flourish and result in a good harvest.

It was a joyful, hopeful time of community prayer for the land and its people.

Sadly, the custom of Rural Sunday has diminished in recent decades as we have moved farther away from a farming society. Even those of us who live in rural communities too often find ourselves isolated from the diverse beauties of the rural land, not only its farms, but the works of all of its human inhabitants, as well as our fellow creatures.

Today, following up on Earth Day, we have another opportunity to give thanks for the fullness of the land and its natural beauty, the gift of God’s creation. Today is an invitation to be just a little bit closer to the rural landscape, its people, and its creatures on a glorious spring morning. (Adapted from 

Listen to the reflection

PDF version


June 19, 2016: Preparing for Solstice

The last evening of Spring: The Earth and Sun are approaching a balance of zenith. Read more.


 Blog Archives

Arts & Letters: Essays and Commentary

 Then and Now cover.jpg

Then and Now: Poems and Images

By Timothy Collins


Wings Logo 1 draft5 c.jpg

This all-but-forgotten "Negro Choir" was incredibly popular for singing spirituals in the 1930s and 1940s. It helped lower barriers to civil rights for blacks with its nationwide broadcasts on the CBS Radio Network and scores of live performances.

Wings Over Jordan: Music in the Air video

CLC Logo New 2.jpg

President Theodore Roosevelt's Country Life Commission of 1908-1909 created a legacy that helps us understand rural America today


Arts and Letters



Latest in the Daily Yonder

People on the Land


A Personal Look at the Gig Economy


Modern-Day Treasure Built on Utopian Past


Arts & Letters: Essays and Commentary


CUCC water.jpg

New Video

Prairie Hills Wetland Reserve: Reclaiming a Natural Treasure

 Prairie Land Conservancy has released a short video about the Prairie Hills Wetland Reserve near Banner, IL. It was produced by Tory Dahlhoff of Yeoman Filmer and Then and Now Media. You can find the video here.

A piece in the Daily Yonder describes the land conservancy and the property.

“Preserving the Prairie, a Plot at a Time.”


Journey Cover.jpgIn a highly unusual contribution to the cemetery literature of African-Americans, Dr. Sam Barber chronicles the story of racial discrimination that followed the black population of Greenville, NC, through life and even into the grave. The story he tells can provide communities with inspiration to retrieve and preserve their history.

 Read more.


Order your copy today:

Dr. Sam Barber  P.O. Box 1573 Winterville, NC 28590

Available through Amazon

Edited by Then and Now Media


A tribute to Sam Barber and his book


Barber's Brown Hill Cemetery Book Makes Positive Waves

Seling the State cover.jpg

Selling the State tells how economic development policies got started in Kentucky and changed over nearly 40 years. It is an rare account of state-level policy development.

Interview: Tri States Public Radio

FROM THE FOREWORD, by Bill Bishop, former editor of the Daily Yonder

"Selling the State tells how choices made over a century sustained a culture that was, in a sense, economically inert. It was a choice the state made—rather a series of choices. Kentucky wasn’t alone in its economic path. The consequences of those decisions—traced in the book’s charts—have been profound."

Selling the State is now available as a .pdf from Then and Now Media. It is free.


Christmas Corner

Louis BookCove web crr.jpg

Memories of Santa Claus

Louis Finnegan was seven years old when he hid behind a chair and watched Santa Claus on Christmas Eve in 1927.

Santa rocked slowly. Pretty soon, Louis heard soft breathing and then a snort. The rocking chair stopped moving, and Santa began to snore. He was asleep!

What happened next changed the life of Louis, his family, and friends forever.

Kindle Edition

Citations - Unless otherwise noted, materials on these pages are provided for nonprofit and educational use only. In the spirit of the web, quoted materials should be fully cited in a manner that recognizes both the author, Timothy Collins, and the website,

Share & Share Alike

Then and Now Media is a dot-com website. It will offer some materials for a fee and some for free.
Here's an idea for you to consider. If you like the site or download something that is free, please consider making a donation to your favorite charity or organization.
I share. You share. Someone else is better off.
Some of my favorite places are listed here.

Then & Now Logo Rebuild 6 cr.png