Friday, October 27, 2006

Rehearsal for a Concert ~ J. S. Bach ~ Mass in B minor

When God heard what J. S. Bach created in the Kyrie and Agnus Dei of that Mass with its entreaty "have mercy on us", He had to be so moved by the music that He, then and there, forgave all the sins of the world.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Myriad Everyday Distractions

The old monk said that I should be more radical and block out all distractions. You must be silent, he said, to be able to listen to your unique life that is going inside you.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Indonesian Christians Riot after Executions

Look to the Amish with humble respect. It was reported that fifty percent of the people attending the funeral of the man who murdered their children in the school house were Amish. That is a lesson.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cosmic Order Restored !

Yesterday morning at 7 a.m. I drove to a field of flowers nearby. You cut whatever flowers you want and drop a few coins in a metal container on leaving. I wanted a bouquet of zinnias for my wife's birthday. This morning I discovered that my expensive flower shears were missing and thought I might have left them there. If that were the case, there would hardly be a chance that they were there, but I drove back anyway. Low and behold, there they were right in the middle of the path where I had left them. How many people had been there and not seen them, God only knows!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Autumn Walk

This morning while walking I felt my shoes swishing through the first patches of dried leaves and heard them crackle under my shoes. So now it's been one whole year already since I experienced that last. That sharp moment of awareness that time had passed.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Wedding Brunch Next Day

This delightful man from next door came by with his guitar and played. Any songs we could think of. Ended up by singing God Bless America. Yes, we are patriots, even if, or maybe because we disagree with the way our country is being run.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Wedding Day

It was in the oldest Episcopalian church in Pittsburgh. The bride is Protestant, my nephew is Greek Orthodox. The compromise was for an Orthodox marriage in an Episcopalian church. But there was no Protestant minister allowed at the altar.
It was a wonderful weekend. Three full days of celebration. One of the highlights was the couple's fourteen-month-old daughter who had just learned to walk. She led the procession out of church, hand in hand with two four-year-olds. A wedding is a joy. Seldom affairs any more. I spend much more time going to funerals. [There is one tomorrow here in Germany for an onetime student of mine.]

Friday, October 06, 2006

Enjoying Pennsylvania

Visited Harrisburg and had an excellent guided tour along with a dozen Red Hat Ladies who thought my brother and I, the only men, were real gentlemen of old. At least that's what they said in an elevator! Visited a Capuchin friar in his church in town and on hearing that I had come from Germany he served me an excellent beer. He said St. Francis would have loved it.


Then on to Lewisburg, Pa. where we dined opulenly at a time-honored Lewisburg Hotel [1834], served by polite students from neighboring Bucknell University. Next day to State College, Pa. and Penn State University. Met my nephew there. We walked and marveled at that colossal campus. Saw the enlarged football stadion where Penn State was to host Notre Dame the following day.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Exxon ~ Hagerstown, Maryland

While at a gasoline pump in Hagerstown, Md. I looked up and saw three hawks gliding in wide circles just off to the east. They were coasting, without a single wingbeat as if enjoying the freedom of the sky. It was about 7 a.m. and the Maryland dawn had a magnificent orange-yellow color. I parked off to the side after paying and looked again but the masters-of-flight had gone their way.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Heart of the Nation ~ Washington, D.C.

Stayed outside Washington, D.C. at the end of the subway system. Next morning purchased a day ticket and rode into the heart of the city at high speed. People around me seemed anxious and unfriendly. But there is a beauty in the underground stations that I have not seen in European structures. Got off at the Mall and wanted to visit the Museum of American History: it was closed for renovations. Went instead to the National Archives, passing through a delightful garden where sculptures by American artists were in place. Then to see the renovated Union Station where I imagined the whole time how bustling it was 50 years back. Lunched there and headed for the Capitol to make the reverent pilgrimage visit I have always made when in Washington. Was met there at that steps by heavily armed guards who warned not to come any closer. Pondering that, went across to the Library of Congress and after being searched, spent the last hour of that perplexing day there.