December 20, 2007

Although it's been said, many times many ways

I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday. I'll be leaving for the east coast shortly, and will spend Christmas in Fort Lauderdale... I'm bringing my notebook and will try to keep in touch, time and tide permitting.

My favorite Christmas card is the one I received years ago, hand made, by my upstairs neighbor Doreen, on Staten Island. The outside shows a lovely woodcut of an angel and a Christmas star. The inside says this...

Mind without soul
may blast some universe
to might-have-been,
and stop ten thousand stars
but not one beat of this child’s heart.

Nor shall even prevail
a million questionings
against the silence
of his Mother’s smile
whose secret all creation sings

December 13, 2007

December 12, 2007

Here, there, and everywhere

After a day in front of a monitor, I took myself out for an airing, taking a few pending snail mails to the post office. The fading day has a rather somber feeling, quiet and sparse. Intimately hushed, like after a rain. I decide to stop by McD and pick up some nuggets. I'm the only one in the drive-through. As I pull up to the window, the girl looks, with eyes as big as headlights, at my Mustang, now eight years old. "I just love that car!" she beams. "It's my favorite." Well, I like it too. We talk about that. She sends me on my way with a blessing, and a smile as big as a sunrise.

At the pick up window, the boy hands me my order, and says thank you. I say thank you. He makes eye contact. "Pleased to meet you!" he says warmly.

Well, that was a nice experience. On to the grocery store. I'm browsing around the produce section when the produce boy comes out with a vegetable cart and starts placing veggies carefully in the bins. He looks at me and says "is there anything I can help you with sir?" Produce guys don't say that. I'm beginning to feel that there is something afoot in the land. Is there an angel on my shoulder? I tell him I'm just browsing for now, thank you. He says "My name is Joe. If you need any help with anything, just ask..."

At the checkout the girl is running out of pennies. She tells the bagger that she needs pennies. She put in the call ages ago, she grouses, and now she's nearly out... Then she holds out her hand with my change, and with a smile says "But I have enough for this guy..."

I walk to my car; the sun has set and a smattering of city lights now reigns meekly over a tender, silent, night. I don't want to go home. I want to stay, here in the company of human beings, until they've all gone home

December 8, 2007

Another Time In New York

December 14, 1980, six days after John Lennon was shot and killed outside the Dakota, was a cold day in New York. 19 degrees that morning. Too cold to snow. But it did snow. The moment the silent prayer was over, and Imagine began, soft flurries fell from the sky. A benediction on the 100,000 who were there to see and be touched by it. I don't remember it being reported in the news.

All I had was a little super 8 camera back then, no technique, and no gloves. So this is what I was able to piece together...

December 5, 2007

December 3, 2007

Jingle all the way

The annual tree lighting, complete with snow pile (real snow) and snow flurries (ingredients unknown), drew a crowd to downtown Saturday night. I don't have anything to add to what I wrote last year: Despite the hoakey artificial snow and ubiquitous t-shirts and shorts, a bit of yuletide magic always seems to materialize. The timeless brew of all things Christmas rarely fails to summon that old feeling...

December 2, 2007