Tuesday, March 30, 2010


This is the planting season, the time when annuals poke their heads out of the earth and reach for sunlight, when farmers plant their early crops, when the spring rituals of Pesach and Easter arrive.

Rituals are comforting.  They help us measure the passing of time in ways that encourage us to move on and grow.  These two in particular are stories of passage and creation.  Pesach (Passover) celebrates the creation of Judaism as a religion under the guidance of Moses, Easter the creation of Christianity by the disciples of the slain teacher Jesus a few millennia later.  Both rituals speak to us of newness, of growth, of putting darkness behind us; much as spring signals the end of winter's darkness.

Enough philosophizing!  Happy spring everyone!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Old Times

I just spent half a day with former high school classmates planning our 51st class reunion.  Our organizer canceled last year because we didn't have enough people responding.  You have to understand that my high school graduating class contained sixteen people.  Three are deceased.  We decided this year to celebrate with the classes of '58 and '60, so that we would have enough folks to have a party.  What was the most fun today was reconnecting with a couple of people I hadn't see for several years.  We spent more time reminiscing than planning but it was all good.

The organizer of all this is someone I can only describe as a female "Mr. Rogers."  It's amazing to me to know a person who is as real as she.  She has a wry sense of humor, a strength of character that enabled her to raise special needs children, and a kindness that borders on mystical.  I am awed.

For anyone who's interested, there's a video of my hometown - Gilbertsville, NY

Friday, March 26, 2010

What happens

It's sadly funny how few of us in our old age are where we dreamed we'd be in our youth.  Being the scatterbrain that I am, I never really had a goal; I just kind of muddled through from one day to the next.  I was going to define my philosophy as 'existentialism' until I read the complex and, in some way conflicting descriptions of it.

More simply then, I am an exister.  I live from day-to-day not planning in any formal way, for planning is sort of silly when one has no clue how many days, hours, minutes, or even seconds lie ahead of one.  I don't think it's at all morbid to claim that I have no idea how much longer I have to live.  I don't fill every moment with useful endeavors; I waste time on things I enjoy, and on things I do to escape from or postpone things I must or should be doing.  I think trying to fill every remaining second with something meaningful, leads to stress and that leads to illness and shortens one's life, however long that may be.

Speaking of Words

There are some words in our wonderfully complex language that, though quite serviceable when written, should never be spoken.  These come to mind immediately:

Prix (or any of several other words taken directly from french)

Let me know of others.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Old Things

We have a really old clock in our living room; it was built in the 1860's. Once it may have chimed the hour but now it thunks, though quite reliably and accurately. It's actually a very pleasant sound in its own way. My wife winds it once a week, two keyholes, one for the clock, one for the thunk. You can tell it needs winding when the two small brick-like weights become visible in the window near the base of the clock. They hang by cords that look like baling twine. Winding the clock makes them retreat aloft into their places behind the mechanism to begin their week-long journey toward the base.

The clock has been in my wife's family for generations and I'm sure one of our kids will get it when we're gone. I hope whoever does will feel as comforted by the thunk as I do.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gloomy Monday

Appropriate weather for all you folks who are gainfully employed. The beginning of another work week.

No More anxiety in this house, 'cause the other house passed the bill. It's a small step toward sensible health care in this our beautiful, dysfunctional country, but if we don't take the first step we will never get anywhere. Now we have, so let's see how well it works.

I have often wondered why those on the far right act with anger while those on the far left act with fear. Neither is very productive. Seems to me there are two possibilities for this politics of extremes that we currently experience. It's kind of an elastic band, either the ends will continue to pull apart until it snaps into some kind of civil war, or it will spring back toward the middle, where the real majority lives.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another magnificent day in the Gunks.

We've been preparing our new camper for her maiden voyage(actually it's an RV but my former hippy wife won't admit to owning one.) I ended the love/hate relationship with our 2004 Rialta (www.gunkswriter.com/writings/rialta_diaries-part_1.pdf) when the hate far outweighed the love. We now own a 2010 Roadtrek, and for the first time in a few years I'm looking forward to a trip. My plan is to start the Roadtrek Diaries on this blog so keep watching.

Much anxiety in this house about the vote in the other house.
March 20 Musings:

Here it is the first official day of spring, and it actually feels like a spring day; go figure.

Anyway, I spent a good deal of the day outside trying to clear away some of the winter debris, stopping often to look at the jagged beauty of the Gunks.

We are on the eve of a major vote in the US House, the economy of the Empire State is in the crapper, and there's talk of closing Minnewaska State Park, We live in interesting times.

Movie recommendation: Ghost Writer. It's well written, well acted, and a gem of suspense.

To quote Tigger - TTFN