Wednesday, December 21, 2011


New York City seems more than miles away from our home in Arkansas.

As I sit on the front porch surrounded by oak trees and silence, I could easily forget that civilization exists beyond our five rural acres. The solitude lends itself to reflection, particularly with Christmas only  days away.

I turn to selected lines from one of my favorite poems, "Dawn Psalm,"*  by Thomas Merton.

When no one listens
To the quiet trees

When no one notices
The sun in the pool

Where no one feels
The first drop of rain
Or sees the last star

Or hails the first morning
Of a giant world
Where peace begins
And rages end:

One bird sits still
Watching the work of God:
One turning leaf,
Two falling blossoms,
Ten circles upon the pond.

One cloud upon the hillside,
Two shadows in the valley
And the light strikes home.

*(Book of Hours by Thomas Merton, pages 93-94.)

Cardinal on our window ledge 

In the silence of Nature, we will find it.
May we take time this holiday season -- to listen.

Happy Holidays!
I will resume my blog from NYC the first week of January.




Monday, December 12, 2011

Santas Here, Santas There, Santas, Santas Everywhere!

I noticed one Santa,
That's it, only one,
On the corner at Starbucks
Soaking up sun.

Three more then joined him
coffee in hand.
Where had they come from,
but Northern Pole land?

Hundreds came streaming,
(or at least ninety-nine),
like ants down the sidewalk,
in sort of a line.

But it wasn't just Santas,
white hair on their chins.
Along came a dreidel
ready for spins.

The mystery was growing.
I joined in the flow.
I had to, just had to
be one in the know.

I followed a couple,
dressed to the nines
as Mr. and Ms. Santa
in snazzy designs.

came into view
awash in red costumes
and hullabaloo.

Twittering and texting
from hither and yon,
they joined as one body
called. . . SantaCon.

Then a small, furry Santa, 
the cutest in sight,
barked "Merry Christmas
  to all and to all a good night."


Monday, December 5, 2011


One of my favorite words. . . serendipity.  Dictionaries divulge its meaning as a "happy accident or pleasant surprise; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it."(Wikipedia)
It sounds like a word we should dance to, under a moonlit sky, with glistening fairy dust falling on our heads.  There's something magical about it.  Nothing we can foresee, control, plan for.  It simply happens, and it's always good.

Serendipity visited me this week.  It was "yoga night," and I was late.  I hurried down Broadway towards Trinity Church in lower Manhattan, where my class had already started.  I was going against the flow of workers headed in the opposite direction towards waiting commuter buses and already crowded subway stations.  I felt jostled like a silver-haired ball making its way towards the merciful hole at the end of a pinball game.  I allowed frustration to mount and stress seethe as I elbowed my way towards 50 (now more like 30) minutes of mindfulness.

Arriving amidst huffs and puffs which would have put the Big Bad Wolf to shame, I was greeted at the door by a fellow "yoga-ite."
"The teacher hasn't shown up yet, and I'm the only one here," she said.
Reminding myself to breathe calming rather than rant uncontrollably, I said "thanks" and left.

My yoga mat and I retraced our steps, more slowly this time, allowing the wave of walkers to push us down the sidewalk.  For some reason, just as I passed the glass-encased lobby of One Liberty Plaza, I glanced to my left.  The backs of about a dozen men dressed in business suits faced me.  Positioned in a semicircle around a conductor, they stood, holding music folders, obviously singing.  A smattering of listeners were gathered around, and for some reason, I suddenly decided to join them.  Unlike me, I didn't stop to wonder "Do I need an invitation?"  "Will I be intruding?"  "Am I properly dressed for the occasion?"  I simply went in.

A chorus of "Hark the Herald Angles Sing" welcomed me at the revolving door and invited me to stay.  I have rarely heard such a perfect blending of voices.  From one carol to the next, I was amazed by how a group larger than four could achieve the tight harmony and lyric flow of a barbershop quartet.  As the tenors broke away from the rest with their incredibly high, clear notes, I felt truly joyous.

With the final strains of "Auld Lange Syne" ringing grandly in the air, I turned to a woman standing beside me and asked, "What is this group?"
"Voices of Gotham," she whispered.  "You can google them."

I snapped a picture before the group dispersed, then resumed my walk home.  My feet which had been so intent upon rushing earlier in the evening, felt strangely like dancing.  Was that a full moon keeping company with the skyscrapers?  Tilting my head back for a clearer look, shiny particles resembling silver glitter fell onto the front of my jacket.

(For a sample of their music, you can hear Voices of Gotham singing "I'll Be Home for Christmas" on a YouTube segment filmed in 2010, at this link:




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