Sunday, June 17, 2018

One good thing about getting older

I read 5 or 6 books a week, mostly mysteries but often a straight novel.

One I read yesterday and finished today is called The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin. I urge you to read it. Wondrous, disturbing, troubling and beautifully written. Go to the library and get it.

I get all my books from the Cheshire library. Bern sometimes buys a book on line. She just got a trilogy by Philip Pullman. The first book is The Golden Compass. They are fantasy. I used to love fantasy--Ursela La Guinn, the Harry Potter books, the Game of Thrones books. But I don't read it much now. I'm starting, tonight, The Book of Dust by the aforementioned Pullman. It's the first of a new trilogy. Bern insists I try it. I'll let you know.

But one great thing about getting older and losing a bit of memory is that I sometimes get a book and realize I've read it but I don't quite remember how it turned out and so I read it again.

I've got a Linsey/Havers mystery I've read before but am going to read again.

That's pretty cool--to enjoy something twice.

Getting older isn't all bad--nevermind my knees.....

Crossing the line

I try not to talk about politics in my sermons. There's no one listening who hasn't figured out how ultra-liberal, socialist-democrat I am, so I don't have to point that out in sermon time.

Secondly, religion and politics--like church and state--should have a line between them. They just should. There are lots of right-wing churches who tell their members who to vote for that I believe should be stripped of their non-profit status. Just me talkin'--but talkin' true.

But today, I crossed the line in my sermon at St. James, Higganum. I crossed over into a political debate that I think is also a theological and moral debate: the separation of children and parents if they cross the boarder illegally.

The Administration keeps saying they're enforcing 'the law'--which isn't true. They are forming policy by interpreting the law in a way they want to. The same law they point to has been in place for at least two administrations before this and neither Bush nor Obama chose to interpret it the way the current President has.

And, truth be known, the President, in my mind is using this immoral and un-American tactic to get a vote on immigration in the Congress that he will only sign if it includes funding for his maniacal 'wall' across the southern boarder. Folks in the White House know how heinous this separation of children from parents is--but they're using it as a bargaining chip...which makes it all the more despicable.

I was freed to cross the line by Attorney General Jeff Sessions who quoted from Romans 13 to justify 'enforcing the law'. And Paul does say a lot in that chapter about obeying 'civil authorities'. I would remind you he was writing in a time when being a Christian was illegal in the Roman Empire and it only made good sense to stay below the radar by 'obeying authority'.

What enraged me was that Sessions (a Methodist Sunday School teacher for heaven's sake!) must not have read the previous chapter of Roman. In Chapter 12 Paul advises us to 'share what you have with those in need' and 'to welcome the stranger into your house'.

That sounds like a pretty moral and sensible immigration policy to me--one that this country has, for much of it's history followed.

Unless you are 100% Native American, your ancestors came to these shores longing for a better life. And they built our nation up. Diversity is the hallmark of America. Today's immigrant is tomorrow's hard working citizen.

But even if you have some more conservative view than the 'open boarder view' I have, you must acknowledge that ripping children from their parents' arms is hideous and wrong and must, must, please God, stop!

(One man after church told me, "I wish you hadn't preached that sermon because now I have to do something." Perhaps the best comment I ever got about a sermon.)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Eleanor and Brooklyn

So, we take the train to Grand Central from New Haven. Then we ride the 4 or 5 subway (doesn't matter which) to Atlantic Avenue/Barclay Center. We used to be within 2 blocks of Tim and Mimi's apartment from there--but now it it a 20 minute walk and we're not going to do that!

No taxi available so Tim comes to get us.

Then he goes to work and we spend the day with Eleanor. Joy.

She'll be two in August but talks like a champ and is almost never unhappy.

She and Bern were out on the balcony for almost an hour with soapy water in a big bowl and some of her toys which she washed more than they needed and she watered Tim's tomato plants and flowers. The tomatoes are way ahead of ours in CT!

I sat near and watched them, but Tim and Mimi and Eleanor live on the 13th floor and I cannot--cannot--go out on the balcony. It freaks me out. Heights.

Eleanor ate whatever we gave here--cheese, organic chicken noodle soup, tangerines--took an over an hour nap and since it was Friday and Tim and Mimi have 'those kind of jobs', they were both  home before 5 p.m.

Bern taught Eleanor to say "ooo-la-la" though she said it "ooo-la-la-la" to both of her parents when they came home.

Then an Uber to Atlantic Avenue and the subway to Grand Central and a train to New Haven and a car to Cheshire.

A wondrous day.

But I'm not sure I could live in Brooklyn or any of NYC. Too many people on too many cell phones in too big a hurry.

A block or two from Mimi/Tim/Eleanor--an area where all you need is a block or two away--maybe, just to be near them.

But I'm just not sure. I'm too old for city life. I like it fine--love it, in fact--here  in Cheshire, our house surrounded by trees, lots of birds, not much to do.

July 4 we're going to the Bradley/Chen's in Baltimore to see those three granddaughters.

Life is good. Watching the flesh of our flesh growing and prospering is wondrous.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

choices we make

I was looking at an almost 25 year old photo album tonight. Pictures from when Bern and Mimi and I visited Josh in England.

After college Josh got a green card for England in some program and went to live and work there for a year. He worked in a pub near Chelsea's soccer stadium, so it was a very busy pub. Most of the people who worked there were foreigners like Josh and lived in a dormitory behind the pub.

While he was there he dated a young woman named Anna, from Columbia, I think. There are several pictures of her in the album. She is lovely--though every woman Josh ever dated was lovey--and her face looking at Bern and Mimi and Josh shows great honesty and affection.

I liked her a lot, in that brief visit. But then I liked every girl Josh dated except for one from UMass.

They had their time and chose, one or the other of them, to move on.

What if they hadn't?

Where would Cathy, our daughter in law, have ended up? We would never have had Morgan, Emma and Tegan to love.

What is wondrous to ponder is how every choice we make in life ripples out.

It's why I choose (I hope I'm getting  'chose' and choose' right! a tough one for me) to have no regrets. To regret anything I did or didn't do would alter the reality of today--June 13, 2018 wouldn't be what it is if I had made a different choice at any point in life.

And I simply adore and am eternally grateful for my life as it is this day.

So, no regrets.

I made stupid choices along with brilliant ones, but they led me to this moment and this moment is where I want to be.

So, as I said, no regrets.

(Regrets, it seems to me, come to the fore when life hasn't turned out well. I understand that and feel compassion for those in that place. But if you are satisfied and joyful with you life, regret not....just me talkin'....)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Road to Wisdom

Armand Gamache, the lead in Louise Penny's series about the village of Three Pines in Quebec, tells young people the four things you need to learn to say to find wisdom.

They are: "I don't know." "I'm sorry." "I need your help." And "I was wrong."

I don't have much to add.

Think about what a different world we would live in if everyone learned how to say those four things.

I don't know.

I'm sorry.

I need your help.

I was wrong.

Think how different politicians would be if they learned to say those four things.

Imagine a world and a country on the road to wisdom....

Monday, June 11, 2018


One of the best things about being retired--besides reading 5 or 6 books a week--is that I get to 'laze'.

I sleep very well for an aging man--better than I did when I was younger, in fact. But almost as good as sleeping in laze-ing.

I often wake up at 5 a.m. or so to go to the bathroom, but I go right back to sleep until I feel Bern waking up at around 7. Then I sleep again until 8:30 or thereabout. Then I laze.

Laze-ing is my word for just staying in bed, though awake, for another 45 minutes or so.

Bern likes alone time in the morning, so it suits her fine. And I love it.

I'm not trying to go back to sleep, I'm just enjoying being awake in a comfortable bed with my eyes closed, day-dreaming some or remembering something or just laying there.

(I used to have a poster in my office at St. Paul's, New Haven that had a drawing of a easy chair and the words: "Sometimes I sits and thinks. And sometimes I just sits....")

That describes laze-ing. Sometimes I laze and thinks and sometimes I just laze....

Most people I've shared this pleasurable practice with look at me like I'm crazy.

They can't stay a-bed once awake or think it is wasting time or just don't get it in any way.

But I get it. And love it.

I'm an accomplished "laze-er".

I recommend it highly. Try it sometimes, even if you think it's nuts.

I'd like a small community of "Laze-ers" to commiserate with from time to time....

Sunday, June 10, 2018


(This is more than nine years old. It was one of my first dozen or so posts. Thought I'd share it again since it's rained so much this spring.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


It is raining now. I hear it through the open window of the little office space where I sit and type.

Rain. how wondrous the sound, the smell, the dampness of it all. Calling the world back to life after a long winter.

I love the rain.

The only poem I've written that I can remember that has to do with rain is this one--and you have to wait until near the end to find the patient, it is, after all, a virtue.


I am surrounded by poetry
I will never write.

The old man down the block
with his droopy moustache
and the dog he used to walk, long dead now.
The particular shade of orange in this morning's sky
and the wondrous pink as evening came.
The down on the neck of a woman I once loved
who never knew I loved her.
And her seashell ears.
The bend of her slim elbow.
Her ears--I mentioned that already.
The leafy, logical pattern of ice on my windshield
one January morning--
like something a chaos physicist
would have adored.
What smoke feels like in my lungs
when I inhaled deeply on a cigarette.
The particular color of the eyes
of a crazy man I talked to and gave two dollars today.
My dreams--coming on me like a tsunami these days--
endless vistas with old friends,
walking through amber when I need to run,
conversations with those long dead,
hard work to accomplish less than nothing.
The smell of skunk standing on my deck.
The taste of coffee ice cream.
The feel of the hair of my Puli dog.
The sight of a woman, walking fast,
staying in shape, fending off death,
by walking fast past my house.
Hearing anything by Mozart on the radio.
And just the way it feels to be inside my skin,
how I can count my bones,
if I would stand still long enough
and count.
The many ways I imagine death.

And there is no time, no time at all,
since I am growing old.
There is no time, no time at all,
to write the poems that surround me.

And what about the dimples my daughter has?
And the strange way new money looks?
And how my wine glass is empty?
And the wear on the 'n' on my keyboard?
And how the ringing in my ears is sometimes a sonata?
And what the night sky resembles?
And the air under my fingernails and the gaps between my teeth?
And the sound of rain, rain's smell, all of raining.

What is unworthy of a poem?
Nothing, so far as I can see.

And I don't have the time.
Surrounded by poetry, I have no time to write.

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.