Letter From New York, May 21, 2011

Or, as it seems to me…

I am crossing the country by train with my friend Nick; outside the window of the compartment are the fields of the great farms of the American Heartland – having moved south from Chicago, west into Iowa, through Nebraska during the night and now across Colorado as I write. The sun is making an effort to come out through the gray overcast. On a stopover in Chicago, the sun blessed the day as we met an Odyssey member, Robert Black, of the Chicago Sunday Evening Club and his Director of Development. We had a lovely lunch and then began the long journey from Chicago to the West Coast aboard Amtrak’s California Zephyr, reputedly one of the two most beautiful rides in America on the train.

It is bucolic and beautiful, peaceful and languorous, as we move along, gently swaying, a soft clacking of the equipment becoming a steady backdrop to the ride. Despite some intrusions of small crises from the office needing to be sorted, it has been extraordinarily pleasant since leaving New York. I’m glad.

Glad that is pleasant because, after all, I am facing, we are all facing the beginning of the end of the world, starting today, the 21st of May, about 6:00 p.m. according to certain Evangelical Christians. They believe that the Rapture [where good Christians get uplifted to heaven while the rest of mankind is left behind to suffer the Apocalypse] begins today and, according the reports I have been reading, anyone still alive but not raptured will be gone by sometime in October.

So, if that’s going to happen, I thought that being on a train, moving through the beauty of the American West, is not a bad place to be. I will do my best to be sipping a very good champagne when 6:00 p.m. rolls around – seems a civilized way to meet the end of times or at least the beginning of the end of times.

Also, if it is the beginning of the end of times and I do survive the initial catastrophe that will be ushering in the end, I am sure I will be far too busy to be doing my normal letter plus who knows if the Internet will still be on line? So I thought I should scurry a bit and get out a letter in advance of this potential end, reach out to all of you who have been kind enough to read my epistles over the years! Been a privilege to write them, sharing my thoughts, quirky though they may sometimes be, with all of you.

I am sanguine right this minute. I don’t think the world is going to end today. It was supposed to have ended several times in my life, once even on the day my father passed away. The same man who is predicting that it will end today, predicted it would end in 1994. When asked about why he was right now when he was wrong then, he announced that previously he had not fully considered the Book of Jeremiah and that was where he had gone astray. I don’t have time now between and the end to study Jeremiah so I won’t be able to venture a guess as to where the good Reverend went wrong.

So here I am, in Denver, momentarily, approximately ten hours from the end of times – or not. As it approaches, and I am sipping my champagne or martini, I will be thinking of all of you. If it is the end, it’s been interesting writing this for almost ten years! Thanks for reading.

And if it is not the end of times, which is more than likely, I’ll be back next week, more thoughts, more adventures, and after I have done some more thinking about what it might mean to be present at the end of times. Until then! Or not…

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