Letter From New York May 30, 2012

Or, as it seems to me…

It has been several weeks since I’ve written a letter; it’s not that thoughts haven’t crossed my mind to write about – there have been lots of those.   There is the ever-evolving political scene that leaves me fascinated as if watching a slow motion train wreck.

On the lines of politics there was a stirring sermon at Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan, at a service I attended largely because my friend Lionel was assisting.  [I am part of that ever growing part of the population that defines itself as spiritual but not religious BUT like many of those wish I could find myself in a community of believers with whom I felt comfortable; where I do NOT feel comfortable is within my native Roman Catholic tradition, finding the religion of my birth and upbringing ever more repulsive in its intransigence and lack of charity (my feelings)].

The assistant pastor at Trinity that day made a stirring call for all to be involved and it moved me and reminded me I must be involved, particularly this year.  While I am pleased with neither candidate I am more committed to the Democratic Party and that for which it stands.  I am a Republican who yearns for that party to return to the ideals of yesteryear rather than a party that seems to be looking to the Roman Catholics for inspiration on how to behave.

All these things have caused me to think about writing but none of them stirred me to actually write.  I have been diverted by the amount of tweeting I have been doing, enough to raise my Klout score to 42, respectable if not amazing.  I have also started work on a short story so that might have also diverted me.  There is also I a monthly column I do for one of Odyssey’s members [oh yes, a Catholic organization] on new media directions called @tombers.

But there has been more than diversion going on.  I have felt a quiet settle on me these last few weeks as spring has slipped toward summer.  Today is Memorial Day and I have been mentally paying my respects to the soldiers of former wars but with most of my thoughts on those coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have been returning to a dismal job market with the shadows of traumas I can only imagine following them as they work to reintegrate back into civilian life.  I am still embarrassed that no President has asked us as a population in general to sacrifice alongside these men and women – that’s an idea we seem to have given up post World War II.  Guns and butter I think it’s called.  Better that we had a bit of rationing and sacrifice to remind us of the bigger sacrifices being made by others.

As I roll on Amtrak down the Hudson River, the waterway is wide and calm and dotted with pleasure boats out for adventure on a beautiful late spring day on the weekend that is the unofficial beginning of the summer season.  Hudson was filled to the gills this week with returning weekenders; houseguests and a herd of folks come to escape the city without the expense or pretension of the Hamptons.  I loved to see the town hum.

But here I am, writing, happy to be doing so but still unsure what the silence has been that has settled around my soul.  Intimations of mortality?  Certainly I have seen mortality a bit in the sudden death of a friend and illness of another, enough for me to think about the fact that if I ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for me.  As it does for all of us.

I’ll keep writing, when the words come.  I may start another blog based on my media musings.  That column is called @tombers so perhaps that is what I will call the blog.  But right now, this minute, I am on vacation, doing what I want to do rather than what I SHOULD do, a luxury I intend to do my best to pursue the next week as I work my way from Seattle back across the country.


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