Letter From New York August 12, 2014

Or, as it seems to me…

 

It is a grey afternoon in New York City as it was a grey morning up at the cottage.  It is a grey world in which we live today.  The front page of the NY Times is full of grey news from the Great Grey Lady.

Robin Williams, that whirling dervish of comedy, is dead at 63, having hung himself, apparently in his home in northern California, a loss that seems to lessen all of us with his passing.  A world mourns the departure of a comedy genius – and a dramatic one, too.  After all, he had an Academy Award for his acting.

Out in Iraq, American airstrikes are beating back ISIS for the moment.  Sitting in the Acela Club this morning at Penn Station I saw on CNN helicopters swooping in on Mount Sinjar, dropping off supplies and picking up refugees in scenes that for an instant seemed reminiscent of the American departure from Viet Nam almost forty years ago.

A young man of color was fatally shot by a police officer in St. Louis and the night erupted into violence in protest.  He was unarmed.

A friend of mine wrote to me over the weekend; he is in the end stage of his life according to his doctors.  He has lived there for eighteen months longer than his first prognosis.  He has defied the odds and they are warning him his days of odds defying is probably over.  He hopes to see me before his passing.  I hope to make it to see him.  He overwhelms me with the courage he has demonstrated and the grit with which he has survived.

I am not sure I would have similar strength.  He is going to Lourdes in search of a miracle.  I would that I could go with him.  I probably am in need of a miracle too.  Aren’t we all?

It’s a grey day with grey news, the kind of day when a riff of life by Robin Williams would be appreciated.

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