Letter From New York November 23, 2014

It is morning in Claverack; the sun sifts through a pearl grey sky. A slight wind disturbs the few leaves left on the tree. All is quiet.

The morning’s first cup of coffee tastes delectable, good, strong Nicaraguan.

It is Sunday morning and I have my Sunday morning rituals to complete – strong coffee followed by a perusal of the New York Times on my iPad or iPhone complete with a careful reading of the Weddings sections. It was called for a long time “Weddings and Celebrations” to accommodate gay couples who couldn’t marry but honored their commitment to a partner through a public celebration. Now that gays can marry in New York I have noticed that it has gone back to just being “Weddings.”

I will sort through my emails and perhaps even go to Church today; I am one of those in the country who considers themselves “spiritual but not religious” even though I occasionally miss the fellowship of church and go down to Christ Church Episcopal for the experience of the ritual without the guilt I associate with my Catholic Church of origin.

Like many, I have felt friendlier toward it under the current Pope but am still not quite comfortable there. God and I wrestle with that a bit.

I work to pray everyday. I am a lucky man; my life is magical compared with a huge percentage of the world. Reading the news, I am aware I am lucky not to be living in a war zone, an Ebola zone, any “zone” at all – I live in a little island of calm in the country where looking out I see trees and land and my creek and if I hear a distant gunshot, it is not war but men hunting deer.

So everyday I try to remember to offer a thought of gratitude to God for the luck of my life, to have been born in America, never been called to war, to have had an interesting career, to find my life surrounded by friends and relatives – a reality brought home by the good wishes that surrounded my birthday.

Ah, the sun has come out and flickers golden off the fallen leaves. It has been chill; perhaps the day will be warmer than the last few that have called for fires and nestling with comforters. These pre-Thanksgiving days are predicted to be rather gentle of the season.

The trains coming north out of New York City were packed on Friday, I was told, full of people beginning their Thanksgiving Holiday, crowding the train with bodies and luggage.

The Holiday Season began a week ago with the celebration of my birthday and I am going to carry that celebration spirit through until the New Year has come and gone. It feels like a year to celebrate the golden goodness of the time I am having.

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