Posts Tagged ‘Bastille Day’

Letter From Claverack 07 14 2017 Thoughts on Bastille Day, from the creek side…

July 14, 2017

 

It’s Bastille Day today and that is also the anniversary of the opening of the Red Dot Restaurant and Bar.  Happy 19th Anniversary!

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Today, I woke to the drumbeat of rain upon the roof, another grey day in a summer of grey.  Last night, at dinner, friends quipped that the weather reflected our mood.  We discussed hygge, and we agreed it was a great defense mechanism in these days of our political travails.

Tuesday morning, I rose at five to catch the first train from the city home, ran around, prepared for that night’s radio drama [a success by all accounts].  I produced it, helped direct it and catered it, took some tickets, tended bar a little, set some lights, announced it, broke it down, cleaned up, came home, too wired to sleep and so when the alarm went off at 5:30 Wednesday morning, I just couldn’t.  By force of will, I made it to the station for my program but it was with the help of a great quantity of caffeine.

As I drove to the station, I thought, rather randomly about how amused, bemused, confused I am by everything going on in our political universe.  We have had days of the most amazing revelations regarding the actions of Donald Trump, Jr. during the campaign.

Tuesday morning, the New York Post, the mouthpiece for Rupert Murdoch, upholder of the Conservative Way, editorialized that the one takeaway from all these revelations is that Donald Trump, Jr. is an idiot.  Wowza!  The New York Post.  Mine eyes dazzle.

At the end of my radio program today, I spoke a little about hygge.  We need a lot of hygge these days.  This morning, I’m having it as I sit at my dining room table, sipping strong coffee, a mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan beans, the land across the creek a verdant riot of green, leaves dripping water; there is smooth jazz playing and I am prepping for a quick trip to Florida to help a friend drive his parents’ car back to New York.

Last night, Dena, owner of Olde Hudson, which is the stalwart of fine food in Hudson, her husband, Dick, came over for a dinner we have worked for months to organize because of complicated schedules.

And that felt very hygge.

And I think we need hygge these days.

Our President, caught in the thrall of Russian scandals, real or not, is jetting back from Europe after spending Bastille Day with Macron in France.  The White House has released a partial transcript of the President’s comments to reporters on his way to France.  You can read them here.

And make your own judgment.

Tuesday, an iceberg the size of Long Island broke off in Antarctica, the map of which will need to be redrawn as a result.  It’s a big deal but it won’t cause flooding in cities.  Yet. We need to keep watch as the ice shelf is holding back the real danger and if the ice shelf goes there will be many cities that will be under water. It makes me think of my friends who own a condo next to the water in Miami.

Are they going to be okay?

Are any of us going to be okay?

Yes, I think so but we’ll need a lot of hygge between here and there.

 

Letter From New York 07 15 2016 As the Great Game goes on…

July 15, 2016

It is a warm, humid day as I trundle north on the train, back to Hudson.  The Hudson River is dotted with boats and the spray of jet skis.  A soft haze lays across the river, so it seems that what I see is in soft focus.

It’s not a bad day for soft focus.

I went into the city yesterday afternoon to have drinks with my friends Nick and David at Le Monde, a French Bistro near Columbia and then drifted from there to Cafe du Soleil, where I joined a party for Bastille Day put together by friends David and Bill.  We were festive and the mood was buoyant and I was home and asleep by the time news was coming out of France that a young Tunisian Frenchman had driven a lorry into a crowd celebrating Frances’ National Holiday, plowing on for 1.2 miles before he was killed and after he had killed at least 84 and wounded 202 others.

As I look out of the window of the train, sold out, standing room only, I see the verdant green hills which line the western bank of the river, the beginnings of the Catskills, bucolic, peaceful, welcoming.

The dead in Nice, a pleasant city in the south of France, to the east of Cannes, on the Rivera, home of the airport that serves that golden stretch of land, setting for glittery events and the place of lovely villas climbing the hills to look down on the Mediterranean, include ten children.  Fifty others from last night hang between life and death, as medical professionals do their best.

One woman talked for a long time to her dead child.  The living and unwounded began to swarm toward the beaches, away from the lorry, in case it was loaded with explosives.

On Wednesday, July 13, in Syria, 58 people died, mostly civilians of war related wounds.   Since the beginning of 2016 about 8,000 have died, since the beginning of the war over 440,000.  11.5% of Syria’s population has been killed or wounded.

On the same day in Iraq, 22 died by gunfire, bombs, rockets.

Looking out at the beautiful Hudson River, the Catskills on the other side, with gracious, magical homes occasionally dotting the landscape, it is easy to focus on the green moment and not the black news but today I cannot slip away, into the beauty.

It is all so senseless and all leaders seem to talk about the senselessness of it and do they find the senselessness of it enough of a unifying theme that they commit to actions that will stop it? 

One of the books I am reading is “The Good Years” by Walter Lord, describing the years between 1900 and 1914, when World War I began.  I am near the end of it, the war is beginning.  Devastation was released upon the European continent over the tragic death of an Archduke and his wife, which gave “permission” for the Austro Hungarian Empire and the German Empire to act to achieve political goals they had long wanted and ended up destroying themselves.

Men in power are always playing “the great game,” and as the game is played, the innocent die. 

The train is arriving in Hudson and I am winding down.  I will say my prayers tonight for all the people who died today because they are pawns in “the great game” and see if I can find a way to work effectively for change.

In the time since I’ve arrived home, run some errands and prepare to go into town for a comedy show,  the Turkish military, apparently fed up with Erdogan, is attempting a coup. Bridges across the Bosporus are closed, military aircraft are flying low over Istanbul and Ankara and gunshots have been reported.

“The Great Game” goes on.