Posts Tagged ‘Haj’

Letter From New York 09 27 15 From Syria to Claverack…

September 28, 2015

The Pope is preached brotherly love in Philadelphia. Putin and Obama will meet. The GOP is in disarray. Watching the Super Moon. Finishing the Tennessee Williams Festival. Death visits while on the Haj. Iraq, Russia, Syria and Iran are all playing footsie with one another.

All of these are things I was thinking about while I was crawling down US-6 from Provincetown, working my way slowly to get home. I left before 10:30, thinking I would miss the traffic. I was wrong.

It gave me much time to think. I had had a more than pleasant five days in Provincetown with my friends Dawn McCall and Gail Williams. I attended four performances at the Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown, all of them thought provoking.

Last night, Dawn and Gail invited my friends Nick and Lisa to dinner and we had a wonderful time. We started with martinis and made our way through an extraordinary dinner of steak and grilled vegetables. Dawn works the grill better than anyone I know.

On the way home, I listened to a variety of NPR radio stations, a mélange of music and news.

Pope Francis did preach brotherly love in Philadelphia and met with survivors of sexual abuse. He has, as I write this, departed Philadelphia and is headed back to Rome. I am sure he will be sleeping soundly on the flight; it has been a busy ten days between Cuba and the U.S.

With Boehner leaving Congress it will be fascinating to see what will happen next with the Republicans. It seems John Boehner had had enough of his fractious colleagues and just decided to pack his toys and go home. It probably means there will not be a government shutdown this go round but who knows what mayhem will come next?

Iran is demanding an apology from Saudi Arabia over the deaths at this year’s Haj. I doubt that will happen but it does point out how dangerous and volatile the Haj has become in recent years. It’s the equivalent of a rather large city on the move, all at one time.

Syria, Iraq, Iran and Russia have come to an agreement to work together to defeat IS. Russia is out there, working to claim its place in this mess. They support Assad. I’m not sure whom the other players actually support but it now seems like they have aligned themselves with Russia, and Assad.

Tomorrow, Putin and Obama will meet. Neither of them claims to have requested the meeting but they will meet. It, hopefully, will be a good thing.

Returning home tonight, I was peckish and went down to the Dot for a bite. David Drake is the bartender on Sundays and Mondays. When not bartending, he paints. I have two of his paintings in my home. I love them.

As I was driving home, I saw the full moon, huge, low in the sky. I probably will not be able to see it when it turns blood red and there is an eclipse of it. I am home and when the eclipse happens, the small forest of trees that surrounds my home will hide the moon. But the moon was huge tonight.

As I sit here writing, the heat is now on, the first time this year. When I entered the house after my return from Provincetown, it was cool to the point of uncomfortable.

Tomorrow will be another day. I think. There are those who claim that tonight’s Super Moon, the fourth in a succession of them, is a harbinger of the end of the world.

I don’t think so.

Letter From New York 09 25 15 Chasing a perfect sunset…

September 25, 2015

Xi Jinping. Syria. Refugee crises. Pope Francis. Stampede at the Haj. Jeremy Corbin. Greece. John Boehner. And so on…

The world continues to rattle along, mostly badly if you read the headlines. I haven’t for a couple of days, while whiling away my time here in Provincetown. At this moment, I am sitting in the kitchen of my friends Dawn and Gail’s incredible home, sipping coffee and thinking how lucky I am to be alive and in this place today.

It’s the weekend of the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival in Provincetown. Dawn and I went to “The Parade” yesterday, a little known Williams’ play, featuring his emotional hallmarks. Everyone in the play is slightly or greatly tortured. Set on sand dunes, it was performed on a platform on real sand dunes, as the tide was slowly rising. I was facing west, the sun slowly descending in the pallid blue afternoon sky.

It was a near perfect experience. Sitting with a friend, watching performers, outside, with a light wind blowing off the sea.

Later we chased the most beautiful sunset and I stood at water’s edge to take a photo.

Sunset

Before setting off to retrieve our tickets and to attend the play, we watched Pope Francis speak to Congress. Speaking in halting English, sometimes a little hard to understand, Francis called out to all our better angels. At one moment, I felt tears form in my eyes. As they seem to be doing with John Boehner, Speaker of the House.

Just now, I received a flash alert from AP on my phone that he is stepping down at the end of October and not just as Speaker but also from the House itself.

While I slept the night before last over 700 people died in a stampede at the Haj, the holy journey every Muslim is extolled to take once in their lives. Nearly a thousand were injured. If I were Muslim, I am not sure I could be extolled to make the Haj. I don’t like big crowds. I don’t mean to be flip; this is a tragedy and I have said a prayer for those dead and injured.

Tsipras of Greece is pledging to enact the necessary reforms for Greece’s bailout quickly. He needs to move quickly on several fronts. Greece is the center of the refugee/migrant crisis as well as having huge financial issues.

As Pope Francis left Washington for New York, President Xi Jinping of China arrived. Obama is having a busy week with international leaders. It’s being said that China and America are going to strive for cooperation, especially over cyber affairs, after a period of tension over that and several other things.

Russia is settling into being a player in Syria and seems to be working on beefing up its communications with Iran on how to deal with that country.

Jeremy Corbin is the new head of Britain’s Labour Party. He is a staunch Republican and has an upcoming audience with the Queen. He has not decided whether he will kneel, as is traditional.

At his very moment, I am listening to Francis speak at the United Nations, speaking on the environment. He has given so much hope to so many and I am hoping that his words echo with life long after he is gone.