Friday, December 26, 2014

A Christmas Story

When I was very young, time did not exist. Or at least that was so on Christmas Day. There was this Christmas and the next and the next and each and all were one and the same. Memory was not a thing of the past but something enacted in the present, both perfectly new and perfectly eternal. My brother and I had our own Christmas tree in our room - a small, tattered, beautiful cellophane thing, blue, and bedecked with ornaments that our mother had discarded, the themes of previous years, chipped, faded, beloved. And there were always two presents under our tree, one for him and one for me. We had chosen carefully from our allowances of saved quarters and dimes. Our parents would not yet have awakened - no parents are awake that early on Christmas morning - and so we quietly unravelled our clumsily bound and taped treasures, still winking the previous night's slumber from our eyes. This was the first light of forever, this waking dream into which we had fallen, the first step toward the hallway and the stairway and the descent to the main floor where our stockings waited by the frosted window, spilling over with candy and trinkets, and beyond that, in the main room, the evergreen tree, dressed in dazzling light and tinsel for just this moment, every moment, then, now and forever, the lower branches lost in bright packages and boxes, of every conceivable size and shape. No, There was no time, just this: bounty, color, life, love. It was Christmas, with us now, with us forever, even to the end of the age.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


So I've ended up with a cat. I don't like cats. I was praying for a new laptop or an e-reader, and I got a cat. Did I mention that I don't like cats? And yet this cat seems to insist that it's exactly where it's supposed to be - to whit, in my unwilling care. You will note that I say "it"; and on 'it', I shall insist.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Evening Stroll

Always such a pleasure to take an evening stroll in Renon, especially on mild evenings such as this. It is always an adventure of some sort - a quiet adventure of chance meetings, pleasant chats, curious children wearing wide-open smiles. A man named Wayan wants to know what I'm doing, where I'm going, where I live, where I'm from, where my wife is from, whether I have children and what ages they are. Strangely, my life seems suddenly significant. Anonymity is marvelously banished by simple words of uncalled for friendship. A band of children skip along behind me as I leave my new friend. It's only a trip down the street to the store. You could do it in America in 10 minutes without uttering one word or enjoying a single smile.