| Rainy Days and Mondays
October 13, 2005
Those are words from a song by Karen Carpenter, heard in my
mind today as it
is a rainy day, in a series of rainy days up and down the
pouring buckets and wrecking havoc in the city.
Fall is falling; winter is arriving.
It has been a dismal few weeks on the east coast, a time
when nature pushes
us to become introspective and to think our deep internal
wrestle with the dark sides of our selves and souls.
I love the cool, deep winds that blow through the season
and I adore
watching the leaves change and am exhilarated by the rush
of warm wind mixed
with overtones of cool. Here in upstate New York, a few people
leaves into a pile and burn them as my father did when I was
a child. What
rushes back through those smells are the few moments of my
childhood I truly
treasure, standing on the back steps with the unique wet woody
burning leaves wafting up to me while my father stood watch
over them down
by the drive, a cigarette inevitably either in his mouth or
in his hand, an
L&M. He looked content at those times, almost happy and
available to me.
Personally, at this moment in my life, I would rather not
be going to France
tomorrow and would rather stay close to the little cottage
in the country to
watch the water in the creek flow by, darkly muddy now, stirred
up by the
rain and much higher than normal.
This little time of being home has been good for my soul,
giving me a chance
to connect with a place I love and to experience a bit of
east/mid-west thing called fall, leading up to Halloween,
seriously in Columbia County, not far from Rip Van Winkle's
I will be gone for fifteen days. When I return, the trees
will be more
barren and the time will be neigh for the trick and treaters
and for the ghosts that haunt this part of the world, including
horseman of pre-Revolutionary lore.
It is the time of changes, the moving into the season of
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Hanukah
and in this world of ours we
are having to make room on calendars for the holidays of at
least a half
dozen other religions, including Islam, which are now part
of the fabric of
this place that is America.
When I went to Catholic school, my 8th grade teacher, Sister
us we would be, if we weren't already, persecuted
for being Catholic. I
recall being startled and wondered what she was talking about.
think of an instance I had experienced anything resembling
I don't think I ever have for being Catholic.
Years later I recalled the story to my friend Bill Epperson,
who told me had
we grown up together in his small southern town, he would
not have been
allowed to have been my friend. I again recall being startled.
He let me
know that where he grew up, Catholics were shunned.
That wasn't ALL that long ago and helped
me realize then and remember now
the complex set of things that have come together in making
States. From the WASPS to the WOPS, from white to black, and
every color in
between with worshipers from every religion in the world,
the masses have
come to America by land, sea and air to create this odd hodge
podge of a
nation both envied and hated by so many and where envy and
hate have mixed
in the making of the country.
This odd country is quite unlike any other place on earth,
one that will be
tested hard in the years to come as we must work to overcome
prejudices and emotions which have colored our past, evidenced
we tend to forget while focusing on the seminal white protestant
that were central to the formation of the first thirteen states.