This is the altar at the UU church, set up of course for tomorrow night’s Christmas mass (Christmas Vigil? 11:00 Christmas Eve night – the church has no Christmas morning service; the reverend told me they had added one a couple years back, and no one came, no one).
I guess tomorrow night the lights will be out, and the choir comes in behind the altar through doors hidden in the backing woodwork, holding lit candles – and our music. We march up the center aisle, singing, stop along the pews, keep singing, and then the organ plays through a verse alone as we march into the back, and then scramble up to the loft in time to sing the final verse.
We didn’t do this kind of thing in Buddhism. Well, we did, but it didn’t feel like people just trying to do something nice, like this church feels.
Should be fun.
I am new to church – as I have mentioned I was raised a Roman Catholic, but never a believer (when I received my Confirmation at 13 I was already an atheist), and spent my adult life from 20 to 47 as a practicing Soka Gakkai Buddhist.
Now I am a participant in the local Unitarian Universalist Church. I haven’t “signed the book” yet, but I have pledged a token donation. I am in the choir, and plan to be in the adult sex education series this winter. Yeah, it’s a cool church – I was told 23% of the congregants are atheists as well.
Steeped in American Transcendentalism and in-your-face social activism – in 1969 they gave refuge to several draft dodgers who, apparently, were invited to live for days in the sanctuary – taking that traditional law of sanctuary literally – until the FBI and local police got tired and stormed in, knocking down the congregants amassed to shield the dodgers with their rifle butts.
This is the view from my seat in the choir loft. Raised as a Roman Catholic, I find churches lugubrious, but I am getting used to this one, even with its massive wood vaulting and its stone walls. Part of my being there is honoring my heritage. I sing the hymns – and for now the Christmas carols – that my great great great great great great grandparents, in both Britain and Germany, sang – my grandfathers with their friends over tankards perhaps, my grandmothers to their babies.
Taking photos of my neighborhood and city – a very good idea Cindy. In my neighborhood are large elegant late Victorian homes built as diplomats’ residences for the Pan-American Exposition of 1901, as well as more “quaint” homes for us working folk, lol. And a home by Frank Lloyd Wright.
(Yeah, I’m screaming into home now… Probably going to go to a two or three times a week with the new year – maybe take a break, collect myself, and post some serious stuff like I did when I started this project.)
Posted in Buffalo
You’ve probably heard that Buffalo is snowed in – truckers and commuters stranded overnight on a stretch of the Thruway, travel bans, 2, even 3 feet of snow.
Lake Effect Snow (and lake effect rain) happens when cold air blows over warmer open water, picks up moisture, and then dumps it over land – it happens on the eastern tips of the Great Lakes. The city of Buffalo is situated at the point where Lake Erie “ends” and narrows into the Niagara River, with Niagara Falls about 20 miles downstream, where the water continues after a couple more miles of river into Lake Ontario.
Lake Effect Snow is restricted to a band a few miles wide, and can be independent of any other general snow system. Imagine a wiper blade moving back and forth, but not necessarily in rhythm, restricted to a narrow arc. This almost always stays south of the city, from the very southern edge of Buffalo south toward the farmland, vinyards, and the hills that make up ski resorts.
I live in Buffalo’s Upper West Side, about a kilometer from Niagara River. At the same time even the southern quadrant of the city, 3 miles south, was under a driving ban, cars and trucks were stranded on the Thruway edging Buffalo, and some first ring suburbs had 2 feet of snow, at 2:00 this afternoon when snow was still falling, this was the view from my porch –
And we still have no snow here tonight.
on the horizon south
slipping gray mountains
bode snow, there
stepping out of the car
near the waterfront under the bright sun
the smell of Cheerios warms
A few pics from my cellphone’s cam –
My new roommate, Mullet, with Rand Paul’s hair, although it’s hard to get a good pic
And today I stepped over to another building at the campus, for lack of a better word, the cluster of buildings that make up the property bequeathed to the social service agency where I work, to get my flu shot.
This is its mosaiced vestibule floor –
and the front –