12/25/10 – random thoughts

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Lately I’ve been thinking about the realization that I’ve forgotten more then I remember. I cannot for the life of me remember what I got or gave two Christmases ago, and all but a handful of the presents I got from and gave to Marilyn.

Maybe I’m just at the moment experiencing the inevitable letdown, or lowering of my guard, after my – for me – hectic and full week and Christmas weekend.

I think about each of our uniquenesses, even my uniqueness, and that that uniqueness will be muted, and eventually dissipated as we will be.

Somehow, I think I am looking at this the wrong way. Or rather, that there is a way to look at this in a way that will create value, and even hope, in the face of it.
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12/24/10 – 11:00 mass

Getting dressed and ready to go to early choir prep for the church’s 11:00 pm Christmas Eve service (it’s the only one for Christmas).

Just showered again, getting into fresh clothes, drinking coffee. This is strange – I am not a night person anymore, and I haven’t attended a high church service since I was 17.

12/23/10 – rehearsing for tomorrow night’s service

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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).
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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.
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12/22/10 – haiku

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the lines of car lights
burning red and white
drape the wreath of the highway
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12/21/10 – MRI haiku

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thought it was a white metal coffin
as the dye seeped in me cool then warm
and the machine hummed brittle music of the spheres
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12/20/10 – solstice poem

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on this last night of autumn
this first morn of winter
the moon will die
the moon will reborn
as the cold candle of the nights
as the only candle shivering light
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A few years back I wrote a holiday tune, “Solstice Sleigh Ride” – you can listen here.
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12/19/10 – sitting in church

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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.
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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.
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