Christmas Day 2014.

Christmas inside and out (12.25.14, Anchorage, Ak)
Christmas inside and out (12.25.14, Anchorage, Ak)

Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,
The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow’d and so gracious is the time.

Hamlet, Act I, Scene I
William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616

Marcellus to Horatio and Bernardo, after seeing the Ghost,


Christmas Eve.

Caroling in the 'hood (12.24.14, Anchorage, Ak)
Caroling in the ‘hood (12.24.14, Anchorage, Ak)
Caroling by the fire (12.24.14, Anchorage, Ak)
Caroling by the fire (12.24.14, Anchorage, Ak)

I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not;
but there is much that, while I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
Take Heaven.

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant.
Take Peace.

The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it yet, within our reach, is joy.
Take Joy.

And so…I greet you with the prayer that for you,
now and forever, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away.
— Fra Giovanni, Christmas Eve, 1513

Christmas tree through the window (12.24.14, Anchorage, Ak)
Christmas tree through the window (12.24.14, Anchorage, Ak)


“Between the … and the … falls the shadow.”

The Hollow Men


Mistah Kurz – he dead.
A penny for the Guy!


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpieces filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rat’s feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar.

Shape without form, shade without color,
Paralyzed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us – if at all – not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom.


This is the dead land
This is the cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdom.
In the last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

     For thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
    Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
     For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a whimper.


When I am not present to myself,
then I am only aware of that half of me,
that mode of my being which turns outward to created things.
And then it is possible for me to lose myself among them.
Then I no longer feel the deep secret pull
of the gravitation of love which draws my inward self toward God.
My will and my intelligence lose their command of the other faculties. My senses, my imagination, my emotions,
scatter to pursue their various quarries all over the face of the earth.
Recollection brings them home.
It brings the outward self into line with the inward spirit,
and makes my whole being answer the deep pull of love
that reaches down into the mystery of God.

—Thomas Merton from “No Man is an Island,” (Shambhala, Boston) 2005 (first published in 1955).

Clear vision.

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.

~ William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Advent– time to journey within.


Advent begins (12.5.14, Anchorage, Ak)
Advent begins (12.5.14, Anchorage, Ak)

All the earth is dark now, and all the trees are bare.
From evil we were guarded by brave St. Michael.
Away are evil spirits cast down on Halloween.
And now we hope for Advent: Will inner light be seen?
Candle-light might help us where daylight must decline.
We pray that in our hearts and mood, the Christmas light may shine.

Traditional Advent song (shared by Waldorf School of Anchorage)