Monday, November 24, 2008


There was a skiff of snow on roofs and car tops when Mick took me to church today, but it warmed up into the 40s F, although it remained cloudy all day. Only the wild honeysuckle and the willows still have green leaves now, and the sparse dry, dead leaves skitter across the cold streets in the wind. It begins to feel like winter at last!

We sang a jazzy arrangement of the old spiritual, “Are You Anchored in the Lord?” today, which was great fun. I love our parish so much! When I went to my previous church, I was left to work out how to move my music stand and chair when the choir moved, and often I simply did not sing when they moved, since I could not figure out any logistics that worked in the time allotted. At St. Luke’s today, Monica L got my stand, Lisa, the choirmistress, had set a chair for me before the service and Doug M offered an arm and elegantly ushered me down the chancel steps. I am bathed in love there! Thank you, Lord!

And I remember when an L/L friend came from up east to help me set up my office in the winter of 2006. He is a fine singer, and the choir took him in with hugs of welcome when he practiced with us that week. Fun is always had in our choir, as well as the creation of hopefully beautiful and sacramental music.

We began our first film for today, Eastern Promises, with lunch, after seemingly endless dickering with our increasingly cranky DVD player. It was a grimy, gritty, atmospheric story of immigrants from Russia who come to London hoping for a new life, only to become swallowed up by the Russian mafia. The movie portrayed brutish acts by people of limited intelligence and lean hope and its ironic ending put the stamp on its bleak premise, that the promises of new life in a new land were almost all false.

It reminded me somewhat of The Seventh Seal, an Ingmar Bergman film decades old, which portrayed the same feeling of hopelessness, with the figure of the child, or the family with the child, as the only beacon of hopeful possibility.

Viggo Martensen offered a lovingly detailed portrayal of his seedy and unsympathetic character and I salute him for a superb acting job. As well, the music and production values were sensitive to the aura the director, David Cronenberg, was seeking. The pace, however, was sometimes halting and the plot confused before it edified at times. It is a film worth seeing, but it never quite came into the focus I believe was intended.

We watched the second film immediately afterwards. It was eerie how thematically similar the two films were! And Mick had selected them from shelves on opposite sides of the video store.

Transsiberian was set in Russia, where a company of Americans are concluding a tour of that country with the long train ride from Vladivostok on Russia’s eastern coast to Moscow, where they shall depart for home. And what a clever, nicely detailed and skillfully paced and directed mystery story it was!

Woody Harrelson offered a nuanced and finely tuned portrayal of the innocent American who responds in unexpected ways to the challenges offered, becoming an unlikely hero when his wife’s life is threatened. Ben Kingsley stole the show as the seemingly affable Russian detective who is more, and other, than he appears to be.

The ensemble surrounding these two players was thoroughly professional and the direction, by writer Brad Anderson, was masterful. The production values, especially the music, were excellent as well. For those who love a mystery, this is a good movie to see.

I was feeling poorly and came upstairs to rest for a while after our double feature. Mick, however, was industrious, getting lots of chores knocked out with his typical grace and style. He even managed to help me with my collection of nail polishes. It is kept in a large plastic container, so when I want to select a polish, all I can see easily are the tops of the bottles of polish. I wanted to put a daub of the color from each bottle on its applicator top. Mick got that all done, and with a technique far swifter than the one I had envisioned. Thank you, St. James!

We came together when I awoke from my nap. Mick was just finishing his weekly call to Mom McCarty. We came upstairs and planned the Thanksgiving meal together before descending for supper and the Gaia Meditation, at which Mick offered the closing prayer.