Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Bit of Wandering

I spent the day with my wife today - she did some damage to one of her knees, and she's on crutches with an immobilizer around her leg. Not a happy person at the moment. But I'm taking good care of her. I also broke my glasses and had to go to backups. I am not used to lined bi-focals; my regular glasses are progressives and I am spoiled.

Did some recording for my friend Mike today. He invited me to play. Once upon a time I was a trumpeter, and I even did it professionally for a while. I hadn't picked up my horn in quite some time, but he's working on some projects (Mike is a professional musician who not only plays gigs but records, engineers, and produces much of his own music and that of other artists) and he asked. So being the good sport that I am I agreed to do it. I got through what we needed to get done, and he made me sound pretty good, at that. Considering I have no chops, I was happy. Now I'm actually inspired to pick my axe up a little bit more and actually work on getting my chops back.

It looks like cold weather is coming back this way. While I struggle with the month of December because of the stress it can put on all of us, I especially have had trouble with our unusual weather. It has been unseasonably warm, and while I keep hearing about Global Warming and all of that, I can still remember when I was younger how much colder it seemed to be at this time of year. Curiously enough, there was a recent Thanksgiving (2002, maybe?) where we got pounded with snow on Thanksgiving; I also think that particular Christmas was really cold. My wife and I went to Midnight Mass at St. Anselm Abbey Church, and my daughters both fell asleep in the pews (they were 10 and 11 at the time), and it was very, very cold that night. It reminded me of that earlier time in my life when late fall and early winter was actually cold. This coming Christmas will be interesting from that standpoint as I am working on a Manchester city truck on Christmas Eve. We'll see how cold it gets then.

I don't particularly know why I'm thinking about that. Could be because as I write this I am listening to the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos chanting. Something about Gregorian Chant - I don't know quite what it is. Otherworldly, perhaps. Ethereal comes to mind as well. Having spent some time in Benedictine monasteries (not as a monk, just as a guest) I have been able to witness this first hand. One monastery I had the privilege of being a guest at in western Massachusetts does their entire monastic horarium (the Liturgy of the Hours as well as the Daily Mass) in Latin. I had help following along from one of the brothers, who was very kind and took the time to mark all of the places in their missals and hymnals that I would have to turn to for a particular part of whatever hour of prayer it was. The only thing I had going for me is that I have some grounding in Church Latin, so it was easier for me than I expected. The only parts of any of the hours, or Mass, that were in English were Scripture readings and the holmilies of the priests that were the Mass celebrants. Otherwise it was all Latin. Other monasteries I've been to (St. Anselm, Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, and the Trappists in Spencer) did everything in English, except for the Marian antiphon at the end of Compline. But even in those places the Chant was still beautiful, mystifying, and above all else, holy.

This has turned out to be somewhat random, almost a form of free association with what is going on around me right now. But I felt like I just needed to meander a little but. I'm putting up two video clips for viewing. The first one is a slide show with the Emerson, Lake, and Palmer song "I Believe in Father Christmas" as the theme behind it. The second is a performance by one of the finest guitarists I know of, "The Water Is Wide" by Ed Gerhard of Center Strafford, NH.

Enjoy these.


Fr. Peter said...

I was a monk at Glastonbury Abbey for five years it is a great place.

manchmedic said...

It is indeed. I'm still in contact with Fr. Gerald - he's awesome.