Sunday, December 20, 2009


The biggest storm of 2009 roared down the East Coast last night and left almost 14 inches of powdery stuff.

A perfect opportunity to try out my new Nikon D40.

The birds were relying on the feeder for their breakfast.

Fluffing their feathers against the cold.

Suddenly it's looking a lot like Christmas.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chappy Chanukah!

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah.

There's a lot of confusion about what Chanukah is and is not.

Although they share the chilliest time of the year in this hemisphere, it is not the Jewish Christmas, although Jesus knew Chanukah.

It is a holiday that celebrates the victory of the fight for religious freedom against enormous odds, punctuated by a small miracle. It is this miracle, a tiny light that burned in the darkest of times and would not be extinguished that touches my heart and holds great meaning for me. Each night another light is added, and the fellowship of each additional flame creates a blaze of joy that illuminates the darkest time of the year.

I wish you Chag Orim Sameach, Happy Festival of Lights. Thank you for being my candles and sharing your light.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

reSIGNed to being late

I have been playing along with Michelle Ward's GPP Street Team Crusades for quite awhile, although lately work and responsibilities have been taking up most of my time. However, when I heard that Michelle's latest Crusade was "What's Your Sign?" I wanted to play along.

The sign I wanted to talk about wasn't a visual one but rather a song. It's called "Lecha Dodi" and it means "Come My Beloved" in Hebrew. We sing it at the beginning of Friday night services to welcome the Sabbath. While the words are always the same, there are many tunes. The last conversation I ever had with my Uncle Herbie was when he was in the hospital awaiting surgery. He had end-stage diabetes and the doctors were about to do something drastic that they hoped would save his life. I wanted to see him, but I had a heavy cold, so my Aunt Selma told me to call instead.

During our conversation, I mentioned how I was trying to remember a tune to "Lecha Dodi" I hadn't heard since my Youth Group days. My uncle, who loved telling jokes and stories and being the center of attention, immediately launched into not one, but dozens of variations on the melody until we found the one I was looking for. Even on the phone he was on stage and having a ball. It was a wonderful "visit." Sadly, he only lived a couple of days after his surgery.

Ever since then, whenever I hear "Lecha Dodi" I think of Uncle Herbie. At times when I've heard the song I think I see a man who looks like him, only to turn and see that I am wrong. Or am I?

But other than "Lecha Dodi" I would have said I don't have signs. Then something odd happened. Right after Michelle first mentioned this Crusade, I was taking photos of a beloved tree for Getting Arboreal, a collaboration with my friend Julie Prichard. There, on the same street, was a house I've never seen before. This house.

It had Michelle written all over it.

I was amazed. Why hadn't I seen it before? I'd been on that street a hundred times.

Monday, it occurred to me that I was about to be late -- AGAIN -- for a Crusade. It was lunchtime and I was out on my daily camera safari. I was shooting store windows and the last of the leaves and decided to poke my head into a store and was startled to see this.

Anyone who knows Michelle knows that deer are one of her signs. Now I know it's the holiday season and reindeer are ubiquitous, but walking into a store full of sparkly reindeer the moment you have the thought?

Perhaps someone was trying to tell me something. So here I am, late but present. All that's missing is someone singing "Lecha Dodi."