Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December 8: A Kind Heart, Charlie Brown, Catharine Savage Brosman, "The Skater," Off the Top of My Head

"He had a kind heart," she [Annie] said to one class in East Harlem.  "He believed that only a heartless society would leave its unfortunate poor to its sad fortune."

Annie is a substitute teacher.  At Christmas time, she regales her students with stories about Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol.  She talks about Dickens' dedication to the poor, how he wrote the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge to make British citizens aware of the desperation and poverty that existed in their midst.  Dickens believed that society had an obligation to take care of the sick, poor, destitute, and abandoned.  Everyone deserved to be taken care of.

This time of year, everybody is more aware of poverty and hunger.  I'm sure it has a lot to do with Christmas and its attendant goodwill.  Generosity is abundant around the holidays.  Food pantries are stocked full.  Salvation Army buckets sing with coins.  Even the biggest Scrooges begrudgingly open their wallets to help out the Tiny Tims of the world.

I am in a much better place, mentally, than I was last night.  Last night, my world seemed a little suffocating.  Too many bills.  Too many obligations.  Too many papers to grade.  And too little money or time to make any difference.  Tonight, I have gained a little perspective, and I have been blessed with the love and help of some of my loved ones.  I feel humbled and hopeful right now.

I think of Charlie Brown and Snoopy and Linus, skating on that pond while a children's choir sings "Christmas Time is Here."  I have been reminded that Christmas time is here, and it is a time of miracles.

Saint Marty wants to thank the miracle workers in his life this evening.

The Skater

by:  Catharine Savage Brosman

The lake is frozen white;
the trees stand cold and stark.
He skates alone tonight,
a shiver in the dark,

and traces on the ice
the figures of his thought,
composing his device,
infinity and naught--

the zero and the eight
both eloquent and mute,
their immaterial weight
from some celestial chute;

then, gazing at the place
where gods and heroes shine,
correlatives of space,
he cuts a cryptic sign,

the heaven may regard
his momentary flame,
the shadows shaped and starred
for crystalline acclaim.

Off the Top of My Head

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