All best wishes for good Christmas holiday and New Year in 2023.

Nov. 9-13 we were in New York State to help celebrate my sisters 80th birthday.

On a drizzly Nov. 11 seven of us took a day to see part of the Finger Lakes region.  Nearing Ithaca, a sign beckoned a short side trip to see Taughannock Falls, near Cayuga Lake.  It was an impressive site, even on a far less than ideal day, and I took this snapshot of part of the group.  The snap is hardly a prize winner, but thus is the fate of most mere mortal – and memorable – photographs!

Taughannock Falls NY Nov. 11, 2022

Back home I was sorting the remnants of the trip, and noted the New York State Road map I had picked up earlier on the same trip at the Geneva visitor center.  Something was familiar:

A very talented and certainly far better equipped photographer than I had caught the falls on a much better Fall day.  (It was almost impossible to  find the photographer byline on the map, but here he is, Paul Massie.  Wonderful shot.)

Maybe the two photos demonstrate the gap we all experience in our own lives, between the unattainable perfect we imagine, and the real that we experience every day!  Real life seldom even approaches the perfection of advertising.  Even Mother Nature has her dowdy days – witness my snapshot!


I was struck by something else on the map: the obvious slogan: LOVE.

It got me to thinking about how we label people, places and things, including ourselves, and how we use, and interpret, sometimes incorrectly, words expressed, or received….

I’ve very rarely been to New York, but the slogan on the map was very welcoming.  Our experience those few days matched the words.


I’m sufficiently elder so I can be excused for occasionally taking stock of my own life, steps and missteps, indelible history,  good decisions and not….  That’s life for everyone.  The more life, the more experiences.  Between reality and imagination is where we live our lives; perhaps the worst judge of our self is our self.

In another file, recently, I found a poem that I had used in my homemade Christmas card in 1979, which in turn was in a poetry book I still have, which I had purchased for my future spouse, Barbara, in 1961, in Valley City North Dakota,

For some reason, a poem in this book, The Loom of Time, especially spoke to me, even as a 21 year old,  Here it is for your consideration: Loom of Time.

My bank of life experience in 1961 at 21 was less full than it was in 1979 at 39, and certainly far less than 2022 at 82.  Your bank differs from mine, of course, but for all of us the general course is the same.  Life doesn’t stand still.  Live it as best you can.

I found the poem in “The Best Loved Poems of the American People” selected by Hazel Felleman c1936.  Here is the introduction to the book,  itself very interesting.  (The poem referenced at page 323 is entitled “Death”, author “unknown originally, signed “Beatrice”.)

Be kind to yourself and to others.  All very best wishes for the season and the New Year.

POST NOTE: In the Archive for Dec 7 2022 I have a post on my Uncle Frank, who died on the USS Arizona Dec 7 1941.

COMMENTS (more at end of post):

from Judy: Thank you Dick for this wonderful piece.  I hope you continue to stay well.   I so often think of what both Michael and Joseph would have to say about the place the United States has come to be.

from SAK: Many thanks for that poem The Loom of Time you used in a Christmas card & which you found in a book you offered your then future spouse. The poem brought a few things to mind.

For one thing its author remains unknown which reminds me of all the unsigned icons and something a teacher once told us at the end of the course: plant trees you will not sit under.

The poem also suggests in part something Kierkegaard wrote: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”. Now I don’t speak Danish but it sounded nice: “Livet må forstås baglæns, men må leves forlæns.”

Thanks for your good wishes & may I reciprocate wishing you a Merry Christmas & a New Year free of major health worries but full of joy – & hopefully, for our greater pleasure, bloggings!

from Rich:  I will share this [Mormon Tabernacle Choir] with you because of your spiritual and ethical compass. I have alway like this text because of what I consider to be very ecumenical and inclusive. The Mormon Tab Choir “performed regularly” in our family’s living room in Minot … especially at Christmas. Unforgettable.  Be good to yourself and enjoy every day.  Another Tabernacle offering from Rich here.

from Brian: Love the Finger Lakes region!  Dick, thanks for sharing.

from Steve: Dick, It’s not the size of the waterfall or the brilliance of the exposure that’s important. It’s the memory of the moment and the impression the image leaves in your mind. I loved the photo and the gray day.


6 replies
  1. Sonya
    Sonya says:

    Your posts are always a delight, even when they are on a serious or dark topic. They are food for thought and often food for the soul, as was this post today. I love the poem. Thank you!

  2. Lois Young
    Lois Young says:

    Happy Holidays to you and your family! I look forward to your emails with the variety and information so down-to-earth. This particular recap of your Finger Lakes visit brings thoughts of some of my ancestors who moved from New Jersey to that NY area after the Revolutionary War. As I do not have contact with any other VCSTU alumni, I am pleased to enjoy you chats of ND and MN since my dad’s family lived in Mpls./St. Paul starting in the mid-50’s. I will finally go there in August for a convention at the Univ. of Northwestern. If your travels take you to southern MN, Luverne has a wonderful History Museum – collection of Nutcrackers that exceeds our population of nearly 5000 – it would be great to see you! Lois

  3. Maryellen Weller
    Maryellen Weller says:

    Best Wishes to you, Cathy, and all the family for a lovely Holiday Season!
    Your comments on the two photos of that beautiful waterfall make a great reminder. Even in the ordinary day there is beauty–rain or shine, calm or eventful–and I think we appreciate the ordinary more as we age.


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