Monday, December 24, 2012

Letter to World

Dear World,

This is just to let you know that I’m taking some time off from saving you. Truth be told, I'm getting tired of my own constant harangue, my next epiphany about how the world could, should or would be if only. I’ve been chugging along in my missionary train for a long time now and never seem to run out of fuel. When people thank me for saying some things that resonate with them, I feel encouraged to continue. When people get pissed off that I'm saying some things that they don’t want to hear, I feel determined to keep saying them. Chug-chug-chug, whoooh! whoooh! goes the train, sometimes speeding so fast I can’t even enjoy the view out the window.

And in any case, I can’t help it. Re-reading my “mission statement” of my blog, that marvelous E.B. White quote (off to the right and down), it just seemed an indelible part of who I’m destined to be—the engineer of “Music Education for a Better World” train.

But here in Cuzco on Christmas Eve, my daughter Talia and friend Zoe newly arrived to join my wife and I, it’s time for a rest. We had the most lovely lunch in a simple, elegant and inexpensive restaurant (tourists! Go for the Menu del Dia always!) with a breathtaking view. From there, we ascended up the narrow cobblestones streets to the hillside with the Cristo Blanco standing arms spread giving his blessing on the city. The sun was out in the white-clouded sky, the locals out walking with their alpacas (apparently, not llamas here) and a blessed quiet everywhere. Below the city and behind the mountains and with so few cars here, one could hear the music coming from the Main Plaza, where all the vendors were hawking their wares in the Christmas Market. A moment of pure peace at the feet of the White Christ on this evening before his mythical birth, a peace not born from worship, faith or belief in a story two-thousand years old, but from the simple fact of stopping to attend here and now to the bushes blowing lightly in the breeze, the alpacas chewing their cud, the sea of red-tiled roofs below with the music wafting up, the sense that merely being alive is miracle enough.

We descended on a different route, 512 stairs (an old family tradition of estimating beforehand and counting), down into the hustle and bustle of the festive surge of humanity and the feeling of profound relief that I could once again wholly enjoy you without a single thought of how I was going to save you today. And World, if I may say so, you're beautiful.

But don’t worry. If you need my help, I’ll be back at it again tomorrow.

Your friend,


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