Tuesday, December 28, 2021



This week is “Happy Holidays” greeting time. Everywhere I go, this is part of casual exchanges.

    Regardless of which holidays, these words cover all. But do they?

    Seems like an obligation to be happy. With such an obligation, comes guilt if we can’t.

There are lots of reasons to encourage gratefulness, wish better health, and let others know you value them. I’m less sure about happiness; that thing we so casually spew out as a wish or even half a command. I’m actually not sure what it is.


My mulling is much less about whether it’s okay to say Merry Christmas to people who may not be Christians (its fine with me, but this is no longer a universally accepted notion) than about feeling I wish I had something else I could put out to casual passersby.


There is the “stay safe” I’ve had my fill of hearing. One friend replaced that with “stay sane,” which I like much more. I almost want to substitute STAY SANE for the happy holidays utterances, except...

©Kristen Feighery

...except that doing so with strangers will likely be taken as a sign of insanity.

But you here know what I mean. Stay sane, everybody. Happiness is a blessing but not an obligation. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Exotic Christmas?


Christmas lights all around.


I have two close friends who, like me, are Jewish. Unlike me, they feel “excluded” at the sights and sounds of Christmas.

We’re the kind of Jews who don’t do “Hanukkah Bushes.” I’ve been guilty in the past of overdoing Hanukkah presents for my kids instead of Hanukkah Gelt, the traditional giving of money without fancy wrapping.


I now relish the modesty and wistfulness of our holiday of winter lights with a single Hanukah menorah and something fried.

My two friends grew up in a Christmas majority culture. I had the advantage of having grown up where Hanukkah was at home as well as on the streets, and Christmas was something you had to seek if you wanted to spot any of it in certain quarters.

Hanukkah was commonplace; Christmas was exotic.

For me, It still is, . I’m delighted looking at this celebration of lights, plethora of glistening wrappings under trees, music that mixes old beauty with some sappiness, and lots of people trying hard to look cheerful in colorful sweaters.

Unlike my two friends, I’m very comfortable being an outsider looking in. Christmas is exotic, still.

No need to say Happy Holidays to me. Your Merry Christmas is welcome. I’ll say it right back to you, and mean it.


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

“The Gates of Heaven Opened”

 The saying in Hebrew that describes rain, speaks of the gates of heaven opening. Admittedly, it’s more meaningful for a land that is often parched.


I have heard some describe the smell of rain as their favorite. Rain doesn’t have a smell, so it’s the wetness bringing out the earthy smells that they resonate to; the smell of leaves, the ground, the life mushrooming from below.


Rain is all about resonance. It’s how it hits other matter, and what that interaction brings forth.


Resonance is what life forces are, not only the physical, but also the spiritual. In this way, the expression of rain as the gates of heaven opening always makes sense to me.


Listen to the falling rain
Listen to it pour
And with every drop of rain,
I can hear you call,

Call my name right out loud,
I can hear above the clouds
And I'm here among the puddles
You and I together huddle.

Listen to the falling rain,
Listen to it rain.


From RAIN by ©José Feliciano & Hilda Feliciano


Listening to my muse on a blessed rainy day~~~

Tuesday, December 7, 2021



If the title doesn’t ring a bell, listen to this speech

The iconic line reads:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941— a date which will live in infamy— the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.


The attack on the U.S. navy in Pearl Harbor, which led the sleeping eagle to wake up and enter a world war that would reshape our place in the century to come, was the September 11th of the twentieth century. Those who live in the 21st century commemorate the September date, but December 7th changed the American destiny in arguably more profound ways.


So today, a date that might have lived in infamy and served to remind us of the nature of the world we are making, is but a whiff of a distant memory that few think about when the digital calendar/phone says it had arrived.


It’s today.