Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I'm making a pilgrimage tonight, with some friends, to the Tenebrae service at a big-city church.

I had never heard of this service, or attended one, until a few years ago. But how appropriate it seems to be for Holy Wednesday, as the creeping darkness of Holy Week begins to descend on us.

You can read all about Tenebrae here. The church is candle-lit, and the candles are extinguished one by one as readings proceed.  At the end, the final shining candle is obscured from view, often placed beneath the altar.

The comes the strepitus -- a loud noise symbolizing the earthquake Scripture tells us followed the Crucifixion. If done properly, the strepitus makes you feel as if all hell is breaking loose -- as it is, I guess.

But that's not the last word. After the hellish noise, the single burning candle is placed upon the altar, the light of Christ for all the people to see, as they depart in silence.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kvetching about spring

I'd like to report that the spring equinox arrived safely at my home this morning. Immediately, my plants began complaining. They do this every year. They are just not patient. They are the only two large potted plants I have left, and they are excessively worried about their health. They get six months on the porch every year, but the rest of the time all they do is kvetch.

I wanna go outside, the Norfolk Island pine complained as I finished my watering duties. It's spring. Look at me! I look like crap in this dry, forced-air heat. I'm becoming straggly. My needles are dropping.

The jade plant, sitting nearby, chimed in (the jade never misses an opportunity to complain). You? Look at me! I'm straining toward the light. I'm leaning all to one side. She never bothers to rotate me.

"You can't go out yet, ladies," I said cheerfully, misting the pine with warm water, and hoping it would shut up. "It's 38 degrees out there. You want to shrivel up and die?"

But it's spring! they chorused.

Yes, I hear them. I'm longing for a break in this cold, too. Normally we have some relief by this time -- a day or two when sitting in the sun becomes a possibility. This year, no. At least the sun is out. That's the big yellow thing in the sky, in case you've forgotten.

"I'm sorry, ladies," I said to the plants. "I'm thinking one more month in the house. Then you can go out in the fresh air. In the meantime, maybe I'll get some pansies for the porch. Hanging baskets."

Pansies! moaned the pine. Low-lifes. Hanging baskets, what an insult!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cold and raw

Well, so much for the warm March we were anticipating. The weather has been rainy, cold, and raw, with stiff winds. My fur-hooded parka is longing for the closet -- or I am longing to send it there.

Still no jobs are on the horizon for J. or our son. Both had a flutter of activity early in their searches, but early hope and enthusiasm have petered out. Our home is crying out for painting, decluttering, new furniture, and rearrangement. But that's not happening. Not soon, anyway. There is disorder everywhere I glance.

We find ourselves in a rather gray place, without definition, and colorless. Easter is trundling toward us, but even I seem unable to anticipate it.

If it would warm up, just a little, I think we would all feel better!