HOPE NEVER DISAPPOINTS
Awaiting the Light
December Sunrise in Cambria
Our good friend Jim asked the other night, "Can you imagine how our parents felt? The Depression happened, a world war was underway, millions were being killed, everything was affected and no one knew how it would turn out."
Our world, with Isis, mass shootings, discord and division and changing nature falls into a perspective doesn't it? "Was ever such!" There has always been trouble, trials and tribulations. Isn't that why this season is so precious? One need not be a Christian to find a cause for cheer, merriment, hope and joy at Christmas time.That's part of the magic.
That magic was at work as we sat in historic Santa Rosa Chapel. Listening to the rich strings and angelic voices I thought how wonderful it would be if the moment could go on forever.
Frequent readers may recall this candle lit night in the 145 year old Chapel on a hill overlooking Cambria's east village is a definition of sublime. Enveloped by sound and the good cheer of those fortunate enough to crowd in, something is triggered. It is as though this night is a portal to all good Christmas memories and feelings.
It happens now as Bruce Black begins with hilarious tales of his little grandmother and then launches into his annual recitation of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, I hear a second audio track, my fathers deep voice and inflection as he reads the story to my brothers and me. It is a memory cell in my brain. I love to hear it, again.
The finest gift of the evening is Judith Larmore's Christmas Reflections.
She grew up in my mother's Indiana hometown and recounts places, things and feelings of home. This year's story, A Handsome Marine at the Door was exquisite and again dampened my cheeks. Happy tears that added luster to the glow of candles. As Lana said her description of Christmas displays and the wooden floors in the Five and Dime take you back. She even made the glistening of snow and icy Indiana winters appealing. As Judith noted it's just not fair, the evening must end.
So much of the transcendence of the evening is the music, simply world class. Vocalists Molly Pasutti and Helen Robillard. 1st Violin Brynn Albanese, 2nd Violin Mario Ojedo, Viola Peter Jandula, Cello Grant Chase, Bass Ken Hustad, 1st Flute Suzanne Duffy, 2nd Flute Maria Apostoles,
Harp, Hammered Dulcimer, Button Accordion Jill Poulous. Guitar Justin Robillard, Banjo and Guitar Eric Williams, Bells Tim Novoa, Mandolin, Tenor Recorder Grand Chase. Cambria resident and composer John Neufeld provided a special arrangement of Pie Jesu.
I repeat myself, but I wish everyone could experience the unique magic that happens in this little chapel in the Santa Lucia mountain and sea side village of Cambria. It is an evening that should never end. I suspect that is the kind of thing Charles Dickens had in mind when he said we should keep Christmas in our heart all year.
The madness of war, hate, the uncertainty of change, the suffering of loss will not abate, but neither will hope or chains of memories made on nights like this.
"God rest ye merry folk, let nothing ye dismay."
See you down the trail