The Lark Ascending

I received several more notes from new friends in England the other day.  It is somewhat confusing how some family news found its way there, but I'm happy when people I don't know and will never ever meet take the time to write.

Family ties to England go back a long way so far as we can trace - certainly back to Scotland and England prior to 1600 and I say that as a note of pride.  My wife and I, who is so typically English in appearance as to make the royal family blush, were last in England a couple of decades ago and spent some time in London (my roots) and St. Paul's and of course had to do the chalk rubbings which I have from each prior visits and we keep in our mutual keepsake drawer to this day.

There is something about doing that simple, tourist thing that is of comfort. Perhaps a million have done so before and after my efforts and in now countless scrapbooks rests a black paper with an image.  That perhaps ties a few of us together and I would hope for some magic website that lists all those who pressed chalk to paper.  England has gone through so much, can be cited for so much, was arrogant during its history, pompous certainly applies, had a terrible (in our eyes) history of colonialism - us included - yet remains near and dear, steadfast and loyal, and of all the countries with whom I have family roots and a certain longing, I would live there in a minute if the situation availed.

I'm perfectly patriotic to the United States so that is not the issue in the least. It is a certain quality that I find in the Isles that feels comfortable.  I liked Tony Blair not for his politics but for his use of the language.  Shakespeare is my all time best hero not for him as a person but for his amazing use of words that contained colors, that when used and spoken, were better than the alphabet that comprised them.

The music, the singing and the utter calmness and tranquility of English composers is what I find most drawing. Vaughn Williams, Tallis, Holst, Taverner, Delius and so many more are treasures of what is art and what is art that makes daily life worth a mention.

Here is a snippet of a favorite - not the best or worst - but just something that is wonderful to listen to.