Friday, April 28, 2017

Saraswati

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Saraswati


I posted this a number of years ago and then found a photographer friend's comment 
about her recently. Tried to find it in my list of blogs but it didn't show, so Googled it...
and there it was. So, I copied and pasted it for anyone interested. 
Retook the picture as that had been deleted also. 

I found her in an Indian shop at Estes Park a number of years ago on the way home from a Woodstock Old Students Association conference. Hand carved wood statues have always attracted me, and she was sort of in a back corner when I spotted her.

Several things drew my attention. Looking closely at the work showed some skill had gone into her creation. There were exquisitely carved details. She was a musician playing an Indian instrument resembling a guitar. She stood about 8 inches tall and would work well with the few others in my collection. Her name was Saraswati, according to the paper that came with her,and was the Hindu goddess of music, science, and knowledge to name a few of her attributes. In the Hindu mythology she  was present and necessary at the Creation.

Wikipedia has a large and interesting article about her. As an American musician who lived his childhood in India reading about Saraswati was fascinating. In articles about the mind and intelligence the inference is often that musical study and performance enhance mental abilities.In Genesis a musician is named early on with others who had important skills. Recently a newspaper article related the finding of a bone flute that appeared to be 30,000 years old.So music has apparently been associated with our humanity prominently for quite some time.

During this season of merriment and music she reminds me of the mystical emergence of music in the human mind and its importance for our health and happiness.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

January 2017 First Snow

a neighboring home across from ours
some snow laden pine branches
about 6 " on the mailbox
Our home in the afternoon light Saturday.....
After the visit to the Lewis Ginter Gardens we had routine Thursday ....and then came the big snow all day Saturday the 7th of January followed by a deep freeze cold...The snow and cold cancelled church services and provided extra time to take down the Christmas tree and pack most of the decorations away until next year.
Sunday afternoon Cathy, Jeff and Devin came over and finished the digging out process and we had time for a nice long visit. We have another night of brutal cold and then Tuesday it is supposed to thaw.

Friday, January 6, 2017

2017 "We see through a glass..."

Lib and I began 2017 quietly in our own home by watching  all the festivities going on in Times Square on TV.  2016  will be a year many will not remember fondly, yet it was kind to us!! 
We look forward to events in 2017 that we may participate in. Our oldest grandson, Dan White graduates from Temple University to what should be a bright future in business.  We may attend Lib’s class reunion in Dayton, Virginia. In the Fall we look forward to a week at Lake Junaluska where CoB “golden agers” go for inspiration and rejuvenation. 

On this past 4th of January we had a very pleasant visit with Judy Schiller Landry who  briefly taught me violin at Woodstock School. After almost 50 years we have reconnected  as musicians and friends. Her daughter Adena brought her and we learned more of her family and life experiences also. Both Adena AND her daughter have visited India recently. Two more generations get to share  some of Judy's experience

After their departure Lib and I went to Lewis Ginter Gardens which are lavishly lit up during the Christmas Season. We are members there and enjoythe beautiful settings and flowers/plants. Turns out Judy had visited there the night before.


balloon like lights that change color


avenue of green light s

Pool of blue fountains
conservatory
The weather was mild albeit a little chilly, but Lib and i had a fine time enjoying the tastefully lit environs.

Friday, December 23, 2016

60th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

                         “…..and they lived happily ever after”

60 years ago I married my sweetheart on December 29, 1956 in the Dayton
Church of the Brethren. We have been celebrating that event this past week a little early and hope that, the Lord willing, we will see that day shortly after Christmas.

Here is the briefest synopsis to put it in perspective. After graduating from high school in 1955 I was accepted by Shenandoah Conservatory at Dayton, Virginia to continue violin and musical studies for a career in music education. I found employment as a baker at the Thomas House and Home 
business a few blocks down from the conservatory. Lib also had work in the bakery after school and then would walk home. Both of us sang in the church choir. Her older sister Evelyn was married to a cousin of mine, a fact not realized by me at the time. 

During the Fall of my Freshman year I asked her if I might walk her home after choir during one of our work times at the bakery. She said her brother in law, Gene Erbaugh usually drove her home. On learning  that I had asked for the walk home  her Mother   told her to return to the bakery and “ tell Bill Kinzie he may walk you home!  Here is some money to buy donuts”. After choir we walked and talked on our way   to her home. And that is how it all began.

About a year later we were engaged and I bought her an engagement ring. Slowly plans were made to plan a marriage to occur the last of December. 
There were adult friends and advisors who counselled against it and one of my single Conservatory professors was aghast when he realized that I was wearing a wedding ring upon returning from Christmas break. 

So here we are 60 years later! What an interesting journey it has been. Yes, there were real challenges to be met. We were fortunate enough to find gainful employment to help get me through college. We also lived within our means and didn’t buy just because our older friends or family could. A few years later her brother and sister in law let us live in a part of the old homeplace while I earned my MA degree at what is now Madison University. Later we moved to Roanoke where I began my career as a Strings teacher in the city schools and we started our family. 


This past Sunday our granddaughter Rachel White drove us to Staunton, Virginia to the Mill Street Grill where we joined our daughter Cathy and her son Devin and older daughter Lisa White, her husband Mark and Rachel’s two brothers Dan and Sam White. There we enjoyed a celebratory family lunch. Jeff, Cathy’s husband was missing because of work obligations. 

Next we went to a Methodist Church a few blocks up the street to attend my youngest sister’s (Mary Inge) youngest daughter’s ( Taylor Inge) wedding. Then we celebrated a quick Christmas “open packages” in the fellowship hall as the White family would be driving back to Wilmington after the reception. 

Then we went to Dayton to pose in front of  Lib’s homeplace now owned by a Mennonite family and next to the Dayton Church of the Brethren to pose at the door we exited the evening we were officially man and wife. 

Finally Rachel drove us to Madison University where the young couple’s reception was and enjoyed more family and food as we celebrated their first few hours together as a married couple. Then Rachel drove us back to Midlothian and stayed the night before driving to North Carolina.

Each pair’s coupling  is a dice toss of the Universe. My father and mother married during the Great Depression and  seven years later went to India as church missionaries. My life was hugely different and I still reap the rewards of that couple’s early adventure.  Lib and I have seen marriages where they had it all crash and burn a few years later. Luck and perseverence surely are a part of the mix as is determination to make it work.

Bill & Lib 60th Anniversary

Cake close up

Cathy Miles, Lisa White, Lib Kinzie-Bill Kinzie, Mark White, Devin Miles, Rachel White, Dan White, Sam White, Jeff Miles Missing

Dan White, Devin Miles at present unwrap

Lib Kinzie (Grandmother) Rachel White  Granddaughter

It began here 60  years ago!

Lib and oldest daughter Lisa White in front of Lib's ancestral home in Dayton, Virginia.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Visit to Our Past

Monday October 17 I decided to make a reconnoitering trip to the Skyline Drive which is about 80 miles from our Midlothian area home.  It was a bright sunny afternoon and we would arrive in time to catch a nice Autumnal light to enhance the colors.

Unfortunately, it's been dry and the foliage was green and brown with very few colorful trees readily available. If time permits we may try a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway... believe they may have had more rain in that direction which could contribute to more dramatic colors. Think there is probably only a window of two weeks and often when it is the most colorful,  duties prevent the trip up to the mountains.

Lib had often expressed the wish to visit Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren where we were pastor and young wife while I attended my last two years at Bridgewater College.  The church is in Crimora, Virginia and within about a half hour drive of Skyline Drive at the Waynesboro, Va. end.

We had visited briefly once in the past and couldn't recall much from that time. This time I took pictures of the church which appears newly painted, has a paved parking area, and an addition to the back of the building. We visited the cemetery adjacent to the church and found the tombstones of Howard and Gracie Crickenberger who were prominent and helpful in steering our experience there in positive and helpful ways.  We saw other family last names but were not able to connect with direct memories. On our way to Grottoes down highway #340 we drove past the house that was the church parsonage.  Lib was able to identify it with much more assurance than I as she could recall specific features which I had forgotten.  The second picture is of the welcoming front doors.
It appears to be a thriving congregation and recently celebrated a homecoming event from one of the posters out front. It's been 60+ years since we were there and are grateful for the experience. Happy memories.
Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren

Monday, June 27, 2016

I'll Fly Away ... a short story


Sundar Behen gently wheeled the old man out the back door and on to the veranda of the Quiet Rest facility that faced toward the Bundar Panch massif. It was an early March morning in Landour and a recent rain had cleared the air so that the “snows” sparkled in all their pristine glory.

She pulled a light coverlet over his thin body. It was a bit chilly.
“Would you like some hot tea to sip as you enjoy the mountains?’

“I would indeed.” answered Motilal Raichaudri feebly.

“I’ll be back shortly with your tea.” she replied. as she turned quietly back into the residence. 

Motilal felt a momentary sadness at her absence and lifted his eyes to the Himalayas in the distance. He inhaled deeply. The cool air hinted of its intimacy with the distant icy peaks.  It contained essences of the deep and mysterious climates that continually veiled them.  Even though he was in some pain, knowing that he breathed the same fragrant air that had lingered around his beloved mountains made him shiver with delight.  


Sundar Behen moved efficiently inside.  She placed a kettle of water on the electric stove and turned it on high. In her late fifties, she had been on a long journey to this time and place. Reaching over her head, she pullled down the box of loose Earl Grey. It was the brand that Motilal had preferenced on his application papers.

The  other nurses were busy in their shared room, gathering the pillls and bags of liquids that they administered to their patients to keep them comfortable in this hospice setting.  Sundar was particularly fond of Shanti, a plump young novice nurse who lifted everyone’s spirits with her naivete and jolly humor.

The water came to a boil.  Sundar measured out a generous spoon of tea into the strainer and poured the steaming water into a white china pot. She also added cardamon, cinnamon
and a pinch of clove. She poured in some milk and the hot chai was ready.  On a small linen covered brass tray she placed some cookies, the pot, a china cup and saucer  with a clean white napkin. Motilal’s cancer was so far advanced that hot tea and a few bites of a cookie were about all the sustenance his frail body could tolerate. 

She didn’t know much about Motilal except what she had gleaned from the admission papers. He had been with them for only two days and the overworked staff usuaually didn’t have time to know each patient well. 

It was here that Motilal had always hoped to spend his last living hours.  He had first learned to love this place while attending Woodstock School.  During the five years there he and several close pals made numerous trips down to the Aglar river valley. A few times they had even trekked over the few remaining ridges to the base of Bundar Panch. They weren’t climbers, just hikers. Being in the presence of that much looming granite and ice always made him feel that he was in the presence of a powerful Mystery. 

Sundar poured his chai. “Be careful sir, it is very hot!” she admonished. A pang of remorse shot through her. She had never known a father because she had been an orphan. Sundar wondered if she had been too sharp and not properly respectful.


As she was an orphan her chances for a legitimate marriage were considerably diminished. In her young womanhood, through the auspices of her Catholic orphanage, she drifted somewhat reluctanctly into being a nurse nun. Could this dying old man be her unknown father she mused? She determined to treat him with the deference and love as if he were. That would be keeping her vows to be of service . Sundar Behen smiled slightly at the thought. 

“Why did you choose to come here” she asked, wanting to know at least a little more about him before he was gone. It would take some time to tell his story and she would listen attentively. ….

“I came to Woodstock in the 50’s, “ he began, “and learned to love this town and these mountains.  Then I went to Cambridge.” He sipped the chai. The spices mixed smoothly on his palate and in his nose. Motilal set the cup down. She really knew how to brew a tasty chai he thought. 

“ I became a biologist and later owned my own company.” he continued. And then a wave of nausea briefly passed over him. The vista in front dimmed and seemed to swirl and for
a few moments he was out of it. 

Sundar watched him closely. Previous experiences with this kind of patient convinced her that probably he would come around shortly. His body  twitched convulsively a few times and then he blinked his eyes. 

“Am I still with the living? “he inquired with a wan smile.

“ Oh yes!” she smiled affectionately. “Your’re very much still with 
us!” Her voice was comforting.  “You were telling me…”

“Remind me…” he searched for the train of thought before he had blanked out. 

“You were telling me how you came to us…”

And he continued, explaining how in retirement after his family had grown and his beloved wife had perished in a car accident that he began a search for meaning. That he began to understand from Christian mystics and the writings of the Buddha that there was much more to life than fame and the accumulation of wealth. He explained how he had used his means to make pilgrimages to the monasteries of both faiths, searching how life should be completed. 

He wasn’t looking for salvation or karma…just something that would offer him a personal peace.  Motilal learned much from a few very wise teachers. It was in the deep repasts of the high Himalayas that he began to practice asceticism, a discipline that required long bouts of fasting, prayer, and apartness. On each of these occasions his internal dialogue became less fitful and his friends would remark that he looked much better when he returned. 

A few year later some dizzy spells that came at odd moments and a progressive weakness sent him to his physician.  Ultimately the diagnosis came back. “I’m sorry to inform you that you have late stage leukemia…” After the initial shock he made his plans. 

He determined to return to Landour and discovered there was a hospice  for terminal patients there.  Calling a trusted lawyer friend, he divided his estate among his children and charity, saving only what he needed to complete his mission. Motilal told his family he was going on a month long trip to an old favorite place he longed to visit and would see them on his return. 

Sundar reflected on her own life as she listened to the old man.  What was it she lacked? Had she missed something by not being able to marry and raise a family? Wasn’t that the purpose of being a woman? Had she not felt the yearnings to hold young life to her breast; to watch it grow into personhood?  Yet, in some mysterious way, she was nurturing those who were on the brink into their new reality…and would not this return to her as her own blessing? She vaguely understood something about grace from the joy she felt while working around young Shanti. And Shanti …she was just beginning her journey and scarcely knew what energy she was generating in those around her 

Motilal took another sip. The narration had taken almost all his strength. He was grateful for her presence.  She alone had the time to hear his story through and affirm his life.  The chill was turning pleasant. Slowly he removed his covering, it felt good to have living air move over him. He inhaled deeply.  Somewhere down in the valley below a bird was calling  “Kwoaa. Kwoaa”. In the distance he heard crows cawing. He began to feel a pleasant somnulence steal over him.

Then an amazing thing happened. He felt a part of him leave the wheel chair.  He was moving in a light blue light toward the distant peaks.  He literally soared toward them with a great transcending joy. Motilal was exhultant!  He yelled a loud “Hallelujah!” as he sped faster and faster upward  towardthe reachimg spires. He knew without a doubt that he was about to break through to the great Mystery. 

Sundar Behen heard him breath deeply and saw the rapturous look on his face. She had seen this expression before with other patients.  She understood that he was seeing things she might experience in the future…now they would still remain unknown. 
This time he would not awaken. Lovingly she drew the shawl over
his still body and softly stepped inside.


“Motilal has just left us.” she announced to whoever migh hear. Then she went into her room and wept.