Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day

Snow December 19 (Click to See Larger)

Kiss the Joy as It Flies

Christmas Greetings 2006

17 December

Dear Friends and Family,

We wish you the peace and joy of this season. May you cherish each moment of grace.

The amazing news is that Ed has survived yet another year in relatively good health. We have had some scary moments, and he has undergone three changes in chemotherapy protocols. He received a blood transfusion in September, which greatly boosted his energy, and continues to receive injections to boost the red and white blood cells ravaged by the chemo. Overall, the quality of life remains good, although each day is lived in the presence of this illness that governs our every move. If you want to receive occasional updates via email, please us know and we’ll add you to the “Ed Update List.”

The second most amazing event of this year was the celebration over Memorial Day Weekend of “Ed’s Eighty Trips around the Sun,” with three days and more of visits from friends and family from near and far, good food and fellowship, a digital slide show with music, a piƱata, and fireworks.

We stayed closer to home, but did manage to go to Washington, D.C. in March, where we enjoyed the cherry blossoms, museums, memorials, theater, and opera (“Das Rheingold”), and the company of our friend Roz. In July we enjoyed a trip to Tucson, with excursions in the desert and visits with friends, even though it was in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave. October’s excursion was a culture break to Los Angeles, where we attended the opera (“Manon”) and the symphony (in the new Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry). Our final trip was to Florida during the first week in December, where we enjoyed seeing friends and relatives, museums in St. Petersburg and Sarasota, and beachwalking and birdwatching on Sanibel Island.

Jesse and Psyche are now on their own. Both children have had success in their careers this year. Jesse continues to spend more time doing free-lance work, and he was featured in a new book, Mangaka America: Manga by America’s Hottest Artists, currently ranked #31,762 on (Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope is #1 – that gives me hope). Jesse continues to live in his little artist’s house south of downtown, and it is good to have him nearby – he takes care of the house and animals when we are away. You can find links to Jesse’s work (and to Jesse) at

changed jobs in September and is now working as an executive assistant at Hellman and Friedman, an international investment firm. She comes home to visit now and then, and leads a busy social life wherever she is. She continues to share her San Francisco apartment in the Mission District with her best friends from college, and still has Ro, whom some of you met at the party, as her boyfriend. We had both Jesse and Psyche together with us for Thanksgiving this year for the first time since we can remember, and we’re looking forward to being together again for Christmas. I am humbled and filled with gratitude when I think that my children have survived to adulthood and become people I’m happy to know. Despite whatever mistakes were made in their upbringing, their parents loved them dearly and still do.

Linnea continues her work as the nominally half-time librarian at Bandelier Elementary School. She actually puts in at least two-thirds time, but loves working with the children, who give her energy and hope (most of the time). The big event this fall was One Book One School in which the entire school read E.B. White’s classic 1952 novel, Charlotte’s Web. On December 13, 376 Bandelier readers joined with half a million other people in a world-wide attempt to break a Guinness World Record for simultaneous reading aloud. We won’t know until sometime in the spring whether the record was broken. For more information see Writing, research, and teaching children’s literature has taken a back seat to everything else, although she continues to review for Kirkus.

Ed continues to survive cancer, spending quite a lot of time in waiting rooms at the University of New Mexico Cancer Research Center. He also works on genealogy, reads the The New York Times, The New Yorker, and This Week, and still does some of the grocery shopping and cooking. He also keeps the dog, cats, chickens, and sheep from starving. He appreciates all the prayers, love, and good wishes you have continued to send his way, and sends you all his love.

Walking on the beautiful, shell-strewn beaches of Sanibel Island two weeks ago, I was struck by the variety in patterns, and the intricate perfect structures of the shells. Yet I felt sadness, too. The very sands beneath my feet, were made of shells, ground fine over millennia, millions and billions and trillions of skeletons of formerly living creatures. I thought of the vastness and the beauty of our earth, of how small a part we play, of the endless recycling of matter, and perhaps spirit. I was thrilled also to see alligators and an American Crocodile up close – survivors perhaps of the age of dinosaurs – and the birds, too—the long-legged and long-necked herons, wood storks, anhingas and spoonbills. There is also the miracle of the snowflake, those perfect crystal forms – no two alike it is said – but how can we possibly know ? – that sometimes last only for an instant, but sometimes for millennia in the ice of glaciers.

Our world is a place both beautiful and terrible. I will quote again from E.B. White’s passage from Charlotte’s Web (183):“Life in the barn was very good – night and day, winter and summer, spring and fall, dull days and bright days. It was the best place to be, thought Wilbur, this warm delicious cellar, with the garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure, and the glory of everything.”

But, I’m also reminded of “Eternity” by William Blake who wrote elsewhere, “To see the world in a grain of sand…”

He who bends to himself a joy

Does the winged life destroy;

But he who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in eternity’s sun rise.

May each of us “kiss the joy as it flies” this year. Time is all we have.