Happy birthday to Richard K. Rein, who turned the Big Seven Oh yesterday and ruminated on the milestone in his column today, here.
Seventy’s good, from my point of view. Seven years ago I ruminated on the same number, here. The wisdom that still works today is from Frederick Buechner: “The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
In a NYT article, Choral Music is Slow Food for the Soul, composer Nico Muhly has wise observations about how “the choral tradition operated in a series of interlocking cycles based on the liturgical year, with the music and the musicians playing a role in a larger drama.” Rather than expecting applause, church choir singing is “meant for worship…to be heard in a state of quiet meditation.. to guide the mind out of the building into unseen heights and depths.”
Choristers — and attentive listeners — will agree with Muhly, that the liturgical tradition of choral music brings “sharp pangs of nostalgia, followed by a sense of gratitude that this tradition has been such an important part of my musical world.”
I can’t say that I like salamanders but I have an affection for them. My summer job at age 13 was feeding strips of beef liver to their cousins, Mexican axolotls, in the Figge lab.
This is the season when the salamanders cross the Beekman Road in East Brunswick. (No chicken jokes, please) And they need protection. Locals have organized to keep them being run over in the middle of the night, as described in this Packet story by Vashti Harris.
I went once, armed with a flashlight, and I did see one spotted salamander cross the road. It was exciting. What I mostly remember is the choral din of the spring peepers.
When to go? When the salamanders decide it’s time, on a warm night. Here’s how to plan your trip. Take the family but give each child a flashlight so they DON’T step on one.
Here’s what they look like — nothing like their Mexican cousins, which reach adulthood without undergoing metamorphosis. They never develop lungs, never walk on land — they keep their gills.
Axolotl photo from Wikipedia. Spotted Salamander photo from Friends of the East Burnswick Environmental Commission.
“A young man on Wall Street became interested in the work of a mathematician who had developed a system for beating blackjack and was using that system to pick stocks that would outperform the market average. . . . Princeton Newport Partners became the first quantitative hedge fund.”
In recent years the YWCA has sometimes refocused its Stand Against Racism commitments, favoring breakfasts for those-in-the-know with discussions facilitated by members of Not in Our Town Princeton. Last year it co-sponsored a demonstration.
Yes, breakfast meetings may help individuals delve more deeply into their own feelings and this can help conquer racism. But I suggest that this is the year for the Princeton YWCA to sponsor a more visible demonstration. Here are the first words on its website:
At the YWCA Princeton, we know we must remain bold and iconic in our mission! We continue to eliminate racism…
There will be people who voted for Trump who belong to the Princeton YWCA, but surely “standing against racism” can be a bipartisan effort.
I concur with the founder of Cross Fit who characterized the average gym as “predicated on a low to minimum wage, skill-less staff supervising hapless members. “ He concluded that “clients enjoyed a better workout environment, and he made more money, by training them in groups small enough that each athlete could get plenty of individual attention — rather than one-on-one. The shared suffering and shared satisfaction of completing a workout together transcends individual levels of fitness and forms the basis of the so-called CrossFit community.”
But Hastings failed to convince me that I — old enough to be her grandmother, with arthritic knees, a gimpy shoulder, and a back-that-sometimes talks-to-me — should join the CrossFit cult.
I’ll stick to Pilates at the Anthony Rabara studio where I’ve been lucky enough to take lessons for more than two decades. Despite arthritis I’m sure not to get injured. When I walk into the studio I can say “my knee is tender today” or “my shoulder is out today” and the trainers adapt the equipment and the workout. Though I athletes and dancers train here, some clients are even more decrepit than I.
Ninety-two-year-old Moshe Budmor, for instance, worked out at the studio until just before he died.
I also value my “take it slow and easy” anti-aging yoga class taught by the amazing Germaine Tartacoff . at Forrestal Village Fitness. (Tartacoff has her own studio and also teaches a “rank beginner” class at Princeton Adult School. Anyone leary of joining a class with folks who already know the difference between Downward Dog and Tree — this is the class for you.)
In her enticement, Hastings touts the group experience.Plenty of people who have observed Crossfitters with a mix of what’s-the-point and never-in-a-million-years have tried it out and realized that not only does it work, it’s also pretty fun.
But at my age I cast a jaundiced eye at any training that has even a whiff of competitiveness. If I try to keep up I’m likely to injure myself. But — never say never. Maybe when I turn 80.
PS: Hastings suggests examples of CrossFitters who are more my speed — here and here
So you can imagine my delight when I learned that the Chancel Choir at my church (Princeton United Methodist) will sing Morning Star n an arrangement by Helen Kemp at a Christmas concert on Sunday, December 18 at 5 p.m.. They previewed it in morning worship the week before.
Jesus mine, in me shine, fill my heart with light divine…