Sunday, February 15, 2009


I hated Sundays all those years that I worked. Sunday meant that just as all the Saturday chores and errands were done, and I was starting to rediscover the joy of life, it was time to get ready to start the work week all over again. Those who have never had a strictly controlled "job" 5 days a week, 8.5 hours a day minimum, plus 2-3 (or more) hours of commute time would never be able to understand that. A frisson of sadness arrived in my heart every Sunday afternoon.

But now! Just another day, my dears, albeit with that certain Sunday quiet and somehow clearer air.

Some things about Sunday:

Oh, how I love CBS' Sunday Morning. It's not always a great program, but more often than not it's a terrific package of good things about interesting people, art, music, movies and books. The program is always capped by what we call "the nature scene", which has been all too short the past several years. It used to go on for at least a minute, with no commentary save for the hum of bees, chirping of birds, and blowing of the wind. Now the segment is down to 30 seconds or less. I wrote CBS about this once, but they made no changes, if you can believe it.

I wonder if it's true that newspapers are fading away. When there's "nothing in the paper" day after day and especially on Sunday, how can they last? Most weeks, there is nothing I want to read in the book review section, nowhere I want to go (much) in the travel section, and nothing I want to eat, never mind cook, in the food section. The news, by the time it hits the Sunday paper, has already been driven into the ground by CNN, Yahoo, Comcast, and your local station except for very local interest, and even that is and can be covered online, with slideshows to boot. And that includes obituaries! More about obits another time. We have only one good local columnist in the Richmond Times Dispatch: Michael Paul Williams. When we first moved here, there were several, but they have all moved on--and I think because they were either asked to do so or were made uncomfortable enough to choose to leave. Well, there will never be another Herb Caen from the San Francisco Chronicle, nor another Jack Smith from the Los Angeles Times.

At 5:30 pm on many Sundays, I attend the Celtic service at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. Oddly, although I am officially an Episcopalian, I have never attended a regular Sunday service there. The Celtic service is just about right for me: pretty much come as you are. The church is primarily lit by candles for this service, and the musical accompaniment is a piano, a flute, and either a harp or a guitar. Instead of a sermon, there is a very brief "reflection" by one of the priests, followed by silent meditation. Every service is opened by a poem or short prose selection. Tonight's was the title poem from Mary Oliver's book of poems called Thirst:

Another morning and I wake with thirst
for the goodness I do not have. I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has
given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked
and hunched over my books past
the hour and the bell; grant me, in your
mercy, a little more time. Love for the
earth and love for you are having such a
long conversation in my heart. Who
knows what will finally happen or
where I will be sent, yet already I have

given a great many things away, expect-
ing to be told to pack nothing, except
prayers which, with this thirst, I am
slowly learning.


  1. Poop. I just wrote a long comment and then deleted it. Sigh. Okay, I'll reprise: I especially love "My business is loving the world" from that same book. Yummy on Mary Oliver. Once I worked a job I hated and used to feel physically sick most of the day on Sunday. When I went to part time (28 hours/week was ideal), I had Fri-Sun off, and Mondays weren't so hard. That job also let me accumulate my comp all winter long, when hours were more demanding, and take it in summer (I recorded it scrupulously). Best job I ever had.

    Thanks for linking my blog. I think I'm your first subscriber!

  2. Your church service sounds lovely. We'd been going to the UU church out in Glen Allen, but we are lazy and stopped going. Living in the city, it just felt like such a trek. I'm not Christian, but your service sounds like a nice way to take a breath before starting a new week.