So long as I live in a world where more than 100 people can gather on a Sunday afternoon to sing Christmas carols accompanied by 48 tuba players, I have hope for humanity. That was my overriding feeling at Tuba Christmas last Sunday in Porterdale.
Last Sunday, sitting mesmerized by Cirque du Soleil's Totem, I was struck by how the show challenges our notions of human limitations. With feats of incredible athleticism, agility, strength and grace - framed with soaring imagination and creative artistry - Cirque reveals the amazing possibilities to be discovered beyond the boundaries of what we believe is humanly possible. Every act was something I wouldn't have believed possible before seeing with my own eyes.
Standing outside Le Grand Chapiteau (the Big Top) at intermission, I recalled walking those same grounds decades ago as a young boy touring the Atlantic Steel mill ...
Perhaps it's a cliché - the columnist recounting all he has to be grateful for in this season of Thanksgiving. But, the problem with the obvious truths in our lives is that we've forgotten they're actually true.
Thursday we give thanks. But, we needn't reserve gratitude for one day, nor cast thanks only to the heavens. Last week, I wrote about expressing appreciation to someone while he was still alive. This week, I share another story.
The chance to say thanks was recent, but my gratitude goes back 36 years. The place was Peachtree High School in DeKalb County, and I was a rising senior - an undersized, not terribly athletic, but determined kid on a football squad going nowhere.
Natural disasters like the one brutalizing the northeast this week are no time for politics. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made that abundantly clear Tuesday by praising President Barack Obama for his handling of the federal response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy.
My job seldom takes me to the big city these days, unless I'm traveling. But, in college and later working downtown in the 80s and 90s, I was a regular on the streets of Atlanta. Encounters with panhandlers were part of the daily routine. You got used to it, but I was never comfortable.
If you have any heart at all, it's hard to turn away from need. And, yet, there could be no end. Each small gift only attracted more asks. Sometimes, I'd give spare change or a few small bills; other times, I'd avert ...
I'm glad to be home, in my office, typing on a real computer - not fumbling around on a tablet in the dark, late at night, in a far away B&B. But in many ways, I'm still not back from my Pittsburgh to DC bike ride. I'm happy to be with family and friends, sleeping in my own bed, eating what and where I want, but other aspects of reentry since arriving home Monday morning have been less easy to handle.
As I write, it's Thursday night in Hancock, Md., and I'm at the end of day four of a six day journey by bicycle from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. With two friends, we biked Monday through Wednesday on the Great Allegheny Passage Rail Trail from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md. Today, our travels took us onto the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath, which will lead us to the D.C. suburb of Georgetown by Saturday.