Monday, the day before Christmas. 9:00 AM, 15 degrees F, wind W, light. The humidity is 80%, the barometer reads 30.02 in. The sky is part high overcast and part blue, the sun rendering the eastern horizon an ethereal silver gray. Visibility is poor towards the east, where fog banks are rising from the open water beyond Madeline Island. A few delicate snow flakes are drifting down. All in all it is an interesting and rather pretty morning.
Yesterday was filled with the sound of music. First, the Christ Church Lessons and Carols were a wonderful success, the little chapel filled almost to capacity. The candles flickered, the tiny choir of three young girls sang beautifully. We had a marvelous tenor from the Rez who sang several songs, the organist performed flawlessly, the readers intoned mightily, the impromptu audience sang lustily, the officiating priest was properly priestly; no one set anything on fire with the candles they held (although there were a few close calls), and all in all it was one of the nicest Christmas programs Joan and I have ever attended. We have our Indian neighbors to thank for the girls in the choir, the tenor, the priest and about half the audience. Without them there would not have been much of a service.
The later evening was also filled with The Sound of Music, that is the movie, which has become a Christmas classic in its own right. Joan has it on DVD, but we just relaxed and watched it on TV, commercials and all. We never tire of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, both miraculously still singing on film, even though Julie has since lost her voice, and Christopher sings now in some heavenly choir.
The Sound of Music has everything; it has children, hope, bravery, humor and of course music, and good triumphs over evil in the end. We watch riveted during the escape scene, and laugh as the Heil Hitlering Nazis are outwitted by the simple nuns of the Salzburg convent. The movie is all the more effective because it is part truth and part fiction. Most of the story is true but the music is pure Hollywood (yes, Dorothy, there once was a good Hollywood).
The best fiction of all is that the song Edelweiss is presented as an Austrian folk song and surrogate national anthem, when it is pure Broadway invention. But we sing it as though it is the truth, and thus it eventually becomes the truth, and almost a Christmas carol in its own right. And why shouldn’t it be such, since it extols, beauty, love, faith and freedom.
Tonight being Christmas Eve it would be nice to hear some carolers at the door but that is perhaps a bit too much to hope for in little Bayfield, as cold, snowy and silent as was Bethlehem 2012 Christmases ago.