Sonntag, Jänner 28, 2007

August Humer would have turned 60 today. He passed away just 10 days short. The services this weekend were crowded with friends, colleagues and loved ones from all over. Friday evening there was a special prayer service involving music and readings and people who were close to him sharing a few words. Yesterday was the funeral and burial and the church was crowded. The aisles were shoulder to shoulder with people and the door was open and there were people standing outside also. I think Gustl would have enjoyed the service. The music included choir and soloists with ensemble and, of course, organ. Many people spoke and it was challenging for me to understand everything, but what I did understand seemed to be very fitting to the life he lived. One person spoke about how Gustl was like an organ. He had so many interests and such a vast knowledge, just as there are many sounds and pipes in an organ, and he was able to make everything work together in harmony. I thought it was a nice analogy.

A plain wooden box, in keeping with the way he lived his life, serves as his resting place. It was a very emotional moment looking down at him and realizing that it would be the last time I would see him in this life. He didn't look like himself, laying so quiet and still. But I am thankful that he no longer has to struggle with the cancer that took away his ability to lead an active life. As we all followed the casket out to be buried in the graveyard beside the church it started to snow very hard. The snow and wind seemed to me to be similar to death. So cold and cruel and yet peaceful and with hope of a spring to follow. With the hundreds of people passing by to pay their last respects and perhaps leave a flower the ground surrounding the grave became quite icy and slippery. I was standing back with a friend watching as one person slipped and almost fell into the grave. I laughed and then stopped myself because it seemed irreverant. She smiled and said "Gustl would have laughed too".

After everything was finished everyone was invited to go to the fellowship hall to dry off and have something to drink and eat. It was nice to visit with others who had also been touched by his life. I met his children and was able to share with them a little of how much he had taught me. I didn't realize just how many people I had met while being here in Austria. It is kind of sad that it takes an event like this to bring everyone together, but it also is comforting to know that there is a network of friends out there willing to support you when you need it. It is with tears that I finish this chapter of my life, but with a new found confidence that I don't believe I would have gained anywhere else.

Ich bleibe hier. Ihr wandert weit, Nehmt mit von mir Standhaftigkeit.
-Hermann Broch
(This was part of a text used at the funeral and it translates something like "I will stay here. You wander further, take from me steadfastness.")

Freitag, Jänner 19, 2007

I lost a teacher this week. Words seem inadequate to express my feelings at the moment, but I want to just take a moment to honor the man who gave so much of himself to others and especially to me. August Humer was a man who lived what he believed. He turned music into something exciting and enjoyed doing it. I feel privileged to have been able to spend these last months of his life with him drawing from his wealth of knowledge and I hope that I will be able to carry on the tradition in my life of making music come alive and sharing that with those around me. He was such an inspiration to watch. Even struggling with cancer and pain he never let it get him down and continued to teach and play as much as he could. He often reminded me that we only have today, so live it to the fullest, and he certainly did that. He played that way too. No holding back. If you are afraid to live (play) then what is the point? Life is a journey; make sure you are headed in the right direction, enjoy the things you pass, don't worry about not knowing exactly where you are, and, most of all, don't fear the final destination. Gustl, thank you.

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

Donnerstag, Jänner 18, 2007

Schloss Charlottenburg at dusk

Dienstag, Jänner 16, 2007

Pathway to ...

Montag, Jänner 15, 2007

Berlin in a nutshell. It's a very unique blend of old and new. But the atmosphere of the city is contagious.

Blue Skies over Germany

We were pleasantly surprised to have beautiful weather during our visit to Berlin. The only time it rained was while we were sitting safe and dry inside a concert.

Sonntag, Jänner 14, 2007

Columns in Berlin.
Red and green building during a red and green time of year.

Freitag, Jänner 05, 2007

The airways over DC may be restricted, but that doesn't keep the geese from passing through on their way to warmer camping grounds.
We saw a beautiful sunset near the World War II memorial looking towards the Washington Monument. It was interesting to learn that nothing can be built in the DC area that is taller than this monument.

Donnerstag, Jänner 04, 2007

A visit to the Whitehouse left me a little disappointed. Yes, it's a nice house by most standards, but it seemed very small to me after visiting various palaces. But I guess it shows the difference in government styles.
Happy 2007! Another year has begun, ready or not. And it has been a long time since I posted. I have, however, been taking pictures, so I will try to catch up. I have been back in the US for a surprise visit and having a lot of fun. I decided that since I have been all over Europe visiting the capitals and important cities that I should spend some time in my nation's capital. The weather has been very cooperative for the middle of winter, so I have some cool pictures to post over the next few weeks.

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