Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The Northeastern United States was battered earlier this week by a major winter storm that left many people unexpectedly housebound and stranded thousands of weary travelers at major airports. Despite all of this, on Monday I managed to drive from my parents' house in Massachusetts to my residence in Philadelphia in only six hours, a feat made possible by mostly well-plowed and ice-free highways (the only real exception being the New Jersey Turnpike, which was a slushy, snowy mess) and sparse traffic. Deo gratias.

Though I made it to Massachusetts and back without difficulty, my winter travels are not yet finished: later today, I'll be flying to Detroit for a three-day gathering of Jesuits in formation, and after a week back in Philadelphia I'll take off again for a short visit to Chicago. An unexpected storm could wreak havoc with these plans, so I'll be praying fervently for good weather in the coming days.

As a musical offering to the primal forces that govern the universe, here is the first movement of Antonio Vivaldi's L'inverno (Winter) from Le quattro stagioni. This performance features the English Chamber Orchestra with Gidon Kremer ("when he had hair," as my father might say) as leader and soloist. Vivaldi was a Roman Catholic priest as well as a composer, but I don't know whether or to what extent he regarded his two vocations as complementary; regardless of what the composer may have thought, I present this selection from his work not simply as a reflection on the recent storm but also in thanksgiving for travels safely completed in inclement weather. Whatever the weather may be like in your locale, I hope that you enjoy the music. AMDG.


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