Thursday, January 12, 2012


Posted: Thursday, 12 Jan 2012.  Updated:

Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday), after returning home from meeting with the board of the the Arts in Public Places organization regarding The Los Alamos Story Tree project, I found myself whistling. I don't do that much these days, but it used to be something I did often. Like when I first went to Moscow representing the Northwest-Soviet Liaison Corporation in September 1973 during the height of the Cold War, I would happily whistle in public while walking from hotel room to the U.S. Embassy. It soon became apparent that that was something Soviet citizens found odd when their heads would turn to stare at me puzzled, if not alarmed. No bother. I was obviously happy to be there helping to bridge the communication gap between belligerent countries and ideologies.

Birgitta likes it when I whistle. She has discovered that it means I am happy. When I became conscious yesterday that I was whistling, I began listening to the tune coming through my lips to figure out what it was. Wow! It struck me that it was a phrase from Handel's Messiah, the bass aria "But who may abide the day of his coming..."! I used to sing that aria every year as the bass soloist for ten years running in an annual production of the Messiah when I lived in Southern California in the 1980s. I also recalled an epiphany [life-anchor point] one special day in July 1965 and then singing that aria atop a mountain in Yosemite near Tioga Pass.

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