It is outside my patio door, putting a blanket of silence on the outside, much like the one that inspired the awed composer of Silent Night. That song took Europe like a slow avalanche, and the emigrants took it with them to the New World. It reminds me of the inside of a Catholic church on a Friday afternoon, deserted, when I sometimes stole into the church for a visit. (The nuns encouraged that.)
I think that laid the foundation for my survival, to everything from Nazi U-boats to the deaths of two sons. But despite it all, it came short of breaking me–I always had those prayers to sustain me, and those boys were such a joy while they lived.
In the high altitude of my early youth, my classmates sang songs about bee-like snowflakes, and celebrated St. Nicholas on December 6. There were many such quaint customs that I found commemorated in America, and no doubt all the Americas. Maybe that’s why I became so fascinated with the indigenous Americans, the all-but-forgotten Native Americans.