Category: Sir Richard, The Great


Neverland has never been so still, Wendy knows the sadness that has permiated the landscape, like that of the cool, damp air brushing tendrils of hair across her down turned lips.

Never has Wendy felt so lost in this world she has always loved so.

At odd moments, the loss of her favorite Lost Boy leaves her eyes choked with tears and her voice brittle and foreign in sound to her ever ringing ears. At times she is woken from slumber, dreams too vivid for her wanderlust ways, something in her breaking each time, when will it ease?

Peter by her side, soothing her fragile fears, her heart beating like that of a startled animal, small and fierce. She thought she was so much stronger than this, how is it Wendy the Bold and Brave has faltered so? For the moment, Wendy draws strength from Peter, finding some peace in his presence, something she is no longer reluctant to ask, for she is not ashamed of her sadness.

She wishes to once again anticipate all of the wonderment of the world, to radiate and glow, and to wrap herself around all that she loves so dearly. She wishes for the day that when asked, that her reply of  ” I’m fine ” no longer to sound like a gentle lie to appease others.

Today, she is not “fine”, she is wistful, with a vague meloncholy, and that, that is acceptable to her. For she knows that her wound is still fresh, and that every day she misses him is yet another testimony of her love, dignified.

If the world could simply forgive her this, she knows in her heart that in time, she shall find her way, and return.

Even here on Earth, Wendy could still hear the ticking of the clock, buried deep within the crocodiles belly, anothers life diminishing, the sound that kept her from the safety of slumber.

Wendy knew that no matter how hard she clapped, however many times she repeated the mantra of ” I believe in Fairies “, she could not save her Tink from the dark destiny that awaited. And yet still, she clung to these foolish ideals.

Forced to grow up all the more, despite her desprerate measures otherwise, some small, selfish faction of her heart longed for Neverland, the place in which you never grew up, never grew old, thus, never to die.

Now, more than ever, she longed for Peters shadow at her window, biding her to come away to the safe confines she once knew, only this time, she would send another in her place. Were it her choice, she would sacrifice her own throat to Capatian Hook for the sake of this Lost Boy, to spare him his ultimate demise. For Richard the Great was the pinnacle of all that Neverland defined, held in the delicate balance of here and there.

Wendy implored the moon to guide her, for somehow, Wendy found herself lost, the trail of stars  she followed were mearly the blurred tears she kept company with as of late and she did not want for where they would find her.

The family long since gone to bed, despite protest amongst excited, yet sleepy little eyes, I had one of thoses moments that imprints itself into your very soul. The tree was lit with tiny white fairy lights, presents stacked high, piles like I have never seen, the house otherwise dark, save the few candles left glowing softly. Richard and I sat rapt, intently watching the end of the perrenial favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life, viewing this classic master piece has crept in as tradition some where along the years. Some how I have come to relish the cathartic tears I shed each time, and I suppose Richard has as well. The culmination of my anxieties disolved entirely as the credits rolled, I felt peaceful, and safe as Richard and I did nothing to stem the flow of tears, we merely exchanged a knowing glance, one of exceptance and understanding.

Not to brake such a glorious spell, we sat quietly for a few moments amongst the soft glow of Christmas lights. I silently pondered the profound affect this film has each time I view it, how I have come to rely on it each year to freshen my perspective and dispell any pity me attitude I may have lingering at the time, the much needed attitude adjustment if you will. Now more than ever I was so very appreciative for the emotional release, as if it allowed me the chance to shed some sort of grey shroud and really see things clearly. We began to speak of the message in this film, of how without knowing it, we touch and shape others lives, hopefully for the most part, in a positive sense.

This got me to thinking of how in so many ways peaople have done this wonderous thing for me, and how I pray I have in some way done that for others.  Be it those that are an important facet of my life, or those random, chance moments with strangers, we give and receive bits of kindness, so often without effort. This brought on a lovely, meandering conversation, sharing our ghosts of human kindness past, and present. Now was a proper time to tell the wonderful and weird Richard Harlow of how he has impacted our family  and along the way, became family.

The sentimental pang brought about by faithful George Bailey gave way to a shared moment, an understanding and the opportunity to grasp hold of why we were all here together this Christmas Eve. To hold these things dear, and to honor them by not allowing them to slip by unnoticed. It is not for all that lay brightly wrapped beneath the tree, no, not at all. It is for those who right now lay tightly wrapped beneath blankets, sleeping soundly in other rooms, how I love them so.

And in the hours to come, when little hands and voices urge me from sleep, begging for Christmas to start, when the chaos insues and the frantic fevered pitch of children over take this serenity, I will be happy. Mom and I will exchange knowing glances and grins, Richard will be amused and sleepy thinking whirling dervishes have invaded and Rob and I will warmly retell stories of our childhood Christmas mornings. Perhaps one of the children will fall asleep amongst a sea of wrapping paper, tightly clutching some cherished treasure Santa brought, who knows. One thing I am certain of, this, what I am feeling right now, I will keep close to me till days end, and beyond if that is possible. And though it won’t always be the case, perhaps I can keep in mind how a random smile, a kind word, or act, can shift anothers perspective, and even if for just a moment, that they be the better for it, I know I will.

I looked at the clock and realize that it is now Christmas, and it is a wonderful life.

Streets of London

Streets of London   Ralph McTell

Have you seen the old man
In the closed down market
Kicking up the papers with his worn out shoes
In his eyes you see no pride
And held loosely at his side
Yesterday’s paper, telling yesterday’s news.

So how can you tell me you’re lonely
And say for you that the sun don’t shine
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something
To make you change your mind.

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags
She’s no time for talking
She just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags.

So how can you tell me you’re lonely
And say for you that the sun don’t shine
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something
To make you change your mind.

In the all night cafe at a quarter past eleven
The same old man sitting there on his own
Looking at the world over the rim of his teacup
Each tea lasts an hour, and he wanders home alone.

So how can you tell me that you’re lonely
And say for you that the sun don’t shine
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something
To make you change your mind.

Have you seen the old man
Outside the seaman’s mission
Memory fading with the medal ribbons that he wears
In our winter city the rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero
And a world that doesn’t care.

So how can you tell me you’re lonely
And say for you that the sun don’t shine
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something
To make you change your mind.

These lyrics are a legacy, to forever remind us, me, to keep the right perspective, and that despite the heart ache , that we are not alone, and that all is not lost, even when grief grips your heart.

When a single person goes beyond and becomes a life lesson, only then can one know what love truly is.

Forever altered in the knowing, and forever touched by the passing, let this heart break never to be in vain. The silent promise to make life all that much more.

Richard Harlow sang this song to many through out his life, never loosing the conviction of these words, and one who has lived such a life so passionatly, and compassionatly, that my friends, is a rarity, and more so, a blessing. I, as do many, find much comfort in this song. For when Richard sang the haunting words of Mr. McTell, ” Let me take you by the hand, and lead you through the streets of London, I’ll show you something to make you change your mind”,

He did,

and I have.

Even here on Earth, Wendy could still hear the ticking of the clock, buried deep within the crocodiles belly, anothers life diminishing, the sound that kept her from the safety of slumber.

Wendy knew that no matter how hard she clapped, however many times she repeated the mantra of ” I believe in Fairies “, she could not save her Tink from the dark destiny that awaited. And yet still, she clung to these foolish ideals.

Forced to grow up all the more, despite her desprerate measures otherwise, some small, selfish faction of her heart longed for Neverland, the place in which you never grew up, never grew old, thus, never to die.

Now, more than ever, she longed for Peters shadow at her window, biding her to come away to the safe confines she once knew, only this time, she would send another in her place. Were it her choice, she would sacrifice her own throat to Capatian Hook for the sake of this Lost Boy, to spare him his ultimate demise. For Richard the Great was the pinnacle of all that Neverland defined, held in the delicate balance of here and there.

Wendy implored the moon to guide her, for somehow, Wendy found herself lost, the trail of stars  she followed were mearly the blurred tears she kept company with as of late and she did not want for where they would find her.

September arived,

Never saw it coming.

How odd to have landed here on the other side of Summer,

Those months passed, with only fists full of grief to account for a season

When was it last we truly slept?

The slumbers with no fear of what would be seen should we close our eyes, all that I never wish to forever remember.

The evil trickery my ears play upon me,

Alone when there is no moon, while others slumber, such quiet moments when something too wretched for words drives me from my bed,

The sound that breaks my heart, I can not escape it.

For despite the terrible toll, there is no safe place to for my tears,

Where to put them?

Though each sunrise signals Autumns ascention, I find myself still adrift in the frantic mist of Summer.

Only a year ago, this was my home

I know every board that creaks

Like that of a joyous heart beat

Even though now bare

Each inch sings with life still

And now my rocking chair has sprung into slow motion

For tonight

And we watch his idea of fireworks

Just for us

As the rain comes down sideways

I am forever such the fool for a  Southern rain

The lightning illuminates in a whole other way

And thunder resonates deeper, more profound

But tonight, the thunder stuttered in approval

The Bordeaux clung curiously to our tongues

As laughter bubbled forth to punctuate the endeless tales

And sultry music wafted through the door

To tickle Wankers soft ears

We made Chestnut Street happy one last time

All the while, the gentle heart break remained

For the Bohemian Soul kept company

And held us dear

The great fortune of having another family

And my other southern home

How I have missed our ginger bread porch

And I forever shall

Sister of mine

How do I ever tell the tale

The sum of us

When our lives intersected at such a tender time

We found that we were always there

Time and distance never to hold anything on our hearts

Our lives

Together, we celebrate the collective triumphs

And hold one anothers heart aches

In our hands and souls

Though we have cast the ashes upon the water

Together

We continue to live his lyrical soul

And share the wonderment

That is his legacy

For in your pureness of heart

You shared with me one of my most important life lessons

Our dad

Ulla

My sister

You are one of the dearset gifts he ever gave to me

To keep safe in the enchanted bohemian spirit

As we ramble

South of the Mason Dixon

And continue

What had begun

Before we had come to know

The beauty of a sister

On a day of thanks, we gave many

For the patch work quilt that our family had become

The legacy of Richard Harlow

Four women

Representing the four corners

North, South, East and West

We shared a great love

A great loss

And many stories

Our uncommon bond

We, his four true loves

Forever bound

Gratefully

Together we gather strength

And can find laughter through the tears

We, who rage against the dying of the light

For he was the once in a hundred life times of chance

The Aurora Borealis in our lives

And mine shall never be squandered

For the honor of loving

I heard the ferry horn howl, signifying the boats departure, I longed for the rythmic sway of the ship, to hear the gentle lapping of waves. I curled up in the front seat of the car, immersing myslef in the quiet solitude, not wishing to break the spell of calmness the weekend had brought. Content beyond words from the fine bohemian feast, I thought of the noble Richard Harlow, a man of wisdom, humility and kindness. As an after thought to his prayers of thanks before dining, his presence made me chime in ” To the family we are born into, and the family we choose “, for he is not of blood relation, but one of the dearest family members I am graced to know.  A small “family ” gathering to mark another holiday, no bells, no whistles, merely two of the finest people in my life, and was good! The boat jostled, the clouds drifted and I was full.  So nose in book, waves slapping, I lost myself in anothers words to see my passage through.

Only the sound of yet another horn blast  brought me back from my book, signaling it was time to head home. Cigarette dangling slackly from my lips, the gentle twighlight drive on the rolling sea of freshly tarred road loomed ahead. Passing small salt marshes with graceful eggretts taking flight, the air caused the smoke to curl curiously. Debussy taking my mind from the thoughts of cowards and liars and I adrift in a sea of them. The bittersweet lament of the Claire de Lune never fails to pull some tendril of emotion, untouched by another. Some songs are too beautiful to articulate, the sweeping crescendos, the ebb and flow of intensity, it is surely the most satisfying piece of twighlight music I know. If you listen to Canon in D,  my favorite of Pachelbel, you feel hopeful in the moment and there is a Nocturne by Chopin, that has the purest rise and fall of a broken lovers wail. Sometimes, just to feel the cool night air, tinged with the brine of the sea, brings a need to hear such things.

Last night, I deamt vividly and in these dreams, a voice gently spoke to me, ” slow down girl “, and I heard it clear, knew what it ment. Stretching out the drive home, calmness once again washing over, I was slowing down, in oh so many ways.