“He really was an enchanting person. In some way he was like the spiritual father of everybody…. It is hard to imagine Central Park without Charles Kennedy.” Marie Winn, author of Red-tails in Love, and close friend of Charles, remembering him after his death in October 2004

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving and Charles

It is Thanksgiving Day, 2009. It is obvious that I'll be eternally grateful for having my Uncle Charles guide my life for nearly 50 years. Charles's approach to gratitude was so simple and powerful that it will be featured here over the next few days via some excerpts from the first two books of his works. Look for the joy, wonder, and deep appreciation in these pieces. And enjoy the way Charles expressed his gratitude at his good fortune by inviting everyone around into his ecstatic experience of Nature's beauty, and by creating pieces of his own that captured and illuminated for others those same experiences. Today, it will be a few clips from The Fish Jumps Out of the Moon: Haiku of Charles F. Kennedy.

[From the introduction to The Fish Jumps Out of the Moon]
Like the Japanese masters, Charles had an expressly non-theistic worldview. He had no time for a “too-small god.” Those who knew him saw him as a naturally “spiritual” person. Loved ones and casual acquaintances commonly described him as the most generous, patient, and persistently joyful person they had ever known. Charles found rich pleasure in providing joyful experiences for others, most often by helping them see a bit of Nature’s beauty or drama in the park. He spent long days in the spring at the “hawk bench” near the model boat pond on the park’s east side. He reveled in bringing the famous nesting Red-tailed Hawks of 5th Avenue to the attention of dozens of passersby, employing his considerable knowledge and eloquence to engage and amaze. This exuberance is evident in Charles’s writing and he made gifts of his haiku and photos to commemorate special, common experiences.

Charles delighted in bringing his Iowa roots [and our family's history] into shared study of urban nature. It was part of his infectious charm.

the sweetcorn
planted next to the back door
mom understood

thinning tiny carrots
while lying between the rows
childhood job

reed riders
my father loved you too

[From the body of The Fish Jumps Out of the Moon]

the moon

paints so beautifully


Anyway, you must sit here and watch her weave that web and you’ll see why I believe that spiders know Chopin. It’s so, well, musical sitting here watching Diadematus sing and dance.

watching the dance
a spider song

No comments: