Twortling connects coffee companion with C.S. Lewis
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, November 21, 2001
Last week's column on the twortling sounds of early winter ice evoked
all kinds of beautiful thoughts from our coffee companions. The first
response is from a former neighbor of British writer C.S. Lewis:
DEAR WARREN: Now, who would connect twortling to C.S. Lewis?
I grew up in Oxford and our backyard, on Netherwoods Road, backed
onto The Kilns, the property owned by Professor Lewis, his brother Major
Lewis, and maintained by the feared groundskeeper, Paxford.
The view from my bedroom window was of C.S. Lewis' pond which had
been created many, many years earlier when clay was removed to make
bricks in the no longer existing kilns!
I remember those clear, cold January days when the surface of the
pond froze over. I would gather some pebbles and, if the coast was clear,
make my way to the side opposite the Lewis house. (The pond was no wider
than 75 yards!)
The sound made by pebbles on the fresh ice seemed to radiate from
the whole surface, not from just where the stone hit. And, of course,
the challenge was to get the pebble to bounce as many times as possible
so that the different tones could be distinguished as it made its way
to the centre and then to the opposite bank.
The clear twortling sound pierced the frosty air, like mystical birds
calling. For a pre-teen boy, this was music-making at its best.
That is, until a loud voice would shout, "Boy! What do you think
you are you doing?"
Then it was time to run!
Jeff Perkins, Calgary
Another long-time coffee companion writes:
DEAR WARREN: Thanks for the "twortling" column. We have
had a difficult few months here in the U.S., and I find myself carrying
a deep and abiding sadness within me these days.
Every flight I take across the country for work is filled with fear,
despite my prayers and internal promise to "keep the faith."
Every night spent in New York is filled with the sounds, smells, sights
and other reminders of death and destruction. Every time I turn on the
television or read a news article, it has the same effect.
Reading your twortling instalment reminds me that a world continues
to live, that the beauty of God's creation ensues, even when our human
creations crumble, and that waves of life move on. This is the story
of human life on the planet, isn't it?
Thank you for reminding me, for giving me a little more hope and renewing
Denise Youngblood, Houston, Texas
To top the week off, I received the following e-mail from our newest
coffee companion, Edmonton jazz poet Dean Morrison McKenzie:
TWO OF YOUR coffee companions, Helmut and Winifred Schroer, of Smokey
Lake, Alberta, forwarded your "Twortling and Tinkling" piece
to me, mostly because they are fans of my prose/poems and know me well
enough to predict my appreciation of your coinage. I was delighted to
join you in spirit at your majestic institution, "Coffee with Warren."
Dean Morrison McKenzie, St. Albert
After checking out his website, I phoned Dean and inquired about his
moving poem, "The Guitarman's Dream", a eulogy to Christopher
Schroer, Winifred and Helmut's son.
"He was my first guitar student," Dean told me; "he was
taken from us by leukemia a couple of years ago at the very beginning
of a promising creative career." The poem begins:
He saw the connection
between the things of the world
between those things able to be
between the harmonies of nature
To experience more of Dean's own connections "between the things
of the world and the things of the human soul," go to www.members.home.net/edam/CD,
click on Dean's photograph, and select "poems."
Thank you, all. Your words sparkle like the Leonid meteor shower.
© 2001 Warren Harbeck
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