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Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials.
This piece includes his short film on Gratitude and Happiness. Brother David Steindl-Rast’s spoken words, Gary Malkin’s musical compositions and Louie’s cinematography make this a stunningly beautiful piece, reminding us of the precious gift of life, and the beauty all around us.
The gate ajar,
The front stairs dust with heat and tiles,
I two-stepped over this masonry pile,
To an open front door.
Holding my tiny boy’s hand,
Off-loading six hefty bags,
I yelled, “anybody here?”
I heard whispers, faint laughter,
Silly old masters, dear
Ever present circle
Subterrane of my soul.
Twenty-two twirls throughout years,
My babe is man.
With a broom I sweep and bow,
To jigs and reels.
I drag out trunks, crack them open.
Out bursts a pack of hopes and fears,
Unleashed and dogging my heels.
When I depart will this bulwark disappear?
Will its ribs rise up?
Tibia and femur?
It has happened before,
I take my oath and on it I persevere.
My heart, sweet warrior sparrow
We flutter airborne.
This old lady laughs.
Across Atlantic’s shimmer
We waltz to a gate ajar
Over the Alleghenies
Under the Drinking Gourd
Over and Under
Under and Over
This great tapestry
We the weave
The strathspey, the swing
The glimmers, the gold dust, and the night stars.
I heard the fireworks last night. You see Easter here is like the 4th of July but run by hooligans. Tonight is the night! The young thugs will run around town and find any burnable objects they can drag up and make huge bonfires on vacant lots, throw old tires on them and burn away to whoops and hollers. It’s totally illegal you see, but all in the name of Jesus and his rise, particularly on this coming night above clouds of stinking black smoke. The fireworks will be ad nauseam after midnight and the Easter Mass! The police will ring their hands and look away as they aways do here. People will rant and rave about it on Tuesday after they are back from the holiday and at work. The children will be off for another week and will have to run around and set off any firecrackers they may have missed during this spring mayhem. It is older than Jesus, that is to be sure. One thing I have come to understand about the religion, they follow festivals that predate the current one. So our ancestors must have made huge bonfires as spring arrived. Maybe they were burning the old mess of winter and making way for better weather and the planning for and planting of a fall harvest. What they burned was a sacrifice and a hope for better times. That is what I have to remember tonight: these youth do not burn for naught.
The 72-year wait is over.
On April 1, 1940, there were 132,164,569 people living in America. And today, 87 percent of Americans can find a direct family link to one – or more – of them.
When the 1940 U.S. Federal Census is opened to the public this April, you’ll have a window into every one of those 132 million lives. Their names, where they lived, who shared their house, even where they were five years earlier.
Visit your local NARA or your public library.
I have decided to go to Lake Nipissing, Northern Ontario, Canada this August, a farewell bow to my former life. I know little about this place. A Frenchman, Etienne Brule visited it in 1611; he was an associate of Champlain. I am on his trail and the trail of all those people who jumped off cliffs to discover new worlds. I am ready to do that. I am so ready.