Bringing the Sun
For the birthday today of Christina Rossetti 1830-1894), I post this poem, and a detail of a sketch from my France 2013 sketchbook, for those already missing the swallows and the summer sun. (For the entire sketch, please see View from the Terrace.)
Fly away, fly away over the sea,
Sun-loving swallow, for summer is done;
Come again, come again, come back to me,
Bringing the summer and bringing the sun.
For today, the first of December and the first Sunday of Advent, a picture, and a poem by Ann Ellerton with which my daughter and I sometimes began our homeschooling day during this season.
Now the twilight of the year
Comes, and Christmas draweth near.
See, across the Advent sky
How the clouds move quietly.
Earth is waiting, wrapped in sleep,
Waiting in a silence deep.
Birds are hid in bush and reed
Flowers are sleeping in their seed.
Through the woodland to and fro
Silent-footed creatures go.
Hedgehog curled in prickly ball
Burrows beneath the leaves that fall.
Man and beast and bird and flower
Waiting for the midnight hour
Waiting for the infant’s birth
Down from Heaven, onto Earth.
In honor of the conjunction of Thanksgiving with the start of Hanukkah—an event we haven’t seen since 1888 and won’t see again for (by some estimates) 79,000 years—I made turkey-shaped challah for today’s feast, using the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Happy holidays, everyone.
It is fifty years ago today that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the memory of that shocking, sad and terrible time is still strong. School closed, and along with all the other children I was sent home early, not entirely comprehending what had happened, until I met my father, also home unexpectedly early. It was the first and only time I saw him cry.
I post today a link to my husband’s art blog, with his own memories of that time, and a painting he created for this anniversary (detail below).
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Rise Up, O Flame
As we move into the darkest season, looking increasingly inward and reflecting on the year nearly past, and on our losses and our shortcomings, we encourage and inspire ourselves and each other with a multitude of festivals of light: Michaelmas, Dia de los Muertos, Diwali, Chanukah, Christmas. On November 11th we celebrate simultaneously Martinmas, the feast of kindly St. Martin of Tours, and Veterans Day, each with its acknowledgement of sadness, courage, and hope.
In our family, we follow a tradition begun when our children were tiny Waldorf kindergarteners, and we have a lantern walk at nightfall. Despite my [now very big] children’s inevitable complaints and eyerolling, we’ll all do the last dog-walk together, carrying our homemade paper lanterns and singing. Someday they’ll thank me…
In case you also would like to go singing through the darkness, here is one of the songs, a lovely round by Praetorius.
Dia de los Muertos
I justify this as an art-blog post because of the papel picado we made for our celebration.
The family Jack-O-Lanterns for 2013: Wildcat, Star Trek/Wars, Cat Eyes, and Autumn Leaves. Our trick-or-treaters speculate on who did which pumpkin, and they are usually correct.
Where There Is Darkness, Light
For the the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi today, I post a painting from the series of Washington National Cathedral, where this coming Sunday you can take your pet to be blessed in honor of that kindly friend of all living creatures.
I also post below the well-known Prayer of St. Francis, which might come in handy at this time if distributed among the less law-abiding members of Congress.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
—St. Francis of Assisi
Maiden of Michaelmas
This year my daughter is in 9th grade, and at her school it is, according to custom, the 9th grade girls who, garbed in long gowns and flower crowns, will tame the fierce dragon at the school’s Michaelmas festival this week. In honor of this event, I made for the first time a bread maiden to accompany our dragon bread. Perhaps it will become a new household tradition.
If you would like to make your own, here is the recipe I use (on last September’s post). I used 1-1/2 times the recipe for the two figures, which are about 14″ high. Happy Michaelmas, everyone!