I was busy this morning starting the preliminary sketches for a set of silkscreen or linocut prints. As a result, here is a preliminary sketch of some happy monsters!
The Abundance of NOW. We live in a time of such abundance, it is really staggering. I was thinking about a time when my eldest son was an infant and I took an internship in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Sometimes people in the UP of Michigan heat their trailers by placing a metal barrel in the middle of the living room and burning wood. When the trailer burns down, they go get another trailer. This is an example of extreme poverty. And yet even in this example, there is abundance—an abundance of wood, trailers, etc.
I am not advocating that people who live in this type of poverty, and there are many types of poverty, should just be grateful for their lot, but we live in a time of amazing abundance—go into any grocery or department store or go to a library. The income inequality in the United States is an entirely different subject and currently it is killing our democracy and our people.
Just for a minute let’s look at the Abundance of NOW…
Do you like to read? I love to read. Also, I have a bad book habit. Walking past a used book sale without buying something is exceptionally difficult for me. Currently, I am participating in my own self-imposed behavioral program to limit the number of books I buy. I love books. Imagine only being able to have maybe a couple books… this gives me the shudders.
While perhaps not everyone gets the shudders from the thought of not having access to more than a few books, most of history books were rare. Books during the medieval period in Europe before the printing press were exceedingly expensive and precious. Often wealthy book owners would commission a copy of the Bible or some other work and provide expensive pigments for its illumination. The pigments were made from substances like ground lapis lazuli, gold, silver, cinnabar, saffron, ochre, malachite, and many more.
In addition, monks and scribes created many manuscripts that held few or no illuminations. All of these books were still expensive because they took time to create. Some monasteries had large rooms called scriptoriums where the monks would toll for six or more hours per day to create handwritten copies of various books. When a monastery did not have a scriptorium, the monks would toil in a small room alone. And what was the reward for being really good at creating a manuscript? If a monk was exceptionally good at copying manuscripts, then he would have to work a longer day and the monastery would provide a clock and candles to enable them to do so.
Ugh, this is like when you are in school and forced to copy some stupid phrase a bazillion times.
Just like the kid who had a “system” to copy stuff on the blackboard real fast, I read an account of a scribe who was reputed to be able to copy the Bible in three days. However, most manuscripts could take anywhere from several weeks to several months to copy. I believe this is the reason one medieval scribe wrote, “Now I’ve written the whole thing. For Christ’s sake, give me a drink”
For reasons such as the cost of producing a book and the amount of time, books in the medieval time period were precious. Sometimes a family would have just enough money to have a copy of the Bible made for their chapel. Other times over decades and centuries, a family would accumulate books and create a library. For example, the Willoughby family of Wollaton is such a family.
Until the last few years, they held a private collection of medieval manuscripts. I haven’t been able to track down how many books were in their collection. However, there is mention of some of the manuscripts being sold through auction at Christie’s. Further, there is an academic treatise on ten books in the collection with further information on one other book.
We are talking about maybe one bookshelf full of books. For emphasis consider the above photo of one of my bookshelves. Imagine if all of those books had to be hand copied and they were all the books available to read for miles around. In contrast to this, think about how much information is free on the Internet. Or imagine the shelves of books at your local library. These are not the books of one very wealthy family. They are owned by all of us, collectively. That’s abundance.
Continuing on the theme of abundance, let’s consider clothing. How many t-shirts do you own? I mean really, how many t-shirts can one person own? I don’t have an accurate count of how many t-shirts I own, but it’s quite a few. Look at the picture of that drawer. This is abundance. And further, they are all comfortable cotton.
Throughout history, creating clothing was a serious endeavor. The Industrial Revolution was motivated by the desire to get wealth by making it easier to create clothing. Referring back to our medieval folk, they didn’t typically have cotton clothing. Cotton came from Egypt and was expensive. They wore linen, wool and silk if they could afford it.
Further, have you ever woven anything with a loom? It takes forever. I love fiber arts—dyeing stuff, sewing, embroidery, quilting, etc. and I don’t like weaving. I like the fiddly bits of figuring out patterns because my mathematical brain grooves on it, but weaving is tiresome work. And it takes hours. A friend of mine for her master’s thesis wove the material for a woman’s fourteenth century cote-hardie and then assembled the dress. She did it as fast as she could and wrote about the process. It took a few days to weave the material going as fast as she could and then a couple more days to cut and sew the dress. Imagine how expensive all of our clothing would be if it took a week to make each garment.
In contrast, the fabric for our clothing is quickly made by machines and sewn often in sweatshops. It is not made to last and fashions come and go before most of us are even aware of them. Our clothing represents many things: exploitation, flagrant waste, and abundance like humanity has not experienced prior to the last century.
The Abundance of Now
We live in a time of abundance. And mostly, I don’t think we think about it. We take it for granted we can just go to the grocery store and buy an orange in the middle of January. We don’t consider the abundance that our refuse points to. Look at your full garbage can next time you walk it to the street for pick up. Imagine the plants that the food waste came from. Imagine the trees the paper came from. Envision the oil refineries, the processing plants, and the trucks driving merchandise on the highways. Please consider where our abundance comes from. That thought scares me if you follow it.
Quick post. This morning the Tarot card I drew was the Queen of Cups. I have seen this card a couple times over the last week. The card was in another larger reading I did recently. This is a much more encouraging card than the five of swords. In “Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom” Rachel Polack writes the following regarding this card:
“…the Queen implies that we do not feed the imagination by giving it complete freedom to wander where it will, but rather by directing it into valuable activity, an idea that most artists would endorse.”
The traditional meaning for this card is one of loving intelligence and the gift of vision.
Kind of a cool card to draw after the reflections of yesterday on creativity and writing/art/music/etc.
More on the “Hissing Voice” later.
I decided at some point this morning I wanted to write a blog post and work on being more diligent about posting. Writing regularly is hard at first, but it gets easier if you make it a habit. I struggled today and uncovered “the hissing voice”.
Allow me to elaborate, while writing more frequently is a great plan, I couldn’t think of what to write. Or rather couldn’t settle on what to write. I had some fanciful notions. We’ll not discuss those. Let’s just get on with what happened…
The Dreaded Five of Swords
So my morning proceeded. I drank my tea. I practiced guitar and watched television for a couple hours. And then, I drew the five of swords. By way of drawing a daily card, I am refreshing my memory of the Tarot cards. And this morning I drew one of the dastardliest cards in the entire deck. I frantically looked up the meaning of this card in “Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom” by Rachel Pollack and read the meaning on the Biddy Tarot site.
To draw the five of swords on the first day of the new year is kind of devastating. The card is about struggle and losing, whether you won the struggle or not. It is a reflection on what constitutes right action and picking your battles. It requires deep reflection. Ugh. I was not ready for deep reflection. I was wearing my pajamas and felt somewhat like Arthur Dent in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” when his house is being demolished. Whosh me away? Please?
Walking In Gallup Park
After drawing the five of swords, I needed to leave the house. I went to a local park and walked the circuit of the main park. While walking, I saw several joggers, dogs, geese, and swans. Swans are large birds and when they take flight, the beating of their wings sets sounds waves pulsing against the surface of the water. It sounds like a drum. A very low, resonant drum. I stood and marveled at the swans. Their wingspans are as wide as I am tall. They are beautifully white.
Other than the sound of the swans’ wings against the ice-rimmed water, the park was silent. Occasionally, I would hear a low whir of bicycle wheels or the soft padding of running shoes on the trail. The mud was springtime thick and slippery and deep ruts were cut into the grass near the boat launch.
I remember looking into the water on the river’s edge. Orange and brown leaves were trapped beneath a thin layer of ice. Dried and bent grass poked up. It felt magic. Why is it even the relatively tame nature of the local park still has the power to transport?
After I left the park, I drove to the bookstore. On the way, I listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear”. In the book she talks briefly about “makers” versus “consumers” and how in all of our ancestry there are makers because humans have not been able to just sit back and consume. Makers are Creators, even if it comes out as a slight flourish on a bowl or a shapely chair. She talks about how there are examples of art that clearly pre-date agriculture and how this signifies it was more important for us as a species to assert our existence and express ourselves than it was to consistently feed ourselves.
I am not sure about this later. I read somewhere there is a good chance humans began farming to ensure a ready supply of fermented beverages and typically hunter-gatherers do less work to feed themselves than farmers. So perhaps, creating art and expressing ourselves predated a ready supply of beer.
Beer aside, Gilbert asserts it is a human prerogative to make our presence known. Whether making our presence known is by drawing sublime animals running across the walls of caves or spray-painting “Kilroy was here!” on our house walls, it is our birthright to make art and make ourselves known.
She also talks about that part of us that hisses in our ears and says, “Who do you think you are? Why do you think you can write/create art/play music/dance/etc.? What makes you think you are good enough? What makes you think you are so special?”
This voice has silenced me for years. More tomorrow.
The Stars Are Not Made of Fire is Older Than a Decade! While I have not done a good job of continuing to post over the last couple years, I have not had the heart to pull it off the internet. It was started when I had ambitions to be a fantasy/science fiction writer. Perhaps those ambitions are not entirely dead? While pursuing a writing life, I met some of the most amazing people of my entire life. Or perhaps this blog just holds too much.
The Stars Are Not Made of Fire contains many memories for me and looking through the posts stirs parts of my soul. In the decade that this blog has existed I have…
Created audio-recordings for Starship Sofa,
Divorced from my husband of nine years,
Stood in an emergency food pantry line and received 20lbs of sweet potatoes,
Watched my children grow from babies to adolescences and young adults,
Moved to Colorado and back to Michigan,
Loved and experienced the greatest heartache,
Taught young children,
Experienced the grief of losing my mother,
Traveled to Europe and South Africa,
Studied math and computer science,
Danced at music festivals,
Lost 40lbs and gained 50lbs,
Adopted two dogs and a couple cats,
Drove across country with an old and cranky tabby cat,
Read a mountain of books…
And so much more.
Reviewing the last decade and all the experiences and memories I have had makes my head spin. I am glad for most of what I lived through. I won’t tell what I would change, let’s leave that bit a mystery. For this reason, I am casting my thoughts forward.
Speaking of the future, starting a second decade with this blog, I have no great plans for it. The notion of brand is not something I am worried about. In addition, I am not making any money off of the blog. However, I am pretty happy to give folks free internet space to promote their art, music, writing, etc.
Further, please understand that ten years is a lot of time and I don’t really care if you follow me or not—so that means that the marketers sending me spam offering to boost my readership should politely fuck off. On the topic of expectations, I have a ton of interests and it pleases me to write about them, you are welcome to read this blog, which is why it is public. However, if you don’t like something I post, just mosey on along, the internet is pretty damn vast and you’ll find something more to your liking elsewhere.
So there you have it– no plan, no goals. Just going by what I like, we’ll see what comes out of it.
Hopefully 2019 is a pretty grand year.
“Write the Story”– a Picadilly publication has inspired this week’s writing prompt. Let’s write a Fairy Tale Mash-Up!
For this week’s writing prompt, take one or two or more fairy tales and mash them up into one story. Bonus points if you use the following words: sword, stone, grove, tin, cardboard, lilac, and sparkle.
A Missionary in a Remote Village
I recently started writing again. Currently I am following the advice Julie Cameron offers in her book “Right to Write”. I have had writers block for most of the last few years. I am learning how to get my legs back under me and start writing. For now, I am just writing. Every day. Three pages. Whatever comes to mind. I am working on training my inner critic to be silent and just let me write; training my subconscious that writing everyday is part of an ordinary day; and finding the fun in writing once again.
I have a book of writing prompts I got from Barnes and Noble that was published by Piccadilly titled “Write the Story”. Writing responses to a few of the prompts has been my afterwork activity this week. Moving forward, I am going to try to post a prompt on Tuesdays and post my response on Wednesdays. Not all the prompts will be from the aforementioned books, but I wanted to mention the book because it is pretty good. The writing prompt I wrote a three page response for was “A Missionary in a Remote Village”.
“A Missionary in a Remote Village”
A finch flitted amongst the apple blossoms. Old-fashioned waddle and daub buildings lined the cobblestone road leading to the town square. The town square was little more than an elaborate crossroads with a circular garden with a stone statute in the center.
The stone statute made Elia’s gut turn over and sharp pains radiate from her mid-section. Its linear outline and bold, simplified facial features proclaimed this village was protected by the Harridan.
Elia took a deep breath and whispered to herself, “Sky Father, who sees all, protect me as I venture forth in your name into the lands of the false goddesses.” She adjusted the leather satchel bag on her hip and looked for an inn. She saw The Broken Branch and headed for it.
As Elia stepped down and over the threshold into The Broken Branch a man called to her from the shadows past the bar, “Hey sky maid, you aren’t from here. What you doing in Mersla?”
Elia walked to the bar. She smiled in the direction of a burly man with a full dark beard. He had a brown apron wrapped over his trousers and around his waist. His white shirt Elia suspected was less white in the full light of day. She responded, “I am traveling and telling folks the stories of my lord, Sky Father. He stretches from sunrise to sunset and all is visible to him.”
The bartender moved behind the bar, took a mug and placed it beneath a tapped keg. “He don’t see what isn’t open to the sky. The Harridan’s ears are so keen that if a virtuous mouse squeaked for protection, she would fly to its aid and beat its attacker. Does you sky god have ears? What will he do?”
Elia smiled. “He is benevolent. Sky Father blesses us all with rain to make crops grow and snow to fill the rivers. He whispers on the wind and if you listen close you can hear the secret of life and know the mysteries of the universe.”
The barkeep harrumphed. “Benevolent? He’s a pussy and won’t fight when the raiders turn up and want to steal our crops and cattle and rape our women.”
“Would you have crops or cattle without the rain?” asked Elia.
“No, but the rain and the snow comes pretty regular. As do the raiders. What’s your god going to do about them?” said the barkeep.
Elia straightened. This conversation was developing in a way she had not anticipated. She had seen in her imagination the villagers hanging on her every word, rapt in the wonders of the Sky Father. This very confrontational barkeep was not swooning under the grace of the Sky Father. She said, “It is not so much what he will do for us in this life as in the next. He watches us and weighs our actions. If we are found to be kind and virtuous, he blesses us in the next life.”
The barkeep frowned. “Sky maid, I’d much prefer the Harridan’s blessing in a fight. Give me good aim and power behind my ax. This is the life I have and I would like to keep it. Being a good man, the neighbors will take care of that. If I cheat or lie, there’ll be a reckoning. This village is not so big and we take care of our own. If you want a room for the night and a hot meal, I am happy to provide it to you, but don’t climb on no table and start preaching or I will have to show you the door. We got an understanding?”
Elia nodded and said, “Yes, sir.”
As the evening progressed, villagers wandered into The Broken Branch. One man brought a violin, another a guitar, and a third had a banjo. They began to play. A woman with blonde hair and a man danced. Their feet shuffled and kicked to the beat. A fourth musician came in with an accordion. The music pulled people in from the warm night air.
Elia sat and ate the stew the barkeep served her. She dipped dark brown bread in the broth as she watched the dancers spin and whirl across the stone floor. Two older men played cards in the corner, smiling and talking as they made matches and laid them on the table. An older woman laughed so hard she doubled over.
The Sky Father could not see their merriment. Surely such happiness was a gift? Such joy a blessing? The barkeep had stated that the raiders came frequently to this village so they knew hardship. Sky Father must see their hardship. Elia had witnessed their well-tended gardens and rows of wheat. The goats in the hills above were fat and well cared for. She had seen women drying fish near the shore. There were large herds of cattle. This village might be small but it was very prosperous.
Sky Father must have seen their hard work and rewarded them, but why send the raiders? And why do nothing when the raiders come? Why would the Sky Father not lend these people assistance? Why did they only know of the Harridan? Elia sat and contemplated on the situation.
When she retired to a corner of the communal loft of the inn, resting her head on her satchel, she continued to contemplate. The Sky Father was all knowing. And benevolent. He would never abandon righteous folk. There must be some reason for the raiders plaguing this village.
Elia’s tortured thoughts ended with the cool light of the rising sun. The sun beams split the darkness and dissipated her doubts into the corners of the loft.
The Sky Father spread hope. The raiders came so the people knew hardship and pain. Sky Father with his stars and the sun in its orderly path guided the way for the raiders, who were also their children. They must have need to raid and so the Sky Father provided for them. And through providing for the raiders, he created hardship for the villagers so they could know the sweetness of their lives and experience gratitude. Nothing would be taken advantage of.
Elia smiled to herself. Her faith was renewed. Her hardship on the dusty road would end and she would know the sweetness of success. If not this village, another village would see the goodness of the Sky Father and accept her teachings. She decided she would start with the lonely shepherds. They would appreciate company and may give her enough time to hear her out. She would take the subtle and quiet path.
While I was running errands today I made some observations—just noting things. So here are my
observations for June 8 2018:
I drove today to Cabela’s Sporting Goods store. I was hoping to find some inspiration for my soon to be fourteen years old son’s birthday present. It was like stepping into a foreign land. There was a mountain in the middle with waterfalls and taxidermied animals. (My spell check is saying taxidermied is not a word, but taxidermy is.) Anyway, the animals were kinda creepy with always staring flat, glass eyes. I noticed the water did not run on the backside of the mountain near the camping department. Maybe if you are camping you don’t want waterfalls? But you do want dead animals?
Dead animals aside, because it was the middle of the day on a weekday, Cabela’s was not very busy. And every other customer was being approached and asked if they were finding everything. The cashiers looked like zombies they were so bored, and yet the one when I finally checked out looked pissed I had stepped in her line. The customer service seemed to be impeccable, except I was being avoided by all the sales associates. I am not certain why.
Maybe it was my Birkenstocks? Or I forgot my deodorant this morning?
I don’t know. Feeling like a stranger in a strange land, I eavesdropped as a salesman spoke to two women. Their conversation was not about camping supplies. He disparaged the US government’s involvement in something and called President Obama a mocking name. I saw t-shirts a person could buy to advertise their favorite gun manufacturer and one t-shirt emblazoned with “An AR-15 is for self-defense”.
Sharps and the Dutiful Consumer?
Taxidermied animals, rushing fake waterfalls, and pro-gun t-shirts, oh my! Cabela’s was certainly feeling very off for me. I don’t see the rationale behind buying a Yeti cooler when a Coleman will still keep ice for three days. Further, hunting for shorts my son would wear only turned up ones that were camouflage and I wasn’t certain would be appropriate for school. None of this stopped me from being a dutiful consumer in a capitalist society. I bought my daughter a couple of pairs of leggings that were on sale. Two “Life is Good” t-shirts proclaimed the virtues of being outdoors and they were on sale, so I bought them. A blanket claiming to remain sand-free at the beach piqued my curiosity and I bought it. Hehehe, I will put that to the test. And my favorite travel mugs were on sale. I bought two.
Despite all of this, the thing that stuck in my head most about Cabela’s was going into their public restroom and seeing a half-full sharps container on the wall. Never before have I seen that anywhere else in a public bathroom. I don’t know if Cabela’s typical customer base includes more diabetics or if this is the new reality of an out-of-control opioid epidemic in Trump’s US. I can only speculate Cabela’s felt the need for a sharps container because too many needles were sticking out of the regular trash bags.
Kombucha, Dead or Alive
Speaking of trash, I am trying not to trash my SCOBY. For this reason, I went to a home brewing supply store today to get a glass 1, 2 or 3 gallon jar for my newest pet/science project in the house. The salesman was a bit too forward– hitting on me, so I make no apologies for darting over to look at the kombucha culture kits in the store in the middle of one of his “witty” stories. I did not go in the store for witty stories, I came for a larger home for my growing SCOBY.
When I got home, I looked at my SCOBY. Damn, it grew. And it is all kind of white. I am not sure it is alive. I googled what a SCOBY looks like when it goes off. They look kind of off even when they aren’t. I do know from reading a few blogs on kombucha that if it is growing blue and green mold it is definitely off.
Or is it just a continuation of the science experiment?
Speaking of white things, I saw a big white laundry van advertising to do “students, families, or individual’s laundry”. Aren’t students individuals?
And then my “get off my lawn, back in my day” old lady brain kicked in. Back in my day, Grandma used to tell me to watch my long hair when I was cranking on the wringer washer. That’s true by the way. I also never experienced an in-home dryer until I had lived through having to go to the laundromat with a toddler. Everyone should have to live through going to the laundromat with a toddler before they get an in-home washer and dryer. Trust me on this. The world would be a better place. Maybe not with rainbows over fake waterfalls kind of better place, but a much more compassionate place for parents with toddlers.
Yup, another “get off my lawn, back in my day” old lady observation on this June 8, 2018. I went to the food co-op. In my Birkenstocks. My food co-op used to only give a discount to people if you volunteered so many hours a week. I remember going into the food co-op on Saturday mornings and bagging pasta, nuts, and granola; restocking stuff on shelves; and helping the employees.
Now, I am a lifetime member and we don’t have to volunteer anymore. We get a discount just for being a member. It feels like I am doing less to be part of a community to help one another and more to be a dutiful consumer. On top, the co-op is always advertising for help and the cashier is rarely the same person for more than six months. This bothers me. Are we paying the cashiers enough? Are they being treated well? And then I see a sign advertising “curbside pick-up”. I am feeling a little queasy about a natural foods co-op with social justice roots advertising “curbside pick-up”. Is this the new fitbit reality where walking in ten minute bursts throughout the day but not going into the grocery store to pick out your own food makes sense? Or a bourgeois tilt toward the Amazon economy?
Speaking of bourgeois tilt, tattoos seems to be very commonplace. It is almost more radical to not have a tattoo. Further, people’s choice of tattoos kind of fascinate me in the same way as their choice of ringtones for their phones fascinate me. What ever possesses someone to have stars tattooed behind their ears? Or a ninja turtle brandishing a sword protecting their shoulder? Or R2D2 toodling around their lower back? How do people pick their tattoos? It’s forever, mostly. I cannot decide on a poster for my wall forever. How would I ever decide about a tattoo to be etched onto my skin? I think I am just a commitment phobe.
Enough observations for June 8, 2018. I have a pirate novel to read and poetry to write. The night is young. The air is warm. And the world is a strange place.
Lazy Sunday Mornings
It is Sunday morning, a very lazy Sunday morning. I was up before 5am, as usual, but I am still in pajamas. Still drinking tea. Planning out my day. At it is only 9:30am.
Usually a Good Deal Happening
Lazy Sunday mornings are a contrast to my usual. I often have a good deal on the go—reading several books at one time, volunteering, cleaning up and maintaining a half acre garden, learning new songs and practicing old ones on both guitar and mandolin, writing poetry, raising my kids, caring for two dogs and three cats, working on coding, reading about child development and autism… The list can go on. And on.
However, the push to study for and pass the Microsoft certification tests and add to the list of coding languages I know in a very short time was exhausting. After the test, I slept for a couple days. When I woke up, I looked around. My house had not been cleaned for a month and a half. I had missed the opportunity to put in a garden for the summer. I had had to drop a math class that I wanted to take. Currently I am regretting I did not take that class because I still need to take it and now I will have to do a fair amount of review to get back up to speed in my math skills. Use it or lose it applies to math. The best mathematician’s I know stay in the math.
A Friend Sent Me a Book
A friend sent me a book—“The Art of Doing Nothing”. At first I was freaked out because she works for a kind of financial collection agency and the package had a return address from this collection agency and I have never had dealings with them. Yikes. The book is really cool though. And it isn’t about doing nothing. Not really. It is about procrastinating and that’s ok. Breathing. Meditating. Lounging. Taking baths. And listening to your intuition.
At first I did not know what to do with this book.
Currently, I am “planning” into my week a bit of doing nothing because when I don’t I work myself into exhaustion and crankiness.
Lazy Sunday mornings are a good thing. Too busy lives can sometimes take a toll. It is not only ok to plan in some rest, but it is essential.
I walked with my camera this afternoon, on this winter day. During the summer, the outdoor gardens of the botanical garden fill with people on a Sunday afternoon. Today, as I strolled through the children’s gardens, no one was there. I saw only one other set of footprints.
The snow simplifies the landscape. Muted colors contrast with the brilliant white. A hush lays heavy, the snow absorbs the sound. My footfalls crunch beneath me. Winter has a poetry all its own.
in a world of one color
the sound of wind.
by William Carlos Williams
All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.
by George Trakl
When snow falls against the window,
Long sounds the evening bell…
For so many has the table
Been prepared, the house set in order.
From their wandering, many
Come on dark paths to this gateway.
The tree of grace is flowering in gold
Out of the cool sap of the earth.
In stillness, wanderer, step in:
Grief has worn the threshold into stone.
But see: in pure light, glowing
There on the table: bread and wine.
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overbrows the lonely vale.
O’er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.
Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.
Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river’s gradual tide,
Shrilly the skater’s iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.
Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!
But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.
Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long.