magic apples…

“Vase with Apples and Foliage” by Henri Fantin-Latour

This little paradise was a happy place.  Odin and the other gods often visited, marveling at Iduna’s kindness and delighting in her humor and her wit.  Yet there was another reason that they came: Iduna possessed a special treasure – a golden chest of magic apples that kept all those who ate them ever young.  Truly it was the precious fruit that kept the gods immortal.  Odin knew the value of these apples.  He never ventured on a journey without a few to take along.
~ Marianna Mayer
(Iduna & The Magic Apples)

we return thanks…

“Bouquet of Chrysanthemums” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water.
 We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters,
the beans and squash, which give us life.
 We return thanks to the bushes and trees, which provide us with fruit.
We return thanks to the wind, which, moving the air, has banished diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to our grandfather He-no,
that he has protected his grandchildren from witches and reptiles,
 and has given to us his rain.
We return thanks to the sun,
that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficient eye.
 Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in whom is embodied all goodness,
and who directs all things for the good of his children.
~ 19th-Century Iroquois Prayer
(The Joy of Family Traditions:
A Season-by-Season Companion to Celebrations, Holidays & Special Occasions
)

May Day

“Queen Guinevere’s Maying” by John Maler Collier

Child of the pure unclouded brow
And dreaming eyes of wonder!
Though time be fleet and I and thou
Are half a life asunder,
Thy loving smile will surely hail
The love-gift of a fairy tale.
~ Lewis Carroll
(Beltane: Springtime Rituals, Lore & Celebration)

photo by Sally Holmes

Beltane: May 5, 2011, 4:20 p.m.
May 4, 2012, 10:13 p.m.

May Day

Abandon ~ Love ~ War

Activities:
See Westerly Morris Men dance
to greet the sunrise at Connecticut College
Maypole

May Day 2008 ~ Westerly Morris Men

mastering the wind…

“Boreas” by John William Waterhouse

Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness … the energies of love.  Then for the second time in the history of the world man will have discovered fire.
~ Teilhard de Chardin
(The Self-Aware Universe:
How Consciousness Creates the Material World)

Wind Song

The West Wind by Winslow Homer

There’s a Mary Chapin Carpenter song, Zephyr, that keeps tugging at my heart the past couple of months.  The lyrics may be about romantic connections but they stir up feelings about family ties for me.  (Some of the lyrics included in italics.)

Why do crickets chirping in August sound so sad to me?

I don’t know nothing, nothing today…

“Good” stress vs. “bad” stress.  How do we know which is which?  When Tim was going through his cardio-rehab program I attended the group discussion about stress with him.  The nurse moderating the discussion stressed that if something seemed stressful to you then it is stressful, no matter how anyone else might feel in the same situation.

“Good” stress:  Tim came home from his trip to England with an assortment of cheeses and wanted to have a cheese tasting party.  An incentive to clean the house!!!  The party was wonderful!!!  Our home is so clean!!!

“Bad” stress: unrelenting for the past few years…  I used to be known as a meticulously clean homemaker, who often rearranged furniture and redecorated, but I no longer have the energy or the inclination to stay on top of things.  A homebody by nature…  Well, that’s not entirely true…

I’m a zephyr on the inside
And it’s a hard ride when you feel yourself tied down
Hide-and-earth bound
But there’s no tether, on a zephyr

Because my father’s and my aunt’s situations are so distressing to me, when I find myself with “free” time I usually read or blog or redecorate my blogs, which is so very soothing and relaxing.  Forget the housework.  But it has been nice writing this today in a house a good deal cleaner than it’s been in a very long time.

I tried to be constant just like a star
I tried to be steady and yar
But the storms keep breaking over my head
I’m aching for blue skies instead

What is “yar,” Mary Chapin?  Sounds like a sailing word…  She must mean yare, which is pronounced “yar.”  I love looking things up!  An adjective “describing a boat that handles with little effort.  A good sailing design, quick and capable.”  I have the feeling I should have known this.  It sounds like a word my grandparents might have used.  “Steady as she goes,” I do recall.  Steady and yare, steady and yare…

Wish I could handle things with just a little less effort, because

I’m a zephyr on the inside
And it’s a hard ride when you feel your heart tied down…

…All of the wings I’ve ridden back home to you
All the things I’ve given I’ve wanted to
All that you see has always belonged to you
Except for the wind…

Yes, my dear family, little ones, elderly ones, and dead ones, I’ve freely chosen to give them all I’ve had in me to give.  Even if it’s hard, love keeps me from flying away…  As Louisa May Alcott once wrote, “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”  Steady and yare…

Love is all there is and time is just sand
And I might just slip through your hands

I took Auntie to the surgeon for a consultation again.  More skin cancer to be removed, this time from her leg.  It makes me remember when my children were young and Auntie was newly retired so she came to our lovely little beach with us all summer long.  Time is just sand on the beach, and time often stood still on those endless days.

Those were good times, watching the kids’ swimming lessons, reading novels, chatting, soaking up the sun, damaging our skin.

The time a seagull pooped on our umbrella and us laughing at the antics of the kids dragging the umbrella to the outdoor shower in a futile attempt to clean it off with water…  The times the gulls stole our fries or those scrumptious $1.50 each kraut-dogs…  Melting ice cream dripping down sticky, salty bellies and legs…  “Watch me swim out to the raft, Mom!”  Marveling about the fact that we could hear their conversations out on the raft but they could not hear us calling them from the beach.  Sound travels only one way over the water.  I can still hear their voices sometimes…

The outdoorsy kid always in the water.  The creative kid, drawing on or sculpting in the sand.  The future social worker coming for frequent cuddles and eating all the slices of cantaloupe when no one was paying attention.  The time Grandma & Grandpa came for a picnic and we all took a walk and saw three baby swans riding on a mother swan’s back as she swam around the salt pond…  The year the kids were interviewed by a newspaper reporter about the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish population explosion…

Larisa K. Rodgers, a sixth grader, became a victim Monday.  “All I know is, it hurts,” she said.  Larisa was swimming at Eastern Point Beach when she was stung on both thighs, dashed out of the water and ran to the first aid room.  “It rashes up really big,” she said, though she needn’t have explained.   ….   “I’ve noticed more,” said Larisa’s brother, Jonathan, who has his own method of measuring the jellyfish problem.  He says he gets stung about once a summer, but this summer he’s been stung three times.

[Source: “Beware of the blob! Jellyfish numbers increase,” by Steve Grant, The Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut, 13 August 1992, page 1]

As I’ve been for many years, I’m still grounded, but…

I’m a zephyr on the inside
And it’s a hard ride when you feel your life tied down
Hide-and-earth bound but there’s no tether…

Sultry Midsummer

Yesterday Bernie and I went for another walk… It was so clammy outside, though, that after he did his business he decided not to take his usual trek through the woods. All the greenery was drenched with moisture even though it was early afternoon. He headed for the fenced-in garden (to keep the deer out), a place I rarely enter.

Once inside the enclosure he sat very still by the fence for what seemed like an eternity. The sun was beating down on me and I was getting restless. So I began to suggest that we move on, but Bernie ignored me completely. I found a shady spot and took a peek into my brother-in-law’s little greenhouse. Bernie still hadn’t moved. So I ventured into the greenhouse to satisfy my curiosity…

After poking around I peeked outside and Bernie was still lost in contemplation. I sighed. It was so muggy! He looked over his shoulder and decided to move. Yea! But as soon as we left the garden he plopped down on a small spot of semi-shaded bare earth… This outing was so strange, he rarely sits or lies down when he’s outside! Maybe he’s grounding himself, I thought, and decided to lay down near him and annoy him by taking eye level pictures…

After this Bernie decided to go back inside, where my brother-in-law was installing the window mounted air conditioners. Phew! Even Dad was hot, and he’s “always” cold.

Dad and I watched a little opera on TV. The word “doge” popped up in the subtitles. “Doge?” asks Dad, so I reached for the dictionary. It might seem a little weird, but Dad and I both love etymology and looking things up is still a pleasure he can enjoy with my help.

(Doge = chief magistrate in the republics of Venice and Genoa, Latin and Italian)

When the opera was over we switched to golf. The ocean scenery at Pebble Beach made him recall the one time he stuck his toes in the Pacific Ocean. With the air conditioning now doing its job it was turning into a nice Father’s Day. Dad also told me about the one time he ever played golf. He was having a stroke of beginner’s luck when the guy who invited him to play got mad and quit the game.

Then we got a huge thunderstorm! I opened a door to see outside and took the picture below, which I’m guessing is mostly raindrops, but I think I see a couple of orbs in there, too. Or maybe they’re all orbs? The camera was not out in the rain. That will have to be a future blog.

Later, when it was time to go, I discovered a gift that Thor or Mother Nature left on my car.  :)

Happy Midsummer!!!