apple picking season

“Idunn & Bragi” by Nils Blommér

Idunn was married to Bragi, god of poetry, and she was sweet and gentle and kind. She carried a box with her, made of ash wood, which contained golden apples. When the gods felt age beginning to touch them, to frost their hair or ache their joints, then they would go to Idunn. She would open her box and allow the god or goddess to eat a single apple. As they ate it, their youth and power would return to them. Without Idunn’s apples, the gods would scarcely be gods …
~ Neil Gaiman
(Norse Mythology)

Iduna (Iðunn, Idun, Idunn, Ithun, Idunna) is my favorite Norse goddess, mostly because of the apples, my favorite fruit. It’s been my experience that an apple a day does keep the doctor away. And now, during apple picking season, my thoughts turn to Iduna and the art depicting her I’ve posted to my blog in the past.

Nine years ago I posted this story about my father, who was still alive at the time:

When my father was a boy growing up on a New England farm during the Great Depression, his family picked as many apples as they could and stored some of them in a barrel in the root cellar. Of course he ate as many as he could while picking them, but his parents had a rule about the ones in the barrel he found exasperating. If anyone wanted an apple later in the fall or winter, he was required to take one that was the least fresh. By the time they got to the fresher ones they had also become much less fresh! So all winter he was having to make do with eating not-so-great apples. If only he had known he might have called on Iduna to keep the apples fresher longer!

Dad’s favorite variety was the McCoun. After six years, I still miss him. Will be stopping by the orchard again soon. ♡

Mihashirano’s Tea House

10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
Mihashirano’s Tea House created by Anita Walsh ~ 10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

Mihashirano, the faerie goddess of green-growing things, works hard alongside her mom, Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess, to help things grow along the river. The plants work hard purifying the air and water as well as supplying food and shelter for many creatures. Their work also benefits the artists in many of the same ways, including natural beauty that inspires their paintings. The location for Mihashirano’s tea house was chosen by a bird.
~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making

10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

Janet, all bundled up to brave the elements, located the mystical bird and Mihashirano’s sailboat at the tea house out on the water by using binoculars provided by the fairies on the shore. It was a very wet, raw and windy day especially down by the river.

We didn’t feel anything here in southern Connecticut, but last night at 7:12 pm there was an earthquake centered in Maine, 4.6 on the Richter scale, which was strong enough to shake homes as far south as northern Connecticut. Auntie is supposed to come home from the hospital today – I wonder if they felt the tremor up north there last night… And today would have been my mother’s 81st birthday – Happy Birthday, Mom!

not so bleak after all

photo by Pen Waggener
photo by Pen Waggener

A winter without snow can get pretty bleak at times, but I’m trying to be careful about what I’m wishing for. Janet and I decided to be adventurous and spend our birthday lunch trying out a new (at least to us) organic restaurant across the river in New London, Mangetout.

The vegan and gluten-free options were clearly indicated on the menu and the specials board, which was very helpful. We warmed up with coffee, so I splurged on a soy latte – haven’t had one since November when Tim’s brother was making them for us every morning we were there in Virginia. Joy!!! It was every bit as good as Dan’s! Janet had a quiche and I had the tomato-lentil soup and a side of roasted butternut squash. All I can say is that the soup was so delicious that I now thoroughly understand how Esau could sell his birthright for a bowl of Jacob’s lentil stew.

After lunch we took a walk in the city and stopped by the Hygienic Art gallery where we saw an interesting exhibit of paintings, photographs, pottery, etc, created by local high school students. After we left, as we were strolling along, chatting away, Janet suddenly spotted a skunk making its way across a courtyard! Yikes! I scrambled and fumbled with the new camera, as I was not expecting to encounter anything but a still-life that afternoon. But I just decided to take whatever picture I could get…

1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut

1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut

Perhaps it was looking for a rest room? (It’s kind of blending in with the low white wall near the bottom left. The restroom doors say *Goddesses* and *Gods* – there are outdoor cultural programs presented here in the summer, hence the restrooms.)

1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut

I like what Avia Venefica says about the meaning of skunk encounters on her website:

We would all do well to take this animal symbolism from the skunk: Do no harm. Indeed, as a totem animal, the skunk asks us to defend ourselves effectively, without causing further conflict.

Interestingly, the skunk would prefer to be even less assertive. You see, it takes over a week to reproduce its stinky juices after using them (their glands are only good for about 4 sprays). Ergo, the skunk is 100% sure it must spray before doing so as this defense tool is a commodity in the wild – not to be wasted on false alarms.

In recognizing this, we see the skunk is the ultimate pacifist, and by adopting its peace-loving ways we may obtain the carefree lifestyle this creature enjoys.

After this bit of excitement was over, we kept exploring the shops along Bank St. and State St. and enjoying the gentle snow flurries that began fluttering through the air, adding more magic to the afternoon. We came across a colorful information booth that was boarded up with paintings on the boards covering the windows.

1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut

1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut

And before we hopped back into the car because we were chilled to the bone, we saw this tall house or apartment building with a nautical painting on one side.

1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut

It’s fun having a birthday twin, a wonderful friend, to spend it with!