Monday, April 30, 2012

May Day Baskets and Beltane with the Green Man and Bees

We made May Day Baskets in Mrs. Anderson's first grade, and I loved them instantly.  I think of her and those tiny baskets filled with assorted violets and dandelions and whatever else we could find.  I have told this story many times....and it still some 55 years  later fills me with a sense of awe and the anticipation of the season to come, from "helping" my Dad in the vegetable garden, and not wanting to help my Mom plant petunias because I didn't like the way they smelled, and watching her put up a trellis of string for the sweet peas to climb on, I loved the softly colored flowers, but I could have done without the bees that loved them also.

Beltane, welcomes the abundance that is to come.  Enticing warm weather and the freedom from heavy clothing and cold damp winds, make the heart light, and of course  kindle the fire of passion and if one is lucky, love.   After  the gray and isolation of winter, the land is rested and ready to produce flowers, and fruit again.  The bees are busily  collecting pollen and nectar, apple pear and other trees, and the numerous wildflowers and  fruiting bushes, because they do most of the pollinating, and without them would there be no honey, but there would be far fewer, fruits, vegetables, flowers and grains.    When the buckwheat now sprouting in the farmers field blossoms, the bees will turn its nectar and pollen into a mellow, dark and rich honey.

Bees were believed to be messengers between the spirit world and the wold of men by the Celts. It also believed that if a bee were to land on your hand you would  be prosperous, and that a bee entering the house meant a visitor with good news was on the way, but should you kill that bee the news would be bad.   In Appalachia and  some  other ares of the Eastern United States, where there are many people of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic   decent when someone dies, it is the custom for the bee keeper in the family to tell the bees, so that the bees can spread the word.

At Imbolic the earth stirs under under its blanket of snow, the year is in it's infancy, but now at Beltane it is the robust child entering adulthood, "sowing  wild oats"  and exploring the surroundings, still unattached, savoring and anticipating at the same time.  Like the Green Man. the Lord of the Greenwood, watching his lands awakening, and life stretching out before him, the place where he will search for find is mate, and  make the earth fertile and abundant again.

Tonight when the Beltane's fire are lit. and people gather, to celebrate, stop for a moment  and welcome abundance and the awakening earth.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

salt and pepper of life

It must have been one of those days when everything either went very right , or so wrong that it dissolved into a swim in Lake Silly.   Or did someone pose these fellows and then say  "look like you are having  fun", no, that doesn't seem very likely.

They don't seem to have much  around them but nature and a stone wall.  All they seem to have with them  is a blanket and  a  huge tackle box or may-be its a toolbox , may-be its a cooler.  Even the guy with the cigarette is smiling, well as best you can without dropping the cigarette.  An old snapshot, of family and friends enjoying each others company, doing nothing in particular, just enjoying the simple thing, the ordinary everyday things.  Like going barefoot , finding shapes in the clouds, making each other laugh, because it is these little things that add the salt and pepper to the feast of life.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Snowstorm??? now???

 the morning of
April 23rd

afternoon april 23rd
the morning of April24th

the afternoon of April 24th

On Monday, I was in total disbelief that there could even be a storm that would dump that much snow this late in the season, this from someone who can remember the year when it snizzled on the 4th of July, I was paying close attention  to the forecasts and the sky.  Guess it would be fair to say i was anticipating the huge, out of season storm, my only worry was that there would be ice, otherwise I was excited to see this rare happening.  I can truthfully say i feel honored to have seen this storm.  Couldn't help thinking back to many winter storms I have watched while on this late April day stood outside calf deep in snow, wearing my gardening clogs, and no coat snapping pictures one after the other, i was in awe, and not even a little bit cold.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Good bye, Mr Frid

Goodbye, Mr Frid.   It seems like only yesterday I followed the life of the character you created, everyday after school.  You are my second goodbye this week.  Dark Shadows was a source for my interest in so many things, including my interest in  architecture.  I wanted to work behind the scenes  in special effects because of you.  I learned some vampire history, but I also learned a lot of world history because of you. 
It was fun to be a little scared as I walked home through the woods  those winter afternoons after watching Dark Shadows with friends.  I remember thinking what it would be like to live in Collinwood, and  wearing fabulous old fashioned clothes, and being in a world outsiders could never fathom. An elegant and somewhat, but always tastefully dangerous world.

Goodbye Mr. Frid and thank you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Save me a dance for old times sake

No, this was not what I had planned to write about today, not exactly anyway. 

I'm not sure how old i was when i stared watching Bandstand, marvelling at the cool looking gingham sack dresses and those sorta  short high heels, that all the girls where wearing, Never saw anything like those sprayed up hairdos where i lived.  It was where I first saw Chubby Checker, and the Twist, and where I saw Frankie Avalon, who not only had amazing hair , but an amazing name.  Bobby Darrin sang my favorite song "Mack the Knife" with it's long list of names, yes, I guess you could say I am fascinated by names.

There was the Top 10 Countdown" of most popular singles (45 rpm records) I always wondered how they knew what  45s we country girls were buying at McCrorys, I never saw the clerk write anything down.  The Beach Boys were there, lip syncing to their records, music like I had never heard before, and really loved.  Then The Beatles came along, I don't think they were ever on Bandstand. But music became more sophisticated and soon it was only on once a week.  Then it disappeared, but not from the minds of those to  whom every afternoon after school Bandstand was a must watch.  Music had left Bandstand behind, to become something to look back on as a part of a simpler , and more fun time.

Dick Clark, the worlds oldest teenager, left this world today. He left it richer, he left behind confidence and courage and self esteem in those kids who danced on his show.

And, Mr. Clark, please save a dance for me for old times sake.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Friday..........the 13th, it's complicated and involves Math

Friday, January 13, 2012
13 weeks later
Friday, April 13,2012
13 weeks later
Friday, July 13, 2012

And according to the Mayan calender, this is the big one, the year the world goes POOF!!! or something like that. Which just might have been, just might, mind you have been and error is translation.  though one thing we can be certain of is that many things will happen that will change the world, this and every other year.

But this is not an omen, or portend of any kind it is a pattern that comes from the way our calender is constructed. any leap year that starts on  a Sunday will have  a Friday the 13th , in January, April and July.   Any non-leap year  that begins on a Thursday will have A Friday the 13th in February, March and November.  Wondrously, especially to a person like me who finds numbers of all kinds of number mystifying, our calender seems to have a 28 year cycle of recycling dates.

friggatriskaidekaphobia`~~~the irrational feat of Friday the 13th

But oh my my, Friday the 13th has such an unlucky meaning in Judeo-Christian traditions in that it was the day Adam and Eve were forced out of Eden and also that Jesus was crucified on a Friday the 13. 

Public executions were held on  this day, and according to custom there were 13 steps to the gallows and 13 loops in the the noose, 13 had become an unlucky number. and it was certainly unlucky for the Templar knights who were rounded up on a Friday the 13th imprisoned tortured and usually burned at the stake for heresy.

Friday takes it name from the Nordic Goddess Freya, sometimes Freia or Frig hence the old English  Frigedaeg. Freya is very much like the Roman Venus, for who Friday,  Dies Veneris, is also named. both  Freya and Venus, both of whom were symbols of fertility , domestic happiness, good fortune and love and luck. In many other cultures 13 is a lucky or even sacred number. 

My long time reader know that for most of my life I have look forward to those Fridays that fall on the !3th, because more often than not....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Snow on the flowers

It's not unusual to have snow in April, it snows most years, but there aren't as many flowers about to get buried under it!
This is what it looked like when I got up this morning.  Very pretty, but somehow unreal.  Like something out of  a legend about  an icy hearted Ice Queen.
But just like the Ice Queens icy heat melted I knew this scene would melt away, and out the door I went with my trusty camera. Even before I had my coffee.

A rare and beautiful sight, and so fragile. 

The rain could wash it away.
The sun could melt it.
The wind could knock it to the ground.
But for now....

Feeling very blessed to see such rare sights

To hear the birds singing in the snow and smell the woodsmoke, to feel the chill, watch the snow drift down and feel very alive.

" the beauty in the flower
the beauty in the hour."

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Day with the Fairys

Somewhere in my primary school education I learned that  fairies are particularly easy to see in April, I am pretty sure that it was part of a poem, but cannot remember enough of it to find it again on the great information super highway that requires more  than "dancing by Aprils brook, fairy folk if you look" to find results.  But no matter. 

Fairies are something I wonder about, perhaps they do exist,not so much because they are a part of our literature and folklore, but more because the idea had to come from somewhere.  Truthfully I can say that I have never met or even seen one, and if it were not for Sir Arthur Connan Doyle's being a believer, would probably never entertain the  subject, even though i know that at that time people were actively search for fairies.  But I am told that fairies can be anywhere, and can take many forms, to some they are like butterfly's and to others dragonfly's,  and some see them as tiny and exquisitely beautiful beings sweet and shy, and to still others they are mischievous and some times ill tempered creatures you might not want to have around.  I want to believe in Fairies, but elves, trolls and sprites are so much easier to believe in.

On my wanderings along paths and trails, I see tiny flowers, tiny creatures and things that though perfectly ordinary are magical to me. Moss covered stumps that look like homes and stones piled up that look like doorways.  If I were one of the forest folk  this would be an ideal place to live.  I feel sure that our Victorian forebears would have searched for fairies in lovely places like these.

The following quote is from a conversation I had on my Internet Machine, and it started me thinking about fairies in a new way.  Having always though of fairies as being much like children to me, she,  in a real way, is speaking about spending a day with fairies,  small  beings, who change in the blink of an eye, exquisite and mischievous, they grace us with with their laughter and wonder, as we wonder at them.  Small beings who have heir own kind of magic.

"I'm worn out myself after a hard day of play doh, doll houses, digging for
worms, chasing balls, blowing dandelion seeds, etc. with the munchkin
granddaughters. We found a lot of Spring wildflowers too. It was a lovely day here."

And as syncronicity , or may be the fairies would have it I happened on this photo, also on my Internet Machine.   the writing on the back is in French, so it is mysterious to me.
Could it be that this group of what appear to me to be older girls  who have taken their younger sister for a walk, to explore along a woodland path and see if any fairies have ventured out into the spring sunshine to see the first bits of greenery melt out of the snow just as the girls had?  They all look happy anyway and that is the important part. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Good Greetings on Easter

All the exhilaration of a kid on their first egg hunt.
All happiness your heart can hold.
All the peace of an Easter sunrise.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Its Spring.....officially

It has been not really winter for most of the winter, I have enjoyed it, for as you all know, there is very little about winter that I like. Since early March it has been Spring-like, not Spring really but like Spring, now into April the weather has become a bit more seasonal, and there is no question, it is Spring.
There is plenty of wood left, waiting for fall. No, I certainly am not waiting for fall.  it doesn't matter that some of the things I had planned to do last winter didn't get done. they can wait too. They aren't eating any bread, and they don't mind the wait.

There are leave on the apple tree, perhaps they are not as tender as I thought as they survived 2 nights of temperatures in the single digits.  Last years apple crop was huge, who knows what this years will be like.   Tiny frogs called peepers, who  shelter in the marshy area near this tree sing for me each warm night, during the Spring.

The last remnants of a tree that came down in a storm last July are standing guard over the sight where the brush pile were burned,   that area that was once a brooder house, then a garage, and later a weedy spot where all sorts of flowers and weeds grew amid the stacked wood.

Next to the picnic table is a heap of leaves ready for the compost, a heap of leaves from the pungent sorta garlic sorta hotter-than-hell, but oh so tasty wild edible the leek or ramp.  True not everyone likes them, but to me they are a true delight.  Leaves diced and fried with eggs or potatoes or the whole leaf, fried crisp, have a smokey flavor. if you were hardcore you could add fresh leaves to a salad.

The garlicyflavored bulb can be carefully fried also and is very mellow.Or raw it can be mixed with creme cheeze or what have you to make a dip, some of us eat them raw. The white portion can be pickled in either your homemade brine or left over brine from commerciallly made pickles.  They can be frozen, especially if you place them in strainer, salt them with uniodized salt, cover them withe ice and let them drain overnight.  Be creative,  use them in ham and potato soup, ham and beans, roasted them with chicken...pretty much anything you can use garlic for.  So these stinky little wonders, that taste oh so good might not make you the most popular person at work, unless of course you bring in some dip and crackers so that everyone can enjoy.
Bon appetite!

Friday, April 6, 2012

New Leaves Moon

The full Moon of April is traditionally called the Full Pink Moon, for it's resemblance in color to  the soft pink of  wild ground phlox, which appear at this time. The pale pink tint of the moon is, if it is visible, due to the atmosphere, how unromantic!!

It is also known as the Sprouting Grass moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon

 New Also called the New leaf Moon, though it is usually much later in the month that we see the first leaves here.  It would be more appropriate to call it the Last Snows Moon.

Pictured is the waxing gibbous Moon, early on Tuesday evening.
The frog moon, as small fogs appear and the voices of spring peepers can be heard on warmer nights

Nesting moon, the birds are still courting, and the woods are filled with their songs, but soon the courting will be over and nest building will start.

Here in the woods, April usually starts out more like winter and ends more like summer.  The daffodils that mark the foundations of long forgotten house burst into bloom, as they have done each year, long after the name of whoever planted them is  forgotten,

Last nights nearly full moon, rose latter and shown through  the patches between  clouds.  I usually give each moon a name, a name meant only for this Full Moon, it hasn't been easy to choose one this month, nothing seemed to fit well, so I have named it the  Sleeping Dragons Moon. One never knows what will happen next.

Silent Sunday~~~Hedgehog Picnic

thanks Coleman