Friday, May 01, 2009

When Caspar and I took our last little saunter of the evening I stood on the deck for a few minutes before coming in, listening to the pulse of May, - the frogs at the foot of the pasture, singing the celebration of spring in their deep bass voices, with the rhythm of life, abundance, fertility and the powerful green energy of renewal.

And I thought about ancient days, and the mythology of the old civilizations of Rome and Greece - the gods and the goddesses and how involved they were with the lives of humans; the stories and fables of the various seasons.

Here is a beautiful tapestry. Edward Burns-Jones designed the figure, and William Morris designed the background. It depicts Flora, the goddess of abundance, standing barefoot in flowing garments with a wreath in her hair, personifying summer,. She holds fresh flowers in her hand, and we can see the intricate floral background inspired by the Medieval decorative technique known as Mille Fleur's (thousand flowers). In these times copies of the design are woven in Belgium and available online.

The piece is also inscribed with the following verse, beautifully rendered in Gothic type.

"I am the handmaid of the Earth
I broider fair her glorious gown;
Deck her on her days of mirth
with many a garland of renoun.
And while the earth's little ones are fain
And play about the mother's hem,
I scatter every gift I gain
From sun and wind to gladden them"

In Roman mythology Flora was a goddess of flowers and the season of spring, being one of several fertility goddesses and a relatively minor figure. Her association with spring gave her particular importance in late April and early May, the time of her festival, the Floralia. It was a lusty affair, symbolizing the renewal of the circle of life and marked with dancing, drinking, and flowers.

Flora was married to Favonius, the wind god, and her companion was Hercules. She achieved more prominence in the neo-pagan revival of Antiquity among Renaissance humanists than she had ever enjoyed in ancient Rome. - (extracted from Wikipedia).

From Ovid, Fasti 5, 193
"I, Flora, enjoy perpetual spring: the year always shines, trees are leafing, the solid always fodders. I have a fruitful garden in my dowered fields, fanned by breezes, fed by limpid fountains. My husband filled it with well-bred flowers, saying: 'Have jurisdiction of the flower, goddess'. I often wanted to number the colors displayed, but could not: their abundance defied measure. As soon as the dewy frost is cast from the leaves and sunbeams warm the dappled blossom, the Horae (Seasons) assemble, hitch up their colored dresses and collect these gifts of mine in light tubs. Suddenly the Charities (Graces) burst in, and weave chaplets and crowns to entwine the hair of gods."

It sounds like a lovely party, with great potential.

Although not a goddess, I too can relate to her enjoyment of her flowers and fountains, having an equally kind husband who has worked with me to make a beautifully diverse and joyful garden.

Thinking of Flora, the gods and goddesses, the renewal and cycle of life, the lovely month of May, and all it has meant in our lives, and time.. when I came across this poem it struck a haunting minor chord, and reminded me of how I felt when we first started this sweet little garden in our 'latter' years.

"'Established' is a good word, much used in garden books,
'the plant, when established'...
Oh, become established quickly, quickly, garden!
For I am fugitive, I am very fugitive

Those that come after me will gather these roses,
And watch, as I do now, the white wisteria
Burst in the sunshine, from its pale green sheath.

Planned. Planted. Established. Then neglected,
Till at last the loiterer by the gate will wonder
At the old, old cottage, the old wooden cottage,
And say, 'One might build here, the view is glorious;
This must have been a pretty garden once."

Well, I am not as 'fugitive' as Mary Ursula Bethell, who wrote this poem in 1929.

Nevertheless the words touched me, and the realization that Nature and the Goddess Flora persist in beauty and renewal, and May comes every year!!!!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Enticing Summer Skies in the Similkameen

A Silent Post

Does anything here say "Come to me...Come see"?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Here is a posting from bygone days to fill in the time while Charles and I regain a semblance of health. He is home from the hospital, and looking fairly chipper, but still with a fragile chest.

And I sound like nothing on earth, - unless I am face to face with people they think they are exchanging words with a gravelly fog horn.

Here are a few gravelly words on Greed and Generosity.

There are two books tucked into the sideboard of our bed, - two books about widely divergent subjects, and I am reading them in tandem. This serves to keep me in a constant state of flux, as I try to determine just where I lie in relation to each subject (well, I lie on the bed, but that's beside the point...)

Phyllis Tickle has written the book entitled 'Greed' as part of a series on the Seven Deadly Sins. The reviews state that it is an elegant little book, and I can't disagree with that. Its contents send me scrambling to a dictionary (and beyond) as I am woefully unfamiliar with some of the literary and historical references. But the facts of the matter are well understood, and I am familiar with greed and all its many disguises, - avarice, miserliness, covetousness, acquisitiveness, - and even, in its more noble aspect, thrift.....

The book refers to Greed as the Mother of all Sins - or to put it more elegantly 'Greed, by any name, is the mother and matrix, root and consort of all the other sins'. It is not only western civilization that recognizes this primacy of Greed, - it is equally abhorred by Buddhists, Judaism, Hinduism and hopefully, by Secularism in this day and age. In that it leads to all other 'Sins' (or activities that damage the moral fibre of civilization) should we not be aware of its presence in each of our lives?

Which, of course, leads me to poke around in every nook and cranny of my own life, looking for symptoms of unacknowledged Sin. I think I am not Lustful, - nor can I be accused of Gluttony. I am not Envious, being greatly contented with my life - but I do suspect there may be some Greed lurking. Not for material things, but I must admit to being greedy for approval. I think it is one of the pistons that drives my engine, and results in slavery to Ego! A vice I am desperately trying to bury deep. It keeps popping up, and I keep pushing it down, but there... (sigh) I still strive to achieve.

The other book I am reading is "Being Generous (The Art of Right Living) by Lucinda Vardey and John Dalla Costa. A simpler and more comforting book. It caught my eye in a book store while I was shopping for Christmas gifts, and I thought of any number of people I could give it to, but it is still with me. I will give it away, but in the meantime if it is the night I read about the Art of Right Living, that is the night that I am inspired.

I quote from Chapter Seven - 'Generosity embraced becomes the defining aspect of one's character, permeating and unifying all that we are, all that we do, think, speak and feel. Integrity lives within our generosity, a wholeness that is consistent, reliable and humble;...'

I hope that I strive to be generous. I try to be conscious and mindful, without the ego 'being the head of my ( personal) household...' I know that I am not always successful, but to be generous with time, with love, with grace, with patience and service, - that surely is the true achievement.

And to be humble...

I must confess I am still hoarding the book on Generosity, - not yet prepared to part with it. Could that be Greed????

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I was going to tell you everything I knew about Spotted Lake, and even more that I planned to research, but alas...

We are a House of Sickies, Charles with an impertinent flu and me with a hacking sinus.

So here is a small video composed of pictures taken from the front deck and down the lane a little.

Accompanied by the Japanese Sandman, welcome visitor here tonight, seeing as how neither of us slept a wink last night..

Forgive him leaving abruptly, - he was anxious to be about his duties spreading Japanese Sand.

More about Spotted Lake soon.