Advent Reading: Day 24, or Quick Reflections of An Introverted Mother

B just left the house with the youngest of our Littles and I think it is the first time I have been alone in a week. I am an introvert, the definition of which (I think) involves the origins of where one derives strength-being with or without people. (So for me, it is without.) (People.) In which case, this last week full of holiday hearth and home and all the convivialities that necessarily follow have made me almost cross-eyed with the mental strain of keeping up with it all. Some of my favorite yearly events happened this week (not including, of course, birthdays, fresh asparagus season and the All Saints Rummage Sale) and this introvert rallied around heroically, but it is only now, when I find myself finally alone, that I notice the effort it has been.
I want to be quiet. I need to get quiet and think and pray and write. I am desperate for some of that solid, solitary time. I think this is entirely typical of life with two small children-definitely when the oldest and most vocal child is home via school vacation, and especially since we are still grieving the loss of the spectacularly consistent 2 hour morning nap of the younger. That the rain has been unrelenting and the mildew overly-friendly  has not helped.
I am thankful for home and hearth and all that, really I am-I think I need the quiet in order to remember it. I think I need the quiet just in order to complete a sentence. Some more sleep would be nice too.
Advent Readings, Resumed
Somehow, Christina Rossetti's 'In the Bleak Mid-Winter'  is fitting here. I think I like Cyndi Lauper's  take on Gustav Holst's melody best, mainly because of the funny juxtaposition.

In The Bleak Midwinter
 In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

 Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him

Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim

Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels

May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,

Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.
 Thanks, Christina!  I feel much better now. Your careful use of words here, though sparse, convey a rich tapestry of images & theology. Especially the 'breastful of milk' part, we don't have many other carols getting into the scene so intimately, earthy, organic and familiar.  Well done!


Advent Reading: Day 7, Charlie Lowell

The Disarming Child

Helpless and human
Deity in the dirt,
Spirit married with flesh
We couldn’t make it to you,
But you come to us.

You always come to us.
In our stubbornness and desire,
Entitlement and shame
Remind us that we need you,
Merge your untamed Spirit with our flesh.

We try to forget those
Years of wandering.
Shackles and masters,
An eternity of doubting
And still, you come to us.

A divine intrusion
Through our scheming and chaos-
Coats of armor, angels and armies.
Do some wrecking here,
And gently come to us.

Disturb us this day
Through sorrow and through dancing,
The bliss of joy and sting of death
Past hands that would threaten and tear,
You come to us extravagantly.

From your manger lowly,
Mighty and mysterious
You come to us, Seed of Heaven
Spirit wed with flesh,
These broken hearts to mend. 

Beautiful! Thanks, Charlie!


Advent Day 6

I know this one is making the rounds, but it is also making me happy. Take it away, Opera Company of Philadelphia! Sorry about only half the screen appearing at any given point in the recording. I know. My IT go-to guy is in absentia. What a fun sentence to say out loud. Go ahead. And then watch the video!


Advent Reading: Day 4

GK, looking a little windswept
'The Christmas season is domestic; and for that reason most people now prepare for it by struggling in tramcars, standing in queues, rushing away in trains, crowding despairingly into teashops, and wondering when or whether they will ever get home. I do not know whether some of them disappear for ever in the toy department or simply lie down and die in the tea-rooms; but by the look of them, it is quite likely. Just before the great festivals of the home the whole population seems to have become homeless.'
-GK Chesterton (1874-1936)

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.