Farm Life: Who Stole My Spring?

P1040234This has been an odd winter.  We had 70F to 60F temperatures through Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The almanack had predicted several major snow storms by then.  Just a regular roll of rain storms every few days.  Then January hit us with nearly three feet of snow in 36 hours.  Then February brought ice storms.  Then March had us back up into the 70F to 80F (hey, that’s MARCH).  Yesterday, we hauled out the tomato cages, soaker hoses, and pained pathways for the garden.  This morning, an inch of snow covers the mountains.  Long-Johns or T-Shirts?  Guess, I’ll vacuum the floors and catch up on ironing, next to the wood stove, for now.

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Poem: A Sporting Try

P1040328Why do some endure the trials of sport,
While other stand by at the side-lines?

I walk the shore, watching birds,
Then see the surfers drift
Where cormorants should be.

The camera lens captures
Waves building, then cresting,
Rolling foaming over wet-suited men,
Who wait patiently in the New England cold.

P1040354Three, four undulations rise,
Without response, then the next
Wave catches their attention, with two
Surfers positioning themselves for
A ride on their boards.

One gives way to the other,
Who has a better chance of keeping
Ahead of the breaking curl,
Funneling him and his board along.

Six, seven… ten seconds balanced
Across the smooth edge of the wave
Before the spiraling crest,
Consumes the surfer.

P1040337His arms flail, before his head
Falls back behind the wave,
His board jettisoned skyward.

I click the shutter, as sand-burned
Fingers tingle from the cold.

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Building a Roman Church, The Baldacchino, Altar and Relics

Baldichinno in the Basilica of St Peters

baldacchino in the Basilica of St Peters

Easter seems to be a good date on which to discuss the heart of the Roman Church, the altar and the structures that surround it.  At the crossing point of the nave/apse and transept, directly under the dome, is the altar.  This is where the ceremony of the Eucharist is performed during a service.  Protecting the altar is the baldacchino, reminiscent of the canopy that stood over a throne or royal bed chamber.  By tradition, the spiraling columns of some baldacchino were in the form of those brought back from the temple in Jerusalem, representing the Old Covenant.  Of course, Jesus’ death and resurrection brought a New Covenant, in Christian theology, replacing the temple, which the Romans destroyed in 70 ACE when they thought that they were suppressing one more of those pesky Jewish riots.  In many churches, beneath the altar, or sometimes behind the apse, are kept and displayed the relics.  For this final post on Building a Roman Church, we shall explore these three elements together Continue reading

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Farm Life, The Cloister

P1020133I suspect that some of my readers are growing weary of my slow stroll through Roman churches.  Let us step outside for a little fresh air, before my final post about the altar.  A good place to get outside is the cloister.  For churches which were affiliated with a monastery, the cloister severed as the location for the munks or nuns to grow herbs, fruit, and other food for their order.  Thus an outdoor space was essential.   Continue reading

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Farm Life: Spring-Loaded

Three goat kids in the duck box

Three goat kids in the duck box

This past week has been busy in the barnyard.  Our three goats dropped their kids.  We now have four bouncy goats running under our feet (not to mention the three barn cats that are about the same size, and all those ducks…).  They get to nurse for a couple of weeks before we start milking their mothers, which is the reason we have them. Continue reading

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Theatre Review(s): Love’s Shipwreck

Hermit admires Roman Mythological theme of Love in Napels… right?

Hermit admires Roman Mythological theme of Love in Napels… right?

The theme of love is one of the most worked over storylines throughout history.  Hardly a movie, novel, sociology, psychology, neuroscience study today does not get back to human relationships and love.  Literature from the Hebrew scriptures through Greek and Roman poems and dramas followed up by the Renaissance and chivalric legends to the Romanic and Victorian drawing-room novels and contemporary movies of every sort spin yarns of love.  Shakespeare is credited with taking love from the sphere of the divine, the Greek/Roman pantheon of Ovid or the Catholic devotion to Mary and Jesus, and bringing it to the human level (read Harold Bloom’s The Invention of the Human for some late-night study).  Other playwrights of the Elizabethan to Jacobean to Restoration era of the 16th and 17th centuries followed up on Shakespeare’s transformation of love.  In a week’s time, we saw three plays by these other playwrights at the Blackfriar Theatre in Stauntan, VA: The Sea Voyage by John Fletcher and Phillip Massinger, Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton, and Love for Love by William Congreve. Continue reading

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Building a Roman Church, The Baptistry

Baptistery in Santa Maria Maggorie

Baptistery in Santa Maria Maggorie

One of the most important, in terms of theology, symbolism, and controversy, of a church is the baptistery.  In a Catholic church, this is usually in a side chapel or a separate building on the grounds of the church.  I will admit that we did not spend as much time seeking out the baptistries, as we did the other spaces within the churches that we visited.  We shall have to correct this over-sight in future travels. Continue reading

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