I spent the late afternoon in the garden, wandering, imagining and scheming. I am dreaming of new beds and new varieties of tomatoes to grow. I have been watching the sun to see where it shines the most, or find the spots where it misses, leaving the plants to coolness and shade. The compost needs tending and I think we need another bin. The garden must be ready to grow.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 6:39 AM
Friday, February 27, 2009
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 6:17 PM
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 7:46 AM
I tend to procrastinate if I feel the finished product won't be exactly as I desire. I would rather live with apple boxes to store my clothes in, than spend money on an a chest of drawers that I do not love. I work on the same painting for weeks and then leave it if I feel it is going in the wrong direction. Procrastinating perfectionism.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here
A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.
It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.
Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —
A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 11:35 AM
Flowers, fruit, fresh linens and new buds. I know spring has not officially sprung, but in Southern California, the oranges are ripe, the avocados are dropping from the trees and the flowers are blooming in celebration of the last few weeks of rain!
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 10:30 AM
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I offered to help a friend make cupcakes for her son's birthday. I had all sorts of grown-up ideas of beautiful cupcakes I could make. I asked her what flavor he decided on. He replied, " I want white cupcakes with white frosting. And sprinkles, because it isn't a cupcake without sprinkles." Oh, yeah. Cupcakes with sprinkles, that is all we need.
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 7:34 PM
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 7:20 PM
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
My daughter has had a high fever for three days. You know the kind of fever I am talking about. When all you can do is lie there, you can't read or eat or watch your favorite movie. You can't even sit up to drink water. Someone has to hold the glass for you. Hooray for bendy straws!
When she was an infant, she suffered from febrile seizures. As a young mother, each one stopped my heart. Also, because this child is a bit on the sober and quiet side, I never knew when she was ill until the fever came. I was comforting a fellow blogger whose child had their first febrile seizure and realized that since those episodes ended, my daughter rarely has fevers. It was as if she burned up much of the karma childhood fevers dispel. Until Friday. She has been in bed, fever rising and sometimes falling, but not for long. Her eyes are glazed and I can tell she is suffering.
In our house, we try to let the fever have it's way. My feeling is that a fever is good, it helps fight the infection. So instead of handing her a pill to relieve the fever, we just monitor it closely. One trick, which the children HATED when they were young, was to put a pair of wet cotton socks over their feet and cover the wet socks with wool socks. The cool feet help to pull the heat away from the head. You can do it with a t-shirt too, but my children would NEVER tolerate that, so the wet socks are our go to fever remedy.
I always look for a great transformation after a fever. I truly believe a fever helps us to release baggage we would otherwise hold on tightly to. The fire of a fever allows us to make a few steps further in our development. In the case of my daughter, she has been having intense feelings regarding going away to university in the fall. I know she wants to go, and I want her to go. But, you see, we have lived in this wee cottage many a year. Much of this time, we have shared a room. She shares many features of my face and my personality. I know she is frightened to be leaving, I am too. I just believe this is right for her. She has lived tucked tightly under my wing for so long. I think this fever is trying to free us both. I have been able to nurse her and sit with her, comb her hair and gently place a cool towel over her brow. I feel as though we are being given a gift of time together. A time for me to sit on the edge of her bed, rub her forehead and keep her blankets tucked safely around her. Our days together are going to shift very soon, I revel in this time together. I pray for her quick recovery, but I long for a reminder of these quiet days together...Be well, my darling.
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 6:16 AM
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Profundity in Simplicity
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 11:44 AM
I woke before the sun, but it was blanketed by thick blue-grey clouds. As I peered out the window, I noticed the first daffodil blooming in the garden bed. The cool February air streamed through the open window. It was a perfect morning for warm biscuits.
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 10:00 AM
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I have been very cryptic over the last few months about the state of my affairs. I have left it at the spiritual struggles I have been experiencing as a result of a serious injury. I must admit, this is the real issue, the spiritual issue. In the end, it is who we are deep inside and not what others say or think about us.
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 7:07 AM
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
In the long days, my one reprieve is cooking for my family. As much as I love this cottage, you do not want to turn on the oven if it is remotely warm outside. On the other hand, a cold, rainy day is the perfect time to crank the oven up for some homemade bread or biscuits. On Friday evening, the rain was pouring down in massive sheets. Instead of driving in the inclement weather, I used what we had on hand.
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 10:38 AM
I have been quiet of late, using other poet's words to distract you from the silence. I have tried to write a post several times, yet nothing appears of substance. The rain continues to fall here in Southern California. I love to lie very still in my bed and listen to the rain falling on our wee cottage. Sleep escapes me most nights, the falling rain provides a distraction from the dark, sleepless nights.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 9:37 AM
Friday, February 13, 2009
This, and my heart, and all the fields--
And all the meadows wide--
Be sure you count--should I forget
Some one the sum could tell--
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 1:01 PM
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The rains are gone for now. The air is crisp and clear and there is a light dusting of snow atop Mount Wilson and even more to the northeast. I couldn't get warm today. I know, I know, I am spoiled, but the petite château is not insulated very well. The heater only really heats the area just in front of the heater. In summer, the perspiration drips from our bodies. You guessed it, the air conditioner only works when one is standing directly in front of it. I know I am lucky. I am grateful for so many things in my life. A roof over our heads, warm beds, jobs, love, excess, yes, excess. Likely not the excess of some, but there is always enough food, heat, cool air, clean water, clean clothes and fortune beyond my wildest dreams.
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 5:00 PM
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
- William Shakespeare
Monday, February 9, 2009
Touched by An Angel
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
After the rain, the sky seems to celebrate. The clouds shine metallic hues and reach their arms across the great expanse. I want to eat up the ice cream clouds and fill my belly with the light rays from it's great reach. These are fleeting moments, like the last few moments of a sunset, or sunrise. I remember hearing a story in which Maxfield Parrish was criticized for using unrealistic colors in his paintings. I never understood that story. For all one need do, is take a walk outside and glance heavenward during the great transitions of the day to see his reality. Indeed, they are fleeting, but always visible to the naked eye.
I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.
I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can't do a handstand--
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said--
I'm just not the same since there's rain in my head.
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 10:21 AM
Friday, February 6, 2009
The rain has come and washed the dust off of our fair town. The trees are sparkling a myriad of velvety greens, the blue sky has peeked out behind the clouds here and there. The sun, taking full advantage of it's limited time is lighting up the silver linings of the full rain clouds. A pink tint is shooting across the yard and the garden is brimming over with life and liquid. A few birds are pecking at the grass in earnest. I knew they were anticipating a feast, they bounce quickly from place to place, small eyes watching for the neighborhood cats. Even my long camera lens is too slow for their spry feet.
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 4:42 PM
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I can smell it in the air. It is damp and sweet and still. The birds are active, like they are busy chatting about shelters and food. There may even be rejoicing for the after the rain feast of displaced insects and worms. Although the sun rose in a pink haze this morning, bright white clouds with silver linings litter the expanse of sky.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I was talking with my yoga instructor a few weeks back. She was trying to adopt the Ayurvedic diet. I had told her I had lived in India for a time and spent much of my twenties in an ashram. My main service was to cook the meals for the Deities and other members of the ashram. I have rolled out many chapatis and fried many samosas in my time. It is a very opulent way of cooking and we rarely eat this way at home these days. I save these time consuming tasks for special occasions, birthdays, parties, feast days, etc.
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 2:59 PM
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I have always been attracted to vintage clothing. In my teens and early twenties, I dressed almost exclusively in vintage clothing. I love the thrill of coming across a true find at the thrift store or flea market. I love the idea that I may have come across something very special, a beloved item that has been hanging around all of this time, just so I could stumble upon it.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Awakening the Ground
In Western Europe, this was the time for preparing the fields for the first planting. Even in Seattle, you can begin turning over and enriching the soil in anticipation of the first sowing in March. Pamela Berger has written a book, The Goodess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from Goddess to Saint, about the rituals celebrated at this time of year, when the ground is first awakened and the seed placed in the belly of the earth. This is a significant moment in a community which depends on the earth for sustenance. The fields were purified and offerings were made to the goddess.
This medieval Anglo-Saxon plowing charm, recorded by Berger, was said by the farmer while cutting the first furrow.
Whole be thou Earth
Mother of men.
In the lap of God,
Be thous as-growing.
Be filled with fodder
For fare-need of men.
The farmer then took a loaf of bread, kneaded it with milk and holy water and laid it under the first furrow, saying:
Acre full fed,
Bring forth fodder for men!
And the God who wrought the ground,
Grant us the gifts of growing,
That the corn, all the corn,
may come unto our need.
The promises of the return of the light and the renewal of life which were made at the winter solstice are now becoming manifest. It's the dawn of the year. It's the time when a woman who is pregnant begins showing. It's time to creep out of the hibernation of winter, cautiously, like the Ground Hog who supposedly emerges on this day to check his shadow. It's the time of germination. This is a traditional time for new beginnings. Covens of witches usually initiate new members at this time.
There is also a story i remember reading in an old book. If you had not finished cleaning all remnants of your Christmas decorations by Candlemas, the Candlemas goblin would come into your home and start breaking things. So remember, make sure all of your holiday trimmings are tucked safely away, lest the Candlemas goblin come inside and break your valued treasures.
Candles and Christmas Greens
The main element of your decorating scheme for Candlemas is fairly obvious: candles. You can gather all the candles in your home in one room and light them from one central candle. Or place a candle in each window (but watch them carefully).
Candlemas is one of the traditional times for taking down Christmas decorations (Twelfth Night, on January 6th, is the other). If you are very careful (because they are tinder dry), you can burn them. Or, better yet, return them to the earth mother by using them for compost or mulch.
Certain foods are traditional for Candlemas, including crepes, pancakes and cakes, all grain-based foods. Pancakes and crepes are considered symbols of the sun because of their round shape and golden color.
If you have a fireplace, clean out your hearth and then light a new fire. Sit around the fire and reflect on your hopes for the coming year. What do you hope to accomplish? What are you passionate about? What seeds do you wish to plant? Discuss these ideas with others or write them down in a journal but make them concrete in some way so that on Lammas (August 2nd, the festival of the first harvest), you can look back to see what progress you’ve made.
Brigid is the goddess of creative inspiration as well as reproductive fertility. This is a good time for sharing creative work, or, if you don't think of yourself as especially creative, an idea that worked or a plan that materialized. Thank the Goddess for her inspiration, perhaps by dedicating a future work to her.
Making Pledges and Commitments
Since Candlemas is a time of new beginnings, this is a good day to ritually celebrate all things new. Plan a ceremony to name a new baby, officially welcome a new person into a family or plight your troth to your beloved. Make a commitment to a goal (like a New Years resolution): this would be an especially powerful thing to do in a group.
In San Francisco, the Reclaiming Collective sponsors a big public ritual called Brigid, which focuses on political commitment. After acknowledging despair over the events of the past year, the participants reflect on the source of their own power and then make a pledge in front of the community about the work they intend to do during the coming year. During this ritual, the flames in a cauldron represent Brigid's Sacred Flame, the fire of inspiration and passion, while a punch bowl filled with waters gathered from all over the world represents Brigid's Holy Well, the source of healing and purification.
If you plan your own ceremony, use these two powerful symbols: fire and water. For instance, wash your hands and bathe your face in salt water, which is especially good for purification. Light a candle as you make your pledge. Incorporate the third symbol of the holiday — seeds — by planting a seed or bulb in a pot to symbolize your commitment, or by blessing a bowl or packet of seeds that you will plant later.
Purification and Renewal
Have you ever given anything up for Lent? If not, you might consider it. You don’t have to be Catholic to gain spiritual benefits from the voluntary surrender of something you cherish. You can give up something frivolous or something serious, but it should be something you will notice. Folk wisdom says it takes six weeks (or approximately the 40 days of Lent) to establish a new habit, so you may end up with a lifestyle change.
The kids in our neighborhood have eagerly embraced the idea of giving up something for Lent. We know one little girl who gave up TV for Lent and another who gave up catsup, her favorite food. In the last two years, I've given up alcohol and coffee for Lent. Forty days is enough time to notice the difference in the way you feel without a favorite substance or distraction.
Since Candlemas is often considered the beginning of spring, you can perform another ritual act of purification: spring cleaning. This would be a good time to do a thorough house cleaning, sweeping the floors with salt water, banishing the gloom of winter and creating a sparkling, shiny new setting for spring.
This post is also reprinted from School of the Seasons
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 8:03 AM
Sunday, February 1, 2009
St. Brigid, the Grain Goddess
In Ireland, this holy day is called Imbolc and begins at sunset on February 1 continuing through sunset February 2nd. There are several different derivations offered for the name Imbolc: from Ol-melc (ewe's milk) because the ewes are lactating at this time, from Im-bolg (around the belly) in honor of the swelling belly of the earth goddess, and from folcaim (I wash) because of the rites of purification which took place at this time. All of these explanations capture the themes of this festival.
February 1st is the feast day of St. Brigid, who began her life as a pagan goddess and ended up a Christian saint. She was a fire and fertility goddess. In her temple at Kildare, vestal virgins tended an eternal fire. On her feast day, her statue was washed in the sea (purification) and then carried in a cart through the fields surrounded by candles.
The legends about the goddess, Brigid, gradually became associated with (the somewhat spurious) Saint Brigid who founded the first convent in Ireland (where else?) at Kildare.
To celebrate St. Brigid's day, people put out a loaf of bread on the windowsill for the Saint and an ear of corn for her white cow, offerings for the grain goddess like the loaf buried in the first furrow. A small quantity of special seeds are mixed with those to be sown. Wheat stalks are woven into X-shaped crosses to serve as charms to protect home from fire and lightning.
In the Highlands, women dress the corn doll or last sheaf (from Lammas or the autumn equinox) in a bridal gown and put her in a basket, which is called the Bride's bed. A wand, candle or other phallic object is laid across her and Bride is invited to come, for her bed is ready.
Posted by Alberta Art Classes at 3:32 PM