Thursday, November 29, 2007

Poetry Thursday - Gathering

Some of my favorite children's books read like poetry to me, illustrated with pastoral or whimsical art. One such favorite is the book Gather Up, Gather in written by M.C. Helldorfer and illustrated by Judy Pedersen. This pretty book, subtitled A Book of Seasons, begins a poetic narration with Autumn and ends there again.

Here is just a bit that appeals to me, as autumn is hidden beneath a blanket of snow:
"Just like that
the trees are bare.
The geese have flown,
and children are home by fires.
The grapes are jam,
and pumpkins, pie.
Gather up, gather in,
gather close tonight:
Winter slips in."

photos by Aisling, November 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Almost Wordless Wednesday - November

At this time of year, there are afghans and throws tucked into baskets and draped over chair backs all over my house. If we are spending the day at home, by late afternoon there are extra blankets in use on the couch, as someone naps or relaxes while watching a movie. In the photo above, little Aidyn is napping, cat-style in a beam of sunlight, on a pile of blankets which I folded and stacked in the rocker.

photo by Aisling, November 10, 2007, Aidyn napping

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Traditions: The Christmas Dolls

Last year, beginning in late November, I wrote many posts chronicling our family tradition of learning about a country each year and incorporating some aspects of their culture into our Christmas celebration. I am including below a link to each of those posts, in case any one who is interested in this tradition missed out on reading about it last year.

1995: Sweden

1996: Mexico

1997: Ireland

1998: Australia

1999: Poland

2000: Japan

2001: Kenya

2002: Peru

2003: India

2004: Greece

2005: Russia

2006: Taiwan

More on Taiwan from our daughter's letters home.

photo by Aisling, November 23, 2007

Trumpets & Sky above Macy's in downtown Chicago

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Ice-Forming Moon...

This same November moon, the Ice-Forming Moon, rose over our own familiar snow-covered hills, but we saw it rise above Millenium Park in the Windy City.
photo by Aisling, November 24, 2007 - Chicago

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday Stroll - Through Shadows and Light

I have learned this week that I don’t know how to write about sorrow. A young friend , a seventeen year old girl, has been killed in a car accident along with a 20 year old man. The other passenger in the car, a 19 year old man, has been seriously injured but is doing well. I have tried several times to write of this tragedy, which came one week after the suicide of another young man in our community, but how do you summarize a life in a few paragraphs? How do you put into words all of the ways that grief colors your days?

I have learned that my community embraces families that endure such tragedies with food and financial support, sharing memories and tears. That is a positive thing about our community, but I wish I did not learn it through such sad circumstances as our friends losing their beautiful vibrant daughter. I wish I did not have to find out how many people in our community loved the seventeen year old with the amazing friendly smile after she was gone. And I wish, so much, that I did not have to hold my daughters, or watch them huddle together with their friends, while their bodies shook with inexpressible grief.

Mid-week, my husband’s 86 year old uncle passed away. Saturday we drove across the state for his funeral service, having already attended the services for our young friend a few days before. All around us, as we drove, was evidence of the season progressing. At first, the fact that life goes on despite one’s troubles seems a cruelty of nature. As we drove, leaves fell from the trees like tears falling to the earth. Wind blew some of the leaves away. I realized, as I have in the past, that the progression of the seasons is not a cruelty, but a gentle, healing balm.

On the ride home, we stopped to hike a path in a national forest. We walked 300 steps downhill to fresh water springs filling the wide slow-moving expanse in a river bed. The sound of the gurgling freshets, the crisp leaves underfoot, the deep peaceful shade under a canopy of branches restored us, as we walked together.

The photos that accompany this post are from Haiku’s walk closer to home today. She went to find the quiet, and to walk the healing trail through the shadows and light in the woods.
photos by Haiku, November 4, 2007