April is Here!

Edith Holden wrote, in 1906:

April

The name of this month is derived from the Greek word for ‘opening’:  In many countries of Europe the first of April has for long been appropriated to a facetious custom for which no satisfactory origin has yet been assigned.  To send an ignorant or unsuspecting person on a bootless errand is the great endeavor of the day.  In England such an one is designated ‘April fool’.  In Scotland he is said to be ‘hunting the gowk’, while in France he is called ‘poisson d’Avril’ or April fish.

Days of note; Saint’s Days etc.

April 1.  All Fools’ Day

April 23. Saint George’s Day

April 24. Saint Mark’s Eve

Mottoes.

“April weather, rain and sunshine both together.”

“When April blows his horn/Tis good for both hay and corn.”

“An April flood carries away the frog and his brood”

Taken from “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady”

Dying to Bloom

Dying to Bloom

Transitions of time, at 7:05 a.m.

Red breasted robins hobbled on the grass, and bobbed for worms,

on the muddy bare spots on the ground.

Smaller black and white birds leapt from branch to branch.

The invisible dove cooed, as day broke,

And the train rumbled on its tracks.

The viburnum was dying to bloom.

The snow was blue.

I heard the muffled sound of sirens, blaring in the distance,

And saw my first red cardinal, taking cover, under an olive branch.

Spring was here!*

*Crops for the garden may be planned.

Watch for the waning, and waxing of the moon.

By Tiffany Creek

 

 

March*Lenet – Monat

March*Lenet – Monat

March came in like a Lion, but the days keep getting longer, and spring it will bring.

The Romans called it Martius, after the War-god, Mars, and for them it was the first month of the year, when the vigorous battle of life began again.

But the Saxons called it Lenet-Monat, or Length-Month, because now the days were lengthening after winter.  This long-forgotten name for the month is not dead; it lives in the word Lent, which falls in March.  So this first month of spring includes the spiritual Christian name in the martial pagan one, like the meeting of the Lamb, with the Lion.

“The New Book of Days” by Eleanor Farjeon

 

 

Sprout Kale Slippeth Away

It’s Cabbage Month! The time of year when kale sprouts shoot up out of the ground, although, I haven’t seen any yet.  It is said that February was named Sprout Kale over a thousand years ago, by the Saxon’s, who knew only winter and summer.  They followed the stars, and changes in the moon, to guide them through the days, and months, of the year, when the calendar wasn’t what it is today.  Autumn and spring, as distinct seasons didn’t exist.  To the Saxons, time only mattered, in so far as what the weather could produce for the land, and consequently, for man’s sustenance.  Weather was Time!

Before February slips away I want to highlight some interesting historical births, and deaths that took place during the month of Sprout Kale.

For one, Queen Anne was born on the 6th, in 1667, and Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded in 1587.

On the 12th, of 1809 Abe Lincoln came into the world, in a log cabin in the backwoods. Modern school lessons make such a fuss over famous people who lived in a log cabin, which seems a trivial fact when most people in the 18th century were born in a log cabin.  Log cabins were actually some of the best built buildings of the time, and many are still standing today.  As we all know, Abe ended up in the White House, before he was fatefully slain by John Wilkes Booth, while watching a play at the Ford Theatre, in Washington D.C.

On the 15th of 1564, the genius Galileo Galilei was born in the town of Pisa, on the western coast of Italy.  As a scholar he taught at the University of Padua, near Venice.  To many, his idea that the earth was round, and moved around the sun were considered preposterous.  “Yet in the end he had to die for it; for when men are ignorant, great truths seem dangerous, and the man who offers them a new idea is the greatest danger of all.”  Sad to say, still happens today.

On the 22nd in 1732, George Washington was born.  He was the General that put into action the desire for independence of the colonies.  He became the first president, of the United States. When he died, the whole nation mourned.  He is so famous!

Finally, on the 23rd in 1915, my father, Richard Pierre, was born, under the sign of Pisces.  Though not so famous, to me he matters more.

February, will end in a couple of days.  One of my favorite months. For one, it’s the month of Valentines, where we share cards and loving sentiments with friends, and families, and lovers. For another, I like the way the word sounds when it is spoken, and the letters that spell it out. I’m always happy February is here, and when it’s gone I feel a sense of melancholy, and dread for what’s to come. March will enter like a lion, and go out like a lamb.

What I take away in February is to be loving and charitable in thoughts and actions, to all, for nothing else matters, but the way in which we share with our brethren, irregardless of color, or kind.  Before I say I am not prejudiced, I will look around, wherever my days take me, and ask myself, ‘Whom do I see?’ and I will think twice, and twice again.

Now, on this blustery day of February, the sun shines while light snow settles on the ground. I can hear the gusts of wind that pick up outside, and feel their strength as the windows shake throughout the house, as if a storm were brewing in the West.  Maybe warm weather will come, and we will find cabbage sprouting in the garden, or kale.  But, really now, who in their right mind likes kale?  Personally, I’d rather have chocolate cake!

Historical Queens, in February

Queen Anne was born February 6th, in 1665.

If anyone has ever seen the new movie called “The Favourite” it will make you wonder about the life Queen Anne led. That is if I have the same Queen Anne. The movie is a bit wild. Queen Anne’s relationships with her two ladies in waiting, and the jealousy that ensues between them, is what truly attracts the viewer to the theatre. One of the maidens is banished, chased into exile, and left for dead, when she falls from her horse, and is dragged, and trampled along the trail. Anne had a long relationship with this first maiden. They corresponded in writing frequently, within the castle walls. It was kind of like texting. She was her confidant, for many years. Then, the second one arrived to the castle, as a cleaning woman.  Sympathy is stirred for her in the scene, where she burns her hands with lye soap, with which she cleans the chamber floors.  Of royal blood she manipulates her way into the queen’s favor, and in the mind of Anne, becomes her favorite. Although cruel, and sinister at heart, the second maiden covers her evilness with good deeds, when it means she will get her way. Anne is a lonely queen. She lost all of her children and couldn’t bare the emotional pain. Her second lady in waiting jumps to the queen’s command. To maintain her center of power maiden #2 puts up with the queen’s fits of despair. Anne realizes her second maiden is less genuinely concerned for her well-being, but depends on her to perform explicit sexual manipulation. For Anne, the pleasure principal is the only thing that frees her from the anguish she has at losing all her children, and from her own miserable existence. Apparently Hollywood took liberty to extrapolate the lesbian theme, for there is nothing concretely written to say that Anne had an amorous relationship with her maidens.  After seeing the movie I came across this silly verse about when she was born, and the gossip surrounding her death.

Queen Ann is – Pho!

That’s easy said!

Who doesn’t know

Queen Anne is dead?

Nay, gossip, nay,

Abate your scorn!

Learn that to-day 

Queen Anne is born.

Another queen died on the 8th of February, 80 years later. She was the elegant, and legendary, Mary Queen of Scots!

 

 

 

El día de la candelaría

El día de la candelaría

 

Today is a Holy Day.  It is also Ground Hog day.  All the Christmas decorations are down, all around.  Once in awhile you will see a decoration, here and there.  Maybe they left it up for this day, that last day of Christmastide.  It is said, if you haven’t taken your decorations down by the 5th of January, the day before the Epiphany, than you should keep them up until February 2nd.  I didn’t put up any decorations this year, so it’s all the same to me.

Today, Candlemas, is a festival of candles to symbolize the presentation of Jesus Christ at the temple.  40 days after the birth of a son the mother is allowed to bring their babe to the temple.  It’s an old Jewish tradition, based on the silly notion that women were not pure enough until this passing of time to come before God.  60 days when it’s a baby girl!  Sounds like women control to me.  But, oh well!

Both Ground Hog Day and Candlemas Day mark the mid point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.  It’s still not up above freezing, but we gained 5 minutes of light in the last two days.  That’s progress.  Little by little we will see more light of day.  Keep the candles burning!

Turn the Page

Turn the Page
"Lost Toys"
“Lost Toys” by Dave Dreimiller

Today is the first of February, and it’s time to celebrate. There was noticeably more daylight, even yesterday, the last day of January. In fact, there were 45 minutes more daylight yesterday, than the last day of December, and now, days will only get longer, and longer. Before we know it the growing season will arrive. February is the month of Valentines, when tiny snowdrops are due to emerge, and those sprightly crocuses pop up, if the temperatures rise. With a polar vortex blowing down our neck it seems impossible that anything could grow, but more daylight can do wonders, for all those seeds filled with life, lying dormant, under the snow.  I, for one, am happy to turn the page of my new calendar.

Dear January

Dear January

Why do you fly by so fast? I’m still inventing my resolutions, as each bad habit I practice tells me that if I procrastinate today, I will do so, as well, tomorrow, and the year will be gone. Grand month, of January, I follow your spirit as you bridge the astrological signs of Capricorn and Aquarius, bring in new hopes, and the coldest days of the year. The birth of numerous creative persons, happened in your time.

On the 17th of 1706, Benjamin Franklin, was born. A famous beloved man world-wide, in France, in Philadelphia, in England, and across the land, inventor of electricity, and lover of flying kites, author of “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, and drinker of only water; Franklin was an optimistic man. He supported, and signed The Declaration of Independence, in 1776.

Contemporary with Franklin, Jacob, the elder of the two Brother’s Grimm was born, on the 4th, of your month, in 1785. A collector, and recorder of fairytales, his legacy lives on today in the minds of children, and elders, everywhere.

On the 10th, in the year of the Great War, of 1917, the new frontier lost a hero of the Pony Express. The one, and only, Buffalo Bill died. He got his nick-name for killing 4820 buffalo, to feed the workers building the railroad, the gateway the Wild West. Known as Colonel Cody, when he scouted for Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, once served his purpose, he opened and ran a circus, called “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show”.

The 12th of 1628, a second writer of fairy tales was christened, in France. Charles Perrault, author of “Bluebeard”, “Tom Thumb”, and “Puss-in-Boots”, he wrote the most beloved rhymes ever read; “Mother Goose”.

If this isn’t enough claim to fame, there was born another teller of tales on the 27th, of 1832. The story of “Alice, in Wonderland” came to be, with its creator, so bright, and imaginative; Lewis Carrol.

January, your gifts are many, and blessed, for St. Hilary, St. Paul, and St. Agnes, are celebrated within your days, too.

With all these inspiring souls, if I am not content with my own accomplishments all I need to do is remember words of hope, “Poor Richard” left behind;

“Hide not your Talents, They for use were made; What’s a sundial in the shade?”

Thanks January, month of the Saxon Wolf, for all you gave.

Yours truly,

Tiffany Creek


Wolf-Month

Wolf-Month

The first month of the year, called Wolf-Month, by the Anglo-Saxons, doesn’t bow out quietly. Snow, rain, ice, and subzero temperatures arrive to New England. The Wolf-Moon donned yesterday’s evening sky, and cast long, dark shadows across the white crusty snow, once the clouds blew away. Many viewed a lunar eclipse, across the land. Weeks and weeks of cold, but mild weather, and very little atmospheric drama is now another reality. The wind blows hard, and Nature is encased in glistening ice. I can’t see, or hear a bird, of any kind. The tall trees sway, and crackle in the blue morning sky, as if they will break in two, any second. It’s time to live in the moment, when you can, but beware of a wolf, or two.

January

January

Month of Janus, according to the Romans, opener of the new year, and guardian of the gates of heaven. Janus, an early deity had two faces, one that looked ahead to the future, and the other to the past. He built the temple of Janiculum, on the Janiculus, a hill on the other side of the Tiber, a temple whose doors were opened in times of war, and closed during peace. When the king refused to open them, in a time of conflict, the goddess Juno, wife of Saturn, and Queen of the gods, and the spirit of all women, descended from the sky, and forcefully opened them herself, upon which the city of Rome was engulfed in flames. What can all this mean? I wish I knew, but the Romans were not lacking in a dramatic tale, or two, intertwining the gods’ and goddesses’, loves, hopes, desire and pursuits, reflective of human nature, not always understood in modern times, no matter what month of the year.