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.
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.
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.
For if you do, no one will ever believe you.
According to “The New Book of Days”, by Eleanor Farjeon, January 14th marked the Great Frost, or the coldest day of the year. Travel back to England in 1205. An old chronicle says, ‘a great frost held til the two and twentieth day of March so that the ground could not be tilled.’
Well, I never tilled a garden, per say, except for small herb, and flower beds, but I always wanted to do so. Will be happy when the great thaw takes the place of the great frost. Even then, I won’t be tilling any garden, but will wait in anticipation for the season to change.
Now, if you are wondering who Saint Hilary was, this saint, a he, and not a she, was married, but was called upon to be the Bishop of Poitiers, France. He lived from 316 c. 368 c. and wrote extensively in defense of the divinity of Christ. Apparently there was a sect called Arianism that disputed this ‘truth’. It’s amazing how Christianity came to be, and the obstacles it encountered to get it’s feet on the ground. I am forever intrigued by the history that lies before us, and how everything came to be, and remains to become. Which brings us to the topic of creativity.
January is as good a month as any for stirring the imagination. I plan to get outside as much as possible and breath the cold air into my lungs – to breathe in Life and feel the pulsation of Time at work. Yet, it’s not enough to imagine, but we must also do, and while we are at it, keep in mind the one’s we love, for that is creativity too. How can we use our imagination, and make our lives, and those of others more satisfying, and rewarding? This is the greatest accomplishment of all. The greater question is; what is it that truly makes us happy? Where do we find our rewards? How can we be happy, if others are not? Of what consists a higher good?
July 2018 – 5 months ago this photo was taken in the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It prompted me to conjure some memories of my visit to this village. Stockbridge is an upscale community, and former residence of Norman Rockwell. Nearby, one can go and see this famous artist/illustrator’s home, studio and the museum featuring his art work. Stockbridge is also a convenient place to stay if you are coming from out of town and want to go to a concert at Tanglewood, an expansive park where artists of many genres go to perform. Concertgoers bring their blankets, chairs, and picnics to enjoy the musical sounds, under the evening sky. At Tanglewood, there is a small museum into which I ventured inside, and learned some interesting historical trivia. For one, there was a small red house on this property owned by a wealthy New England family, whose name slips my mind, however, inside this house lived the writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne was a native of Salem, Massachusetts, and author of “The Scarlet Letter”, “House of Seven Gables”, and numerous short stories. He is an author that interests me for his stories and his links to Puritan thought and heritage. It is no wonder one of his books is entitled “Tanglewood Tales”, a collection of stories based on Greek mythology, composed for children. And so goes the memory – a single photograph that produced a few bits of essential information stored in the confines of my brain. Call it an exercise, a jungle gym of mind play, or what you will. Had I not pushed myself to write, all of this would have been left to dissipate into thin air, like used up space crafts orbiting in the hemisphere.
Rosecran’s Cemetery was established as a National Monument in 1934, but many of the graves pre-date California before it was a state, in 1850.