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!

Odes to Winter

Eve's Snowdrops
Eve’s Snowdrops. Taken February 4th, 2019, after the polar vortex. 

I see gray stone walls covered with snow, like powdered sugar sprinkled on a cake, or two – They guard the forest of bare spindly trees, rising out of the icy wetlands.  Birds sing a distant song. The piercing caw of a hawk startles me, in my tracks.  I am jolted from my thoughts.  Along the path, my eye catches a plastic bag, adrift in a thawing rivulet.  Out of place, it’s pinned against the cement of a tiny culvert’s aperture.  My mind returns to the faces, and places, strewn across my table, at home.

Another day, in a sheltered corner garden, a grouping of small green vegetation, pokes out of the earth. The stage is set, for the tiny players. Warm, and cold currents, exist at odds, with one another. Incompatible snow will come, and smother these sprouts that appear to be Eve’s snowdrops.

I have heard a legend, but I don’t know where it comes from, that the snow fell on Eve when she left Paradise. Out of the snow an Angel appeared to her, who took a handful of snowflakes, breathed on them, and let them fall at her feet, where they turned into flowers that did not grow even in Paradise. The Angel said, ‘This is in earnest to thee and to Adam that the sun will follow the snow.’ Then he vanished; and Eve, comforted, gathered her first snowdrops.

My snowdrops rest in waiting, for an Angel to come.

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