Tag Archives: beauty

First footing

So, perhaps, you have heard of the old tradition of   “First Footing at New Year’s, but have you heard of ‘First Mailing’. It’s unlikely that you have since I just invented it, in the excitement of receiving my first mail of 2014. It was hand-delivered to my door at 10.30 a.m. by our  postie on his eco-friendly bicycle . He doesn’t usually deliver mail to my door, unless the post needs a special signature and this mail did need my autograph…..because…..  it was a VIP package all the way from BERLIN and the wonderful Nath of  BEAUTYCALYPSE.

Nath had her first ever ‘ethical’ giveaway last year and I was the winner. 🙂  🙂  🙂  Nath tried her best to get the prize to me by Christmas but, obviously, the postal services thought it better for me to have it for New Year, and I don’t mind a bit.

First post from Berlin, first prize, first mailing

First parcel  from Berlin, first prize, first mailing

I am not going to show you what is in the parcel today, ( that will be another post ), but, if you are eager and curious to know, you can have a  search on Nath’s blog  for the giveaway post 🙂  Have fun! I always do, and I learn something interesting every time I visit her blog.

Yesterday, for example, I learned that we are both Tuesday’s children;  remember the old nursery rhyme ~~~~

Monday’s child is fair of face,

Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

Wednesday’s child is full of woe,

Thursday’s child has far to go,

Friday’s child is loving and giving,

Saturday’s child works hard for a living,

But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day

Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

This was one of my favourite rhymes when I was very young. I loved to think I was full of grace because surely this  meant I would eventually dance across  the stage as a beautiful, elegant ballerina….along the lines of my idol  Margot Fonteyn.  Not even being cast as the boy, Hansel, in our little ballet school’s production of  Hansel and Gretel,

The only male role and it's mine :(

The only male role and it’s mine 😦

or being cast as clumsy Badger in The  Wind in the Willows,

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could permanently deflate my belief in my essential physical grace-full-ness. It didn’t occur to me, as a child, that ‘full of grace” could have any other meaning than graceful ballet or walking or swimming (and I did swim very gracefully 🙂 ).

As an adult, getting creakier in the body with each passing year, I have come to understand other concepts of grace. I would love my life to be full of those other, *spiritual* concepts, as, I am sure, does Nath. She is already on her way to “grace- full- ness” in her choice to live beautifully and ethically.

In her  manifesto, Nath says, “I believe that you can only make better choices by being aware and having access to knowledge. I believe that there’s no beauty without kindness, intelligence, freedom or community.

Nath’s feet are set firmly on the path of ‘grace-full’, and, because of her choices, a  parcel of goodness has made its way from one Tuesday’s child to another; makes me want to dance with joy 🙂 and maybe a little imagined grace as well. Thank You Nath.

© silkannthreades

The sweetness of lines that endure and endear

My newspaper tells me that, today, 15 October, is Virgil’s birthday. He was born in 70 BC. To quote from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/virgil Publius Vergilius Maro was a classical Roman poet, best known for three major works—the Bucolics (or Eclogues), the Georgics, and the Aeneid—although several minor poems are also attributed to him. The son of a farmer in northern Italy, Virgil came to be regarded as one of Rome’s greatest poets; his Aeneid as Rome’s national epic.”

My  poetry book “Poem for the Day”, edited by Nicholas Albery,  tells me that, today, 15 October, is the day that English poet Robert Herrick died in 1674.  Robert Herrick was well-versed ( yes well-versed !) in the ancient authors, and like Virgil, many of his poems are pastoral or bucolic.  He also believed that he would  “triumph over “Times trans-shifting” and live beyond death through his verses” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/robert-herrick

One of Herrick’s poems which lives on is Delight in Disorder

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness:
A lawn* about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction:
An erring lace which here and there
Enthralls the crimson stomacher:
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly:
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat:
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part.
 
(* a lawn is a light scarf)
 
 
 
I think this poem is delightful. It reminds me, for the lace and the
 
petticoats, rather than any disorder, of my favourite portrait paintings by Ingres.

It  also takes me to the abundant and gorgeous

 
disarray of my garden.
 
This morning, I found the lily of the valley, like ‘erring lace’, here
 
and there, threaded through the flowers and greenery along the garden
 
path.
 
Lily of the Valley is another of my favourite plants.
 
It was my maternal grandmother’s favourite flower, and the Lily of the
 
Valley in my garden was given to me by her eldest daughter, my aunt.
Like erring lace

Like erring lace

I look forward to its appearance, every year, in early October, and ,more often than not, it arrives in time to help me  celebrate the October birthdays of my aunt and my grandmother 🙂  Clever little plants!

Another poet, sometimes pastoral,  is Eleanor Farjeon, most widely known for her poem/hymn, A Morning Song, Morning Has Broken.

In 1965, the year of  Eleanor Farjeon’s  death, a friend of my paternal grandmother gave me  Farjeon’s “The Children’s Bells”, ( first  published in 1957 ). It is a book of verse for children but contains this small poem, titled Sweet Robin Herrick (born 20 August 1591).  Although some of Herrick’s poems have a wantonness that  might be considered inappropriate for a child, Eleanor Farjeon obviously thought  him too important a poet to leave out from a child’s literary education!

This day Robin Herrick

Was born in Cheapside,

His father he laughed

And his mother she cried,

So to sweet Robin Herrick

‘Twas given to spy The tear in the marigold’s Laughing eye.”

I have no marigolds at this time of year, so the best I can do, to  perpetuate  this  enduring and wonderful  poetic lineage, is  to show some photos of  the wayward, wanton disorderly  poesie of my garden

Floral Notes: Lily of the Valley symbolises the return of happiness. It is the national flower of Finland and the flower of May in the Northern Hemisphere. And its delicate scent makes it a lovely addition to a small floral bouquet on my kitchen window sill. (It was also in Kate Middleton’s wedding bouquet 🙂 )

© silkannthreades

A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf
A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: A Lawne about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction: An erring Lace, which here and there Enthralls the Crimson Stomacher: A Cuffe neglectfull, and thereby Ribbands to flow confusedly: A winning wave (deserving Note) In the tempestuous petticote: A careless shooe-string, in whose tye I see a wilde civility: Doe more bewitch me, then when Art Is too precise in every part. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf
A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: A Lawne about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction: An erring Lace, which here and there Enthralls the Crimson Stomacher: A Cuffe neglectfull, and thereby Ribbands to flow confusedly: A winning wave (deserving Note) In the tempestuous petticote: A careless shooe-string, in whose tye I see a wilde civility: Doe more bewitch me, then when Art Is too precise in every part. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf
A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: A Lawne about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction: An erring Lace, which here and there Enthralls the Crimson Stomacher: A Cuffe neglectfull, and thereby Ribbands to flow confusedly: A winning wave (deserving Note) In the tempestuous petticote: A careless shooe-string, in whose tye I see a wilde civility: Doe more bewitch me, then when Art Is too precise in every part. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf

And the Bishop says…..

And the Bishop says, “let us cultivate a garden of gratitude”.

May this post be the beginning of my garden of gratitude; the starting point for my thankfulness for our new Transitional Cathedral.

The approach from the South

The approach from the South

My post contains excerpts from the homily of Bishop Victoria Matthews, delivered at the opening service for Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral, on Sunday  evening, 1st September. The Cathedral was designed by international architect Shigeru Ban, and by Yoshie Narimatsu and Warren and Mahoney.  The photos accompanying the text were taken by me on a fleeting visit to the Cathedral last week. I hope that, through my photos, you will understand some of the serenity and peace, and beauty and inspiration that our new Cathedral provides. It is a blessing to, once again, have a space, a gathering place for contemplation and praise and heavenly music and song. And to have a haven that smells so deliciously of new cardboard boxes; that reminds one of the safety and fun of all those childhood castles built, and games played, with the humble cardboard box. 🙂

Cardboard  Haven

Cardboard Haven

“First of all this cathedral is important because it is beautiful. In a city that is full of detours and demolished buildings; vacant lots and construction sites, beauty is incredibly important. Beauty reminds us that we must live into our potential. Beauty tells us to keep striving for excellence.

It is beautiful

It is beautiful

Secondly, this cathedral is a house of God. Cities need houses of prayer and places of worship, lest we ever think we are all there is to life. How very sad that would be. So whether it is the architecture, the music, the preaching or the prayer, a cathedral is meant to tell us that there is much more to life than we can see or even imagine and this is the place to start the search.

a house of God

a house of God

Thirdly, the Transitional Cathedral is clearly situated at the centre of the broken heart of this city. ……the cathedral stands as both a reminder of the past and a beacon calling us forward. I do think people need to be reminded of hope, faith and love, and that is what this cathedral does.

At the centre

At the centre (the floor was still being finished for the opening service when I took this photo.)

Hope, faith, love

Hope, faith, love

For the full text of the Homily please link here http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/perspective/9117919/Beauty-makes-cardboard-cathedral-important

For my earlier post on the Transitional Cathedral please link here https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/1116/

For a few details about our Bishop (from Canada) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Matthews

© silkannthreades

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

I was perusing my birthday cards and gifts, and wondering where to display them, when it occurred to me that the cards, so thoughtfully chosen by friends and family, were like special snapshots of my life; the yesterday, today, and tomorrow of it.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is the common name of a flowering plant that used to grow in the garden of my childhood home. To us, it was known as Morning, Noon and Night.  I was fascinated by it because it had the prettiest flowers. Some were white and some were dark purple and others were in between.   A plant with three different coloured flowers! How was this possible? I didn’t know then that the colours of the flowers represented their ages and stages, but I did know about grafting because I had watched a man graft two hibiscus plants for our garden.  So my little head imagined that a very clever person had managed to graft together a Morning Plant, a Noon Plant and a Night Plant to create this  wondrous hybrid. The fact that no one seemed to own a Morning Plant or a Noon or a Night one  was a puzzle but not too concerning. The world was full of puzzles yet to be solved.  Fellow blogger Pleisbilongtumi  at http://pleisbilongtumi.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/inside-the-beauty-of-brunfelsia-uniflora/#comments has  beautiful photos of  this  garden treasure as it is in his part of the world.

Other treasures, for me, in our family garden were the frangipani trees. I loved them for their rich satiny and sweetly perfumed flowers. I loved their shade. I loved climbing them. I loved watching the ants climbing them. Here is my Yesterday birthday card from my parents and my sister. In  Yesterday,  I dawdled completely absorbed in  natural beauty and my greatest concern may have been nothing more than the whereabouts of the Morning Plant. Well, yes, that and the annoying boy who had a go-kart and who lived in the hotel around the corner  and refused to be my boyfriend. What was he thinking?Memories of Frangipani

Here, from a dear friend who has been beside me almost since the days of Yesterday , is the Today Card. Today is a Balancing Act. I have to negotiate the mundane and often precarious materiality of the adult world. Yet, in the tumbly jumble of that world, the preservation of my soul depends on my rushed efforts to  consciously apply and reapply beauty and graciousness  lest I lose sight of them.Today's Balancing Act

From my brother comes the Tomorrow card. It is a little bit in Yesterday, too, because our first cat, Tiddles, looked similar to this creature. Tiddles enjoyed sleeping comfortably  amongst the gerberas.Tomorrow? What's that?Now I am not intending to, and my brother doesn’t intend that I should, follow the words on the card and sleep my way through the future. I will leave that to the current cat of the house. The Tomorrow card is an aspirational card. It expresses a wish for contentment, peace, relaxation and an accepting oneness with both the natural and man-made worlds.  Tomorrow can be here as soon as the next breath but, in the long term view, it  contains the hope that keeps the heart beating.

What happens when I mingle these cards of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow? How does my life look?  Is it  beauty or mess? Or some of each?RenderedEither way, can you see the heart in the middle of it all?

Peg note: If you are wondering why my cards are pegged on a line, it’s because, in contemplating the cards and their relevance to my life, I was, in a sense, “hanging myself out to dry”.  The cards, hung by pegs, also remind me of photos being developed and brought to life. And, on the mundane side, it was scorchingly hot indoors, so it was much nicer being outside taking photos in the shade of the pergola.

© silkannthreades