Tag Archives: © silkannthreades

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ in silence delight

Angel of the Morning

Let your life come amongst them like a flame of light, my
child, unflickering and pure, and delight them into silence.’

from The Child-Angel , Rabindranath Tagore

Angels, as I know them, come in many  guises. This little one, who has endured significant travails, was a gift from one of the many angels who supported and loved us at the White Plains Presbyterian Church, Westchester, New York.  In silence, I delight in  angels.

 

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ silent, velvet footed

There had to be cats, there always are

In silence, I contemplate the presence of cats at the Nativity.  There had to be cats, still small voices of calm.

And, quite possibly,  there were fleas, too. 🙂

THE CAT’S CAROL
(Sister Letitia)
Tune: Once In Royal David’s City

Come you cats of every colour
Kittens, too, of every size
See, the Lord who made the tiger
Lowly in a manger lies.
Praise him all his little tigers
Let your joyful purring rise.

Siamese and stately Persian
Homely black and Tabby gay,
Leave your cushions, leave your roof tops
Call a truce with mice today.
Swift and silent, velvet footed
Hasten now down Bethlehem way.

See, he smiles to see you coming
Mary welcomes you within.
Joseph with a friendly finger
Gently strokes your furry chin.
Ox and ass are there beside you
Sheep and camel peering in.
All creation sings his praises
Voices, music, sharps and flats
Join the chorus, cats and kittens
Praise him, just by being cats.

 

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~breaking the silence

Absorbed, in its world, one frog

 

Breaking the silence
Of an ancient pond,
A frog jumped into water —
A deep resonance.

Matsuo Bashô: Frog Haiku translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa 

I fear I may be drowning us all in silence, so I will take a break until Monday.  Until then

 “Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.”

Silence ~an Advent Quest ~merry and bright

Said one silly chook to the other,” Well, I did warn you that your bed of roses ideas would sink us.”

laughter in silence, silence in laughter

THEN
Daddy fell into the pond!

And everyone’s face grew merry and bright,
And Timothy danced for sheer delight.
‘Give me the camera, quick, oh quick!
He’s crawling out of the duckweed.’
Click!

Then the gardener suddenly slapped his knee,
And doubled up, shaking silently,

Daddy Fell Into the Pond by Alfred Noyes

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ let it be

Late afternoon, lily of the Incas, heavenly bamboo, Nana’s jardinière, memories

facing west, twilight on its way

‘The night is for stillness.
…….

It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.’

Evening Prayer 

from © A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa 1989 p.185

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ a voice that is still

First Fruits, blackcurrants, my father’s favourite

Blackcurrants, my father’s favourite, the harvest begins

 

“But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
         And the sound of a voice that is still!”
(The flower photos underneath my plate of blackcurrants were taken by my friend and photographer, David Dobbs.)

Silence ~an Advent Quest

Silence is topical in my ecosystem*. I am reading about silence, thinking about it, seeking it, observing it,  and, sometimes, dwelling in it.

Silence, as I know it, or as I desire it,  is neither complete nor profound. It is simply stillness, calm,  and quiet, dappled with distant  bird song, the gentle ticking of a kitchen clock, and  little sighs of pleasure from a resting dog.  When I can rest fully in this silence, I am content.  But those resting periods are rare and often elusive.

With Christmas hurtling towards me  (or is it the other way round? :D), I feel a deep need  to capture more silence ; to hold it tighter as a buffer against the maelstrom of noise and nonsense which swirls in with the silly season. Yet to capture the small, transitory  silences dotted around me is hard. 

What can I do to gather in the silence?  Create a silence-catcher akin to a dream-catcher?

I read “Praying” by Mary Oliver.

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Her words fill me with hope. There is a doorway into a wondrous silence.  There is no need to catch or harvest or grasp silence. I need only open the door, slowly and gently.

This Advent I will do just that. Silence, plentiful and peaceful,  will be my Advent quest.

Will you join me?  Each day, as part of my quest,  I  hope to post a daily image  from my place of silence. Please note the word “hope”.  🙂

December ~what does it hold for me?

As well as my images, you may also enjoy the blog posts linked below. They inspire me to think about silence.

The World According to Dina

Leaping Tracks

 

 Postscript: ecosystem*  I am amused by the current/catchword  overuse of this word. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to play with it.

I like to recycle calendars.  My friend and photographer, David Dobbs, made the featured calendar in 2017. I have added a fresh December page to the December image. I keep this calendar in my bedroom. I will eventually make a few entries on it but mostly I will leave it bare to remind me that each day is a blank canvas  to fill, or not, as I choose.    I have David’s 2018 calendar in the  kitchen.  That calendar is cluttered with appointments and reminders!

 

 

 

 

A question

There is a perennial vegetable plant in my garden which has an unusual  flower; unusual to me, that is.
The first time I saw this flower was on this day in 2013.
I picked it and took a photo of it, as it reclined elegantly upon a favourite plate of mine.

First flowering 2013

Since 2013,  the plant has  continued to grow and flourish, and provide us with delicious nourishment. But not a single flower was produced until earlier this week, almost 5 years to the day  from the first flowering.  And this time, there was not one flower, but two.  I was surprised to see them.
I picked them, arranged them in a vase with some foliage,  and photographed them.

Flowering Again 2018

Now here is the question.  Do you know  to which plant these strange flowers belong?

Keen gardeners will know, I am sure, and they will also know the possible reasons for the plant’s  flowering  schedule.

But, if you are not a gardener, and/or are curious and eager to know the origin of these flowers, take a peek here .

Are you surprised by what you read in the linked post?

Dinner with Nana

I have said this before and I am happy to say it again. I am in awe of people who can remember their past, particularly their childhood past,  in high-definition clarity.  I see and hear  my past through  flickering scenes of snowy noise, crackling static, fragmented pixels, and faulty signals. Occasionally, I am able to focus on what seems to be a clear, defined, image, yet when I try to hold it, to still it in a frame ,  this is what happens: a  split screen of alternative possibilities.

Frame One:  Dinner with Nana

peas boil, custard bakes,
leg of lamb on stove top rests,
roasted juices, pink.
“Bloody meat,” sighs Nana Maud.
we grin, dinner not done yet.

Frame Two: Dinner with Nana

The peas are boiling, the custard bakes,
gravy, silky and peppery, simmers and plops.
Nana, pinny-wrapped, and double-bent, is busy’
with sharp-pronged fork, testing the mid-day roast.

She pierces the bubbles of crisp skin
and pearlescent fat, to the bone inside,
and watches, as the juices spurt,
clear and sweet.

“It’s done, ” she declaims, satisfied.
“It’s well-cooked,” she adds, decisive,
“I don’t like bloody mutton.”
No part of sheep would defy that tone.

We grin, we tease, in mock horror.
“Nana! Bloody? Did you say bloody?”
Intent on serving dinner hot,
blind to childish nonsense, she huffs,
“No, no, of course, I didn’t, but
I don’t like bloody meat.”

We giggle quietly into plates, bountiful
with succulent tenderness.
We eat, pudding next,
replete, content,
knowing, even then, we would remember
the day we pretended Nana swore.

Which of these pictures , I wonder, is closest to the reality of that day? Sadly, I can no longer say for sure. The editorial hand of time has steadily and stealthily, spliced and resectioned memories which once seemed solid; immutable.

But this much I do know:

Both recollections are faithful to the essence of my grandmother, and the good food, love, and security which were produced in copious quantities in her little, sunny, kitchen.

She was  a hard-working person; always busy around the home. She was independent, despite being almost blind in one eye. She was  capable, she was small, and she was strong. Chopping kindling wood for her fire and coal range were daily tasks she undertook into an advanced age.

Her cooking was excellent.  Every kind of food she gave me, be it boiled chicken, bottled apricot, roast dinner, or pikelet , I remember with pleasure.

And, as for those roasts ~ Nana preferred mutton and hogget to lamb but, whatever cut it was, she didn’t like it rare, or to say it plainly, bloody.  On that fact, my memory is 100% clear.

 

(This post is in memory of  Nana Maud who died 42 years ago, today, the first day of spring.)

In Memory of Nana