A Worthy Woman

LONDON – MAY 18:  Elizabeth II presents her son Prince Charles with the Royal Horticultural Society’s Victoria Medal of Honour during a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show on May 18, 2009 in London. It is the highest accolade that the Royal Horticultural Society can bestow. (Photo by Sang Tan/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

…her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax and willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships. She brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and a portion for her maidservants.

 

 

She considers a field and buys it. From her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good and her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hand to the distaff and her hand holds the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor. Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household for all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also and he praises her. “Many daughters have done well but you exceed them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31: 10-31

Happy mother’s day to mothers everywhere!

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April

Rod McKuen was not only the preeminent poet of the 70s and a singer/songwriter- he happened to be born in the month of April! His most popular book was Stanyon Street & other Sorrows but he was quite prolific and is the best-selling and most widely-read modern poet perhaps, of all time. I haven’t posted his poetry on this blog prior to this so it seemed- finally- appropriate this year to honor him by putting up some of his work for poetry month. Here is an entry whose time has come! The first poem is appropriately titled April. The rest are excerpts from my favorites.

-The Castle Lady

I did not choose an April birth

but I am ever grateful

that the month chose me.

Not because the earth has taken for itself

that same coincidental time

to start rebuilding,

but because by all accounts

April is the only time

a man need not ask even God for miracles

or transformations

they come unsolicited and everywhere.

Tulips and the birth of grass

morning glories in the morning

and lilacs all day long.

April holds a man so firm

that he could swear the screech owl’s singing

was a choir of blue jays

paid to serenade the neighborhood

like a touring medicine or minstrel band.

April is the tuning fork for the summer months ahead.

from Seasons in the Sun

April 29, 1933 –  January 29,2015

 

from Pushing the Clouds Away

I’ve never been able to push the clouds away

by myself.

Help me.

Please.

 

from May 24

Spring will chase us

through the summer

into fall

and find us beached upon some snowy shore

waiting for the spring to come again.

 

Cherry blossoms bloom on the Cherry Trees around the tidal basin in Washington, D.C. during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Washington Monument is seen in the background

from Another Monday, Two Months Later

I have always wanted

to watch the flowers open

all the way,

however long the process took.

 

 

Lost April, where did you go? Like winter snow… I saw you vanish…“Cats have it all,” Rod once wrote, “admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it.”  

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So you want to know more about writers ?

I’m not usually the one to redirect people to my other blogs since I have been disinclined to divert my readers from one to the other. It’s just not something I normally do. My latest personal blog entry will interest the bulk of my readers who are writers, however, on http://ilovecastles.blogspot.com . Keep in mind that it’s my personal experience and as universal as I possibly could make it. See you there !

Check me out !

 

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What Color is Your World ?

    Earth Day is officially here and many people will be observing it by joining an Eco clean-up crew or involving themselves in some form of green activity just for the occasion. Recycling and reusing (or re-purposing) became an everyday way of life for me years ago in the hope of setting a good example to those who are younger or a little late in the game of taking up ways to improve the planet rather than deplete or trash it. We certainly still have enough of those who think nothing of littering everywhere they go. This is not just a case of ignorance. Truth is, nobody is quite that ignorant; especially now when these issues are more crucial than ever.

  A friend once told me that she wore ‘earth tones’ (meaning so-called earth colors) for Earth Day. I remember being absolutely stunned and also thinking that of all the ignorance in the world this had to be the worst. Most holidays have been treated with the same offhand absent-mindedness- even Christmas- but Earth Day is not necessarily a holiday and was never intended to be so. If anything, establishing this day was intended for people to become more aware of the realities of global warming, ozone layer and water depletion, ecohazards and air pollution etc. The effect these all have on the planet affects plant, human and animal health. If you’ve heard about what’s happening to the bees then you’ll have a good idea of what’s going on because of environmental toxins which humans produce and use in abundance.  

     My friend apparently assumed that this was just another holiday in her tan and brown outfit with a cream-colored scarf and mittens to match. Her assumptions were not only all wrong but her sense of how our planet works and how we manipulate our own existence didn’t resonate at all, apparently. I didn’t know how to break the news to her without hurting her feelings, perhaps, and so I kept my thoughts to myself. (I’ve always been a deep thinker and my family would agree with this but it took becoming an adult to start sharing those thoughts and ideas with the rest of humanity.) I didn’t argue the point with her but if I could talk to her now I would still have started on her level and pulled her into the deep end of my higher sensibilities.

   Let’s talk about those ‘earth tones’. If the color of soil is all you think about the earth then you haven’t looked around much nor have you traveled far from the sandbox where you made mud pies as a child. Go to Ecuador, Costa Rica or Central South America and you’ll see colors like this in most flora and fauna. Many artisans and artists refer to these as jewel tones but I would remind them that jewels come from the earth. Green is far from being the only sign of life- that’s not much different than thinking all humans are white. I hate to be the one to break this to you but we come in all colors and so does the earth and its inhabitants. Take a good look around you sometime in a public place where there are a lot of people. The French say, “Vive la Difference!” and so do I.

     Winter has taken up residence in our souls. We need to change our perception of what we believe to be right in certain areas and be open to see what the world displays as wrong or right behavior. The most disturbing behaviors I’ve seen in most recent years is that animals are beginning to imitate human behavior which can be very far from natural or right. Earth Day is a way of coaxing us back to mindfulness of a right or wrong way to treat the planet. It helps to think of the outdoors as an extension of our living room. People treat the outdoors as if it has nothing to do with them but as a matter of fact we are as bound to the outdoors as we are to the furniture in our house. If we treat our world with kindness and caring it will eventually reciprocate.    

Happy 

from The Castle Lady

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On the Tower

This German poet was born into royalty at her ancestral castle of Meersburg near Münster and never married although she found young suitors during her lifetime. She is considered to be a preeminent female poet of the 19th century.  (The accompanying photos are actually of Meersburg Castle and the statue of Droste-Hülshoff.)

by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff

(1797-1848)

 http://www.lwl.org/LWL/Kultur/Droste/English/biography/

I stand high in the belfry tower,

Where starlings scream and swirl in air;

As though I were a maenad, Storm,

You run your fingers through my hair.

O spirit free, entrancing youth,

Here at the very railing, I

Would wrestle, hip to hip, against

Your hold; become alive- or die.

Below, along the sandy beach,

I see the whitecaps leap in play

Like frisky hounds tumbling the surf,

Darting in hissing, sparkling spray.

Oh, I would join them in their game,

Pursuing walrus, sportive prey,

 

Leading the romping pack through glades

Of coral, hunting dolphins gay.

Far off I see a pennant stream,

Bold as an admiral’s banner;

I watch the masts bob in the sea,

From safe in my high-towered manor.

Oh, I would rule that tossing ship

And hold helm firm and guide her true,

Skim lightly over foaming reefs

As brushing wings of seagulls do.

If I could hunt the open fields,

Or march to war, a soldier tall,

If heaven listen to my plea,

Made me a man, even though small!

Instead, I sit here- delicate,

Polite, precise, well-mannered child.

Dreams shake my loosened hair- the wind

Lone listener to my spirit wild.

The Castle Lady

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The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair,

and having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear;

though as for that, the passing there had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by

and that has made all the difference.

The Castle Lady

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Easter 2018

Rafael’s angels look heavenward

                               deep in thought

         

knowing His love was the only thing sought

We were,

         with Christ’s blood,

                                                           expensively bought.

 

 

1 Corinthians 6:19,20

Wishing you all a miraculous

Resurrection Day!

 

 

 

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Bears…

     If I asked most people about what family of mammals to which bears belong, I imagine most people would say the bear family quite simply. What is more unique than a bear? They would be justified in thinking this because there is such a variety of them all over the world with very different characteristics, at times but with well-defined similarities. It’s difficult to imagine an animal quite like a bear. While that is definitely true, it has come to my attention, through research, that bears are most closely related to dogs. Are you surprised? I knew you would be. They are also related, less closely, to the weasel and raccoons- the latter of which they share a flat-paw trait or better to say plantigrade characteristic. Most mammals walk on the fore foot or toes with the exception of humans. We, of course, rock on our feet, heel-to-toe, if we walk correctly.

     Most bears in North America resemble the bear which starred on the hit T.V. series back in the late 60s Gentle Ben. If I’m not mistaken they always had a Brown bear in the series. I never missed a show when I was a lass and I don’t think I’ll ever think of a bear as anything less than friendly, funny, helpful and quite intelligent with the added attraction of possibly being a great body guard. The reality is that bears prefer to flee than fight in most situations but if they are cornered or if you mess with a mother with two cubs they will viciously attack without relenting. I grew up in Colorado and it was a little disconcerting when I would read about bears attacking in Yellowstone Park or even in our own mountains when people camped up there. Most occasions of such was the result of humans being too close to the natural habitat.

     My own experience would raise the hackles on the back of most people’s necks. On a month-long camping trip with an aunt and uncle through most of the western states I had the opportunity to see lots of bears from a distance when we spent one day and one night at Yellowstone National Park. I remember watching Old Faithful and getting to see the paint pots up close but I did not have a close encounter with a bear until nightfall. I can only estimate times because we didn’t even have watches with light-up crystals in those days but I’m pretty sure I was woke up about 2 or 3 in the morning with the camper being jostled by something. My sleeper was right by a window and I looked out at the garbage can which was situated right next to the camper but at first couldn’t see it for some strange reason. I stared at it for probably fifteen minutes when I realized that something was moving on top of the rim of the can. At least that’s what it looked like at first. As I continued to stare I realized that my view of the garbage can was blocked by something. When available light finally started to adjust my focus, the creature came into focus. I saw the head of a bear and then- its profile. Its head was the size of the top of the garbage can! I was so shocked at what I was seeing that I couldn’t make a peep, couldn’t close my eyes and couldn’t move from my upright position. I don’t know how long I froze there but it must’ve been for hours. At one point I probably dropped from exhaustion but I don’t remember seeing the bear leave. You can imagine the looks on my aunt and uncle’s face when I told them what I saw that night, can’t you? My uncle Eddie thought it might have been a grizzly from what I was able to describe. I’m not a person who ever is afraid. My Dad used to call me Brave Bear- don’t laugh! I know I was scared that night.

What’s the irony to all this? Bears are classified as carnivorous but their diet mostly consists of berries, leaves, acorns, roots, insects, toads, snakes, rodents, fish (like salmon) and in rare cases, cattle. Just like Winnie the Pooh they also go after bees honey and their coats and loose skin protects them from most stings so they’ll take honey straight from a busy bee hive! Whatever that bear was after, it wasn’t really me. Phew!

  Most bears look quite a bit alike. The Brown bear of Europe has much shorter hind legs than any American bear and polar bears are quite uniform in shape but totally white, of course. A grizzly, referred to as Ursus horribilis is called a silvertip by rangers because of markings and they were once more common to my own Rocky Mountains than anywhere else. They are more widespread across North America now but rarely seen. I think they got a bad rap and now are fighting to survive. You may see them in Alaska along with Kodiaks (named for the island) and they get fat! Some have been recorded as weighing in at 1600 lbs! I’ll let you do your own investigating on all the variations of bears but wanted to mention the Sloth bear, from Sri Lanka and India, which very nearly resembles a sloth in the face and subsists principally on ants or termites and honey.

     Are Pandas really bears? They used to be referred to as Bear Cats along with the binturong but are most certainly bears with the same eating habits only with the addition of being bamboo eaters. I remember going to the Moscow Circus when it came to Denver many years ago when I was working and attending college. The trained bears- which were brown- were so small they looked like bear cubs and were incredibly agile. South America has a bear which reminds one of the Panda. They are officially called Tremarctos ornatus, and are primarily black with white rings around the eyes and normally found in the Andes Mountains.

    Looking at that Sloth bear made me think that maybe bears can look quite different from each other authentically. When you see movies like Paddington Bear which is, of course, more simply a teddy bear fantasy you wonder how much differently a specific species can look from others. Paddington actually looks more like a fox in the face but I’ve certainly never seen a bear resemble him in reality. It’s riding on the possibility that you can morph just about anything but there’s something sacred about a bear’s demeanor. They all lumber along a bit like they are clumsy or wonky-walking. This is partially because their eyes are a bit too small so their vision is not the best but they make up for that with keen hearing and sense of smell. Even though a bear’s gait is off because of their large flat paws did you know that a bear can outrun a man in the short distances? This is without Nikes!

If you ever see a bear eating bearberrys be sure to say, “Good morning, Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi !,” and maybe he’ll share his stash.    ;  )

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What’s in an Irish name ?

     Even though this is officially an American holiday- being St. Patrick’s Day- in Ireland the idea of a re-named saint is one among several. In truth, the patron saint of Ireland ought to be St Brendan whose feast day is May16th. His story came after Maewyn Succat’s (St. Patrick’s birth name) in the sixth century and can be found in the title The Voyage of St. Brendan (Navigatio Sancti Brendani). He was an Irishman, born in the marshy part of Munster County but St. Patrick was not born in Ireland. However, their mutual and brief association is correctly documented in St. Brendan’s story but the rest of his story reads like a fable. If you read with an open mind and comparatively, to the world’s oceanic landscape (or perhaps the original landscape which would combine Iceland, Greenland and America) then Brendan’s tale may ring less of legend and more of the miraculous. In any case, The Voyage was widely believed for those who followed Celtic monasticism before it was challenged by the Anglican Church later.

https://thecastlelady.wordpress.com/2006/03/20/the-story-of-saint-patrick/

      St. Patrick’s story is too straightforward not to be believed even though he was not indigenous to Ireland. The most important aspect to his sainthood was that he was well-known to bless Ireland with the following promise:

     All the Irish would obtain God’s clemency, that barbarian invaders would not prevail against the Irish, and that on Judgment Day no living person would be left in Ireland (because they would ascend directly to heaven).

   This is why he is the patron saint of Ireland. It’s perfectly understandable.

https://thecastlelady.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/deciphering-those-mysterious-celtic-languages/

   Why the name Patrick? It is well accepted as an Irish name today but it is anglicized and has been well used in modern times. It was borrowed from Latin’s Patricius but the Irish name is Pa’draig and sounds quite similar. If the Irish wanted to name their son after the saint he would only be referred to as Gill (short for Gilla) and when combined with Patraic became ‘Gilla Patraic’ which means ‘servant of God’. Mind you, the modern name has only been allowed in the last three hundred years or so.  

     There is an irony to all this which most people will miss. St. Patrick’s original name, Maewyn Succat, is obviously Welsh and he was captured by Irish marauders as a young lad and taken to Ireland to become a slave for many years until he managed to escape the island and was eventually ordained in France at Auxerre. He returned to Ireland after he received a vision in a dream where angels were calling him back to Ireland. He did so, and eventually was responsible for the conversion of King Laoghaire and his entire court at Tara plus he established over sixty churches complete with locally ordained bishops throughout Ireland. He was buried with another seemingly unknown saint just outside Dublin. You will read this last bit of information in confirmation within St. Brendan’s tale. The shamrock is St. Patrick’s symbol for the Trinity.

   Conversely, St. Brendan’s name comes from the Welsh word for ‘prince’ or ‘king’- breenhin. The modern form of the use of his name is Bre’nainn or Breanda’n which came to Irish from the latin Brendanus. This, of course, became anglicized as Brendan. As a tale bearer his widely known name was Breanda’n the Navigator because of the medieval version of his story. In turn, this tale has been translated and published into every single European language. Eventually he founded a monastery at Ardfert, in County Kerry and then later at Clonfert. It is purported that the Archangel Michael visited him in form of a bird and held a conversation with him (very much like a part of the story in The Voyage).

     Obviously, no matter how diverse languages are there is an integrated cord which runs through all of it. Sorting it out is for those who enjoy such things. Origins of names can be fascinating, can’t they ?

Myn brain i !

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Venice in Snow

Winter has taken a vacation in Venice this year

He was as welcome as death

The children played and laughed in a different way

All the politicians in Russia stopped laughing

Colors in a Peter Maxx

Faded to an almost clear shade of fuchsia

Teal

And banana yellow in a taxi

We all see what we want to see

but cannot change the changed facts

No one and nothing stays the same

All must come to grips with this, our brains intact

Tomorrow the groundhog is making a comeback

He will look down and see a white shadow

Something he has never seen before

and Phil will say,

“Don’t look back

You can never look back.”

by Evelyn M. Wallace   © March 12, 2018

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