My family loved to backpack in the high Sierras. One year, after a refreshing afternoon rain, my youngest child, about seven at the time, looked down at his feet and picked up something shiny. It was a perfectly formed arrowhead of black obsidian. Evidently the rain had washed it out from an ancient hiding place. What a treasure the rain revealed!
In Hawai`i, we have the saying “no rain, no rainbows.” Too often we concentrate on the rain and neglect an openness to the treasures afterward.
What riches or inner resources have you discovered after the rains in your life?
Yesterday, members of our local Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla did a “dock walk” on the three docks on the Kona side (leeward) of our island. We were handing out information to boaters about what the auxiliary does, who we are, and extending invitations to join us.
Wow! Did that ever bring back memories – and made me homesick!
In the late 1970s, when Flower Power and Free Love were languishing, I flirted with trading the equity in my house for equity in a new 37′ O’Day sloop-rigged sailboat. Within five months, I became a “live-aboard” with fifteen-year-old son, my youngest child.
We christened our new home Lothlorién, for the sanctuary in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy to which the Elf King and Elf Queen transported Frodo and his friends at a critical point in their adventure.
In Tolkien’s story, it was within the Lothlorién that all their healing and protection took place, while all the dangers and threats were forced to remain outside its borders.
Our Lothlorién was that haven for us, our personal sanctuary of peace, safety, and healing. We needed the storms of life to remain outside. We often invited our friends to savor that sanctuary with us for a day sail, a weekend cruise, or sometimes longer.
Tolkien’s famous quote was our motto – “…not all those who wander are lost.”
Characters who don’t know much about boats always ask, “How many does she sleep?” That’s the wrong question! We sailors usually respond by saying that a sailboat will “drink six, feed four and sleep two.”
There may be room enough to sleep an army by spreading people out over decks and into hammocks, but you abandon all carnal comforts in doing so. Naturally, this can depend on just how close you are with the friends you bring along, too.
My boat basically was designed to sleep six, but six people really wouldn’t do that if they wanted to remain friends after the cruise was over.
One summer, I hadn’t gotten paid for about three months. The insurance company that reimbursed us for most of our clients was undergoing a major change in their computer system. None of us in the clinic where I worked were getting paid on a regular basis. My boys and I were hanging on by a thread.
So what does a girl do when the going gets tough? She spends a week moored at the Isthmus of Catalina Island with a good book, and leaves her troubles behind.
We were really living a good life, in spite of having no money. I had a bag of masa, a hunk of cheddar cheese, a few eggs, and stuff like spices. The boys were diving for abalone and fishing. What else do you really need for food?
We made lots of homemade tortillas with melted cheddar and scrambled eggs, along with plenty of fresh fish and abalone. That’s when abalone was still plentiful in California.
Someone taught us how to eat raw abalone. Instead of pounding it like you need to if you cook it, you cut the raw meat into pieces like shoestring potatoes. Dip it into a mix of soy sauce, ginger, and anything else your taste buds desired, and munch! It’s a wonderful treat!!
Once, on Catalina Island, when folks from our local sail fleet had a cookout, my sons and I showed up with fresh sheepshead, abalone, and hot tortillas.
Everyone else was roasting wieners and opening cans of beans. Even though we didn’t have money for hamburgers or wieners, we ate well – and we were the envy of everyone else.
When I feel bogged down with Life, I sometimes think about what fun it would be to live on a boat again.
Several years ago I visited the campus of Standord University in California. I was intrigued with these sculptures of Rodin. I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with the entire story behind them. Blogging is so educational!
These six men represent the Burghers of Calais (Les Bourgeois de Calais).
In 1885 the town council of the French city of
Calais commissioned Rodin to produce a
sculpture that would pay tribute to the
burghers of Calais, heroes of the Hundred
Years’ War and symbols of French patriotism.
~ ~ ~ ~
Rodin chooses to portray the moment in the
narrative when the men, believing they are
going to die, leave the city. He shows the
burghers as vulnerable and conflicted, yet
heroic in the face of their likely fate.
Most of the time, these men are portrayed in a cluster. Here on the Stanford campus, they are shown in separate bronze castings (1981). These were not from the original, however. By law, only a small number were made from the original after Rodin’s death. Here is a casting of Rodin’s signature.
Calais is an important French port on the English Channel. In 1347, during the Hundred Years’ War, Calais had been under siege for over a year by the English. Due to starvation, King Philip VI of France was not able to hold onto Calais. King Edward III of England said he would “spare the people of the city if any six of its top leaders would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be executed.”
Eustache de Saint-Pierre volunteered to be first. Five others followed.
They walked out wearing nothing but their “breeches” (underwear) with nooses around their necks. Jean Froissart (circa 1337-1400) wrote the story in his Chroniques that relate historical events of that era as he saw them.
The figure in the final monument portrays Pierre de Wiessant looking over his shoulder, his hand extended as if in despair. His face shows great anguish, and his intense emotions make him appear withdrawn from the other figures. http://www.cantorfoundation.org/Rodin/Gallery/rvg34.html
My brother recently posted about the concert he attended in Florida. Because he mentions that it was more about his sister’s era (that’s me!) I thought I would share it with you. Of course, watching the video clips he chose certainly did bring back a lot of memories. Since many of you don’t read my brother’s blog, he has given me permission to repost it here!
Enjoy!! And let me know if you are in my era, too! Thanks, Hilton!!
Work o’ the Weavers at St. Pete Palladium Side Door
A few nights ago, a friend called and said, “We’re going to the [Work o’ the] Weaver’s concert Thursday night at the Palladium. I know you like that kind of music. Do you want to come, too.” I said yes immediately.
And…I am old enough to remember seeing Joseph McCarthy on someone’s television (we didn’t have one then). I mention that because the Weavers and other folk singers of that time, as well the classical composer and American legend, Aaron Copland, were all hauled before McCarthy’s committee and interrogated. And, yes, they were definitely left-leaning sympathizers and supporters of Henry Wallace for president.
Thursday night’s concert by the contemporary tribute group, Work o’ the Weavers (see workotheweavers.com), was one of the most enjoyable musical evenings I’ve had in a long time. If you ever get a chance to hear the group, go. Their appeal is not limited to folks my age; I saw a number of teens and young adults there who were bobbing and swaying and singing “Good Night Irene” along with us of the blue-rinse set.
My guess is the only demographic group not represented–or if they were there, they kept on the down low–were Tea Party members, because the tradition of the Weavers, which the Work o’ the Weavers is all about, is definitely tied to the Progressive movement during the Great Depression and World War II. So many of the songs that were sung then, and last night, are unfortunately still appropriate now during the Great Recession, especially the pro-labor and pro-peace songs.
The concert was in two parts. In the first part, every song was woven into a detailed narrative of the history of the (original) Weavers. It really was a complete history of the group, the music, its composers and lyricists, and the times. It was not just a series of songs by the Weavers. It was educational in a very real sense.
The second part of the concert followed the dictum of Pete Seeger, who is close to the members of the group and endorses it, to not just look backward, but to sing also what the Weavers would sing now if they still existed today. What a wonderful idea. Three songs from that second half were my personal favorites for the night: Red Goes the Vine/In Dead Earnest, We’re Still Here, and My Peace. They’re all on a CD called We’re Still Here. That’s a link to the MP3 “album” which just costs a hair over 1/2 what the actual CD sold at the concert cost. I recommend it, highly.
The Work o’ the Weavers website has plenty of information and videos. Here’s one, Work o’ the Weavers – Distilled, that gives you a good feel for the group.
The lyrics of the aforementioned song, “My Peace,” was written by Woodie Guthrie just after he was hospitalized with Huntington’s Disease and set to music by his son, Arlo Guthrie. Here it is being sung by the Guthrie Family – My Peace:
If you’d like to see some video of the original Weavers, here’s The Weavers – Around The World:
Here’s a Youtube presentation of them singing the first song the Weavers ever recorded, The banks of Marble – The Weavers (that’s Pete Seeger singing solo on first verse):
The words of that song are so appropriate today, maybe more than ever before. Here’s a more recent recording just by Pete Seeger and with a more meaningful video — Banks of Marble:
And…thrown in for good measure and having almost nothing to do with The Weavers or Pete Seeger or The Work o’ the Weavers other than it’s authentic, old-timey American folk music is this video I stumbled upon while looking up the other videos — the Best Bluegrass Clog Dancing Video Ever Made. Unfortunately, that has to be watched on Youtube, itself and can’t be embedded. So, please click on the link. That’s old style clogging. I promise you will not be able to hold your body still. I just LOVE that music!!!!!
If you make a purchase through any of the Amazon links in this article, I make a few cents but your cost is not increased in any way.
Exactly two months ago on October 17, my oldest granddaughter got married. Kaitlin Weiss became Kaitlin Brazil. I wasn’t able to go, but her Aunt Inga, my second daughter, was there to take pictures of the event.
This is a good opportunity to share some of that with you. I’ve cropped some of the pictures in order to show you specific people.
Following behind three wonderful older brothers, Kaitlin was a pleasant surprise to her parents. I know how Debbie must have felt to have all four of her children back home for this occasion.
When Kait was seven years old, she served as the flower girl at my second wedding. That beautiful young woman has come a long way since then.
Almost 35 years ago, as high school sweethearts, her parents got married. What fun it is to watch your children grow up and have grown children of their own.
California’s central valley has some wonderful places for a serene outdoor wedding.
I wish them well! They make a beautiful couple.
A hui hou!
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