Beleaguered in Bothell – 1 December 2017

Greeting December

Art for December – Paul Cornoyer: “December”


Origins

In the words of one writer, “December got its name from the Latin word decem (meaning ten) because it was originally the tenth month of the year in the Roman calendar, which began in March. The winter days following December were not included as part of any month. Later, the months of January and February were created out of the monthless period and added to the beginning of the calendar, but December retained its name.”


Art for December – Barbara Fox: “December Sun”

A Poem for December

“I Heard a Bird Sing”
By Oliver Herford

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

‘We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,’
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

Art for December – Hannah Woodman: “December Snow”

Musings in December: Edgar Allan Poe

“Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December…”


Art for December – Andrew Wyeth: “The Granary”

For Your Information: 1 December is National Eat a Red Apple Day in the United States.

Art for December – Claude Monet: “Snow at Argenteuil”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 1 December 1987 – James Baldwin, an American novelist, playwright, essayist, and social critic.

Some quotes from the work of James Baldwin:

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
“Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.”
“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”


Art for December – Shaun Peterson: “Morning Swim”

Worth a Thousand Words: A wind storm in Rocky Mountain National Park.


Art for December – Grandma Moses: “Covered Bridge”

A Second Poem for December

“River Snow”
By Liu Zhongyuan

A thousand hills, but no birds in flight,
Ten thousand paths, with no person’s tracks.
A lonely boat, a straw-hatted old man,
Fishing alone in the cold river snow.

Below – Shi Zhong: “Winter Landscape with Fisherman”

Art for December – Childe Hassam: “Melting Snow”

Musings in December: Dylan Thomas

“The crisp path through the field in this December snow, in the deep dark, where we trod the buried grass like ghosts on dry toast.”


Art for December: Vincent van Gogh: “Landscape in the Snow”

A Third Poem for December

“December Moon”
By May Sarton

Before going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window.

Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
where the wild creatures ranged
while the moon rose and shone.

why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?

How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we’ll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow.


Art for December – Nathalie Parenteau: “Denali”

Musings in December: John Geddes

“December’s wintery breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer’s memory.”


Art for December – Utagawa Hiroshige: “Night Snow at Kambara”


A Fourth Poem for December

“Stone Thoughts”
By Robert Pack

I speak cold silent words a stone might speak
If it had words or consciousness,
Watching December moonlight on the mountain peak,
Relieved of mortal hungers, the whole mess
Of needs, desires, ambitions, wishes, hopes.
This stillness in me knows the sky’s abyss,
Reflected by blank snow along bare slopes,
If it had words or consciousness,
Would echo what a thinking stone might say
To praise oblivion words can’t possess
As inorganic muteness goes its way.
There’s no serenity without the thought serene,
Owl-flight without spread wings, honed eyes, hooked beak,
Absence without the meaning absence means.
To rescue bleakness from the bleak,
I speak cold silent words a stone might speak.


Art for December – Jim Robb: “Jack London’s Cabin”


Welcome, Wonderful December!

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