Monday, January 25, 2010

Sewanee Tornado

Well, the winter wind definitely blew at Sewanee last week! I was fortunate enough to have missed the tornado that set down near the airport and that twisted and fell trees, ripped off roof shingles and made a mess of things in the Midway Community. I knew my drive home was a strange one that day as I watched lightening strike from black clouds and arrived home to a yard full of half-dollar sized hail!

The photo above was taken by Ben Beavers as he stood on the front porch of Shenanigans Restaurant in Sewanee looking across Highway 41A toward the Sewanee Market and, thus, the airport.


Thou Winter Wind

Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art no seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto thy green holly:
Most friendship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As a friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Painting by Thomas Kinkade

Stay warm!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Here Comes the Rain

Just when I believe we may see a break in the rain and snow, here it comes again! While I admit to love the snow...and even the rain when it comes in moderation, day after day without my winter sunshine can sometimes make me rather melancholy. Is it any wonder that the simple nursery rhyme keeps running through my mind today?

Rain, Rain, go away;
Come again another day.

And upon thinking of this rhyme, I began to wonder how many other cute rhymes and poems exist about the rain and how....well...downright TIRED of it we are?! How are these?

Rain, rain, pour down,
But not a drop on our town.

Rain on the green grass,
and rain on the tree,
and rain on the housetop,
but not on me!

Rain, rain go away,
Come again on washing day.

Rain, rain go to Germany,
And remain there permanently.

Rain rain go away,
Come on (insert old sweetheart's name here) wedding day.

Rain on Monday,
Sunshine next Sunday.

Rain is falling down,
Rain is falling down,
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter,
Rain is falling down,

If all the raindrops
were lemondrops and gumdrops,
Oh, what a rain that would be!

Just as a note of interest, the history of the lyrics to "Rain, rain go away" are said to date back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), one of the English Tudor monarchs. During this period of English history, there was a constant rivalry between Spain and England culminating in the launch of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The Spanish Armada was led by Duke of Medina Sedonia, and the fleet numbered over 130 ships. The English fleet, under the Admiral Lord Howard, totalled 34 small Navy vessels and 163 armed merchant ships. But the great Spanish Armada was defeated. Only 65 Spanish galleons and just 10,000 men returned to Spain. The attempt failed, not only because of the swift nature of the smaller English ships, but also by the stormy weather which scattered the Armada fleet. Hence, the origin of the nursery rhyme:

Rain, rain go away,
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play.
Rain, rain go to Spain,
Never show your face again!

May your rainy days be tolerable! ;-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Reading Jane

I have just finished rereading every Jane Austen novel. This was a goal I had set for myself during the summer of 2009, and I just finished with the last of the group, Northanger Abbey. I always save Northanger for last. It is not that I do not love it as I do the others, for I do love it, but I find that the characters of her other novels better suit my personality. The Heroine of Northanger is just a little more passive (I will refuse to say "wimpy") than I could ever imagine, so it is much more difficult for me to identify with her. I once took a test online that told me which of the Austen characters I was most like. The result: Elizabeth Bennett. I have to agree wholeheartedly. I have always admired her spunk and straightforwardness!

Above: Portrait of Jane Austen

At any rate, I adore all of Austen's novels and could read and reread them over and over again. Most recently, I joined the Jane Austen Society of North America (or JASNA), as I am hoping to learn even more about Jane Austen and her works. So far, I have been rather disappointed, but I will reserve my opinion until the end of my first, fledgling year with the group. I just cannot get enough of Jane, and I am excited about this new path upon which I hope to gain even more knowledge and insight!

I am hoping within the next couple of years for an anniversary trip to England. My Dear Husband is not as keen on Jane as I am, you see. In fact, when I rent one of the many movies, perhaps a version I have never seen, and beg him to give it a chance to "speak to his heart," he simply smiles and says he will leave it to speak to my own heart, which I may share with him afterward. He prefers ESPN, Fox News or a good spy mystery to any of Jane's works. He did make it through one hour of Sense and Sensibility, once. I was quite thrilled with his progress. Anyway, back to the hope of a trip to England -- my dream is to visit Jane Country. I would love nothing more than to see where stood Steventon Rectory, where Jane was born and spent 25 years of her life. It was also here that she wrote Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. Although the rectory is no longer standing, the 12th century Steventon Church, where Jane worshipped, stands almost unchanged from those days. One can find inside the church memorial tablets to James Austen, Jane's eldest brother, who took over the parish from her father. His grave is in the churchyard. There is also a bronze plaque dedicated to Jane Austen inside the church. In January 1995, members of JASNA paid for the refurbishment of the church bells.

Above: A depiction of Steventon Rectory, birthplace of Jane Austen, as it appeared in the early 1800s

Below: Steventon Church as it appears today

While in England, I would also like to visit some of the countryside and villages mentioned in Jane's novels. I have a feeling that this will be a venture which will take much convincing with DH, but he is very good about that sort of thing. In fact, he even went with me to visit the House of Seven Gables and the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne in Massachusetts, so I do have hope that he will also indulge me this. I will keep you posted!

I am listing below links to some of my favorite Austen sites. Take some time to browse and enjoy yourself! I visit each of these often!

If you're interested, please let me know, and I will send you a coupon for $5 off any of the items in the gift shop.

The blessing of peace in all families,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Snow Day

When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;
Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;
Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:
Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;
Hiding difference, making unevenness even,
Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.
All night it fell, and when full inches seven
It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness,
The clouds blew off from a high frosty heaven;
And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness
Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare:
The eye marvelled - marvelled at the dazzling whiteness;
The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air;
No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling,
And the busy morning cries came thin and spare.
Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling,
They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze
Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing;
Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees;
Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder!
"O look at the trees!" they cried, "O look at the trees!"
With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder,
Following along the white deserted way,
A country company long dispersed asunder:
When now already the sun, in pale display
Standing by Paul's high dome, spread forth below
His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day.
For now doors open, and war is waged on the snow;
And trains of sombre men, past tale of number,
Tread along brown paths, as toward their toil they go;
But even for them awhile no cares encumber
Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken,
The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber
At the sign of the beauty that greets them,
for the charm they have broken.

London Snow
by Robert Bridges, 1844-1930
Hoping you have a happy snow day,

Friday, January 8, 2010

More Scenes from a Snowy Sewanee

My drive home...

A farm on the way home from Sewanee

A small lake outside of Winchester
Hope you're staying warm!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snowy Sewanee

The view outside my office windows. I have a corner office with views in two directions. Wonderful! Is it any wonder why I love my office so much?
Stay warm and happy!