Monday, February 5

Down with the Rosemary, Down with the Bays: Candlemas

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.
~ from The Garden Year, Christian Rossetti

It feels more like January this week, with freezing birdbaths and chilly winds. But the daffodils are fixing to open, and two crocuses are blooming in the front yard. This last week saw the birthdays of Langston Hughes and James Joyce and the deaths of Whitney Balliett, the NY Times critic; the great and too-early gone Molly Ivins; and Eric VonSchmidt, age 75, folk and blues singer of the great folk scare of the '60s, inspirer of many young and admirer of many old musicians. "Joshua Gone Barbadoes" is one of his great songs. and "Gulf Coast Blues," and his arrangement of "Wasn't That a Mighty Storm," about the 1900 Galveston hurricane that destroyed the city. Bob Dylan said he could "sing the bird off a wire and the rubber off a tire." (Quoted in NY Times obit, 2/3/07).

In honor of Molly Ivins I vow to try to call W. "Shrub" from now on.

The Full Cold Moon is waning. Today is the day of St. Agatha, of whom I know nothing, though I knew a very lovely namesake, who should be a lovely adult by now. February 2 was also Candlemas and Groundhog Day. Candlemas marks the border between Epiphany and Lent. It's also the Purification of the VIrgin and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.

Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and the mistletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'ed the Christmas Hall.
~ Robert Herrick

It is not enough to be busy -- so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?
~~ Henry David Thoreau, who also said "I like a wide margin to my life."

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