A quiet evening of guitar music. Have discovered the melancholy Domeniconi. Koyunbaba is quite beautiful; it’s where I began the evening, and I’m not done with Domeniconi yet.

Knitting as I listen. Back aches, hip aches (therapist thinks it’s nerve pain, doctor says arthritis — I am 27), and now I understand why old grandmothers spend so long sitting in the corner knitting. So soothing, the needles clicking and the cloth slowly getting longer. And it all goes so well with the melancholy guitar of Domeniconi.

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Easter Morning!

White candy eggs and Jesus is risen,
Ham for the angels and sweetbreads in Heaven,
(Candy eggs too, as the good Lord has given)
        And Mary and Johnnie and Jenny and Bess
        Will sing Allelu and eat chocolate: Yes, yes!

Easter egg hunting, and Jesus is not here!
Run through the den and look under the stair—
Pretty eggs, golden eggs, here, there, and there!
        And Mary and Bessie and Jenny and John
        Will sing Allelu and eat chocolate! (Come on!)

Cherries and berries all baked in a pie,
Lamb on the plate and sweets in the eye,
Uncles and Aunts and All hail it is I,
       And Mary and Bessie and Johnnie and Jen
       Will sing Allelu and eat chocolate. Amen.

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Are the flowers blooming yet?

Spring — or at least March — is making itself felt here with freezing fogs and drizzles and ice rain. The people who come stamping in from the damp regularly ask each other, while shaking the slush from their umbrellas, whether it’s better than having more snow or not. So far I’m thinking, not.

I like rain, but I like it warm and on flower petals. Two years ago we had a showery spring, and it made for some lovely photography…

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With a double heart do they speak

My Iranian friend is in mourning now, for the customary 40 days. She received word over the weekend that her boyfriend would not survive what he endured in the torture chambers. I wanted to give her something in the way of flora, as is the custom over here, so I found her a yellowish-white orchid. She ended up giving it back to me for awhile: she told me earnestly that she was afraid her grieving would kill the plant if it was kept too close to her. So I’m tending my first orchid now, and with all the more trepidation because I want it to do well for her sake.

I’ve discovered there are two things that I’ve got to work on: (1) figuring out when too much water is too much for an orchid, and (2) understanding grief better. I didn’t think of it before, but perhaps watching a beautiful flower die slowly under one’s best care is not something that a grieving woman would rather endure.  A bouquet of cut flowers would probably have been the better gift.

*          *          *          *          *

Speaking of which, did you hear the Rat in the news today, condemning the Libyan government?

Ah, you fool Gaddafi.  You should have ruled with a more subtle hand.  Arrests could have been made later, quietly.  And you could have tortured your foes to death with impunity, like your betters in Iran.

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Northern Musings

Started the Kalevala for the first time today.  Would like it to be my Sunday reading from now on.  One of my Catholic friends asked me superciliously once if I read only religious material on Sundays.  The truth is that I read only what I think I will really enjoy.

After reading the not insignificant introduction and first two cantos of the Kalevala, I began to knit again.  Something about the Kalevala made me want to knit.  Maybe it’s the Northernness of it all, or the palpability of craftsmanship and tradition.  Knitting is a craft that goes back some thousand years or so, but at least in my case it wasn’t passed down through the oral wisdom of mother and grandmother.  It was a friend and her 8-year-old daughter who showed me the basics, and then it was Youtube that showed me most everything else.

Which makes me grateful for an Internet.  If the cobwebs of tradition are being swept away as thoroughly as everybody says they are, I suppose it is something to have a world wide web, however indiscriminate, to preserve the strands for whoever will go looking for them.  Like mariners on the high cold seas, searching for splinters from the oak that Vainamoinen felled.

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Roses from the Academic Groom yesterday… and chocolate covered cherries. There are treats here for three of the five senses for the rest of the week.

Yesterday was a day of many contraries. St. Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, not the least because it manages to be a celebration of human love while yet coming under the patronage of a saint. But yesterday was also the memorial service for a man whom everyone in our dorm knew and liked, and whom none of us expected to die suddenly in his sleep last week. We wondered Thursday why dinner was served late: it was because our chef, Dexter, had suddenly felt very sick and had pains in his left arm. He served us dinner anyway, decided not to go to the hospital, and passed away in the night.

When I went to pick up the small flower arrangement, the girl didn’t remember it was for a memorial service, and tied a string of Valentine’s Day hearts around the vase.

The other thing that befell yesterday took the form of a phone call for an Iranian girl in our dorm. Her boyfriend (still in Iran) was arrested for the second time more than a week ago. The first time he was arrested, he was tortured severely and lost the use of both kidneys. That was about a year ago. This time around, none of his family or friends knew what had happened to him for several days, until they found him in a hospital several cities away. Three of his ribs were broken, and all his fingers; an eye was smashed in; and he was comatose.

For a few days his family was allowed into the hospital room to see him. But then, over the weekend, he was suddenly moved to the prison hospital, and the family was told not to go looking for him. His best friend was arrested. His girlfriend here in the dorm had booked a flight to return to Iran, but the family called her yesterday to tell her not to come: there was nothing she could do, she would not be able to see him, she would never get back to Canada.

It’s like reading something by Solzhenitsyn about Communist Russia. But it’s happening now, and in Iran.

I gave the Academic Groom a few tighter hugs than usual today.

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Valentine’s Greetings!

This bud of love by summer’s ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.

~Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 1

(Brought to you by: the Flowerbeds at Brennan Hall)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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