Christmas Ornaments 2018 III

of this world

The attitude of today’s resin figure, alert, vigilant, aware while not exactly at odds with her accoutrements, provide a counter point to the flower banner and crown, a basket of flowers.   

Click this photograph for my Fine Art Photography gallery
Click this Photograph for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

After publishing my previous post, “Christmas Ornaments 2018 II”, a word that escaped me during that writing came to mind.  Lambent came to mind.  From the Latin meaning “to lick”, used in the sense of “to glow with light”, as in a tongue of flickering flame, a visual analog to the numinous as in halos of the saints such as the “Immaculate Conception” of the first post of this series.

This fairy is entirely, by her dress, of an older version of this world, defiantly hanging on.  Proud of her accomplishments, ready to vanish in a moment.  Doing exactly as she pleases and happy to leave lambency to a fellow traveler, the Christmas Tree. 

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills      

Christmas Ornaments 2018 II

gift from a friend

Pam integrated this charming resin figure into her mantle “Immaculate Conception” Christmas tableau (click link for this post).  A former co-worker (Pam is retired) gifted a pair of these for Christmas.  The lady was a dedicated cable shopper before the internet era, sharing with Pam the news of her latest acquisitions.  She was similar to my Mother in this way, at the time of Mom’s passing the Asian Immaculate Conception statue of the previous post was set aside, carefully packed away, in her basement to be used as a future gift for one of us (her) children.  Mom was a catalog shopper.

Click pic for my Fine Art Photography gallery
Click photograph for my Fine Art Photography Gallery

This winged creature, placed as an attendant to the Virgin within the tableau, is a fairy or sprite, not an angel.  As visualized for the popular imagination, descendants of Victorian fancy, these are nature spirits, tied to the earth, part of the natural environment as in the illustrations of Arthur Rackham for Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  

Our attendant is a citified, well dressed, cousin of the rural sprites.  She could walk down a New York City street and may not incite too much attention from passerbys except for her flower banner, spring garland headdress and preternatural beauty, not to mention the gemstone the size of a egg around her right wrist.  Oh, and the wings.     

Our sprite bears a well wrapped gift, signaling her as an emblem of the Christmas (or birthday?) season, an attendant to the future Mother of Jesus walking on a tinsel cloud among the spheres of heaven.

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

The Haw in Hawthorn

I originally published these blossoms as “wild  rose”.  It was my Facebook friends who pointed  out these are hawthorn flowers.  The key to identification was the shape of the leaves.

Hawthorne Blossoms on the former McArdle Home
Blossoms of Hawthorne taken on the site of the former McCardle Home, Proleek Townland, County Louth, Ireland.

In correcting my mistake, I learned the young leaves of Hawthorn are excellent for salads.  Wonder how the fairy folk, associated with single hawthorns (as in the following photograph from the Hill of Tara), react to picking leaves from their trees?  I didn’t hear of the practice during our time in Ireland.

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Speaking Stone Hill of Tara
View northwest from Hill of Tara looking across County Meath with views of Counties Westmeath and Cavan. On the horizon, right, is Hag’s Mountain, (Irish: Sliabh na Caillí) , site of the Loughcrew Cairns. The standing stone is the “Stone of Destiny: (Irish: Lia Fáil), which served in coronation the coronation of the High Kings of Ireland. It stands on the Inauguration Mound (Irish: an Forrad) of Tara. This photograph was taken the morning of May 27, 2014 hours before the stone was vandalized, doused with green and red paint.

My mistake was understandable, in botany the hawthorn is in the same family as the rose.  The flowers are similar, having five petals.  The “haw” in hawthorn is from the Old English word for hedge, as is this linear standoff the tree lining the way up to the Loughcrew Cairns.

Path on Hag's Mountain, Loughcrew
Reaching highest point of County Meath, Ireland means a steep path, not too long, to glorious views on all points plus Lough Craobh (Lake of the Branches).

I read these votive offerings are made at Beltane, in which case these are fresh from placement May 1.

Hawthorn Tree with Offerings
A hawthorn tree in bloom on May 27, 2016. Growing on the slope of Hag’s Mountain

The following year Pam underwent double total knee replacements, never the less, she was great company for all our adventures on the island.  Even this steep climb.

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Pam and the Offering Hawthorn
The steep path to Loughcrew passes a hawthorn covered with flowers and May offerings.

These views were our reward for reaching the top.

Loughcrew View, North by Northwest
View from Loughcrew Cairns, “Hags Mountain”

The Emerald Isle, we fully understood this name.

Standing Stone, Loughcrew
Loughcrew Megalithic Site, County Meath, Ireland. A solitary standing stone below the trail to the Loughcrew site surrounded by whin bush (gorse) and hawthorn hedge rows. A fieldstone fence, farmhouses, a patchwork quilt of fields completes the view.

The Greek name for the Hawthorn species is formed from two words meaning “strength” and “sharp”, referring to the thorny branches.

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Charlemagne of County Cork
For County Cork we stayed with Marantha House B&B.   Our day of arrival, that evening, I visited Charlemagne and fed him an apple, saved from dinner. We learned from our hosts, Olwen and Douglas Venn, he is a retired show horse they rescued. The following morning I visited Charlemagne again with an apple and my camera. As I walked up, starting from the far end of his field, Charlemagne rewarded me with a series of astounding poses, trotting toward me in fine form. The morning mists, hawthorn in bloom, distant hills came together for this memory.

We marveled at the hawthorn hedges in field after field.  I first notice them from the World Heritage Site, Newgrange (Brú na Bóinne, “Palace of the Boyne”).  Here is one on the Dingle Peninsula, on the other side of the island.

Field of Yellow Iris Flowers, Dingle Peninsula
A roadside field of yellow Iris flowers with flowering Hawthorn and Whin Bush in the windbreaks. Looking northwest toward Killeenagh and Caherpierce on the R561 between Lack West and Inch. Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland.

Another Ireland post of interest, “Proleek, Grandfather McCardle’s home.”