Winter Solstice And The New Year


winter solstice in our family means c’s birthday, for which we had a festive brunch. later, a and k made pirogis and we listened to tracks from ‘count your blessings’, starting with this one sung by holly by cole, but i prefer ‘are you burning, little candle?‘, sung by jane siberry. couple of days later, bought seasonal gifts and foods.

chocunder the christmas tree, some very yummy tcho chocolate.


vanier-from-jean-vanier.orgIn a lengthy but worthwhile read, Jean Vanier writes, ‘Two essential elements in human life that can give it meaning both for people of goodwill who have no religion, and for people who are searching for God, whatever their religion: being, and being open.’

patrick aspassin and jean vanierElsewhere, he observes, ‘There is no point in praying for peace in the Middle East, for example, if we are not peace-makers in our own community; if we are not forgiving those in our community who have hurt us or with whom we find it difficult to live.’

vanier1-by-?-from-van-sunAnd, ‘We may not all be called to do great things that make the headlines, but we are all called to love and be loved, wherever we may be.’



'Big_Foot,_leader_of_the_Sioux,_captured_at_the_battle_of_Wounded_Knee,_S.D.'_Here_he_lies_frozen_on_the_snow-covered..._-_NARA_-_530805Here’s a precis of  what happened 1890-12-29 at Wounded Knee. ‘Twenty-three years earlier, the local tribes had signed a treaty with the United States government that guaranteed them the rights to the land around the Black Hills, which was sacred land. The treaty said that not only could no one move there, but they couldn’t even travel through without the consent of the Indians. But in the 1870s, gold was discovered in the Black Hills, and the treaty was broken. People from the Sioux tribe were forced onto a reservation, with a promise of more food and supplies, which never came…. A scuffle broke out between a soldier and an Indian. The federal soldiers opened fire, killing almost 300 men, women, and children, including Big Foot [the  leader, pictured]. Even though it wasn’t really a battle, the massacre at Wounded Knee is considered the end of the Indian Wars, a blanket term to refer to the fighting between the Native Americans and the federal government, which had lasted 350 years.’

kamA love song.



Odetta_(1961)Something completely different.




hildegard0_1762589bDifferent again.


vanier-from-jean-vanier.orgJean Vanier‘s New Year message echoes mine: ‘Happy New Year to you. May the New Year be a time of transformation for each one and for each of our communities, and a time of consolation for those who are suffering. May our hearts be at peace . . . and in that way there will be more peace in this world.’

eggThe Writer’s Almanac observes that ‘today is New Year’s Day. If you are suffering from a hangover today, you aren’t alone. The chief culprit is dehydration caused by the diuretic effect of ethanol, which can lead to shrinkage of brain tissue, and that causes headache. Alcohol irritates the lining of the stomach, causing queasiness. Other symptoms are caused by the toxic by-products of the liver’s detoxification process. For something so common, hangover is poorly understood by the medical community, and quack remedies abound.’ Check out some more….

anthropoceneHere’s a topical word–Anthropocene–‘The geological period marked by a significant human impact on climate and the environment…. Regarded as the time from the start of the Industrial Revolution onward.’

cricket ballSpeaking of human impact: ‘Interestingly, the verb google has been around for more than a hundred years, though in a different sense. In a game of cricket, to google is to throw a googly, a ball that changes direction mid-air.
googly (cricket, 1901) ⇨ to google (cricket, 1907) ⇨
googol (math, 1940 [a number followed by a hundred zeros]) ⇨
Google (search engine, 1997) ⇨ to google (to search, 1998)’

TolkienJRR Tolkien (1892-01-03) was a professor and the author of The Hobbit (1937) and Lord Of The Rings (1955).

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