Saturday, August 31, 2013

Clinging and loss~ Buddhist Thought for the Day

"You only lose what you cling to."
~Gautama  Buddha

I'm clinging to summer
maybe because it's the last day of August,
the sun is setting sooner and my flowers are tired. 
Even though summer started early in the Pacific Northwest,
it's still gone faster than I can wrap my head around. 
Since mid-August, 
I've felt the head of fall rearing itself 
and instead of feeling grateful for all those long, luscious summer days,
I'm mourning the end of them. 
I know we'll have plenty more beautiful days coming to us
but I can't stop feeling sad for the end of them. 
This is where the 'being in the present moment' idea comes in handy. 
And the quote above. 

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen) 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Favorite Place on Rue St. Dominique and Summer Exhibit

A favorite little spot I just had to share. 
Am missing Paris these days
and wishing I'd been there for the Paris Plage this summer
and ohh-so-many-other-things! 

If I were there now,
I'd hop on over to the Parisienne en Ete vintage photography exhibition
at the Docks en Seine (until October 6th)~ 
48 Black and Whites of Paris in the summertime 
taken between 1880 and 1960 
by Boris Liptnitzki and Henri Roger of the Viollet-Roger Agency.
It's a free and outdoor gallery along the Quai d'Austerlitz.

And then... I'd go take a few summer shots of my own. 

Docks en Seine
34 Quai d'Austerlitz
13th Arr.
Metro: Gare d'Austerlitz

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Monday, August 19, 2013

France: Recession Begone

It's official! 
France is now out of its recession.
According to a Telegraph UK article, France's Finance Minister has confirmed the end of the recession.
And the reason? 
"...largely due to improved domestic consumption."  
All that consuming has to be good for something! 

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen) 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Glastonbury and the Isle of Avalon~ Travelin' Tuesday

I haven't spent much time in England 
but after several days spent driving the Lake District awhile back,
I'm aching to return. 

And one of the places I knew I had to see while there
was the famous abbey ruins and city of Glastonbury. 

As I've mentioned, 
my novel touches on Mary Magdalene
and it's said that she may have briefly spent time here. 

Legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea brought Jesus here as a boy.
And that when they escaped after his death,
Joseph landed here with Mary Magdalene before she went on to the South of France. 

Located in Somerset (once known for its plentiful apple orchards and strong cider),
the Abbey was once the most important in England,
the site of the crowning of Edmund Ironsides as King in 1016. 

At its earliest recording in the 7th and early 8th century,
it was known as Glestingaburg.

The 13th century French poet, Robert de Boron,
wrote that Joseph brought the Holy Grail with him 
in which he captured some of Jesus' blood. 

And further legend states that 
when Joseph landed in Britain and thrust his staff in the ground,
it flowered into the Holy Thorn tree,
a specific hawthorn which only grows near Glastonbury
and flowers twice a year, at spring and Christmas. 

The original Holy Thorn became a pilgrimage site in Medieval times.
And every year,
a local vicar cuts a sprig from the most recent Holy Thorn
and sends it to the Queen. 

Some say that Glastonbury was built at the request of Joseph of Arimathea
to house the remains of Jesus' blood and the Holy Grail.
And the Abbey now calls itself the "oldest above-ground Christian church in the world." 

Below are a few scenes from the kitchen 
which I always find interesting. 

Even further steeped in lore is the belief that 
Glastonbury was the site of King Arthur's Isle of Avalon.
Monks from the Abbey claimed to have found the graves 
of King Arthur and Guinevere near the church's Lady Chapel in 1191. 
When a new abbot, Henry de Sully, ordered a search of the grounds,
monks found the coffin with a cross which stated,
'Here lies renowned King Arthur in the island of Avalon.' 

Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote the History of the Kings of Britain,
called it the Isle of Apples, which in old Breton
is spelled Avalou.
And according to Geoffrey,
Avalon is where Arthur was taken after his battle with Mordred
to have his wounds tended.
Avalon was also known as the Isles of the Fortunate
because it grew apples, grape and grain all of its own accord. 

The town of Glastonbury itself is filled with shops 
catering to the New Age and Pagan cultures it attracts. 

The church of St. John the Baptist dates from the 15th century
and it is here that the vicar and the students from St. John's school 
sing carols around the Glastonbury Thorn tree and the eldest pupil clips the cutting  
which is then taken to the Queen.

Somehow on that visit, 
I missed the Tor, St. Michael's tower, up the hill from the ruins
and the Chalice Well, a holy well at the foot of the Tor,
which just means, of course, that I will have to return!

Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen
Info via Wiki

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Much Wenlock and Priory~ Travelin' Tuesday

On our way to Glastonbury awhile back,
we happened upon the little town of Much Wenlock in Shropshire, England
which borders on Wales.
The above building is the 16th century Guildhall
where we visited a small Farmer's Market.

And stopped at a little tea room for lunch
and a spot of tea and crumpets.

The town of about 2,600 people 
is the home of the Wenlock Priory,
a 12th century monastery ruin.

The monastery was founded in 680 
by the son of a king who made his daughter, Milburgh,
abbess in 687.

Milburgh was thought to have the power of miracles and healing,
restoring sight to the blind. 

She died February 23, 727
and some of the earliest writings of her priory were recorded in the 
Life of St. Milburga by Goscelin of St. Bertin.

Her bones were thought be be found in 1101
near the foundations of an altar.

The Feast Day of St. Milburgh is February 23rd
(as is often the case, the feast day becomes the day of their death)
and as saint, Milburgh became patron grain protectress of Shropshire. 
She was given the role which was earlier assigned to a pagan goddess.

Around 1080, Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury
and one of William the Conqueror's main counsellors,
refounded it in the Cluniac Order. 

It thrived until the Dissolution (or Suppression of the Monasteries) by King Henry VIII in the 1530's. 

A local well, known as St. Milburga's Well, near the Guildhall building,
 is still thought to have healing powers for restoring sight.
Some women have been known to sprinkle water on themselves
at certain times of the year in the hopes of finding love.
Thanks for traveling a little piece of England with me today. 
Next stop: Glastonbury!

(Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)