Day 217 – Between Shows….

Between Shows....

Day 217

Between Two Hills by Carl Sandburg

Between two hills
The old town stands.
The houses loom
And the roofs and trees
And the dusk and the dark,
The damp and the dew
Are there.

The prayers are said
And the people rest
For sleep is there
And the touch of dreams
Is over all.

I had some time Saturday while waiting for the 5:00 o’clock show to end so I poked my camera lens through the metal blinds of Room 200 and shot the snowflakes, the cafe, the Christmas tree and the few people left to wander as hundreds of people enjoyed what our friends and children were giving them in song, dance and praise.  Samantha enjoyed every moment of this experience and is ready to go again next Christmas!
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Day 216 – The Endless Loop.

The Endless Loop.

Day 216

Pretty Paper by Willie Nelson

Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Wrap your presents to your darling from you
Pretty pencils to write I love you
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Crowded street, busy feet, hustle by him
Downtown shoppers, Christmas is nigh
There he sits all alone on the sidewalk
Hoping that you won’t pass him by
Should you stop? Better not, much too busy
You’re in a hurry, my how time does fly
In the distance the ringing of laughter
And in the midst of the laughter he cries
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Wrap your presents to your darling from you
Pretty pencils to write I love you
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue

 I knew, right after taking this photo, that these were the words that would go with it.  And they have been looping around in my mind in the days since I snapped that shutter.  I feel kind of fortunate with this particular loop because normally it is one of those “other” songs that careens around in my head; you know the ones – the ones you despise so much that you can’t even love to hate them.  For me, the song track is started with Cher’s “Believe,” followed by The Black Eyed Peas “My Humps.”  During a lot of the Christmas season it was concluded with “Happy Birthday, Jesus,” by the Saccharine Child Singers- I feel a strange guilt for really HATING that song, but it sets my teeth on edge and once heard, it is like a bad guest and it doesn’t go home for hours.

Yes, I think I am pretty well satisfied to have the sweet sound of Roy Orbison and of Willie Nelson on a loop in my mind.  It makes for a nice soundtrack for the day.  Which leads me to wonder what I would CHOOSE to use for a soundtrack for my day.  What song would play as the alarm clock blares at 6:30 am, as I start my car and back out of the driveway, as I sit at red lights and as I used my key fob to open the metal door that opens into the library.  What one would herald the entrance of ‘the boss’ and what would accompany the sound of books being checked in, as I walk in the door at the end of the work day, as I greet my hot husband, as I head off to bed for the night.

I do know what I would WANT as the soundtrack for my day; the ones looping through as I go through my day:

Beautiful Things – Gungor

Decollage – Les Balayeurs Du Desent

Ray of Light – Madonna

Down Home Girl – Old Crow Medicine Show

What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

Last Orders – Richard Hawley

Anuna – Suantrai

Whisper – Morphine

I am afraid that Believe, My Humps and Happy Birthday, Jesus are probably too pushy to let that happen….  And now I wonder, what would you choose as your soundtrack for the day, be it one song, or an album full of songs?

Day 203 – Peace Be With You

Peace Be With You

Day 203

Star of My Heart by Vachel Lindsay

Star of my heart, I follow from afar.
Sweet Love on high, lead on where shepherds are,
Where Time is not, and only dreamers are.
Star from of old, the Magi-Kings are dead
And a foolish Saxon seeks the manger-bed.
O lead me to Jehovah’s child
Across this dreamland lone and wild,
Then will I speak this prayer unsaid,
And kiss his little haloed head —
“My star and I, we love thee, little child.”

Except the Christ be born again to-night
In dreams of all men, saints and sons of shame,
The world will never see his kingdom bright.
Stars of all hearts, lead onward thro’ the night
Past death-black deserts, doubts without a name,
Past hills of pain and mountains of new sin
To that far sky where mystic births begin,
Where dreaming ears the angel-song shall win.
Our Christmas shall be rare at dawning there,
And each shall find his brother fair,
Like a little child within:
All hearts of the earth shall find new birth
And wake, no more to sin.

We are doing a series at church called “Silent Night.”  Our pastor is talking about finding the peace in this Christmas season.  I seldom find peace at this time of the year and now I feel even more guilty because I can’t let the stress go!  Ha!

Day 202 – A Little Bit of Sharp

A Little Bit of Sharp

Day 202

Bells Of Gray Crystal by Dame Edith Sitwell

Bells of gray crystal
Break on each bough–
The swans’ breath will mist all
The cold airs now.
Like tall pagodas
Two people go,
Trail their long codas
Of talk through the snow.
Lonely are these
And lonely and I ….
The clouds, gray Chinese geese
Sleek through the sky.
Oh, how I love playing “catch up.”  I spent the two hours at the church while Sami practiced, editing Christmas concert photos, practice photos from last week for the production and two days worth of Christmas tree photos.  This is a crystal garland my mother has draped in one of her Christmas trees.  I liked how the lights made it sparkle…

Day 196 – Big Night in a Small Town

Big Night in a Small Town

Day 196

The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus by Ogden Nash

In Baltimore there lived a boy.
He wasn’t anybody’s joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes,
His character was full of flaws.In school he never led his classes,
He hid old ladies’ reading glasses,
His mouth was open when he chewed,
And elbows to the table glued.
He stole the milk of hungry kittens,
And walked through doors marked NO ADMITTANCE.
He said he acted thus because
There wasn’t any Santa Claus.

Another trick that tickled Jabez
Was crying ‘Boo’ at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town,
Sideways instead of up and down.
Yet people pardoned every sin,
And viewed his antics with a grin,
Till they were told by Jabez Dawes,
‘There isn’t any Santa Claus!’

Deploring how he did behave,
His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly,
And Jabez left the funeral early.

Like whooping cough, from child to child,
He sped to spread the rumor wild:
‘Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes
There isn’t any Santa Claus!’
Slunk like a weasel of a marten
Through nursery and kindergarten,
Whispering low to every tot,
‘There isn’t any, no there’s not!’

The children wept all Christmas eve
And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared hang up his stocking
For fear of Jabez’ ribald mocking.

He sprawled on his untidy bed,
Fresh malice dancing in his head,
When presently with scalp-a-tingling,
Jabez heard a distant jingling;
He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof
Crisply alighting on the roof.
What good to rise and bar the door?
A shower of soot was on the floor.

What was beheld by Jabez Dawes?
The fireplace full of Santa Claus!
Then Jabez fell upon his knees
With cries of ‘Don’t,’ and ‘Pretty Please.’
He howled, ‘I don’t know where you read it,
But anyhow, I never said it!’
‘Jabez’ replied the angry saint,
‘It isn’t I, it’s you that ain’t.
Although there is a Santa Claus,
There isn’t any Jabez Dawes!’

Said Jabez then with impudent vim,
‘Oh, yes there is, and I am him!
Your magic don’t scare me, it doesn’t’
And suddenly he found he wasn’t!
From grimy feet to grimy locks,
Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box,
An ugly toy with springs unsprung,
Forever sticking out his tongue.

The neighbors heard his mournful squeal;
They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes,
Which led to thunderous applause,
And people drank a loving cup
And went and hung their stockings up.

All you who sneer at Santa Claus,
Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes,
The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.

This isn’t the photo that I had planned for the night, however my Michael had a small concert (surprise, Mom!) at Free Church Park here in town tonight to welcome Santa to his little home away from home.  The middle school band played a few songs, the high school choir sang a carol or two and Santa’s helper read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Lots and lots of rugrats running around nipping ankles and otherwise behaving like the children that they are – they straightened up the moment Santa came out and told the powers that be to turn on the Christmas lights.  All in all, cold, damp, noisy and satisfying because my baby boy was part of it.

Christmas Lights - Radial Blur and Twirled

Day 193 – Tomorrow is Another Day

Tomorrow is Another Day

Day 193

little tree by e.e. cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see          i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid
look          the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i’ll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh but you’ll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”
Just one of those “tree shots” you see so many of this time of year.  It has been a very long day – 8 hours locked in my office working on a large scale backdrop for a Grinch event at the library (my brain and eyes are strained) and then off to the church to cut out a whole. lot. of. snowflakes.  Oh well…. In the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Day 192 – Where Are Those Electric Socks When I Need Them?

Soft Focus is an Understatement.

Day 192

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind by William Shakespeare

Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As a friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.
It is a most wintery night here in lower Michigan – we are under winter storm warnings, the wind is blowing, the snow is falling madly and it is thundering and lightning outside.  The branches on the sugar maple in my front yard are thick with snow and look like white elephant trunks swaying back and forth in the wind.  I am sure that God is fielding a lot of prayers tonight, from drivers trying to make it home to the kids hoping to sleep in tomorrow.  Ahhhh….  The lights are dimming so I must bid you all adieu!

The view outside 2 hours ago.....

The view outside 3 hours ago...