Sunday, December 26, 2010

" . . . and so this is Christmas, and what have you done?"

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

During the mid-morning, today, Sunday, December 26th, the day after Christmas (Boxing Day to some, the first day of Christmas to others), as I walked to the assisted living center where I do volunteer work every Sunday morning — and where I spent part of my Christmas yesterday — as discussed in yesterday's post , snow was falling lightly, and an elderly woman pushing a shopping cart was walking up the street shouting, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! We shoulda had this yesterday! We shoulda had a white Christmas!"


What the woman may not have realized was that we were having a white Christmas. The Christmas season, for some who celebrate it in New York City, ends on January 6th, the twelfth day of Christmas, with the Feast of the Epiphany, and is honored with a parade down Fifth Avenue near East Harlem. This event is held annually, and includes animals such as camels and donkeys, in an effort to commemorate the visit of the three kings to the Christ child. It is also the day some cultures exchange their Christmas gifts.

For others, the Christmas celebration ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which this year will be January 9th, 2011. In Italy, Christmas ends on February 2nd with the Feast of the Presentation. The inspiration  of the Feast of the Presentation provided me with the subject of a card I created a few years ago, and two versions of it are posted below:


Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

I have spoken about this card in a radio interview with Karen Lewis for WBAI radio (which can be heard via my web-site). Additional information about this card can be found in previous posts to this blog by clicking here and here. The photograph of the snow-sculpture depicting the Madonna with Child, that I used in the card, was taken in New York's Central Park after a snowstorm.


The snow accumulation for today is predicted to be more than eighteen inches, and, judging by the snow that has already fallen on my roof-top extension garden as of 2:00 PM (as seen in the photograph at the top of this blog entry), with snow still falling steadily, that prediction will come to pass.  This heavy snowfall will probably cause many snow artists to build snow sculptures in Central Park.


The song, Happy Christmas, is playing on my radio as I write this post. This song as you may know, begins with John Lennon's lyric-line; ". . . and so this is Christmas . . . and what have you done? . . . Another year over . . .."


For the past few years, the question posed here has haunted me. Another year of having no substantial employment is passing (despite all my attempts to procure work), and what have I done? For I tend to measure the answer to that question of "what have {I} done" in dollars and cents, but in doing so I have been left with a feeling of worthlessness, even though my rational mind tells me the song's question is not referring to material accumulation, or lack thereof; but it  is a call to look at one's heart to see what one has done to help others or to raise awareness.


Being a reflective and an analytical soul, the lyric "hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight . . ."  reiterated in another piece of Christmas music (Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem) are not just met at Christmas time; they come front and center for me all too often, and admittedly are often wrought with self-recrimination.


I truly long for a  time in my life  to be a "silent night {when} all is calm; all is bright," which my Fagus sylvaticas (Beech Tree) seems to be having. Inches of snow have buried its winterized container but its branches still stand proudly, showing off their texture against the fresh snow, as seen in the image posted below. I will be rendering this image into a card, so continue to check my blog, web-site for details.


Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

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