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Sunday, November 30, 2008

angels


Today we opened Christmas boxes and put up the tree. Out of the tubs came my mother, embodied in several angels she had given me, some for the tree and this one, above, my favorite piece of Christmas. She's a holy wood nymph with a candle holder, carved from wood. Mom is all around me today, maybe it is her spirit I celebrate this year.

Lucky me, after my parents passed away, I of all the eight kids somehow managed to get the large Christmas Songs and Carols book we grew up with. (Shhh.) It was published in 1955, the year before I was born, and was illustrated by Rafaello Busoni (1900-1962). See below, more angels in his illustration for an Old French carol arranged by Franz Liszt "L'Enfant Jésus s'endort" ("While Baby Jesus Sleeps"). As a child and until I was an adult with my own children on my lap, I sat at my mother's piano while she played carols from this book. We sang together, and I turned the pages. Turning the pages now evokes every bit of love-music on that bench. See how my dad repaired the broken binding with duct tape. Oh, did my father love duct tape.

Maybe Lesley will play this at her piano in our house in a few weeks, while I turn the pages, and we sing. I play a little, but she plays beautifully.



59 comments:

carl h. sr. said...

Oh how wonderful to have such memories. And then to make new ones with your own children....
This is silly,but 'the wheels on the bus go round and round' just popped into my head.
I was TRYING to think of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken".
Wood carving,duct tape,angels,music,I feel as if this could have been posted just for me.I like your comment that your Dad loved duct tape! It is some great and versatile stuff.
Sure would like to see a complete and detailed picture of that wood angel..hint hint

Sharon said...

I love angels! What a beautiful post.

Susan said...

Lovely, lovely......I wish I could play those lovely angel songs.

Don said...

Isn't it interesting that in spite of having a very distant set of parents, you have memories like this one. I can picture you sitting at the piano with your mother and watching the notes dance along. You probably learned how to read music and didn't know you were learning magic.

Anet said...

Very beautiful! I just love unpacking the Christmas boxes. It's like part of who you are packed away in there. Treasure of the heart! *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Enjoy the season!

Christina said...

These books are gorgeous. So nice to have such sweet memories.

That angle, must make xmas more beautiful. ; )

rauf said...

Your joy never ends Ruth, comes one after another. i wish your joy will never end. Oh dear ! we are in December ! Road to Christmas begins. This road is more enjoyable than Christmas itself. Would Peter be home by then ? Children would love to participate in decorations.

You live in a Christmas card Ruth, what more do you want ? a picture of your house and family is a Christmas greeting for us.

a said...

The same here, out of the boxes come memories they flood over me and grandma's ornaments bring me right back to being 10 or so:) Lovely collections Ruth..You were just the right person to inherit them I'm sure:) xo

a said...

& that first photo of the angel WOW Bokeh magic!

Sidney said...

Wow...nice angel... and what a precious book...
Advance Happy Christmas!

VioletSky said...

An illustrated songbook! It is lovely.

photowannabe said...

I love finding the little treasures every year as the boxes are unpacked and I trip down memory lane. My boys homemade ornaments always have to find a place somewhere on the tree.

Drowsey Monkey said...

I really love the wood carving - it's beautiful. I love taking out Christmas decorations - it's like the memories are just sitting waiting in a box for us to access them once a year. It's very special.

Ruth said...

Carl, that may be the first time anyone has ever connected those two songs. :)

Ah, so many things connect all of us, that's what makes blogging so great, realizing how much we are connected - by duct tape!

If you saw the things Dad repaired with the stuff, you would be amazed. Well, maybe you wouldn't?

Ruth said...

Sharon, I see that you do from your latest post. How beautiful. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Oh Susan, do you play?? I wish I could play without halting, to accompany family singing.

Kerri said...

What a moving post Ruth! I can imagine you sitting at the piano turning the pages with your Mom!
What a beautiful picture in my mind! And speaking of beautiful pictures....that angel is AWESOME! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the shot of the illustration with the music! GORGEOUS!

Ruth said...

Don, that is a powerfully sweet image. Thank you. I see now, feel now, the magic that was there with my parents, but at the time I focused on what I didn't have with them. Not bad if the magic gets unveiled at 52, eh?

shicat said...

-And the memories flow on and on. The wood nymph angel is just beautiful. Once again a very thought provoking post. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Anet, yes. I guess it surprised me when so much of myself and Mom came out of the boxes yesterday, because usually I am focused on the ornaments collected for Lesley and Peter over the years, from vacations, etc., and the great memories we four have together. Maybe getting older has something to do with more reflection on my own youth.

Your home looks so beautiful and warm with Christmas up.

Ruth said...

Christina, books and memories, Christmas, it's what we infuse in things that makes them special. Like your story behind the woman and bicycle image. It would be special without your experience, but with it, it moves into a realm of the heart.

Ruth said...

Thank you, dear rauf. I feel very fortunate that these holidays are joyful for us, since they can be the most painful times of the year for those whose lives are lonely or fraught with harsh memories.

Yes, Peter will be home Sunday, how wonderful! Good idea to save some decorating for him. Maybe some outdoor garland with lights to greet Lesley and Brian when they come.

I guess you are right, that the road leading to Christmas is more enjoyable than the day itself. I think that's why people start their decorations earlier and earlier every year. It is a lovely feeling.

Ruth said...

Oh, and rauf, I simply deleted your duplicate comment. Are you still having troubles with the uncooperative comment box?

Ruth said...

Amy, the more I think about this, I realize how strange it is! Hanging charms on a tree, and placing meaningful items around the house. Strange and magic, to feel the past this way, through beautiful objects we can hold and look at, and think of someone we love.

Ruth said...

Oh, and thank you. :)

Ruth said...

Thank you, Sidney. Our life is pain and pleasure. Your photos around the trains show children having pleasure even when their lives must be peppered with pain.

Ruth said...

Sanna, I love it so much! I wish I could post a photo of every illustration so you could see them all.

Ruth said...

Sue, the kids' homemade ornaments bring out the biggest oohs and aahhs. The stars with glitter and foil, and the 3D bells. But I couldn't find Peter's bell this year. :(

Ruth said...

Thank you, Drowsey, she is special to me for many reasons. For one thing, I feel more connected to the earth here at the farm, and so I relate to her woodland environs. It's quite amazing reading all these comments echoing my feelings. Memories in a box. What magic!

Gwen Buchanan said...

wonderful memories Ruth.. and so much to look forward to... this book looks like a treasure.. and it is certain you believe so.. it is good to believe....
Beautiful illustration..
now I am going to go to my piano and try this song... Thank you

Gwen Buchanan said...

I don't know if that came out right.. I mean it is good that there are some things in our lives we how dear... it shows our humanity...

Gwen Buchanan said...

ok... I give up... that was suppose to be "hold" dear... now I am going to go and sleep for the whole month of December... looks like I need it...

Ruth said...

Gwen, I understand. There is no life in these things, except what is in my mind and heart. When you and John pour energy into making a cathedral window fit into the wall, that energy becomes something solid you can feel. I feel it with you. Yes humanity. Aren't we fortunate to feel the joy of these things? I read somewhere that angels wish they could be human, because it is the pain along with the joy that make the joy better.

Ruth said...

Oh, and it makes me so happy picturing you playing this music!! I haven't tried this song, but I will now. Imagine the same music rising into the air in Michigan and in New Brunswick!

Ruth said...

I closed my eyes and listened to "how" and I knew it was "hold." I do that all the time in comment boxes! and elsewhere too.

Susan said...

I took lessons when my daughter was little, but didn't progress very far. My brain doesn't keep tempo with my fingers, or vice versa, I'm not sure which. Haltingly is exactly the way I play, and probably not even that well as I haven't practiced in several years. I was so jealous of my sister. She was able to play by ear.

Ruth said...

Just like me, and my sister too. I don't mind playing haltingly when no one is around to hear me.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, Duct Tape is our friend, love it.

You have the coolest stuff, that image of the holy wood nymph is beautiful the way you worked the lights behind her, and the carol book is way cool, especially the duct tape part,lol.

Barry said...

Our heads are full of memories but it takes an external key to unlock them, a song, a phrase, a colour, a book from out of the past.

What a joyful experience.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Bob. Men and duct tape, haha. It does work its magic quite effectively, I admit. And for me it's all about my dad.

Mary said...

oh what a lovely post, filled with beautiful images and sweet memories! I live in my childhood home, where I can often find something to remind me of my mother, also.

Ruth said...

How nice the way you put that, Barry. Thank you.

Nautankey said...

Give me a choice please :).I mean I find myself to be a boring commentor as I type in only one response "beautiful post"..and the same applies now too :)

Ruth said...

Mary, thank you. Is that house The Little Red House? Lovely. Man, I love your blogs! So glad I found you through Christina.

Ruth said...

Aw thanks, Nautankey. :)

I loved reading about your Indian train experiences today.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth thanks for the inspiration.. I am joining in with the angels...

Ruth said...

Gwen, I didn't get it, until I saw your resplendent new post. :)

Gwen Buchanan said...

As usual, I must think people can read between the lines or somehow telephathically inside my skull....

Ruth said...

Oh, well I just figured you meant that you were joining the angels in the air, through piano music, through thoughts, through artistic expression, etc. - which you do! I just meant I didn't get that you were posting about angels. :)

Dsole said...

I found you!
Nice blog, beautiful post!

raining sheep said...

What a stunning angel. I love Christmas traditions ...having escaped from the Czech Repulic, my parents have nothing from their past lives, so I really appreciate old wonderful things that have been passed down from grandparents, to parents to grandchildren...and so :)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Unpacking beautiful memories. One of the many joys of Christmas.

Ruth said...

Dsole, blast from the past! Great to see you! :D

Ruth said...

Well Raina, you're making up for those lost treasures by establishing your own. Your place is just beautiful. Thank you so much.

Ruth said...

Thank you for your pleasant visit, Pamela. You have a magical place for Christmas yourself.

Ginnie said...

It makes me cry, Ruth, to know you have memories of Mom like this that you can take out every Christmas. Where was I? I feel such loss....

Ruth said...

Boots, I do feel grateful for this, which surfaced as a surprise to me.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Ruth, do you not know how to take photos that do not move and delight and inspire tender wonder?

Something so simple as that songbook cover, the binding, battered from the laying on of a mother and daughter’s hands in so many songful sessions, and repaired by a dutiful father. Both the pianist and the bookbinder passed on to the other side, both so beautifully present in you and in the soft and gentle marvels you share on this blog.

Ruth said...

Lorenzo, thank you for such kind words that touch me very much.