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Friday, December 19, 2008

Lord Nelson & Sicilienne


I picked up these ornaments for Peter and Lesley in London's National Gallery gift shop in July 2005, just a week after terrorist bombs blew up a bus killing 52 people two blocks from the university dorm where I was staying. Our students studying film in Britain had heard and felt the blast. After I arrived a week later the air was still numb with shock, and with every siren's howl I watched Londoners on the sidewalk pause in suspense. The sailor here is Lord Horatio Nelson, I think, although I don't know that he lost an eye. It occurs to me now that Lord Nelson's arm lost in war is fitting for the time in which I bought these. Stupid wars.

I'm afraid I don't remember who the red dressed woman is supposed to be from the London gallery, but I've named her Sicilienne, after Gabriel Fauré's: Sicilienne Op.78 (Pelléas Et Mélisande) in the YouTube below, performed on cello by Julian Lloyd Webber (son of William Lloyd, and younger brother of Andrew Lloyd), and on piano by John Lenahan. Brilliant art.
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Fauré wrote Sicilienne for the fairy tale play Pelléas Et Mélisande written by Maurice Maeterlinck who believed that human behavior is guided by two principles: Eros (erotic love) and Anteros (punisher of those who scorn love).
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Love and revenge. Art and war. Brilliance and stupidity. That about sums up human history. I wish for more love-art-brilliance in the year ahead.






We're in the major snowstorm that has swept across the country - expecting 10-12 inches of snow. I hope everyone out there is safe, warm and fed. I've added these photos to show the snow sliding off the barn roof. Then the last one is from inside the deck window looking out at Don going to tend to his ladies in the coop to see how they're faring in the storm and also gather eggs.








40 comments:

Susan said...

What beautiful music to wake up to, Ruth! And I love the ornaments. Lord Nelson looks very dashing and Sicilenne is sweet, but daring, in her red gown!

We're getting freezing rain this morning and the schools are on a 2-hour delay. I wouldn't be surprised if they cancelled. Enjoy your bounty of snow!

Anet said...

I love these! I'm a sucker for a guy in a tri-cornered hat and the lady is just lovely!

War is stupid... I think we should have art wars...the best artist wins. We could have painting battles or a sculpt off. Or perhaps a cooking contest. Video game battles. I mean there are a lot of alternatives here. No lost arms or lives. Why can't people just be nice? Mind their own business and leave everyone else alone for goodness sake. Okay, I'm done.

Enjoy the snow storm! We are stocked with food and netflix movies...good to go!

VioletSky said...

What lovely music.

I was just going to write that I don't really belive all those dire warnings of the snow storm (it was a rather clear night) ... but I just looked out the window.

Yup. Pretty nasty wind with horizontal snow.

I'm going to listen to this one time as I go back to bed.

Your tree must look very eclectic - one could spend ages just searching for all the different ornaments!!

shicat said...

Agreed. War is stupid.Brillance hasn't been in our country for the past eight years. Frightening time to be in London. This a major winter storm, we already have 6 inches with more to come. Looks like it will be a white Christmas.

carl h. sr. said...

Ruth,I just love the reflection of your Christmas lights in the picture of Don heading to the barn!
Not feeling too 'Christmasy' here right now. It is very sunny and warm.All I need to be outside is a pair of shorts and some flip-flops.
It looks like a magical place where you are right now.
It is hard for me to imagine that it can look like that somewhere else right now.
I have been up north once(Birmingham Ala.)And out west too(New Orleans La.)Well traveled huh?! Peace,
carl
P.S.Thanks to you and Don for sharing your farm!

Ginnie said...

Ohhhhhh. SNOW. Lots of it. Do you know how much I hope for a blizzard while I am there with you! My soul will be filled. And is that star on the barn new this year, Ruth? I can hardly wait to see Lord Nelson and Sicilienne in person. I can tell you relish your tree as much as I do mine.

Loring Wirbel said...

I had a dream last night that Don had dug out a smelter inside the barn so that he could melt some kind of galvanized tin so that he could give the barn a tin roof - not for strength, but because the chickens liked the sound of rain and snow on tin.

I think the other ornament might have been Lady Emma Hamilton, Nelson's illicit paramour and later wife, because he met her in Naples and she liked to wear bright Italian clothing. But Sicilienne is a more dashing name, Neapolitan sounds like ice cream.

Good luck in the snow!

Wrensong Farm said...

I LOVE your ornaments! I would swear off the whole human race if it weren't for the love, art, brilliance and compassion that shows up alongside all the negatives. We had over a foot of snow dumped on us yesterday. I decided to skip going to work today (too much work to get my car to work). I need to get out and feed and take some pics but I'm almost dreading going out!

Ruth said...

Howdy, Susan! I had heard that the mid-section of the US was getting more ice than snow - too bad! I hope your power lines hold up.

Thanks, I'm glad you love the ornaments too. I love it when museum shops have ornaments, because that's one thing I will buy (that and postcards).

Stay warm!

Ruth said...

Ha, Anet, you and a tri-cornered hat, eh? :D

You are so right, there must be scores of safe, healthy ways for men to work out their warrior selves - like art wars! Again, you are brilliant.

I look forward to seeing what you and Noah do on your snow day.

Ruth said...

Ah, Sanna, back to bed sounds marvy, and I will try that sometime this afternoon. The joys of snuggling in in winter.

Yes, our tree is a museum of our family life, and I treasure it.

Ruth said...

Cathy, yep, looks like a guaranteed white Christmas. Stay cozy by the tree.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Carl, I was happy with that photo too. Oh, Florida - like California when we lived there. It was a feat to get into a Christmas-y mood. You're welcome to visit the farm any time, virtually or otherwise, if you decide to travel farther north to Birmingham, Michigan!

Ruth said...

Boots! I thought of you and said to Don (before your comment) - Wouldn't Boots love a day like this when she's here!!?

The barn star was up last year, but last year it worked. :|

You can tour our museum tree and I will tell you any stories I can remember.

Ruth said...

Loring, your wonderful dream speaks to many things, and Don and I had a good loud chuckle about it. But it's not just funny, it is very sweetly true that Don cares for his ladies.

As for the other lady, you may well be right about the Neopolitan Sicilienne. I wonder how many more Italianette names we can come up with. And I just finished watching ch. 3 in the Louvre history of art series which was about Francois Premier bringing Italian art to France, upping the art standard there. I never knew Leonardo died in France!

Ruth said...

Tammy, hi! Good call on staying home from work! And also on swearing off the whole human race if not for love, art, brilliance and compassion - I love how you put that.

I haven't been out since this morning when the snow first started, and I look at Don's snowy pantlegs when he comes in and I don't think I will go out again either.

Barry said...

I would vote for Lady Emma Hamilton as well. It's kind of nice thinking of them both still together.

By the way, Nelson lost both an arm and an eye in battle.

Having run out of body parts to give up for his country, he was just killed outright by a sniper.

Ruth said...

Oh thanks, Barry about the eye.

They're together on the tree, and I'll be sure to wrap them in the same tissue when I put them back in the Christmas tub.

Moi said...

if i'm not mistaken I think "turning a blind eye".. the phrase has origins in reference to Nelson's blind eye.............i am gonna look this one up for my Semantica blog....

and is live and let live so hard to practise ??? I am still not over that mindless bloodshed that erupted in Mumbai less than a month ago......at this rate we'll soon become immune to violence just as we seemed to have become immune to poverty.......

Moi said...

oh, and that snow is beautiful....we woke up to ice encasing the entire landscape this morning and it was, simply put, beautiful :)

Ruth said...

Hi Moi! I don't know either how to understand the desperation that leads someone to take someone else's life.

Let me know if you find the blind eye reference.

I hope you didn't have any loss of power or anything bad with the beauty of the ice storm.

carl h. sr. said...

The cello music is so rich,warm,and soothing.
The resonance is wonderful.

Ruth said...

Carl, this is one of my favorites, but I hadn't heard this version with cello and piano before I found it for this post. I love cello!

rauf said...

Every child born is an artist Ruth, Parents kill the child's creativity by dumping values and and education on him or her. The kind of education what we think is right for the child. Parents put fear in the child's mind, the fear of being wrong. They keep correcting the child everytime they think the child is wrong. Perhaps i would do the same to my child. The child is punished at the school for beig wrong. When the child grows up with a fear of being wrong, the creativity is lost.

Don said...

I was in the green barn during the snowstorm and the wind was out of the north and driving the snow sideways and it was actually snowing inside the barn!

Lord Nelson was a naughty boy

Ruth said...

rauf, one example I see in my job is parents inflicting the value of making money. I've had countless students who have changed their major to English after parents had first encouraged them to declare Finance or Medicine so they could make a good living. But the students aren't meant for it, and they decide to come back to their love of literature or writing.

Ruth said...

Don, I know the barn may not last forever with the wood siding, but I would hate to lose the space between boards for light - and snow - to come through.

Ruth said...

I meant if we had to add metal siding.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Herstory about History...

I loved reading the comments along with this wonderful presentation of life, wounds, love and weather.

Loring has cool dreams... never know what Don is cooking up in the green barn..
and rauf is so right too... he most often is...

ah, cellos... they have a way of reaching deep inside a soul...

We had quite a major snow storm a couple days ago .. very slippery... in our nearest city down the coast, Saint John.. there was a 9 car and a 12 car pileup.. snowplows and sandtrucks were in the ditch.. there were actually between 50 and 60 accidents that day.. unbelievable... they never had enough tow trucks to carry the vehicles away so things were tied up for quite some time.. even Max's bus slide off the road when they were turning..no one hurt there.. and last but not least a city bus was sliding down King st. sideways across the road... these things have never happened before in this multitude..
up to then we had no snow.. we do now...

Ruth said...

Ah, thanks, Gwen. At your place, you are all 3 artists. You must have given Max all the room to be an artist, and as sweet as you are, I don't think you forced him. But how could he help express himself creatively, seeing it modeled all around him? I guess it is never possible for children to grow up without someone's expectations shaping them, and maybe it is even important - something for them to push against. Who knows, maybe a child of artists wants to be a construction worker. Well in your case he has that modeled too! You guys know how to work hard.

The weather conditions in St. John sound terrible! You didn't mention any injuries or fatalities, and I hope that is the case, though there must have been injuries. I'm so glad Max's bus didn't have an accident. We saw plenty on the news last night in other parts. Nature reminds us who's in control. Well, enjoy your white Christmas! I look forward to seeing some beautiful views of the Bay.

Amy said...

Oh isn't it just so beautiful???? oh gosh and there is that fabulous green barn I love so much at your place...more of the pretty white stuff on the way! sending love and peace to you my new friend. Merry Christmas! xo

Ruth said...

Hi, sweet Amy! Yes I hear we're getting more tonight, you'll get it first and then share with us. Merry, merry Christmas sweetie.

Drowsey Monkey said...

oh wow - you have so much snow!

I like the way you sum up human history - lol.

Ruth said...

Drowsey, you too right, all the snow? Coast to coast for Canada I hear - white Christmas. Stay warm in those Santa hats.

Sandy said...

I played the video while looking at your pics and reading the post. I got such a calm good feeling...it lasted...and then I looked at the photos again, and I got really really cold....and I had to put on my little space heater by my bed. Now I'm all warm and am still enjoying the music...and the photos. I can handle snow when it's 70 degrees in my own personal space..ha

Lovely ornaments.

Deslilas said...

Happy Xmas from Sweden without snow but a nice sunny day
Daniel

Ruth said...

Dear Auntie Sandy, I am happy you are there in California, because you love it there. When we lived in Pasadena, I wished for the four seasons in full. So what is so good is that we are each happy where we are! And now, after just waking up, I have a sweet fire in the woodstove, my own little sun.

Ruth said...

Daniel, Joyeux Noël!

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, stupid wars,love the ornaments Ruth, here's hoping you and I both have more love-art-brillance because revenge-war and stupidity sucks but seems to be winning.

Ruth said...

Ok, Bob, let's do what we can.