from darkness to light

hello dear friends.

i know, it’s been a long time since i’ve posted, but life’s been busy. mostly with things that so quickly fill idle days that they spill over into restless nights. thankfully, as a dear friend once said, tomorrow’s another day.

speaking of, it was an unseasonal 80 degrees in central texas today(!), yet the snow is once again falling here at grow where you’re planted. if nothing else, the animated pixels help to remind me that no, it isn’t the time for donning halloween costumes but to trim trees, plug in the sparkly lights and bask in the warm glow of an oven filled with sweet and savory treats.

in a few days the winter solstice will be upon us and the hours of daylight will balance those of darkness. it brings to mind a song and animated short i’ve twice now seasonally featured, the winter song, sung by sara bareilles and ingrid michaelson. (pardon the short ad)

i’ve appreciated the story it tells, that spring will once again triumph over winter. this time however, listening to the lyrics immediately brought to mind the recent tragedy in connecticut… i couldn’t help but let the tears well up in my eyes and fall on my face, particularly to these lyrics

this is my winter song / december never felt so wrong / because you’re not where you belong / inside my arms

i watched the animation, and again, the tears fell during those lyrics. but watching the little girls play in the woods, looking for any signs of life and finding a heart emerging from the snowmelt made me wonder as if there might be hope afterall… hope for more nurturing… for more care and compassion… for more time discovering and celebrating the tiny miracles that constantly surround us… amid so much darkness, fear and pain.

this is my winter song to you / the storm is coming soon / it rolls in from the sea / my love a beacon in the night / my words will be your light / to carry you to me / is love alive

this past weekend we heard eliza gilkyson sing & play with her band at the austin armadillo christmas bazaar. while looking up her albums afterward i coincidentally stumbled upon a song she wrote in response to the 2004 indian ocean tsunami, requiem. i recall connecting to it when i first heard the duet she performed with her daughter. since then it’s been performed by various groups in response to several challenging moments we’ve since experienced… for katrina… and japan… perhaps it’s already been shared for newtown. i don’t think she played this song at the bazaar – if she had, there wouldn’t have been a dry eye in the room. it’s a song that allows one to grieve and lament, but to also be embraced and consoled. i find comfort in these particular lyrics

mother mary, full of grace, awaken

mary, fill the glass to overflowing / illuminate the path where we are going / have mercy on us all

oh mother mary find us where we’ve fallen out of grace / lead us to a higher place

in the dark night of our soul / our broken hearts you can make whole

oh mother mary come and carry us in your embrace / let us see your gentle face, mary

here’s a link to an npr story where eliza talks about writing requiem – and where you can listen the original arrangement sung with her daughter – and another link by craig hella johnson who collaborated with eliza on a choral arrangement for conspirare.

may these songs bring us all a little comfort as we transition from darkness into light.

i don’t know… paper landscapes

i stumbled across a lovely little video today… i’ve heard this song by lisa hannigan, but hadn’t seen the video.  check it out, you might like it too:

while she has a lovely voice, lisa didn’t construct the paper landscape that surrounds her, maeve clancy did.  ever since i found nikki mcclure back in grad school, i’ve admired the simple lines of cut paper.  now i have another paper artist to admire.  thanks to rag & bone bindery, for introducing us!

a cavalry of birds

i was accompanied by hundreds of cedar waxwings this morning, who apparently enjoy starting their day with sun salutations as much as i do. (click on the photos for a better view)

cedar waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) in the yellow budded oak trees

cedar waxwings, sunning their yellow bellies

i was planning on posting a video of the 300+ waxwings swooping in and out of the trees, but my camera file doesn’t want to load for some reason.  they’re a very social bird, and are mesmerizing to watch… i guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.  so instead, i suggest you listen to this pretty little song i just discovered by amy cook that captures the essence of watching them…

winter song

i couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate winter solstice with you all:

this beautiful song was written and sung by sara bareilles and ingrid michaelson.  the video was animated by crush design and art direction.  the song and video were released last year, when i originally heard and fell in love with it.  the combination brought both tears and smiles to my face…

may your winter be warm and light fill your heart…