Monday 29 March 2021

Worm Moon plus lots of Festivals

Last night was the Worm Moon, the third full moon of the year. I didn't see it. The clouds were thick, the wind was vicious, but I knew that Worm Moon was there, somewhere above the swirling nebulae. (Did you know that every full moon has a name? I thought that only applied to the Harvest Moon.)

Apparently it's called Worm Moon because the earth has warmed up enough for the worms to come to the surface, providing a culinary perk for robins and various other small birds. I only have to watch our resident robin and his partner to know that this is correct.

This year the Worm Moon is also called the Paschal Moon because it's the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. This got me thinking. Paschal is from the Aramaic 'pasha' and the Hebrew 'pesah'. It means 'the passing over'. The word refers to both the Christian festival of Easter and the Jewish festival of Passover/Pesach, (it's in Exodus Chapter 12 verses 13 to 23). If I'm interpreting it correctly both festivals, although very different in practice, are about freedom and salvation. 

They're not the only festivals occurring this time of the year. It is rather a busy time for festivals. So here's the festival run-down. I hope that I've illustrated them appropriately and that I haven't missed any:

Last week the Spring Equinox was celebrated by Pagans.

The Spring Equinox is the new year in Iran and is called Nowruz.

The Jewish festival of Passover began on Saturday evening and lasts for eight days.

Yesterday (Sunday) was the first day of the Hindu festival of Holi. 

Today is the Muslim festival of Shab-e-Barat. 

Today is also the Sikh festival of Hola Mahalla.

The Christian festival of Easter begins this week with Maundy Thursday followed by Good Friday. 

I don't pretend to understand the finer nuances of all these festivals but I have a feeling that incorporated in all of them is a hope/prayer for freedom, peace and security. If we all hoped/prayed together then maybe our joint voices would have an effect. Now, wouldn't that be a result!

Whatever festival you are observing right now, have a good one.

Sunday 21 March 2021

My contribution to World Poetry Day

March 21 is World Poetry Day.
I do hope you’ve all taken time
to ensure that your writing and clever word play
is exploding with rhythm and rhyme.

Record your to-do list in long ballad form,
leave the milkman a note in Haiku.
Your limerick emails will go down a storm.
Why not tweet out a tanka or two.

I’m planning to talk in rhyme all of today
chatting sonnets and ballads and more.
I will rap and give rhythm to all that I say
using couplets and triplets galore…

…except Mr A has asked me to please stop as it’s a tad annoying!

Saturday 20 March 2021

Looking forward - fire pits and all

There's nothing like seeing your name in print to encourage a return to the keyboard. I had been suffering from lockdown lethargy but when The Pomegranate London magazine landed on my mat last week I was proud, excited and enthused. It's a lovely magazine, quality print, illustrations, varied reading material and of course it includes my poem, The Circus Barker. Not bad for £5. As a result of this renewed enthusiasm I've submitted four poems this week and have several more just about good to go.

That doesn't mean I've not had time for other activities (with apologies for the double negative!) In the UK from March 29th we should, as long as the virus doesn't re-spike, be allowed to invite friends into our gardens for socially distanced afternoon tea - or indeed morning coffee. Leicester in April can be bitter but I'm desperate for social interaction so today I ordered a fire pit for the patio. 

Initially I thought it sounded like something from a Roman arena with battling lions and slaves but internet images have put my mind at rest. I might also order a chimnea - those pot-bellied affairs with a little chimney. I need to see how effective the fire pit is first. 

I must say, I am normally a careful and conservative shopper, taking days if not weeks to decide whether or not to buy new items but with the sniff of lockdown-relaxations I am afraid I have become totally reckless.

The rest of the day was spent helping Mr A with the rubbing down and painting of the patio table and chairs so that they're ready for the onslaught of visitors. All I have to do now is to find people who would like to visit!

Wednesday 10 March 2021

How to keep a gratitude journal...

...or should that be 'how not to'?

A few weeks ago Daughter gave me a gift of a pink journal. It has a soft, leathery cover and is compulsively tactile. She told me it was for recording daily gratitudes. She said that this method of dealing with negative thoughts has now replaced the old 'dumping of baggage' journal, explaining that writing negatives down every night was reinforcing them in your mind. Writing gratitudes down every night will reinforce the positive. 

Reinforcing positives certainly makes sense but it took me a few weeks to get the hang of it. For a start I began by picking out events that had previously been a negative in my life but had now improved and so I could record my gratitude, for example the Covid rate going down to below 100 per 100,000 in our area. Daughter told me that this was not the idea at all. It was to find pleasing, gratifying moments. She saw the blank look on my face - I'm afraid I am something of a 'glass half empty' person - and so she gave me examples. 

    "Look Mum, how about writing it down next time you see that woodpecker at the bird feeder and the way you told me how he sends showers of seed all over the place for the smaller birds to clean up... or... or you could write about that daffodil bud in the garden, look, the way its yellow petals are just beginning to unfold. That's positive. That's gratitude."

I may have remembered the conversation slightly wrongly. Daughter will probably read this, roll her eyes and say that I've still not quite grasped how to keep a gratitude journal but I think I'm getting there. 

I saw the woodpecker again today and as for the daffodils, they're looking lovely and I had to smile at the pretty pink hellebore photobombing my daffodil shot...

Have a good week.

Tuesday 2 March 2021

Max Out In The Lake District

Recently my daily breakfast has been transformed. While I munch on my toast I 'walk' through Cumbria's stunning Lake District with Max the springer spaniel, his two siblings and their owner, Kerry Irving.

It was only when Max the Miracle Dog was awarded an animal OBE last month that I found out about him and his Facebook Page, Max Out In The Lake District. Max is a therapy dog and has helped thousands of people overcome depression. Kerry Irving explains how his dog Max saved his life after he had a road traffic accident. He was unable to walk and sank into a serious depression but Max helped him through it. You can read the article from the Guardian newspaper of 19 Feb 2021 here: Guardian article.

Kerry Irving creates live posts of his daily walks on his Facebook Page and that's how I'm able to join him and his three springer spaniels as they walk through the breathtakingly beautiful countryside. 

Photo of Max from the Guardian article

On a personal note: I very much miss my cats, Charlie and Mabel. When Josh the dog died in 2011 I said 'never again' to another dog. I said 'never again' to more cats when Mable died a few months ago. I still miss her very much and hate living without animals but I don't know if I can bear the pain and worry of living with them. And this pandemic isn't helping me to make a sensible decision as we still can't get out and about. So in the meantime, while I decide what to do about pets, I'll carry on walking with Max and his two doggie siblings. I hope you enjoy their videos as much as I do.