‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
I was reminded of this song (by Joseph Brackett in 1848) when I was on Facebook this morning and Maura posted some photos of Christmas making at a mental hospital in Calcutta, India. They were making holiday cheer from colored paper- the paper chains being my personal favorite. They were sharing some sweet treats and gifts thanks in part to Mustard Seeds Kolkata. The photos immediately gave rise to the first line of that song. (Judy Collins has a nice version of it here.)
I post this today as we turn the corner on the shortest day of the year to see the days grow longer. Thankfully, for there is much to be done ahead of us. Simplicity might just be one of the answers don’t you think? In that simplicity perhaps we can become freer, turning, turning and in the end, delight in the coming ’round right.
I think Joseph Bracket was onto something here. Of course we are all familiar with the Aaron Copland version of this in Appalachian Spring. Another favorite. And speaking of Spring….
It seems a good day to plant another kind of seed. A sweet friend gifted me some of her native California milkweed seeds. (thanks Colleen!). Meanwhile, outside in the garden I think the last monarchs are finishing their meals and heading for their transformations.
A seed is like an idea- it needs planting and nourishing, sunlight, warmth, and sometimes protection. I will never forget my visit to Luther Burbank’s historical home in Santa Rosa. I posted about it here in December of 2012 and have gone back to this post many times. Take special note of his “seed vault”.
As we move into the coming year, I think there will be some need for “seed protectors” in our communities. I wonder what you want to protect? A few things come to my mind…
Life, health, and human dignity are a few of the things that come immediately to my mind. This will take a community of protectors.
On a personal level, I want to protect wonder, compassion, beauty, love and peace.
I will find these things in small corners. They will be found in the piercing of a needle through cloth with hand dyed thread. I will find them in the tip of a brush where it meets with paper. I will always find them in the small and large details of Nature where ever I am. I will find them in the people I surround myself with, the actions I take, the words I hear, write and speak.
I will find wonder, compassion, beauty, love and peace -and protect it.
Yes, I will.