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December 2011
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February 2012

January 2012

The palette of winter

First snow 4

It's the first snow of the season. Tilly and I woke up to a world that's been dusted with icing sugar.

First snow 3

Admittedly it's not much of a snow, not compared to the storms of last January....

Bench in snow copy

...but this lighter touch of snow has a magic of its own, painting the landscape with a whole new palette of colors: of snow gleam and shadow, silver and ash,  subtle greens and ochres and reds and blue-greys, composed into quiet beauty.

First snow

Tilly loves it, of course. And so do I. It won't last long, and that makes it more precious...

I copy

...much like life itself. A reminder this morning, from old, wise Mama Nature, to treasure it all while we're here.

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Today's tunes are from North Carolina's The Avett Brothers, who've been on the CD player in my studio quite a lot lately. I just can't get enough of their bluegrass-flavored harmonies, backed up by Scott Avett's piano and banjo and Joe Kwon's gorgeous cello. When the sun sets behind the Devon hills outside the studio windows, I turn up the volume and lose myself in their music, and on tough days that helps.

Above: a live version of "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise."

Below: "I and Love and You," performed on NovaFM radio.

In Memorium

Thomas Hine

"I want my life to be a good strong one - not strong like a Mr. Universe, but like a good strong cup of tea, full of flavour." - Thomas Samoht Hine

This post is in tribute to my friend and down-the-street neighbour Thomas Hine, who many in the Mythic Arts community will know from his West-Country Folklore group and blog. Thomas passed away on Wednesday morning, at much too young an age. My heart goes out to his wife (painter/poet Lunar Hine), their young daughter, his beloved aunt and extended family...and to everyone in his wide, wide circle of friends here in our village, and far beyond.

In addition to his work as a folklore scholar and blogger, Thomas had trained as an archaeologist, and was also an artist, fiddle player, and organic gardener who loved all things mythical, magical, hand-crafted, and home-grown. That's Thomas above, arranging an exhibition of his artwork at the Courtyard Cafe here in Chagford ... and below on fiddle, making music with Jason Hancox, Steve Dooley, Rima Staines, and Howard at an Equinox bonfire last spring.

I knew that Thomas had heart problems, but he was so full of life and joy that it was easy to forget this about him -- so when the ambulance came speeding onto our road I feared for the health of various elderly neighbours, never dreaming that we were losing our Thomas. It seems just a blink of an eye ago that Howard, Victoria, and I were dancing at Lunar and Thomas' wedding. Yesterday we gathered again, this time for our friend's burial procession, celebrating his life with music, art, pagan prayers and folk pageantry. Thomas believed in the magic of myth and the land, and now he is part of that magic.

I wish he had had many more decades of time to make his mark on the Mythic Arts field ... but his life was indeed a strong one, just as he'd wished, full of flavour, full of art, and full of people who loved him.

He will be missed. And he will be remembered.

Musicians at Spring Equionox bonfire 2011

Edited to add: Rima Staines has written a beautiful post about Thomas, and his very folkloric funeral, here: "The elf with the upside-down heart."

May Day Bonfire photograph by Thomas Hine 2011

Morning prayer

Tilly in the winter woods

“I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.” ― Saul Bellow

Grant me stillness today. Attentiveness. And, most of all, a creative focus that is quiet, patient, and rooted in these beloved matter where life's storms may take me.