Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thursday's Bird is Going for a Swim

A female black scoter heads out into the ocean.

I love sea ducks. They seem to be more adventuresome than pond ducks. According to my Peterson Field Guide, female black scoters vocalize by growling. That sounds pretty fierce. Black scoters are declining in numbers, so it was special to see one the other week at the beach.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Early Christian Symbolism

These two birds drinking from a chalice are on display outside the Basilica of Sant'Appolinare  in Classe, outside Ravenna. I believe they were taken from some other church in the area.

In the very early days of Christianity, this symbol was understood by Christians to represent the Eucharist and its power to keep "you"[those who participated] in everlasting life. Those who were not Christians would not necessarily understand the symbolism.

The motif is found in the Roman catacombs as well as on the sides of (much later) baptismal fonts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday Macabre-y: This guy

As seen from the Grand Canal in Venice, this architectural reminder of someone who died in Rome. Or something. 

Here's a close up. Anybody's Italian good enough to explain what this is about?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Poem: Hell

“THROUGH me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of Power divine,       
Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love. 
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.”

Dante Alighieri Canto III 1-9

This is a sculpture by Russian artist Georgy Frangulyan
called Dante and Virgil. It's in the middle of the lagoon between
the Fondamento Nuovo ferry stop and the Isola San Michelle (the cemetery island)
where several famous Russians, including Igor Stravinsky and Joseph Brodsky, are buried.

Monday, August 15, 2016

St Mary the Virgin

O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tuesday Tabernacle: Orsanmichele

This is the tabernacle in Orsanmichele, in Florence.

The church building itself was built in 1336 as a grain store and market on the site of an oratory and within the garden area of a monastery. About fifty years later, became more used as a church but still as a granary store house. (The market was moved elsewhere.)

The gothic tabernacle was designed by Andrea di Cione di Arcangelo (aka Orcagna) and houses a beautiful madonna and child by Bernardo Daddi (1347, a pupil of Giotto).

If you look closely, you will see that the tabernacle fits perfectly inside the church. The halo on the figure on the very top of the tabernacle touches the frescoed ceiling.

Unlike some of the other huge churches in Florence, this one does not take a long time to visit and see all there is to see inside. It you can go on a Monday, you can go upstairs to see the originals of the statues that adorn the exterior of the building, but either way, it's well worth the visit.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Monday Poem: Argyle on Knocknagaroon

Argyle on Knocknagaroon

Related Poem Content Details

Because he barely heard the voice of God
above the hum of other choristers—
batwing and bird-whistle, gathering thunder,
the hiss of tides retreating, children, cattle;
because he could not readily discern
the plan Whoever Is In Charge Here has,
he wondered about those who claimed to have
blessed assurances or certainty:
a One and Only Way and Truth and Life,
as if Whatever Breathes in Everything  
mightn’t speak in every wondrous tongue;
as if, of all creations, only one
made any sense. It made no sense to him.  
Hunger he understood, touch, desire.  
He knew the tenderness humans could do,
no less brutalities.  He knew the cold
morning, the broad meadow, the gold sunset.
One evening on the hill of Knocknagaroon,
the Atlantic on one side, the Shannon 
on the other, the narrowing headlands
of the peninsula out behind him,
the broad green palm of Moveen before him,
it seemed he occupied the hand of God:
open, upturned, outstretched, uplifting him.


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