Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Scenes from Martinmas

Our chalkboard drawing for Martinmas
apples for the spiced cider
Oliver telling the story
Sheree teaching us songs

candlelit walk down Center Street
Ha! Another party at the cottage in the dark...well subdued lighting anyway.  This season of darkness and the necessity of turning to the light that lives within each of us is my favorite! Sharing stories about compassionate acts warms the heart and inspires us to do the same. It's traditional to tell about a Christian saint named Martin who with his sword rent his Roman army-issued cloak in two and gave half to a freezing beggar.  There are many versions of this story; this is one of my favorites. Oliver has researched the ancient city of Amiens, where the story takes place, and their relationship to the Celtic god Cernunnos. He incorporated pagan elements into his very unique and gorgeous version of the story; including an encounter in the forest with the Great Stag. What surprised me was that Ezra had remembered the story from last year's celebration. As Oliver told the story, Ezra ran and grabbed props. And as if on cue he handed Oliver a stick to be Martin's sword and a silk cloth to be the cloak. Story telling lives in this child!

After the story, Sheree, who taught music in public schools in California for 25 years, skillfully led us in three songs; a spirited version of "This Little Light of Mine",  a traditional Iroquois song "Wild Goose Flight" with hand motions that was accompanied by Oliver and a couple of the kids on the wooden bass xylophone, and a Russian Peace Hymn, whose haunting melody makes me cry.

We then walked with our lanterns to a local park and placed our lanterns at the base of an apple tree. Then all fifteen of us held hands and sang the Russian Peace Hymn to the tree as we circled around. 

Back at the cottage we warmed ourselves with hot apple cider that Ezra and I had made from apples picked at a neighbor's.

The whole evening was magical. and spiritual. and community building. I can feel my heart aglow every time I remember martinmas and the dear people who gathered with us to celebrate.