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Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

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As usual on sunny days, I’m paying a lot of attention to shadows, and thinking about shadows often calls to mind these words from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended—
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.

Although Shakespeare is referring to the characters as shadows or perhaps the actors, I’m wondering whether we’re the ones who are shadows. But if so, who is slumbering and seeing visions? When I go down that path, I get all snarled up. Better back off.

Today I was planning to share light and darkness in the form of photos going back to Easter (which seems a long, long time ago for some reason), including photos of shadows. Doesn’t the picture above make you think of a New England painter best known for projecting loneliness?

Sandra M. Kelly sent pictures of the Easter Sunrise Service in New Shoreham and a statue that the folks on the island call Rebecca. Please note she’s wearing her mask.

I used a Sharpie for my hard-boiled eggs this Easter as I had no dye. There were 8 other Easter eggs representing the people who would have come here but for coronavirus. We ate them. 🙂

Kristina Joyce shot the cactus. It bloomed for her twice this Easter. She told me that had never happened before.

On April 18, we had snow, which surprised the flowering bushes at my neighbor’s. The Trout Lilies persevered.

There follow random items that caught my eye on my walks. The mystery vegetable arrived with my farm produce order Thursday. It turned out to be ramps (as in the awesome history of Appalachia called Ramp Hollow) and we sauteed the whole thing, minus roots. We saw online that you don’t cultivate ramps. They need to be foraged. They tasted like a very sharp onion.

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Photo: Patrick Zachmann/Magnum Photos
“In a 2019 fire, Notre Dame’s spire toppled and pierced its vaulted ceiling. Its lead roof melted into jagged stalactites,” writes Christa LestĂ©-Lasserre at the journal
Science.

How did you spend your Sunday? I took an early walk and watched FaceTime with my husband as Suzanne’s kids hunted for eggs. John sent a picture of his egg-hunters, and in the afternoon we chatted. I also “attended” San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church via Zoom, but it got hacked, and the church had to turn off the “chat” feature. The music was super, as usual. Then Suzanne sent me a Broadway-style Passover seder meant to raise money for the CDC Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, and I got a huge kick out of that.

Meanwhile, in Paris, online services were performed at the damaged Notre Dame Cathedral, as you can read at CNN. Reporter Alaa Elassar quotes Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit: “A year ago, the cathedral was destroyed. Today the country is ravaged by a pandemic. There’s always a message of hope, and this celebration at the heart of the cathedral will be the sign of our hope.”

My post today is about that cathedral.

Christa LestĂ©-Lasserre writes at the journal Science, “Eight restoration scientists put on hard hats and heavy-duty boots and stepped inside the blackened shell of Notre Dame de Paris, the world’s most famous cathedral. Ten days earlier, a fire had swept through its attic, melted its roof, and sent its spire plunging like an arrow into the heart of the sacred space. Now, it was silent but for the flutter of house sparrows. The space, normally sweet with incense, was acrid with ash and stale smoke. Light beamed through voids in the vaulted stone ceiling, cutting through the gloom and illuminating piles of debris on the marble floor.

“Yet the scientists, called in by France’s Ministry of Culture to inspect the damage and plan a rescue, mostly felt relief — and even hope. Rattan chairs sat in tidy rows, priceless paintings hung undamaged, and, above the altar, a great gold-plated cross loomed over the PietĂ , a statue of the virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus.

“ ‘What matters isn’t the roof and vault so much as the sanctuary they protect,’ says Aline Magnien, director of the Historical Monuments Research Laboratory (LRMH). “The heart of Notre Dame had been saved.”

“On 15 April 2019, an electrical short was the likely spark for a blaze that threatened to burn the 850-year-old cathedral to the ground. Following a protocol developed for just such a disaster, firefighters knew which works of art to rescue and in which order. They knew to keep the water pressure low and to avoid spraying stained glass windows so the cold water wouldn’t shatter the hot glass.

“But even though their efforts averted the worst, the emergency was far from over. More than 200 tons of toxic lead from the roof and spire was unaccounted for. And the damage threatened the delicate balance of forces between the vault and the cathedral’s flying buttresses: The entire building teetered on possible collapse.

“At LRMH, the laboratory tasked with conserving all the nation’s monuments, Magnien and her 22 colleagues apply techniques from geology to metallurgy as they evaluate the condition of Notre Dame’s stone, mortar, glass, paint, and metal. They aim to prevent further damage to the cathedral and to guide engineers in the national effort to restore it. …

“And even as they try to reclaim what was lost, they and others are also taking advantage of a rare scientific opportunity. The cathedral, laid bare to inspection by the fire, is yielding clues to the mysteries of its medieval past. …

“The LRMH researchers work in the former stables of a 17th century chateau in Champssur-Marne, in the eastern suburbs of Paris. … VĂ©ronique Vergès-Belmin, a geologist and head of LRMH’s stone division, was sorting cathedral stones until 10 p.m. last night. This morning, she’s the first to unlock the laboratory’s ancient oak door.

“She slips a hazmat suit over her dress clothes and slides on a respirator mask — necessary when dealing with samples contaminated with lead. In the lab’s high-roofed storage hangar — once a garage for the chateau’s carriages — she presents several dozen stones that fell from the cathedral’s vaulted ceiling. Fallen stones hint at the condition of those still in place, which are largely inaccessible. The scientists can’t risk adding their weight to the top of the vault, and debris falling near the holes in the ceiling makes it dangerous to inspect the structure from below. Many of the samples in the lab were retrieved by robots.

“Heat can weaken limestone, and knowing the temperatures endured by these fallen stones can help engineers decide whether they can be reused. Vergès-Belmin has found that the stones’ color can provide clues. At 300°C to 400°C, she says, iron crystals that help knit the limestone together begin to break down, turning the surface red. … ‘Any colored stones or parts should not be reused.’ …

“Philippe Dillmann, an LRMH collaborator and a metal specialist with CNRS, the French national research agency, believes rust from the cathedral’s iron structures can provide similar clues. At increasing temperatures, the microscopic structure of the rust changes. By investigating the cathedral’s nuts and bolts — literally — as well as a ‘chaining’ system of iron bars within and around its walls, Dillmann wants to create a heat map for the nearby stones. He says it’s unknown whether these bars were used in construction and left in place or served as reinforcement. …

“Beyond the physical damage left by the fire is the emotional trauma suffered by thousands of Parisians and others, and CNRS researchers are also investigating this hidden aftermath.

Sylvie Sagnes, a CNRS ethnologist with the Interdisciplinary Institute of Contemporary Anthropology in Paris, is part of a group that will interview tourists, locals, guides, journalists, donors, and church members to analyze the fire’s emotional effect.

“She says people can display a powerful attachment to monuments, parks, and historical sites. When people mobilize to protect heritage, she says, it’s a democratic expression — something French anthropologists studied 30 years ago during a public outcry against planned renovations of a basilica in Toulouse. In the case of Notre Dame, strong feelings are intensifying controversies around its restoration, such as whether to rebuild it exactly as it was.

“ ‘Notre Dame isn’t just any monument,’ she says. ‘After the fire, people remain emotionally implicated.’ ” Over to you, Pierman Sister.

More at Science.

P.S. Do take a look at Andrea Bocelli singing in Milan’s Duomo on Easter, here.

Photo: CNN
A meditation ceremony was arranged at the damaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to celebrate Good Friday 2020.

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Whatever you did today, I hope it was nice. We had an egg hunt at our house (this year’s whacky egg-coloring technique worked well), and then we played in the park.

Above, you see the baskets ready for the four grandchildren. The painting on the wall is by my oldest grandson, who is not quite 9.

Below, looking pensive, is our youngest grandchild.

I used a branch of an early rhododenron to hang Easter ornaments.

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Yesterday was beautiful. Everyone wanted to be outside. I walked along one of my favorite woodland trails, which connects to the cemetery. At gravesites, there were more Christmas decorations, brown and tattered, than Easter ones. I think if I were a doing cemetery remembrances at holidays, I’d remove them when I took down the decorations at my house. But perhaps family members don’t live nearby.

Pansies seem to be favored for spring.

On Monument Street, a man waiting by a gift shop for his wife volunteered as I passed, “Nice to be in the sun again. It’s been a long winter.” Indeed. In like a lion, out like a lamb.

The Easter Egg Hunt was at my house. The magnificent matzoh balls (made with ginger and nutmeg) are the work of my sister-in-law Lisa.

Whatever you celebrated this weekend I hope that your day was lovely.

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Back when Suzanne was a Girl Scout, one of the mothers (I think it was Grace) came up with a spring project, a recipe for a Greek cookie that the girls could mold into bunny shapes for Easter.

It was called koulourakia, and it was yummy. I still have a copy of the recipe the mom printed by hand. She had provided the girls with an extra challenge by listing all the ingredients as anagrams: trebut for butter, gusra for sugar, kilm for milk, and so on. They had to translate before getting started baking.

I looked online for relevant pictures. I love that the Greek recipe with the most rabbit-like photos was from a South Indian cooking site, here.

For the Girl Scout bunnies, we didn’t twist the dough as in the picture but instead formed it into fat bunny shapes.

Someone remind me to make this recipe next year.

Photo: Zesty South Indian Kitchen
Greek Easter Cookies (koulourakia)

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Getting everyone together at a holiday doesn’t always work out the way you think, but whoever shows up makes for a fun time.

My youngest granddaughter, four months old, can’t handle the car seat or a long drive these days, so she and Erik bowed out a week ago. My older granddaughter got a stomach bug at the last minute, so she and her mom stayed home the night before instead of staying over with us. In spite of my daughter-in-law’s unexpected sickroom duty, she sent along a beautiful fruit salad and muffins.

John and my oldest grandson spent the night at our house. My husband and I had dug up a few of our bunny storybooks. The one that my brother wore out 60 years ago — and that has a pop-up illustration with my replacement bunny head on it — was a hit. Funny Bunny, by Alice and Martin Provensen, is about a solution-oriented little guy who was called “funny” because he had no tail. After admiring everyone else’s tail, he agrees he is not quite complete and sets off for a distant cotton patch in a great hurry, not stopping to say good morning to any of his woodland friends. “Funny Bunny had a plan. And he was in a hurry to see if it would work.” Hoping to avoid spoilers, I’ll just say that Funny Bunny’s solution involves sticky pine pitch.

Another hit was Suzanne’s all-time favorite Easter book, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, written by Dubose Heyward, with illustrations by Marjorie Flack. It’s quite a long story, and I was impressed that my grandson followed it all the way through. It is full of wisdom about what it takes to be a true star. (Super heroes, listen up!)

Suzanne and my younger grandson arrived with latkes and tulips for the egg-and-candy hunt and lunch. More gatherings are on the horizon, with both grandsons celebrating birthdays within the next few weeks. Whoever turns up, it will be fun.

Art: Albrecht DĂĽrer
Borrowed from artyfactory

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flowering-tree-BostonlEven though it was a bit chilly early on, the flowering trees and sunshine suggested that spring isn’t going back on us.

After church, we had a lively, chaotic Easter egg hunt and marching band with grandkids who are 1, 2, and 4 and very funny.

Then came a leisurely brunch with a beautiful fruit salad from my daughter-in-law, and new recipe for egg strata that turned out very well.

My husband and I got a little bonus time with Suzanne and Erik as the three of us tried to tire out the two-year-old in the playground before his car ride back home.

Suzanne is always up for an Easter egg hunt. In fact, Liz, her roommate, used to do the honors for her back in college. Liz sent Suzanne a text this year to make sure that everyone’s Easter was being taken care of.

Easter-at-churchdyed-eggsWhatever you celebrate, I hope you had a sunny weekend.

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I liked this National Public Radio story on a Jewish South American composer creating a St. Mark’s Passion that uses many ethnic styles and has enthusiastic urban kids in the chorus.

Anastasia Tsioulcas writes, “Salsa rhythms, Brazilian martial arts and a Jewish prayer of mourning: It’s not exactly what you would expect from a classical composer’s setting of the Gospel according to St. Mark. But that’s exactly what Argentine Jewish composer Osvaldo Golijov, a MacArthur ‘genius,’ did when he was asked to write a choral work based on one of the gospels, in a hugely acclaimed piece that’s been presented around the globe …

” ‘I never expected a Passion to have this funk and Spanish and everything inside it. I never thought I would be able to sing them,’ says Andrew Farella, a 16-year-old bass in the chorus. He and his friend Jerry Ortiz, another 16-year-old bass, say they’re thrilled to hear all these different kinds of music within Golijov’s work — ones they know well from their own lives.

” ‘I’m actually very excited to do this piece, me being from the Latin culture,’ says Ortiz, who is Dominican and Puerto Rican. ‘Everything that’s in here is based on my culture, my background. So I can feel the music when we sing it. I was kind of surprised to hear African and also Indian stuff. But he talked about how in Latin America we come from three places. There’s our white side, our Native American side and there’s our African side. And that’s basically what La PasiĂłn is — coming from those three to combine into one, the Holy Trinity.’ ”

Follow this link to read more and hear the music.

Something different for Easter.

Photo: Chris Lee/Carnegie Hall
A coach and high school students work on Osvaldo Golijov’s Passion According to St. Mark with the composer (right) in November 2012.

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“GLAD PĂ…SK!” says Margareta by e-mail from Sweden.

Back in the States, my grandson did his first egg hunt. He caught on quickly. Meanwhile, I pulled together an Easter bonnet — like Cinderella and the mice. I don’t have wicked stepsisters, so the bonnet made it through the festivities without recourse to a fairy godmother.

The base hat is one I’ve had for years (sans ribbon and rabbit). It is made 100% of paper and packs really well.

Next year my daughter-in-law is going to help me search thrift shops for Easter bonnets. Let me know if you want to come.

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