Last night we attended a nearby annual event, Barnstorm, which included live music, dancing, food, a pumpkin-carving contest, and conversation.
Women in the window! There were windows on all four sides of the second floor of this marvelous old barn.
The interior of the second floor was home to the festivities. The small loft above was used decoratively.
The stage, ready for a variety of musical acts.
Three women, three paper lanterns ~ waiting for the music to begin.
A musical beginning. The show was opened with a lively guitar and ukulele number.
More music ~ Em and Kate
Some of the entries in the pumpkin-carving contest.
A Jack o Lantern with quite the nose.
Goodnight, Barnstorm! We left early and missed many musical acts, dancing, and the pumpkin judging. Several people brought tents, which were pitched outside the barn for those wanting to sleep over. I opted for my cozy bed at home.
First there was the snowstorm. Then the ice storm. Now more snow is predicted tonight. Today, with the rare sunshine, my new camera and I walked around the property. It is a beautiful, enchanted landscape, but the trees and bushes are bowed under the weight of it.
The weather makes me think of Fire and Ice, the Robert Frost poem.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great,
And would suffice.
“Fire and Ice” was inspired by a passage in Canto 32 of Dante’s Inferno, in which the worst offenders of hell, the traitors, are submerged, while in a fiery hell, up to their necks in ice: “a lake so bound with ice, / It did not look like water, but like a glass … right clear / I saw, where sinners are preserved in ice.”
In an anecdote he recounted in 1960 in a “Science and the Arts” presentation, prominent astronomer Harlow Shapley claims to have inspired “Fire and Ice”. Shapley describes an encounter he had with Robert Frost a year before the poem was published in which Frost, noting that Shapley was the astronomer of his day, asks him how the world will end. Shapley’s response is that either the sun will explode and incinerate the Earth, or the Earth will somehow escape this fate only to end up slowly freezing in deep space. Shapley then describes his surprise at seeing “Fire and Ice”, which seems to ponder the question of which of these two outcomes will occur, published a year later, and cites it as an example of how science can influence the creation of art, or clarify its meaning. Although the poem does seem to pose a scientific question of how the world may end, most critics agree that this serves to mask the darker meaning of the poem, that flaws of the human heart are capable of leading to the destruction of the world at any time.
For those interested in myth, metaphor, and meaning, above and below are links to the movie Mythic Journeys I mentioned in my last post. The stop motion “Bone Orchard” part of the film was screened at the event I just attended; to see the rest, I purchased the 2 DVD set. The imagery is beautiful, and the words are inspiring. The “tree girl” pictured on these banners was based on the work of Virginia Lee, artist Alan Lee’s daughter. And the “Bone Orchard” segments of the film are based on puppets crafted by Brian and Wendy Froud.
Today my daughter and I returned from another realm, where we spent a weekend immersed in myth, story, music, and art.
Here are photos taken just before the Good Faeries Ball (I recycled my Halloween costume for this):
And just before the Bad Fairies Ball:
We also attended panels of writers and artists, including Brian and Wendy Froud, Jane Yolen, and others.
Of particular interest to me was the session by Whitney and Steven Boe on their film Mythic Journeys, about the importance of myth, enchantment, and spirituality for our lives.
Brian and Wendy Froud, Whitney and Steven Boe
A handmade bench provided a focal point. It is really a headboard but framed a bench for this event.
It was a special weekend.
The Factionist/via Flickr
Today on an NPR blog I read about a symposium (at Concordia College in Minnesota) regarding “re-enchantment.” The posting caught my eye because “re-enchantment” is one of my forms of sacred play.
From the College’s website:
Awakening to Wonder: Re-enchantment in a Post-Secular Age
The symposium will explore the role of wonder in today’s world by asking such questions as:
- What role does wonder play in popular culture, including literature, movies, and games, and what is the significance of the current attention to wonder and mystery in these areas?
- What place does wonder have within the intellectual vocation of making sense of the world?
- Can reason and wonder coexist, or are they in serious conflict with one another?
- How and why is the place of religion changing in the contemporary world?
- Do such changes in religion involve changes in our sense of the world as a locus of wonder?
- What are the experiences writers in a wide range of fields of study have in mind when they speak of re-enchantment?
- Do shared experiences of wonder represent a common ground where people of different faiths, cultures, and academic disciplines might meet, understand and appreciate each other, or explore solutions to problems they have in common?
How I wish I could have attended! A post-secular age. The rebirth of wonder.
At this time of year, when the green melts away from the tree leaves, leaving on display the reds and golds; when the air has that delicious crispness in the morning; when the pace of summer activities has slowed; when I feel myself beginning to be drawn inward ~ the story-spinning part of me begins to awaken, and of course it whispers of inner and far-out worlds. My fingers itch to create masks and otherworldly garments, all in the service of re-enchantment, at a time on the wheel of the year when the earth appears to be falling into a doze.
Awaken! We need new, more expansive ways of understanding the world and our places within it. May our common ground in experiences of wonder lead to many stories, works of imagination, and the enchantment that will empower our creative connections to this amazing planet, and with one another.
Sounds like it would be impossible, but my Dead Nettle is in bloom.
Dead Nettle, blooming in June.
Dead Nettle blossoms against today’s blue sky.
Blossoms against the sky.