Candlemas

 

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A lovely feast, poised exactly between the winter and spring solstices, and a time of hope. It is also 40 days after Christmas, and is therefore the mirror feast of Pentecost, in this case for the presentation of Christ in the Temple (the prophetic word arriving in the sanctuary), rather than the flaming Spirit descending on earth (God’s revelation shared with and through us all).

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These photos were taken in the dark of the week before Christmas, in Salisbury Cathedral. The installation of giant paper peonies and roses was suspended behind the high altar in a candlelit space, lavender oil scenting the air, and above duvets and pillows laid out so that visitors could rest and look at the ceiling. It is one of the most magical and peaceful things I’ve seen, and again had a dual twist of blossom/snowfall and the spirit at Pentecost.

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All photos by me, December 2016.

Guilia Balletti

A recent Instagram discovery, I raced through Guilia’s feed, taking these screenshots which are perfect for the mood at this time of year. The foggy canal especially reminds me of a walk I took on an eerily quiet New Year’s Eve.

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All images, and many more, to be found here.

Herdwick ahoy

 

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The Herdwick Shepherd’s twitter feed has far better photos than these, but here’s a taster of how hypnotic his photos are.

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A quick look at these on the Tube and I feel my blood pressure sink, in direct proportion to my rising thankfulness that I wasn’t out at 4am tending the sheep.

Calming

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I came across this painting by Fanny Churburg in the Helsinki Ateneum earlier this year, and was struck by it. There’s something very bold about this painting and the style is looser than seems to have been the norm for her. I was tempted to post some of her other still lifes – there’s a great one with some fish and a cauliflower – but they just looked too prissy next to this. I wonder if she’d been inspired by another artist like Cezanne when she painted this, or was just experimenting. Either way this wouldn’t look out of place in a 1920s Bloomsbury Sussex cottage, although I believe it’s about half a century older.

image via mutualart.com

The heron-priested shore

It was my thirtieth year to heaven

Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood

And the mussel pooled and the heron-priested shore

The morning beckon

With water praying and call of seagull and rook

And the knock of sailing boats on the net-webbed wall

Myself to set foot

That second

In the still sleeping town and set forth.

 

The first verse of  “it was my thirtieth year to heaven” by Dylan Thomas.