It’s thundering outdoors, which makes it a perfect evening to listen to one of those songs that you feel that you have always sheltered, unexpressed, in your heart:
This song, introduced in 1963, is from the classic Hindi film “Humrahi.”
Just as the two lovers sing these sweet words to each other, I sing to the heavy-laden clouds, the mist, and the dazzling shards of lightning that have joined together in the skies tonight…
[Please forgive this rough translation!]
Flowers bloom upon each path you walk as you smile
Where you stop for a breath becomes a place of intoxication
The cool, gentle breeze touches you
and carries your fragrance with it
But I stand, perplexed, at your face…
The rhythms of gardening at dusk spur thoughts from all ends, and I find that patterns in nature are not too far away from the shades of our own lives. Even with the hustle and bustle of rush hour traffic, smog, and endless texts, the lives we lead run parallel to the lives of the rose and the hydrangea.
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We have all been so caught up in the Christmas magic that we have nearly forgotten the heat of the rest of the world!
After a long drive into the sunset, my mother, father, sister, and I curled up by the fireplace, lit all our wildflower- and jasmine-scented candles, and sank into our favorite Christmas tunes. Of course, with our fascination for languages that we can only wish we understood, we ended up listening to a lot of music in French, German, and Dutch!
Here’s one in French, called “Petit Papa Noel”:
It’s a beautiful Christmas night
Snow spreads its white coat
And eyes lift toward the sky
On their knees, small children
Before closing their eyelids
Say one last request
Little Father Christmas
When you come down from the sky
With toys by the thousands
Don’t forget my little shoe.
Soon after, we came across the joys that are Heintje and Peter Alexander! None of us understood word of what either of them were saying, but Heintje’s seraphic voice made us all stop in place, and Peter Alexander had us rolling in laughter.
Here’s an episode in which Heintje features in Alexander’s show (“Deine tränen sind auch meine,” 1970):
Hope all of you had a very warm and Merry Christmas!
NBC’s miserable rendition of Hollywood’s classic, The Sound of Music, aired live last night with a flat Carrie Underwood playing the part of Maria.
So, for those of you smarting as much I as I did last night, here’s Julie & Carol’s “You’re So London” to help you forget the torture:
The Valaam Monastery is a stauropegic Orthodox monastery in Russian Karelia that was likely founded at the end of the 14th century.
I have always had a deep-seated fascination for the monastic life (1/4 intrigue, 3/4 dream), and, lately, I have found myself researching their lifestyle, music, and art. It is somewhat calming to learn of how they sustain their lives outside of the politics and noise of the world and of how they continue to preserve age-old traditions throughout the centuries. It’s also incredible to read about their mornings, waking up at 4AM each day, bathing in cold water through the Russian winter, and toiling through back-breaking work till far past sundown.
Here’s a lovely video clip of monks talking about how they intermingle spirituality with their bread-making labor: