Listen to the Story on the ‘I Think Speech‘ podcast
January Story (adapted from an Italian legend my Strega Nona used to tell)
It was early in the year still cold & biting was the wind. A poor mother & her sweet daughter Ella lived in a small cottage outside the city near the great woods. One morning, Ella put on her warmest winter clothes & went with her basket to look for a morsel of food for her good mother.
Ella asked everywhere for a crust of bread or a bit of carrot, but no one could spare a bite. Ella did not want to take an empty basket home, so she went into the woods to look for nuts & roots hidden under the snow. On the way she found a little mouse whose tail was caught under a stone. Ella gently freed him, & the mouse said, ‘Thank you kind child, I have been trapped here for a long time. May good fortune find you’. Then he scampered away through the frosty forest.
As she wandered on, she noticed a tree whose branches were so weighed down with snow, she thought they would break. So she shook the tree until it could stand up straight again. ‘Oh my,’ said the tree, ‘that feels much better, thank you dear child, may good fortune find you.’
Ella went on through the forest, & saw a little robin shivering from the cold. She picked the robin up & wrapped her carefully in her warm woolen hat until the robin stopped shivering. ‘Thank you dear child,’ sang the robin, ‘I feel warm enough to fly now. May good fortune find you.’ The bird flapped her wings & flew toward a cloud covered sun.
Ella had now walked deep into the woods where she knew a hazelnut tree grew. ‘Perhaps I will find nuts here,’ she thought to herself. So she started to dig under the snow, & sure enough her hard work payed off for she did indeed find nuts enough to fill her basket. As she was digging here & there, a kind old woman with long silver hair appeared dressed all in white. She spoke to her with a voice as warm as light.
‘I am the Grandmother of the Year. My four daughters & I have seen how thoughtful you are. My children each have a question for you.’
One daughter came all dressed in light green. She smiled at Ella & asked her, ‘What is Spring like dear child?’
Ella answered, ‘Oh Spring is fresh & new & full of crocuses & daffodils & baby birds. I love Spring!’ The green daughter smiled at Ella & nodded.
Then a second daughter came all dressed in yellow, & asked, ‘What is Summer like dear child?’
‘Oh,’ said Ella, ‘Summer is a time to run & play in sunshine, tend the garden, pick flowers, & chase butterflies & fireflies. I love Summer!’ The yellow daughter smiled & nodded.
Then a third daughter appeared dressed in red. She asked Ella, ‘What is Autumn like dear child?’
‘Autumn,’ said Ella, ‘is full of dancing leaves like flames, apples & pumpkins, & it is harvest time. I love Autumn!’ The red daughter smiled & nodded.
Then the Grandmother of the Year’s fourth daughter appeared all dressed in pale blue. ‘What is Winter like dear child,’ he asked.
‘Winter snow sparkles like the stars’, replied Ella. ‘Our cheeks get rosy as we make snowmen, & we light candles in the house, & read books. I love Winter!’ This blue daughter also smiled & nodded.
Then the four daughters & the Grandmother of the Year who stood before her – disappeared. Ella rubbed her eyes, & thought she had been dreaming, but when she looked in her basket of old nuts, they had turned into gold, frankincense & myrrh!
When she returned home her mother rejoiced. They shared these riches with all who asked & were never poor or hungry again!
13 January 2022 – “Speaking with the Stars”:
|A satellite for 1 of every 15 points of light in the sky Astronomer Samantha Lawler has studied what will happen to Earth’s night sky if satellite companies follow through on their current plans to launch tens of thousands of communications satellites into Earth orbit. She wrote: “With no regulation, I know that in the near future, 1 out of every 15 points you can see in the sky will actually be relentlessly crawling satellites, not stars. This will be devastating to research astronomy and will completely change the night sky worldwide.” Read more about the race to save our skies.
“If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor.” ~Joseph Campbell
(“Twentieth Day Yule”), or Tjugondag Knut (“Twentieth Day Knut”), a traditional festival celebrated in Sweden & Finland on 13 January. Christmas trees are taken down on Tjugondag jul, & the candies &cookies that decorated the tree are eaten. In Sweden, the feast held during this event is called a Knut’s party (Julgransplundring, literally “Christmas tree plundering”)
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
“History is a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of the human being”. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley
1090 – Birthday of Bernard of Clairvaux, Mystic, Theologian, Co-Founder of the Order of the Templars
1497 – Deathday of St. Veronica of Milan. Being very poor & having no formal education, she attempted to teach herself to read. While making this effort one night, the Virgin Mary appeared to Veronica, & taught her in the form of three mystical letters: The first signified purity of intention; the second, abhorrence of murmuring or criticism; the third, daily meditation on the Passion. By the first she learned to begin her daily duties for no human motive, but for God alone; by the second, to carry out what she had begun by attending to her own affairs, never judging her neighbor, but praying for those who did wrong; by the third she was enabled to forget her own pains & sorrows in those of her Lord, & to weep hourly, but silently, over the memory of His wrongs.
Veronica became accustomed to nearly constant apparitions & religious ecstasies. She saw scenes from the life of Christ, yet these never interrupted her work. She joined an Augustinian lay order at the convent of Saint Martha in Milan at the age of 22. This community was very poor; Veronica’s job was to beg in the streets of the city for food.
She received a vision of Christ in 1494, & was given a message for Pope Alexander VI, so she traveled to Rome to deliver it. After a six-month illness, Veronica died on the date she had predicted, 13 January 1497.
1915 – The Avezzano earthquake shakes the Province of L’Aquila in Italy with a maximum intensity of XI (Extreme), killing over 32,610 people.
2001 – An earthquake hits El Salvador, killing more than 1800
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~May I ride in calm waters toward destiny
May my flesh be a sail propelled by the breath of true knowing
May the rhythm of my heart stir music that embraces darkness
May my spirit witness what my hands create,
The words I utter, the worlds I think…