A 1 fish starry-sea mermaid

Visit the Greco-Roman exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and you will see examples of mermaids depicted in ancient art. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has some unique examples of mermaids in sculpture and paintings as well.

When we visit our familiar beach for a day of sun and sand, eventually we’re going to wade out and refresh ourselves in the salty water. This simple exercise exposes us to the alien, and the foreign for the water we stand in isn’t bound to any particular continent or island; no it washes its tides across the surface of our planet by the influence of our moon. Change is inevitable, the tide rises and the sand shifts in new patterns and the sea life must shift with it. A flip-flop lost in a river in Asia may wash up on a beach in New England affirming we are one planet with one super ocean surrounding our lands.

Mermaids, naiads, and sirens are an iconic image of ancient mythology and are present in nearly all cultures bordering large bodies of water. The lakes and rivers of the Americas had their own myths of water people too.  The pink freshwater dolphins of the Amazon River are believed by the indigenous people to be their kin of water and taboo to kill or eat. Many humans find the slaughter of dolphins for fishing repugnant. There are indeed fishermen with no reservations in hunting pink freshwater dolphins of the Amazon to bait their nets for giant catfish of all things.

Ancient people believed in the power of magic. Modern humans put their faith into more concrete concepts and yet millions of people visit beaches all around the coasts of America and the highlight of their day is to witness a pod of dolphins or more magically majestic a mother whale and her young calf.  A mermaid by definition is a creature half-human and half-fish and our whales’ great and small are the closest we have documented to that description. What is more compelling is our fellow water mammals have been documented showing compassion and altruistic behavior when a human was in eminent danger of a shark attack; a humpback whale interceded for the human. Compassion it seems is not entirely a human characteristic.

Conservation and compassion go hand in hand for if human beings are compelled to conserve and preserve wild lands and wetlands we must be on some level of human emotions feel compassion for creatures displaced by human encroachment. What we purchase and where we purchase products can have global ramifications to the habitat of endangered animals. Be an educated consumer and know where the wood was harvested for your new dining room furniture and whenever possible recycle and re-purpose.

Once upon a time I really enjoyed a great seafood dinner, alas allergies have curtailed that in my life and yet I know without a doubt no part of my meal involved an endangered species. While almost all restaurants I visit have a large seafood menu and many specialties of the sea it is our responsibility as diners to promote ethically caught and harvested food.  Our living mermaids are depending on us to be compassionate cousins on land.

Starry Seas image created on Fabriano Tiziano navy blue pastel paper made in Italy. Caran d’Ache Swiss made Pablo pencils with van Gogh metallic watercolors made in the Netherlands.

A 1 starfish found too - 3.9.2020

In Season

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When planning a trip it is wise to consider when high season is to establish when low season comes into swing and also when hotels and travel will be less expensive. For example peak season in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York turns a sleepy little cosmopolitan destination to a boisterous hot spot in what seems like the blink of an eye during thoroughbred horse racing season. I have personal experience when my husband and I moved from Orlando, Florida in the month of May to Saratoga Springs we were advised to secure our accommodation as quickly as possible as all open housing would be swiftly taken. Orlando was slipping into its own low season while Saratoga Springs was gearing up for the main event in July and August.

During high season finding a seat in a quality restaurant without reservations is like an amateur trying out with Olympiads for a major event and it will only result in disappointment.  You wouldn’t attend a concert or a sporting event without a ticket/reservation and the same can be said of limited seating in restaurants in the height of the season. Even on sunny Sanibel Island on the Gulf of Mexico we have high and low seasons.

We started visiting in June several years ago and we were warned about how hot Florida can be. Well here’s a news flash, Sanibel isn’t on the mainland of Florida it is an island, which as far as I have experienced wasn’t any hotter than Tidewater, Virginia or Charleston, South Carolina in the summer. What made it exceedingly fine for me and my husband was that it was low season and so we felt like we had our own little paradise where the natives were pleased to see us arrive. No lines to wait in for a seat at our favorite restaurant and no congestion on the 22 miles of paved bicycle paths. Absolute perfection, perspiration in summer is a normal bodily function, if you’re not sweating in June than you are either on the arctic tundra or you may be a walking zombie.

After all our visits to this exceptional tropical oasis, how thrilling it was when we were able to drive across the causeway not for vacation but for our new life on the Gulf of Mexico. While high season is presently in full swing here on the island and even on the mainland with plenty of visitors from colder regions we’ve learned that walking or biking to the grocery store will always be a quicker alternative to sitting in traffic. Making dinner reservations at our favorite restaurants is a breeze too; it simply means that the staff that knows us by name will have our cocktails as soon as they seat us and I couldn’t ask for more.

We have many visitors to the island at this time of year and while we may forgo the car for a stroll down the bike path for dinner out, we are also pleased to meet so many nice people who wait all year for this special time. So many of the visitors we meet were introduced to the island via their grandparents and they themselves are continuing the tradition with their own children.  Some accidents bear repeating like Roquefort cheese, tonic water, French fried potatoes, champagne and trying a new destination for vacation even if it is low season.

For Vincent

A Brand new Beach 1.10.2020

It was only a few summers ago that my husband and I had the chance to take the train into Manhattan. The essential point of the journey was to see Gustav Klimt’s golden painting to view in person the portrait of Adel Bloch-Bauer I 1907 at the Neue Gallery. We would of course not miss the opportunity to revisit the Metropolitan Museum of Art just a short stroll away while we were in town for the weekend. It is as grand a structure as one would expect to find in the most cosmopolitan cities of Europe and of course while there you will hear the artwork discussed in whispers in many and varied languages. New York is of course an international city; a landing place for tourists and immigrants alike.

From ancient Roman sculpture to the most modern of work is displayed at the Met. I am drawn to the tiles and mosaics of Louis Comfort Tiffany and the post impressionists such as Vincent van Gogh. Whether at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or in Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House in London for me there is a poignancy and immediacy of Vincent van Gogh’s work. It was not that he rose so much above us and others that make up the masses of everyday humans rather that in spite of toiling and suffering in poverty he managed to create timeless works of art. It only takes reading a few letters from him to his brother Theo that he hoped and prayed that he would be a good artist.  As history will show us to be remembered as a good artist the road is far from smooth and paved for easy travel.

Vincent was always searching, searching for the best way to see and to capture images he saw in the everyday world around him. He was no painter of aristocratic faces at some opulent home, Vincent van Gogh painted and sketched the working class people around his daily life and of course he painted landscapes.  His portraits of working class people are cherished for the way he captured their rustic images in ordinary oil paint.  What elevates Vincent van Gogh’s work to the absolute sublime is the way he painted his impression of a night sky that catches our breath and makes our heart beat a little faster when we stand in front of Starry Night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.

If you do have the opportunity and stand admiring it amazed that some old piece of art can make your heart beat faster or your eyes well up than you will also understand why this painting and not the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is considered the most valuable painting on the entire planet. The emotional attachment millions of people feel for this extraordinary artwork lifts mere canvas and paint to the realms of fine poetry. It is something that regardless of our education, sex, nationality, we all feel for this work like no other, because art like mathematics and music is a universal language that we can all communicate in.  The language of art is a unifier for formal education is handy but not essential; one only needs to open our eyes and look with our heart to understand.

Starry Night is Vincent van Gogh’s most recognized work and it was painted in an asylum; not a posh Parisian apartment but a mental asylum. I find this amazing. Think of all the people that believe they don’t have enough stuff and they fill their waking moments with the acquisition of yet more stuff.  When they die they’ll leave a lot of stuff.

Vincent van Gogh produced more than 2000 works of art; and sometimes he was patient in a mental hospital.

2020 has arrived, what will you be remembered for in 2120?

A Brand new Beach a 1.10.2020


A An absolutly awesome always 12.11.19


To revision is to re-envision a piece be it a room, a poem, a story or in my case several canvases. It is at least three years since they were originally sketched out and I cannot remember exactly what story I wanted to tell on their surface. While many artist want to paint in Pablo Picasso’s words paint the perfect picture  I want to tell a story or a glimpse into a story I have written or may have yet to write and the characters of a particular tale are still ghostly shapes I see in dreams. Drawing and painting gives me the opportunity to get to know them better and what they what to accomplish from their personal crisis. Telling a story reveals how an individual overcame an all encompassing crisis.

Cinderella had a fairy godmother to overcome her desire to go to the royal ball and still hide the fact from her evil stepmother. Aesop’s Fables are mostly about this type of dilemma; How to accomplish your desire and as in The Fox and the Crow’s story the fox is not above outright lying to seize a piece of cheese. Art is a sort of lie that tells the deepest of truths, a truth we cannot admit out loud but to put it in plain sight for others to see. While Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa may be the most famous painting on planet Earth it seems we are still scratching our heads to what truth he wanted to reveal, to hide in plain sight.

I have been to her gallery at the Louvre four times and in those four visits with other tourists pushing and crowding in to take a photograph of the Mona Lisa. What is obvious is that the Mona Lisa is like a sphinx in that she seems to be still in possession of some great secret that the rest of her society seems ignorant of. What could that secret be? In a world where it was perfectly normal for a fiftyish man to wed a fourteen year old girl/child and because he possessed the wealth to have a famous Italian painter paint her portrait it legitimized the disparity of their age difference? Was it while men ruled nearly every corner of Europe they were dependant on the fertility of a virgin to bring forth heirs to rule their future legacy? Or could it be like Mrs. Darling’s sweet mocking mouth had one kiss on it that Wendy could never get, though there it was, perfectly conspicuous in the right-hand corner in J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan? We may never know exactly what she was thinking while Leonardo worked on her portrait for more than sixteen years. What we may discern fully five hundred years later that Mona Lisa was in fact a fully functioning thinking human being and not merely house ornamentation for her husband’s opulent home.

Having unpacked most of our household goods from New Jersey and the fact that we have a smaller home I do not have the luxury of warehousing canvases in an attic while I work on a new piece. On this our home planet Earth in the final month of 2019 we may take a page from the old masters of art and that is to recycle, re-purpose and reuse. Many of the great masters of art were notorious for painting over work that, well wasn’t working for them and while it is a challenging endeavor to repurpose a canvas it is something well within the grasp of a thinking human being.

Our last full moon of 2019 will shine out December 11th please do not forget to take a moment away from the rush of commerce and look to the heavens above and smile your own private smile.

All the very, very best for a sparkling holiday season and a joyous New Year!

A absolutly awesome 12.11.19

And Bijou Too…

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A comedian once said that the difference between animals and human beings is their ability to accessorize. Animals do not really need to they’re born with fur, feathers, or scales. We may take accessories as trivial and even mundane; but every student of archaeology knows when ancient human bones are discovered that is a skeleton however when pottery shards and beads are uncovered that reveals a culture.

Culture equals a society; a community of people and even if they did not record their thoughts and ideas their jewelry is one remnant of these lost people.  Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, New York City or the Louvre on the right bank of Paris, France and you will see they have display cases loaded with beautiful wearable art made for people hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

Typically this museum art is what I call tomb jewelry; made for an important individual and buried with them so that those in their afterlife will know they were a significant being, they were important because they have bling.   What do our modern accessories say to the world around us? Men finish a suit with a necktie and women may select a scarf or necklace and earrings, but what do we know about the actual creator of what we are tying around our neck and hanging on our ears? What would they reveal about us in a thousand years?

Ancient beads have been uncovered from many cultures around the planet and were probably developed independently. Today beads can be purchased in nearly all craft stores and imported from all over the world. Beads are an easy introduction for wearable art. My summers spent in central Pennsylvania introduced me and my brothers to Straits Hobby Shop in the Borough of Huntingdon. We could pick out fishing lures to fish with or as my brother learned he could buy the supplies and create his own fly fishing lures.

There were many types of hobbies to occupy us through our rainy summer days, but my maternal grandmother was known for her custom beaded necklaces. She always had dozens of tubes of glass beads for me to try stringing a necklace. A spool of brass wire and I explored making earrings of my own design. Even today when we travel I keep a look out for local bead shops.

Glass beads from the Czech Republic, semi precious stone malachite and black onyx can up the appeal of simple glass seed beads. It is all about personal preference and what is appealing to me. Some of my beads have been strung and restrung on necklaces since I was in first grade and are still a favorite bead and timeless in its appeal. It isn’t often I can afford the time to sit quietly, my supplies in front of me like an artist’s palette, but unlike a painting I don’t have to frame it..I am the art and my necklace is my edge.

The other day I was chiding myself for being such a magpie and later that day I saw a special on National Geographic Channel about a lost culture of the Green Sahara. Sure there were pottery pieces uncovered at this dig in the Sahara Dessert but it was the bangle made from the tooth of hippopotamus on the skeleton of a ten year old girl that reminded me that a culture is defined by what they leave behind.

My maternal grandmother left me with hundreds of beads that I have shared with many others and that is the best kind of legacy; one that continues long after we have departed.

A few weekends ago when tropical storm Nestor was unsettling the west coast of Florida, I decided to unpack my beads in the event we lost power I did not want to be left with a palette of wet paint. We selected our condo for the natural light in my potential studio and even without electric lights on an overcast day and I was still able to string my beads, creating a new piece of wearable art.

Light is the major difference between summer and winter; its warming glow nurturing plants or its absence advancing winter.  November can be the beginning of preparations for the holiday season, and the inevitable cold, dark corridor of winter. Will you fill in the dark with holiday lights, a television screen, and trips to museums in your local metropolis?   Perhaps a new hobby is waiting to be discovered or even rediscovered that will enlighten and inspire you. Don’t be dismayed by the dark, be the shimmer that illuminates the dark!

A a a display of Jewelry 11.13.19

And Lizards Too…

A an 1 aRobin Crusoe 10.13.19

Moving house is something that when done frequently feels almost like a normal part of life; for example people attached to the military services. We haven’t packed up our belongings and permanently changed our address in more than eighteen years. Our last home was the longest I had ever lived at one address my whole life and while I loved our location we felt change was healthy to growth. Like sneakers outgrown we looked forward to something different, something new, and somewhere exotic.

We have traveled to many places in our home country and even to other countries in Europe and inevitably we ask ourselves the ultimate question: could I live here? We have rented flats in Florence Italy, London England, Paris France, and Gustavia on Saint Barthélemy in the French West Indies. We like all of these wonderful locations and love what is available to the locals. However as much as I was enamored with the tropical flora and wildlife in St. Barths it is challenging to travel to; two or three flights and or two flights and a nauseating ferry ride. A passport is required for all of these locations and so would be challenging to some family members and we kept looking for a new address.

We considered Santa Barbara, California and I still smile when I think of its beautiful location nestled between scenic mountains and the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. I would welcome a visit of two or three weeks but I am not sure we are ready to cross country just yet…but maybe someday we will. So we kept looking.

One year we decided to try a little Island on the Gulf of Mexico we could drive to from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after a visit with friends. We enjoyed the views as we drove further and further south and the transition of the scenery to more and more tropical. We drove over the elevated causeway to an island that we had read about, heard of and here it was an oasis of beautiful tamed jungle with 22 miles of paved bicycle paths. Would we be able to live on a daily basis without using a motorized vehicle? Yes!

Top speed on the island is thirty-five per miles hour, no traffic lights, nature is preserved and protected, and did I mention the 22 miles of paved bike paths? This looks like what we’ve been looking for. We’ll keep a car in case we want to take a trip to the airport or simply to go in town a.k.a. Fort Myers.

We took the leap and drove our rented truck south nearly 1,300 miles all while Hurricane Dorian was rattling the Caribbean and tormenting the southern east coast of Florida.

When folks up north hear you are moving to Florida they remind you of all the negatives: the heat in summer, hurricanes, alligators, palmetto bugs…some people have a huge list of reasons not to leave the north including the change of seasons, a beautiful snow covered yard (they forget snow continues right over the driveway and sidewalks too and doesn’t just cover the grass and trees). We were not dissuaded, this is my third move to Florida and interestingly in all three I left Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey around the end of August and the beginning of September.

We unpacked our belongings and began to settle into our new home; a condo within walking distance to the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. I unpacked a box and began to walk down the hall when a creature on the floor caught my attention. My first thought was it’s not the giant palmetto bug of legends, it was nearly an inch long and then I realized it was a tiny, tiny baby lizard. Funny the reversal emotions take when you realize that it isn’t an insect but a small animal that somehow is in your living space. I tried for two days to catch the baby lizard all while its body got smaller and its head larger. Eventually we managed to trap it under a plastic bowl and slide a sheet of paper under it. I took it out to the foliage and left it under a shrub which it climbed up immediately.

For several days as we passed by we saw a lizard slightly larger, day by day until it seemed as all the other lizards in many sizes and proportions on the walkway and shrubbery. I smile, this is what I like to see in autumn; beautiful flowers, whispering palm trees, and happy frolicking lizards.

A Leap of Faith

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We have arrived amid our boxes of cargo through the threat of hurricane to arrive at our new island residence; bruised and broken nailed we are home. It seems a dream realized is to wash away all previous dreams of existence to be a new creation in a land of our choosing is at once surreal and divine, we are home. To be free of old constraints, to be liberated to walk a sandy beach strewn with shells of all denominations and sizes is to be reborn, we are home. We wonder at the enormous palm fronds as they rattle in the breezes blown in across the warm sands swept by the Gulf of Mexico endlessly and we are home.

Once upon a time I was a child born in the Commonwealth of Virginia where salty waters washed the coastal peninsulas known to the local residents as the Tidewater area. I believed all places were as magical as waking up and walking the sands to see what treasures were left by unseen salty muses. I believed then as I still do that those wild places unleashed into commerce and society our magical and so should be revered, and respected. To be restored to what I most loved as a child is humbling, we are home.

We stumbled upon this island oasis casually and without regard to how it would form all our future dreams of our life as we hoped for…Humans are taught to aspire for more and more when the more we have to manage, maintain, protect is a cage; an attractive cage but a cage all the same. Hansel and Greta should have been wary of the confection cottage and that is a lesson we should all remember, the fly caught in the syrupy sweet vice of the Venus Fly Trap plant will suffer the consequences of an easy meal. Moving to an island in the Gulf of Mexico was challenging in that we had to remember what was essential to our daily lives. We gave away entire rooms of furniture that were so essential to our former lives that seemed redundant once we considered a different type of life. We have less stuff and so more time for living, we are home.

What shall we do today? Walk the beach and gather seashells? Bicycle to the grocery store and post office to collect our mail? Rise for sunrises and time our day around the sunset? Swim in the ocean? These activities are all possible; we no longer have to daydream, because we are home.

Tales from the Sea

A Dark Radiance

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Luna gazed at her sister Terra reflectively, for once they were one. Her heart did not pulse with same vibrancy as when she and her sister were a single celestial body orbiting around their splendid golden star. Catastrophe divided them and left Luna to satellite her vibrant lapis-blue sister. Only when she was full and lit by their fiery goddess Soleil did Luna feel she regained her former splendor, for then she shown like a dazzling little star.

Peering through the deep blue void that separated Luna from her former self and then to Soleil who for one special night in thirty would cast her glow upon her and then she felt fabulous, radiant. Luna waited patiently for the light to fall on her face and to illuminate her surface. It seemed intolerable to be left in the dark so much, and yet without dark who can see the light?

Let Terra have her blue seas and green trees and snow capped mountains, Luna’s silvery brilliance controlled the very ebb and flow of Terra’s deep waters. Were it not for Luna’s strong pull Terra’s enormous seas would be merely vast stagnant lakes. Let the little kings of Terra boast of Luna’s infertile atmosphere, for without her powerful presence their shining seas would cease to shine and life as they knew it would cease to be.

The celestial bodies hummed along in their ethereal heavenly waltz across the night skies while people watched from their sandy seats by the sea. The moonrise was moments away and there on the horizon was the brilliant giant silver orb. As the golden sun melted into the blue waters on one horizon on the opposite horizon introduced the luminous Luna. And the event the people had gathered for: sea turtles hatching up from the still warm sand. The little hatchlings scrambled towards the salty surf that reflected the moon’s brilliancy off the surface.

Luna smiled at the irony, infertile atmosphere; why she was the rolling dance by which all sea life counted its very existence.


Tales from the Sea


A Summer’s Tale: A Wildling

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The wind rippled across the surface of the lagoon disturbing the heron’s focus from its prey. In the blue water below swam the boy shadowing the white sand. A dolphin swam alongside the blue-green child and leapt up to rile the heron as it took flight. The hot breeze stirred the fronds of the island palms and there for an instant was the notion of rain; not the fickle sort of rain that splatters one corner of a sidewalk, leaving the parched grass to turn to straw against the concrete. This was the type of rain that would flood streets, wash away vehicles and sweep homes from their foundations, but on this island there were no implements of living wrought to convenient animals gone tame and domestic. Here on this little removed island in the middle of the great big ocean galaxy was only wild. Wilder beasts than the unruly naked apes in their cities of concrete could even imagine.

The palm’s dry leaves rattled in the hot breeze and on the horizon a waterspout moved across the sea as if it were a living breathing creature as it funneled water higher and higher till a pelican was knocked out of flight. The large bird plummeted down but caught the wind before it broke the surface of the water and skimmed just above the vast sea. The boy broke the surface as the pelican skimmed above him; he reached up and felt the webbing of the bird’s feet tucked close against its body. The waterspout danced towards the horizon and the dolphin clicked to the boy. They swam away together parallel abreast pursuing the mighty tower of water, and occasionally the silhouette of fish large and small fell from the great column’s head and crashed to the water below.

The mighty sun that warmed the sand and palms on the little island passed overhead and slid down to meet the surface of the sea on the distant horizon. Seabirds called to each other as they sought shelter against the cooling night and lightning lit up the darkening sky as they found roosting. The rain that had been flirting with the island during the heat of the day seemed to draw moisture out of the very sea before it hurled it back down with force and vengeance like a slighted lover until the fronds were torn away from the palm and fell into the waves pummeling the beach. The dolphin and the boy returned to the lagoon in time to witness in flashes of light a nest of sea turtles hatching up from the wet sand. The hatchlings met the rough surf unhindered as the predatory seabirds were sheltered in the scrubby little palms and mangroves. The boy swam below and watched their little bodies silhouetted against the violent flashes of light blazing against their sky. The dolphin nudged the boy’s elbow with his nose and they continued swimming out along the reef where the skeleton of a blue whale swayed with the tide before disintegrating into the sand.

Tales from the Sea


A Nativity Moon 12.21.18

A a 1 a Lighting the Tree 12. 22.18 twilight

The word nativity as found in Webster’s New World Dictionary: 1.birth, esp. with reference to place, time, or accompanying conditions 2. Astrol. the horoscope of one’s birth —the Nativity 1. The birth of Jesus 2. A representation of this 3. Christmas Day.

My mother had what appeared to my five year old eyes was a miniature stable and rather medieval looking as well. This little building came out like clockwork every Christmas Eve. Today people start gearing up to decorate for Christmas shortly after Halloween, but when I was a child there was a sensible cushion between major holidays. No matter how much I and my four brothers tried to move the decorations for Christmas closer to Thanksgiving my mother was immobile on that.

My mother grew up in a mountain community known to us today as Piney Ridge. She was adamant that a cut tree could not come into the house before Christmas Eve and it would leave promptly on New Year’s Day. It seemed a rather antiquated rule until I was brought to understand that a cut pine tree with electric lights was a serious fire hazard. Living on top of a mountain and the fire hall miles away and down in the valley of McConnellstown it was something no sensible mother would risk her home and children to, what if there were snow?

But we lived in the metropolis of Newport News, Virginia and certainly we could move with the times and my mother did eventually succumb to the convenience of a plastic Christmas tree that didn’t drop needles all over her carpet. What didn’t change for all the modern lights and synthetic trees and plug in candles to put in the window? What stayed exactly the same was that little stable. And that now that I am an adult I realize the merit of that primitive shelter was to remind all in our house why exactly we were celebrating.

The story of the Velveteen Rabbit written by Margery Williams Blanco and even the finale of J.R.R. Tolkien’s character Frodo Baggins share a similar fate. While a stuffed toy that isn’t loved stays pristine and perfect on the shelf of the nursery it also runs no risk of ever becoming real. For Frodo a quiet hobbit of a safe haven known to millions of readers as the Shire, he loved his home is why he took up his pack and hit the road for the absolute scariest place in Middle Earth; Mordor. And did he become real? To face such wicked perils he would appear for those who had the ability to see to become a cup of light.

And that is what brings us back to that shabby little house that we placed our Papier-mâché figures in to represent the very unpretentious beginnings of Jesus Christ. I love that Webster’s merely says Jesus because there was only one born to a virgin mother in a stable. His first cradle was a manger, a trough for cattle and horses to graze from. No matter how glitzy a tree lighting in any cosmopolitan city on the planet is it seems to miss the entire point of the holiday.


If we say we’re wishing everyone a happy Christmas we should also remember that the child’s birth we are so dedicated to in our contemporary commercial extravaganza was crucified as an adult. I don’t mean figuratively, no he was actually crucified while his love ones looked on helplessly. Looking at our little stable we were reminded that the timbers that were used to make a shelter for animals could also be the means to crucify a man. If Jesus had not risen from the dead three days after his death there would be absolutely no reason to celebrate his rustic birth. We don’t say Happy Pontius Pilate Day do we?

We that live our whole lives in America often forget how hard our early patriots fought to win something as fundamental to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as in freedom of religion. This holiday season we look for the best and cheapest bargains to further our Christmas celebration. Our purchases may have come from the other side of the planet where individuals are not afforded the rights to worship as they wish or not at all. Think of the freedom we have to worship as we wish or choose not to worship at all, that is our privilege as Americans, but what about the people that produced our Christmas lights, ornaments, and gifts? Ultimately, those choices to save a little coin in our own pocket may come at the price of someone else’s liberty. To quote Thomas Paine, “…What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value…”

The nativity scene is also a representation of the struggle between the haves and the have-nots as well. Mary and Joseph were far from rich and influential; they were of little means and on the run from an oppressive régime. The origins of the early Christians was ubiquitous with people being murdered and martyred for their faith and that image of people being sacrificed because their beliefs conflicted with a totalitarian ruler is also at the beginning of a colony’s revolt. In our fulfilling land of America, we have the courage to believe that the little person can triumph over the giant much like David vanquished Goliath in the Old Testament.

This full moon I conclude my graphic story The Guild. It has been an eventful year and I look forward to the promise of new adventures in different locations with the New Year. May your holiday season be all that you could wish for. Only in a land of so many rich possibilities could we turn the quiet birth of a humble carpenter into a glitzy extravaganza worthy of a veteran showbiz entertainer in Hollywood.

A a 3rd Guard for the Guild - 12.21.18