Return ~ Michele Jones #writephoto

This story is prompted by Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo Thursday photo prompt:  #writephoto.

Jadis yanked Emme’s arm forward. “We’ve got to get to the next escape passage.”

Emme bent over and put her hands on her knees breathing in fast and hard. After catching her breath, she stood.

He was there. On the hill in the distance. The man with the staff. But he looked–different. He wasn’t thin and frail. He’d changed, but she knew it was him. The man that vowed to kill her. A chill went down her spine. She shivered.

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Winter walks with Camera (7) : panorama ~ Steve Tanham

The modern mobile phone puts an arsenal of photographic tools at our disposal. One of the strangest and most difficult to master is the panorama… yet the results can be wonderful.

(Above: a single shot encompasses the edge of the forest – curving right up to the viewer; the bank of the river; and the churning water, below. The whole allows the textures and curves to be incorporated into a composite which would have been impossible with a normal shot)

The panorama is not a gimmick. It’s a wide-angled shot in which the correct proportions are retained, rather than the treatment of a ‘fish-eye’ lens, where the extremes are increasingly compressed as you approach the edge of the image. We can look on it as a short piece of video, panning left to right, where all the shot is retained and formed into a wider picture.

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Discovering Albion – day 10: Selby Abbey – A Final Blaze…

The Jesse window c.1330 (Click image to enlarge)

The Jesse window c.1330
(Click image to enlarge)

There is a final jewel at Selby Abbey; the great East Window. I told how the great fire of 1906 had put it in imminent danger of shattering and how a dedicated fire crew had protected the fragile panes with water. Of course, there has been damage over the years and subsequent restoration, but even so, the window is thought to be one of the finest medieval survivals in the country, second only to the West Window at York Minster.

West Window, York Minster. Image: DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Personally, although the tracery of stone in the upper reaches of the York window may be finer with the heart shaped centrepiece, I have to say I prefer the one at Selby… as much, perhaps, for its history as anything else. Somehow it seems more approachable and human, but then it is not set so far out of reach.

York Minster fragment of JesseTree c1170 Image: by Unknown

It is known as the Jesse window and dates from c.1330 AD. There are a number of medieval Jesse windows, or fragments of them, that survive through the country. A few small panes survive of the Jesse window from York Minster, dating back to around 1170AD, which is thought to be the oldest surviving stained glass in England. The Selby window, however, is thought to be the most complete and finest of its period. In later centuries, with the Gothic revival, the subject once more became popular and we have seen some fabulous Victorian examples. But nothing as old as this.

scotland trip jan 15 101The seventy panels of the main window are arranged over seven vertical lights. These panels trace the royal line of the kings of Israel, leading eventually to Mary and Jesus, thus establishing the claim that He was King of the Jews, of the Royal House of David. The inspiration for this motif, common in manuscripts in the medieval period, is a line in the Book of Isaiah:

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (King James Version).

scotland trip jan 15 090The image of a tree in this window grows from the heart of a sleeping Jesse. Lineage and hereditary position were of more importance in medieval times, especially to the nobility and clergy perhaps.

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Image result for solomon's seal symbol


The next morning when the horseman led Svadilfari

to the stone quarry he knew that the wall of Asgard

would be completed on time and that

the Goddess Freyja was to be his.


He took to humming a meaningless tune to himself

and in the gloomy copse about the quarry

a young mare pricked up her ears.


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Get This…


It matters

Not a jot

What one has

Or has not got.


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Returning ~ Willow #writephoto

Transitions are special, be it dawn or dusk things change, it’s true in many senses. They can also herald a return.

And dark
Shades of grey
What promises

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Standing out…

I was researching someone online and came across a so-called motivational site urging young people to get up and do something… to make something of themselves… to stand out from the crowd or risk sinking into obscurity… fate that appeared to be almost ‘worse than death’ to the site’s author.

For a motivational piece, I found it rather counterproductive. All that I could see that it was doing was reinforcing, in the minds of the young and as yet uncertain, that they obviously were not good enough as they were. In order to have value within their society, they were being told, they would need to change… become something ‘other’ than they are. Different… and by implication, better.

That we are all works in progress, no matter what our age, and that we all need to continue to learn from our lives should go without saying. I doubt we would be here were there not that opportunity to grow from our experiences and how we face the events through which we live. But such growth should be a natural progression… like the fruit that follows the flower and the bud… not some enforced and calculated action taken to make us ‘look good’ in the eyes of others. Being allowed to be ourselves should matter far more than that.

I see nothing wrong with being ‘ordinary’. The word, in spite of its negative connotations comes from the same root as ‘order’… and without order, what would exist or function?

Most of us are ‘ordinary’. Our own kind of ordinary… because it is the only kind we know. Other people are extraordinary in our eyes. They do things we have never done, achieve things we have never even attempted, go places we will never go. We look at those who have done these marvellous things, not with envy, but with both respect and appreciation. ‘Ordinary’ and ‘extraordinary’ will mean different things to each of us.

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Remembered #midnighthaiku

Mist and memory

Dreams of other worlds and times

Touch of joy remains

Heart lifts when I remember

Rain upon a mountaintop

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Smorgasbord Book Reviews Sally Cronin reviews: A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays by Mike Biles

Reblogged from Smorgasbord:

Today I am reviewing A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays by Mike Biles, the second of Mike’s books that I have reviewed and enjoyed.

About the book

High Days and Holidays are special occasions, celebrations, or commemorations. They occur throughout the year, some wanted, some not, some remembered more than others. In days gone by, the passing year was marked by seasonal or religious feast days of one sort or another; in some respects, they still help define our calendar.

A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays explores a baker’s dozen of Britain’s notable occasions and traditions, from New Year onward, the things we associate with them and the stories behind each one.

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Discovering Albion – day 10: Selby Abbey – Faces from the Past

scotland trip jan 15 106When the church was restored after the fire of 1906, the wooden roof had to be reinstated. Looking up today, you could be forgiven for thinking this is the original work, so faithfully have the beams been reproduced. The bosses, however, are, for the most part, the original medieval work. The bosses were secured to the ceiling beams with wooden pins. When the flames consumed the roof of the church the pins burned away and the bosses dropped to the ground, escaping largely unharmed. Most were recovered, a few replaced and they were all later gilded, restoring the roof to its former glory.

The sun in slendour?

The sun in splendour?

It would need a whole book to tell the stories of those bosses. Nothing was without meaning in medieval church art. Some of the symbolism we can readily interpret, either from the records and legends that remain to us, or from the perspective of modern understanding. Some elements may seem odd to our eyes and there is no doubt in my mind that some are a simple expression of humour and joy. Some meanings would have been topical and are lost to the mists of time; others speak to us at a level beyond logic.

Harvesting... what?

Harvesting… what?

There are scenes from the Bible and from everyday life, such as the man bringing in the harvest. Yet we have to wonder whether this is merely what it seems to be on the surface, or whether there is a deeper and more symbolic message, referring back to the biblical maxim of reaping what we sow. From the perspective of the Silent Eye, we would also look at the psychological significance of that and how what we know of life is shaped by our own reactions and perception.

Hairy anchorite?

Hairy anchorite?

The sun has always been a symbol for the Son… and for the Light. Its life-giving rays bathe the earth and inner Light illuminates and feeds the soul. The hairy anchorite is a familiar figure to us… the woodwose, Wildman of the woods. Almost every culture has one; in Britain, we think of the Irish tale of King Buile Suibhne who was turned into a Wildman for insulting a bishop… or of Myrddin Wylt, later known as Merlin, whose feral wanderings brought prophetic vision. Or even of the story of St Kentigern … another name that keeps cropping up on our travels… where the details of the wildman, Lailoken, are very similar to those of Myrddin. Today we might interpret the woodwose in many ways, depending upon our perspective, from a need to conquer our baser natures, to a need to retain a connection to our deeper instincts, for it is a common factor of many of these tales that the Wildman has a wisdom that ‘civilised’ man lacks and seeks to learn from them.

Green Man

Green Man

From the Wildman, it is not much of a step to the Green Man. Many writers make the connection through the tale of Gawain and the Green Knight. Books have been written on the subject… many of them… as speculation and understanding start from all points of the metaphorical compass. Some say the Green Man is the spirit of nature, others equate him with the sacrificial victims of ancient fertility rites, with Jack-in-the Green, Jack o’ Lent and even a prototype of Robin Hood.

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