April Poetic Intro: BRIGHT

Our April theme appears here late, after a wondrous trip to Iceland. The Almanac this month hits on several themes: April Fool’s (we’re including some comedy here this month), Spring, and the celebration of Easter. This poem paints the themes in a esoteric fashion.

BRIGHT

April is a smile
a spark
an epiphany
a new dawn
These days are given to
the pranksters
the believers
the early risers
Bright mornings, bright ideas, bright souls
Because with every rain there’s a clearing
And a new sun to enjoy

 

“Why We are going to Iceland” or The Table, the Synagogue, and the Pilgrimage

In the past few weeks as we tell people we are going to Iceland for our 10 year anniversary we get two reactions. The first is the usual excitement over a big trip. The second is confusion settling in.

“Why in the world would you want to go to Iceland?”

It’s a great question. And my answer is fairly unrefined and open. But I wanted to share it here.

It’s not about Iceland.

The place and trip really is secondary in our minds.

Really, Betony asked me if there was any place significant and meaningful I wanted to go for this big 10 year marker. I couldn’t think of anyplace. I gave a half-thought answer, “I’ve always wanted to try and see the northern lights”. That’s all it took. She started looking up Iceland travels and seeing how stark and beautiful the country is.

No, it’s not about Iceland. This trip is first about the importance of having a marker, a large gesture, to celebrate and recognize this point in our relationship.

Because I’d honestly be just as happy to have a week-long jaunt in Denver with my wife. But I completely recognize this: It’s important to tell a great story. And it’s important to have a grander gesture for the grander moments in our lives.

For example, I didn’t want to go to my college graduation. My parents made me and I’m so happy I have the memory of that weekend with them.

And I’d have been happy to elope with a couple friends. I’m so glad our wedding was a spectacular affair with friend and family surrounding us.

In my life I want to make sure and do this. I want to take the time, energy, finances and celebrate things right. When we do this it creates alters and markers in our minds of the important event. It creates a place we can return to that is large and grand in our memories. It’s a bright past that propels us forward when we need the reminder.

The writer Phyllis Tickle writes and talks about the rhythms of family. It’s in our rhythms that our values are passed to our children and we live out what we believe. She points out three major rhythms, putting it this way:

The Table: it’s where we daily gather together, pray, break bread, share stories
The Synagogue: is where we weekly lean on each other, encounter God, talk about the most important things
The Pilgrimage: is the great trip to Jerusalem, done yearly or only a few times in a lifetime, the unifying event

As I process taking this trip to Iceland with my wife, I’m thinking of it as a Pilgrimage.

It’s something you only once in a lifetime. It’s to celebrate this woman I love so deeply. It’s to create bright memories that I can return to when the path forward gets difficult.

That’s my answer. That’s why we’re going to Iceland.

 

 

 

 

POEM by Spoken Word Artist Dale Fredrickson

New Growth

Through winter nights,

I brave barren heart;

slowing down finding myself in shadows,

shedding all parts within me past spent,

sitting in silence mounded by sorrows.

 

Frozen dirt stubborn,

I yearn for spring’s mysterious garden;

It’s secrets breaking through frosty harden.

 

Snowdrifts melting —

the gardener within me begins again:

 

God lives on the edges of spring’s daylight.

warming frozen dirt, breathing new life,

cultivating daring dreams, fresh insight,

building trellises where community thrives.

Dirt softens spring pushes through —

I burst with renewed joy and delight,

flourishing gardens growing within heart,

fresh gripping roots of purpose for this life,

found in this hope, sowing seeds now my part

A Collection of St. Patricks Day Blessings and Toasts

Here’s to your health!
You make age curious,
Time furious, and all of us envious.

The health of the salmon to you:
a long life, a full heart and a wet mouth!

-Irish

To your good health, old friend,
may you live for a thousand years,
and I be there to count them.

-Robert Smith Surtees

Success attend St. Patrick’s fist,
For he’s a saint so clever;
Oh! he give the snakes and toads a twist,
He banished them forever.

Who’d care to be a bee and sip
Sweet honey from the flower’s lip
When he might be a fly and steer
Head first into a can of beer?

Ale’s a strong wrestler,
Flings all it hath met;
And makes the ground slippery,
Though it not be wet.

Here’s a health to the future;
A sigh for the past;
We can love and remember,
And hope to the last,
And for all the base lies
That the almanacs hold
While there’s love in the heart,
We can never grow old.

May you enter heaven late.

Come in the evening, or come in the morning,
Come when you are looked for, or come without warning,
A thousand welcomes you will find here before you,
And the oftener you come here the more I’ll adore you.

-Irish

Here’s to Dan Cupid, the little squirt,
He’s lost his pants, he’s lost his shirt,
He’s lost most everything but his aim,
Which shows that love is a losing game.

Here’s to fertility-
the toast of agriculture and the bane of love.

I drink to your charm, your beauty and your brains-
which gives you a rough idea of how hard up I am for a drink.

-Groucho Marx

I love you more than yesterday, less than tomorrow.

Say it with flowers
Say it with eats,
Say it with kisses,
Say it with sweets,
Say it with jewelry,
Say it with drink,
But always be careful
Not to say it with ink.

The love you give away is the only love you keep.

-Elbert Hubbard

Eat, drink and be merry
for tomorrow you diet.

May you always have red-eye gravy with your ham,
hush puppies with your catfish,
and the good sense not to argue with your wife.

-Toast From Tennessee, quoted by Timothy Noah in the New Republic

To Mom’s cooking:
May my wife never find out how bad it really was.

To soup: May it be seen and not heard.

Great Reviews for the Album “Almanac No. 1”

There are some online reviews available now for our first album, Almanac No. 1. Take a gander and how people are responding. It’s been extremely encouraging.

From Quip Magazine out of Toronto:
http://www.quipmag.com/giants-pilgrims-release-almanac-no-1/

Storyacious.com contacted us to do a feature on “Shimmer No Waves”. They bring story-lovers and storytellers together to celebrate the art, science and skills of storytelling through diverse media.
http://storyacious.com/music-monday-shimmer-waves/

And finally the northern Colorado music publication, the Bandwagon, reviewed us. Jed Murphy, one of Greeley’s best writers, took on the album:
http://www.bandwagmag.com/2014/03/album-review-giants-and-pilgrims-almanac-no-1/

If you haven’t yet heard the album, bring your critical ears here:
giantsandpilgrims.bandcamp.com

February Almanac Poetic Intro

Welcome to the month of February and to our online Almanac. It’s good to navigate these pages together for the good life.

For our Giants & Pilgrims February Almanac theme we chose the word “Send”. Most of the pages deal in this theme: the way we communicate to each other, the letters and notes we give, how love and care is something easy to feel, but hard to say. We felt this would be so appropriate to talk about within this month!

Here’s a poem written to expound upon these ideas. Encouraging the gathering of our words to go out to those who need to hear them.

February is a written letter
Words forming at the tip of our tongue
about to be spoken

 We believe in this edge 
of winter
Bending towards the promise 
of spring

 And so we dare to 
Tell, share, say, send
this love so easily felt;
so hard to put into words

 Against the fear we intend
to send it anyways