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Saturday Sky on Monday

by Brenda Dayne on February 11, 2008

Saturday afternoon I realized the manic pace I set last week, while exhilarating, is probably not sustainable. This was but one epiphany in a string of ah-ha moments last week. Early in the week we had Houses Get Dirty (that’s what happens when you live in them, but they don’t stay that way forever, because you eventually clean them, so stop stressing about the clutter). By midweek I’d progressed to Exercise Helps (get away from your desk and take Ruby for a walk and enjoy some fresh air, and your shoulders won’t hurt so much).

I know these seem extremely … oh, what’s the word here? … SIMPLE concepts to most people, but I am only just getting around to integrating them. The idea that you can let some things go in order to accomplish other things, or that it might be a good thing to break up the day with exercise, or set a sustainable pace for yourself, are hard ones for me. Deep down I really do believe that I am utterly capable of doing it all, and that I really ought to, because I am also invincible. The fact that I stopped working on a Saturday to go for a walk, and THEN decided afterwards to take ALL of Sunday off, and bugger the writing schedule, baby, that’s progress.

Saturday, we walked to the church. Last year the 300 year old building was declared unsafe, and services were moved to the village hall. The church stands abandoned, covered in orange fencing and signs that warn of danger from crumbling ruins, which make it somehow more attractive to me. Although I’d seen this building from a distance for years, I’d never bothered to visit until last December, when I wanted some yew for the garland I make every year. Although I’d never been to this church in my life, I knew I would find yew because nearly every church in Britain has a yew tree planted somewhere on the grounds. Does that strike you as strange as it does me? An actual yew tree. Planted for the purposes of warding away evil spirits. In every churchyard, no joking. Anyway, perched on a hill, with a great view of the surrounding countryside, only a mile and half away from the house, abandoned, AND totally free of evil spirits, this church is now a great destination for a walk. One of my new favorites.

I have been reading blogs for several years and I have noticed this thing called Saturday Sky, and I always wanted to do one and, the sky being particularly fine on Saturday, I thought it was high time I gave it a go.

Okay. Yes. I DO get that they are ALSO supposed to be blogged on a Saturday. However, I spent so much time on the computer last week that, honestly, I just couldn’t be asked. So I’ve decided to call this new feature of my blog: Saturday Sky on Monday (unless I can’t be asked) in which a yew tree attempts to sneak up on a bell tower, and is discovered.

Sautrday Sky

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Deidre February 13, 2008 at 7:10 am

Amazing sky!!! I love those days when there isn’t a cloud in the sky!!

2 Nic February 13, 2008 at 10:40 am

I can’t speak for other countries (and probably can’t really speak for here!) but form what I understand, Christianity in the UK needed to incorporate a lot of traditions that already existed prior to mass conversion, so this idea of the yew tree providing protection probably stems form that. What I love about it is that due to the nature of yew, many of these trees can be approaching 1000 years old. That just blows my mind every time…

Gorgeous pic by the way!

3 Angie February 15, 2008 at 5:48 am

Love the sky! What a beautiful, brittle winter blue. The stone tower, unlike anything in BC has withstood so many years. I’m sure it doesn’t care if they hold services there. If no one loves it enough to keep it kept up. House gets dirty. Walking is my therapy to allow me to study, write, knit, breathe. And Ruby must love it, too. Good luck at developing that slow objectivity. I’ll bet you could instruct me on how to improve my effectiveness. It’s harder at the end of your own nose.

4 Marianne February 16, 2008 at 12:11 am

Truly an awesome yew.

5 Jenny February 16, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Beautiful!
Thank you for sharing!

6 Sharon February 18, 2008 at 12:22 am

“couldn’t be asked…”
I loved that mis-quote BRAVO!

I agree with NIC, the Yew tree was a Druidic tree symbolising the connection to the dead and earlier pre-christian belief that the Yew connected the Land with the “Underworld”. Yew trees therefore protected the living from the unrest of the dead.

plus being so long lived (I’ve seen the one that was around about the same time as the crucifiction,) they add an air of permanace that seems to speak to the living.

7 Susan February 19, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I thought that yew had a shifty look about it.

8 Ru Temple February 20, 2008 at 6:55 am

Lovely. Thank you for this, and for the infectious meme! Sky Saturdays. Right on.

Old Yew, which graspest at the stones
That name the under-lying dead,
Thy fibres net the dreamless head,
Thy roots are wrapt about the bones.
The seasons bring the flower again,
And bring the firstling to the flock;
And in the dusk of thee, the clock
Beats out the little lives of men.
O not for thee the glow, the bloom,
Who changest not in any gale,
Nor branding summer suns avail
To touch thy thousand years of gloom:

And gazing on thee, sullen tree,
Sick for thy stubborn hardihood,
I seem to fail from out my blood
And grow incorporate into thee.

–Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Idho (EE-yoh), iodho (EE-woh), yew – The yew (Taxus baccata L.) is a slow-growing conifer, living as long as 1000 years and reaching 65 feet, they are known for their strength and resistance to the cold. It is much less common in recent times because of overharvesting (its hard, springy wood was the source of English longbows). The evergreen needles are very broad, and the seeds are produced in red, berry-like cones. Yews are toxic; one of the toxic compounds, taxol, is an effective treatment for some cancers. Yew is in the Yew family (Taxaceae).
http://glenavalon.com/ogham/celticogham.html

In the ogham (tree-rune alphabetic system), the yew, or iodho (make an open labial fricative ‘whoa’ outta that /dho/) corresponds to our letter I, and the symbol is five straight lines on both sides of the story-line, or all 10 fingers out, since it was also used as a fingerspelling alphabet.

9 Dianne February 27, 2008 at 11:51 pm

Wow, what you learn in the comments on a blog…..

10 Libby February 28, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Just incase you haven’t noticed but the run up to chosing the UK entry for Eurovision has begun and is on BBC1 on Saturday evening!! Something for you to watch with Tonia on St David’s Day. Enjoy! Libby

11 Nick March 1, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Hi Brenda,
I live in a house of clutter and find that allowing my children to have regular sleepovers really helps ease the guilt as it means there’s no point in tidying up too much as it’ll all get trashed anyway! It works for me, up to a point. I’ve also been sky watching today and it’s slowly changed from clear blue to a stormy grey over Sandown bay on the isle of wight, where I live. I’ve been helping my husband make our wooden sock blockers in our ‘lean-to’ which has now become our workshop! If you would like to see the blockers I’ve put them on ebay- wightwood sock blockers. Would value our opinion as you sound pretty clued up on your podcast. Thanks, Nicky

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