Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Ancient History

Postcard Picture of War Torn St. Mihiel
St Mihiel, France, During World War I

I've spent the last several days uploading old postcards onto my web site for sale. Some of the images are entertaining, with strutting turkeys in bright colors to celebrate Thanksgiving and cheerful children playing Halloween games. Interesting that nearly all of the images for Thanksgiving are quite secular, close to one hundred years ago. There's one I haven't scanned yet, of praying children, but the verse encourages gluttony rather than holiness. And another I haven't gotten to, portraying a monk, is frankly kind of weird.

But there's a collection of old postcards from World War I that are of a different tone. There's a series depicting St. Mihiel, France, where a major battle during the war took place. It looks like it was an old town even then, with stone buildings and an almost Roman bridge. I haven't taken the time to really research the history. The images I have show shattered buildings that looks as if they had stood through centuries of time, only to be destroyed by modern warfare.

When I was in England the age of so many of the buildings impressed me. We stayed in a castle that was built in Tudor times, and it wasn't uncommon to have a meal in a pub that had existed literally for centuries. Surrounded by dark wood scarred by countless feet and hands, knowing that generations had lived out their lives of work, joy and sorrow within the same walls, made enjoying a simple cup of soup an experience. We walked streets that had seen eons of change and yet somehow have kept their character of timeless beauty and age. There were modern intrusions, especially American ones: a KFC in Bath, a huge McDonalds in Chester. But beneath Victorian architecture stand Roman columns, firm foundations in a history that is nearly as much mine as it is of any Englishman.

I found some modern images of St. Mihiel, healed of the wounds of war. The scars are still there; cemeteries filled with simple crosses over the graves of soldiers, monuments to the brave dead. As a species we build, destroy, rebuild. War may be necessary at times, when the reasons for fighting are true and right and so much is at stake the high cost is worth it. Sometimes I think we need to look at our reasons more closely.

Storybook Dreams Alm Uncle
Storybook Dreams Alm Uncle

Here's a sweet fellow to think about. This is a very nice bunny, although I wasn't totally thrilled with him yesterday. No fault of his, though. With this up and down weather sometimes the rabbits get unsettled stomachs and this guy had a messy behind, just as it was time to shear off a gorgeous full coat. He also managed to spray the rest of the coat on his hindquarters that wasn't soiled by the upset tummy. So a portion of this shearing was wasted; I don't add stained wool to the production records. He still had a nice clip; I haven't weighed it yet but it looks good. And the texture is very nice.

Alpaca Crocheted Scarf
Crocheted Scarf in Hand Painted Alpaca
I dyed this yarn last fall, hand painting it in the crock pot, I think. This was a commerical Alpaca I bought when I was running low on my angora/merino millspun blend. I called this color New Orleans; it turned out quite variegated. Most of it sold but I had three skeins left, so I thought a scarf was in order. Another simple pattern, double crochet and a weird twisted stitch I found for the cap I made. A pleasant project to work on, sitting in my crochet corner while the sun sets and the birds raid the feeders for one last meal before dark.

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