Sunday, December 18, 2011

Off Topic

Ho, ho, ho!
(from the Christmas Boar of San Gimignano)

I had the best of intentions. I was going to do the research and come up with a description of how Dante and his family would have celebrated Christmas. But - as some of you may have noticed - this does tend to be a rather busy time of year, so realistically I was forced to conclude that it wasn't going to happen, at least not this year. (What was I thinking?!)

Instead, let me veer off topic and wish all my readers a wonderful holiday, whichever day or days you celebrate, and share with you a couple of our traditions. For example, at our house Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Plato dropping his usually serious demeanor and becoming festive:

Plato, festive

There's one ornament that always has a place on our tree, in honor of the late lamented Robin.

And here's the original:

Robin (aka Brave Sir Robin, or Robbitybobs)
"I don't care what you do with it, I'm not chasing that string any more."

And here's Robs on the Italian peace banner we use as a tree skirt:

Music is always a big part of the holiday. I'm attaching a link to the Bukkene Bruse song whose title translates to "A Child Is Born in Bethlehem." This wonderful Norwegian group has absolutely zilch to do with Dante or my research or medieval music (though the words are translated from the 14th century Latin), but it has an ecstatic quality that I never tire of. We also provide our own music, though, and when we do, I am happiest playing my portative organ, a replica of a 15th century instrument, made by a brilliant Dutch organ maker named Winold van der Putten.

The instrument, which spans almost three octaves, sits on a table perpendicular to my body, my right hand on the keys and my left hand pumping the bellows. At first, it was sort of like patting my head and rubbing my stomach at the same time, but I've gotten the hang of it now.

On our last trip to Italy, we spent much time sitting in front of the cathedral in Siena, waiting for those magical moments when the setting sun turns everything gold. Since our Christmas card is based on a detail from the facade of that cathedral, I thought you might like to see one of the sunset views as well.

Siena Cathedral, sunset shot

And finally, our Christmas card to you, from the Siena Cathedral:

Our very best wishes for the holidays and for the coming year!

1 comment:

Dorothy said...

Love this post! Merry Christmas to you and yours from all in Sallisaw this year (including Morris)!