Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Angels unawares




Last night my little N. had a mad helpless meltdown during math homework. We went for a walk in the lamplit night, both of us feeling a bit upset, and ahead saw Father Christmas--or St. Nicholas, or Santa, or Kris Kringle, or whoever-you-like--and his wife, dressed up in their red-and-ermine robes.

So N. skimmed down the block on his scooter and I flitted after him, and we caught up with them. And they proceeded to counsel N. on math, school, and life in general--and talked to me about my mother's visit and my father's death. The unexpected encounter felt very strange, a little hair-raising and astonishingly holy.

The pair had just come from a party for the handicapped children and adults from Springbrook, held at the mansion close to our house, where Mrs. Claus had danced with the boys and men in attendance. We have promised to pay them a visit in the little Gothic cottage on the square after my mother arrives.

***

I thought of this:

...Angels unawares. KJV Hebrews 13:2

***

And I thought of the last three lines of this, from the great William Butler Yeats, who always wrote very well about birds and women:

The Mother of God

The threefold terror of love, a fallen flare
Through the hollow of an ear;
Wings beating about the room;
The terror of all terrors that I bore
The Heavens in my womb.

Had I not found content among the shows
Every common woman knows,
Chimney corner, garden walk,
Or rocky cistern where we tread the clothes
And gather all the talk?

What is this flesh I purchased with my pains,
This fallen star my milk sustains,
This love that makes my heart's blood stop
Or strikes a sudden chill into my bones
And bids my hair stand up?

***
Deck the halls!

Pictures are from www.cooperstownchamber.org and www.cottageliving.com. The first shows Santa's cottage in Pioneer Park, next to the Tunnicliff Inn. The second is St. Nicholas (Paul Kuhn) outside the cottage. In the third, it is snowing on Pioneer Park. Oddly enough, all our snow has melted away, and it is in the 50's: very peculiar Cooperstown weather, but we are all glad.

***

19 comments:

  1. Glad to hear angels have been close at hand. Lovely, chill-bump-inducing post.

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  2. Yes, I agree with Lori - a lovely post. I too am glad - it sounds like a mystical experience. Thanks Marly. You have kick-started Christmas for me.

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  3. If my roots were not so deep here I would totally move somewhere that looked that cute. How wonderful. I wish I could walk down to some cute little town square. That must be wonderful. If I took an evening stroll I would have to take my dog with me because it would basically be in the woods.

    Sorry about your father. That is tough. My dad is fixing to turn 74 and he is still everybit my own personal superhero. I cant imagine what my likfe would be without my parents all up in my buisness, and I suppose thats how it should be.

    We are going to the Detroit area for Christmas. Hubby has nto been home for Christmas in years. It will be my first Christmas away from home, but I am hoping for some snow. Ah, the mistical white Christmas.

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  4. What a beautiful story to wake up to. This is something N will never, ever forget, I'm sure.

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  5. Keep your eyes open! This world just gets stranger and stranger. Walmart and General Rampant Consumerism may be mowing down my favorite mountains and selling my birthright for a bowl of pottage (I'll always feel grief about the selling of the Carolinas for dross, but it seems to be happening here and everywhere), but there is still much strangeness flowing out of--out of wherever it flows!

    Snow is both "mistical" and mystical, I think. (Susanna, you have the most wonderful spelling errors.) I see both aspects here in Cooperstown. Quite often a heavy mist spills off the snow, rises to catch in the trees, and slowly ascends until the sun is just a burning white wafer...

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  6. Thank you for posting this experience. Yes. These lights do move amongst us.

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  7. Hah! Look at my typo! I was excited, or else susangalique is contagious.

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  8. Hey! I put my response on the last post instead of this entry!

    I need to lay off the special eggnog!

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  9. We really do need to think of a way to get the candles onto your Christmas hat. You did get a Christmas hat, didn't you?

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  10. I am hypnotizing everyone into thinking its a hat with sparklers by telling them to look deep within the flames till they find the center.

    But the pot boy sees through such wickedness.

    I have such a wide variety of hats, I am sure I could rig up a hard brimmed hat with some votives. Hmmm, maybe I will put it into the works for new years. I dont have a digital camera. I am so into polaroids these days. A friend took this last night, so its current.

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  11. This is a lovely post. Tell N. that I have meltdowns when I have to do math as well. I spent three hours each night studying Algebra in college to get an A, and was in tears most of the time.

    How lovely to have met Santa and Mrs. Claus though. I wish we had snow, or at least cold weather. It is warm here and rather un-Christmasish.

    I know what you mean about missing your dad. Mine has been gone a long time, Christmas was his favorite time of year, so each year is a little melancholy for me.

    Enjoy your time with your mother, Marly. Mine just turned 84, and we had a lovely "tea" together this morning.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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  12. Thanks for the good wishes and hat trick news. Just wandered through another packed day. I sent a king and two shepherds to the Candlelight Evening at the Farmer's Museum, and had a friend over for a grand dinner...

    We still have no snow. Most strange.

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  13. No snow in Cooperstown. Most peculiar.

    It's 74 degrees here, most peculiar. I'm beginning to believe Al Gore.

    Another most peculiar: the movie, "Happy Feet." Unfortunately, I took a young friend to see it--no plot, no redemptive quality. But the popcorn was good.

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  14. I was very annoyed by the message-laden, thoughtlessly and unimaginatively anti-Christian, aggressively multi-culti, heavy-footed Environmental-Obvious-Duh! messages of "Happy Feet." That's what happens when your typical uncomplicated sledgehammer political opinions have their way with story. Story is outraged and smashed and dies. Those feet were sheer lead, really, except in the wonderful shooting and gliding and fleeing ice-and-sea sequences, where one forgot the messages of hate and the general preachfest of it all.

    How could the same guy who made Babe make this one? That lovely, delicate movie trusted that it would be understood and valued by its viewers.

    Okay, enough frothing at the mouth. Let's talk weather. We're getting a temperature drop, so we may have more snow today to replace the snows melted by the unseasonable, welcome warmth.

    Oh, and I think we ought to act as though Al Gore is right, even though this may be part of the great historical oscillation of weather patterns. Because we've got to be better stewards of this over-populated world. I think we've all figured that one out, even without the Sex Guru Penguin with the six-pack rings around his neck, right?

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  15. So, you didn't like the movie. :)

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  16. The popcorn was less than stellar.

    o_0

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  17. did you see Santa Clause conquers the
    martians (1963). Now thats constuction paper rockets at its best.

    It will totally make you time travel.

    Thank you for your swet message today. It really made me happy in my heart.

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  18. Ah, sometimes my life is just one long "swet message."

    Cheerio, all, & fa la la--
    Marly

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.