November 17, 2011

Into the dark and cold

-10 to -20 the last couple of days here and the same heading into the weekend.  We've already got 2 feet of snow pack, fairly rare for November in the Anchorage area.  And while I lament not being able to run outside as often, I'm totally digging the gorgeous skiing!  The running thing....that's a whole 'nuther story...basically trying to see how far I can push the threshold of cold while still running in my Vibram 5 Finger shoes.  So far, I've gotten down to 18 degrees without socks.  I'll update the whole deal in an upcoming post.
Above is a photo of last year's Lantern Walk put on by Willa's school.  This year's was to be tomorrow night, but with a prediction of -17 they had to cancel until December.  I was bummed to get the e-mail this morning...the Lantern Walk is such a wonderful first celebration to ring in, and find warmth in, the darkening cold Holiday season.  But I freely admit I was relieved at the same time!  -17?  Fuhgedaboutit! Who can have fun in THAT?   Lot's of disappointed kiddos, though, my own in tears this morning.  They've been working so hard on their beautiful lanterns...  But it's only a couple of weeks and there is a large Thanksgiving dinner planned at our friend's house to look forward to.  I was really hoping that WE would be hosting Thanksgiving this year, but the finishing of our new addition is shlogging along slower than molasses in January.  We have a lovely, big, currently useless room that is still awaiting plumbing, heated floors, electricity, insulation and sheet rock among other things.  The rotted out beams we discovered-the previous contractor'ss faux pas-really held things up for us.  At least that part is now fixed.

Anyhoo, here's a couple more Lantern Walk photos to set the mood.  For those not familiar with the Lantern Walk, it's a lovely way to celebrate Martinmas.
Martinmas marks the burial of St Martin of Tours (316-397 AD). St. Martin may be well-known for his compassionate gesture of sharing his cloak with a beggar. This charitable gesture is at the heart of this festival for many Waldorf schools, who hold coat drives and other charitable drives around this festival.
This festival is the middle point between Michaelmas and Christmas; the light of Martinmas fortifies our souls for the dark winter and prepares us for the birth of Christ. One symbol of this is working with light from lanterns in the traditional Lantern Walk.
  I'm working very hard on getting lots of holiday preparations-gifts made and bought, events scheduled-finished by December so that we can go into it with a little less chaos and more reverence....more family time to enjoy this time of year.....internal and  beautiful in so many ways.....
The lighted path...cold yet warm at the same time with the sound of children singing...the lights of their hand held lanterns bobbing as they journey through the woods.

The circle of the bonfires.  Toasty warm, groups of kids, parents, and teachers singing rounds and enjoying hot drinks and treats.
The lanterns made by Willa's class.