Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Poem for Tuesday and Catoctin Mountain Park

All Souls
By D.H. Lawrence

They are chanting now the service of All the Dead
And the village folk outside in the burying ground
Listen--except those who strive with their dead,
Reaching out in anguish, yet unable quite to touch them:
Those villagers isolated at the grave
Where the candles burn in the daylight, and the painted wreaths
Are propped on end, there, where the mystery starts.

The naked candles burn on every grave.
On your grave, in England, the weeds grow.

But I am your naked candle burning,
And that is not your grave, in England,
The world is your grave.
And my naked body standing on your grave
Upright towards heaven is burning off to you
Its flame of life, now and always, till the end.

It is my offering to you; every day is All Souls' Day.

I forget you, have forgotten you.
I am busy only at my burning,
I am busy only at my life.
But my feet are on your grave, planted.
And when I lift my face, it is a flame that goes up
To the other world, where you are now.
But I am not concerned with you.
I have forgotten you.

I am a naked candle burning on your grave.


Since the kids had no school and we all took a day off, we spent a chilly but gorgeous Monday at Catoctin National Park with Paul's parents. It was quite cool when we picnicked up on the mountain after stopping at the visitor center -- fortunately we had leftover Halloween candy to keep us warm -- but a perfect day for hiking, so we went to both the Blue Ridge Summit and Hog Rock overlooks, where there was still plenty of beautiful color on the hillsides. Then we visited the Owens Creek sawmill, which we had never stopped at before, driving along a road that paralleled the electric fence separating Camp David from the rest of the park. Late in the afternoon, we stopped at the Grotto of Lourdes at Mount St. Mary's College, which is always beautiful in the fall and which has installed new spigots to get large quantities of holy water from the spring there.

Then, as we have done several years in the fall when visiting Thurmont, we went to the Cozy Inn where Paul's parents treated us to dinner; they have a huge buffet including plenty of vegetarian options, plus a Camp David museum featuring most of this century's presidents, though there's no Obama collection yet. The kids have no school again tomorrow, so we caught up on Merlin and Boardwalk Empire -- despite the violence, I have really been enjoying the latter, which is superbly acted and has stunning art direction, and the former is just awesome this year except that while I love Morgana opposing Uther, who deserves anything she does to him, and I understand her hating Merlin for being willing to sacrifice her, and I can even forgive her for wanting Arthur dead so she can claim all the things he has that she's been denied, I hate her abusing Gwen and threatening her. The show easily passes the Bechdel test, and I enjoy Morgana and Morgause interacting both as sisters and conspirators, but I really dislike that they and so many other women are set up as evil, whereas obedient servant Gwen is the one consistent "good" girl. As for the World Series: better the Giants than the Yankees, and that is all I have to say!

My kids on Hog Rock, where I've been taking photos of them since they were much younger.

We usually visit in the fall because the color on the mountains is so beautiful.

The kids have always enjoyed climbing on the rocks, though older son was a bit tired from his Halloween sleepover and didn't climb more than necessary.

Here are Paul's parents, Paul, and our kids visiting the historic sawmill...

...and here I am being threatened by the, um, plastic-encased non-moving saw blade.

The leaves were quite beautiful at Mount St. Mary's Grotto of Lourdes, too.

I took a swallow of the water from the spring that feeds this fountain. It's very cold and sweet.

This is the caboose at the Cozy Inn, playing host to a very friendly cat.

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