Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ADVENT COUNTDOWN 24

In the forecourt, lit by the dim rays of a horn lantern, some eight or ten little field mice stood in a semicircle, red and worsted comforters round their throats, their forepaws thrust deep into their pockets, their feet jigging for warmth. With bright beady eyes they glanced shyly at each other, sniggering a little, sniffling and applying coat sleeves a good deal. As the door opened, one of the elder ones that carried the lantern was just saying, "Now then, one, two, three!" and forthwith their shrill little voices uprose on the air, singing one of the old-time carols that their forefathers composed in fields that were fallow and held by frost, or when snowbound in chimney corners, and handed down to be sung in the miry streets to lamplit windows at Yuletime.
—Kenneth Grahame, "The Wind in the Willows"
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[The word "Advent" comes from the Latin adventus, which means "coming." In the Christian church Advent is that period of expectant waiting leading up to the Nativity of Jesus. Some prefer to think of it as a "Countdown to Christmas." If you've ever had an Advent calendar, you know that each day prior to Christmas has it own window, usually hidden behind a little flap or door, behind which is a scene or verse from the Scriptures. I thought it would be fun to take that idea and post a daily photo with a bit of text below—a stanza or two from a Christmas poem or a few lines of prose from a favorite Christmas story. The photos aren't intended to be tied with the text. Some are just ones I meant to run with a post this past year, but for whatever reason, didn't. To set these posts apart from my regular—or irregular!—ones, I've given them a different typeface and look.]

8 comments:

Wanda said...

You made me cry this morning!
"The Wind in the Willows" is always on my desk for the g/children! It was a favorite passtime for my now 17 year old g/son Nick when he was small. I love it too!

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ-

could read the delightful segment from "Wind In The Willows", but could not read/see your words, in dark print against the black back-ground. :-)

Love to you and Happy Tuesday.....I am taking my Mom for the renal ultra sound today. Say a prayer,k?

Love you
Gail
peace.....

Robin said...

Oh Griz..... this is a good one! Thanks!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

I understand completely the sweet sadness of being reminded about certain things. I'm sorry I made you cry, but glad you have the wonderful memories to cry about. ((Does that make sense?)

"The Wind in the Willows" is one of my all-time favorite books, and I still read it quite regularly. I was raised on books and reading, and being read to as a child—but oddly, I didn't discover TWITW until I was an adult. I read it to my daughter, Lacy, of course.

I've long played a sort of mental game of keeping a list of books under the heading: "If you had to limit yourself to x number of books, which ones would you choose?" No question TWITW would make the 100-book list; and the 50-book list, and the 25 and the 10…and even the x "absolutely essential" 5-book list. I probably have a dozen editions of it on my shelves.

The scene of those little caroling field mice gathered before Mole's cozy home, singing glad tidings while he and Rat watch—and afterwards, inside, the mulled ale and the shared impromptu supper…this is to me one of most delightful moments in all of literature, a quintessential part of my Christmas reading.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

You read the only important part, anyway—though I think I may have fixed the problem. (Maybe!) I'm just rerunning the intro bit with each successive installment.

A pray will be (has been) said for your mother. Please pass along my well wishes.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Robin…

I hoped it would grab a few readers. I sure love the piece…

I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

Hildred and Charles said...

A wonderful heart tugging picture in prose - the little ones of the field.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Hildred and Charles…

I love this scene from "The Wind in the Willows." I'm glad you enjoyed it, too.