In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.
Forgive me for not writing much tonight, but I've been at the cathedral all day long and I'm very tired.
Our guests in the cathedral community during this special week (which is the 150th anniversary of our building) have been the Suffragan Bishop of Cuba, the Rt. Rev. Nerva Cot Aguilera, and her husband, the Very Rev. Juan Ramón de la Paz, who is the Dean of our sister cathedral in Havana. At the 10:00 am service today, Juan preached and Nerva co-celebrated; his sermon was about the great importance of equal friendship between peoples of different cultures - not judging, not feeling superior/inferior because of wealth or opportunity or political idealogy, but simply meeting each other as friends. At the big Advent Lessons&Carols Evensong later in the day, Nerva read one of the lessons in Spanish, and other readings were in French and in English, which was very nice indeed.
Yesterday evening there was a dinner and dance in celebration of this anniversary. I hadn't expected to have such a good time, but I did -- dancing until late in my high heels (and I didn't even feel sore today.) We had delicious Caribbean food served by another Montreal Anglican congregation, who do catering as part of their ministry. But the highlight was watching this couple from Havana dancing to Latin rhythms: so elegant, so dignified, and so joyful. They'll go home in a few days, taking off the sweaters, parkas, and mufflers that have been protecting them during these northern days, but hopefully full of memories of the warmth with which they were greeted here.
As usual, there've been a few articles and emails circulating about the dark underside of Thanksgiving. I got one suggesting that we shouldn't celebrate the holiday because it glosses over (or forgets all together) the genocide of North Americans native peoples by their European invaders. The more predictable have had to do with a different kind of slaughter -- the annual killing and eating of millions of turkeys -- exhorting readers to go vegetarian.
Last night, in lieu of saying grace as we gathered with some other Canadian-Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving, one of our company read Abraham Lincoln's proclamation establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday. I'd never read this before; it's worth pondering and certainly debunks the idea that Thanksgiving originated on Plymouth Rock.
Of all the holidays (all with mythic roots intertwinedwith history) celebrated by our North American culture, Thanksgiving has to be my favorite, and I guess I don't feel like fussing over its origins to much - compared to other, more religious holidays, there's been so much less human carnage resulting from Thanksgiving, and somehow it's remained less commercialized - that is, if you consider the day itself, not the shopping aftermath. Getting together with friends and family, sharing a meal - and often a less gluttonous and meaty one than in years past - and taking the time to reflect on being grateful seems like a pretty fine thing to do. I like how Thanksgiving always feels less obligatory and more fun than Christmas, and how it's often cooperative rather than competitive.
We had a lovely meal last night, with everyone bringing something, resulting in many tastes and a bountiful but not obscene quantity of food - that we then shared in take-home packages. We did cook a turkey, stuffed with a mixture of bread, homegrown herbs, leeks, celery, bourbon-soaked cranberries, and apples. There were hors d'oeuvres of Quebec cheeses, then with the turkey, a green bean and mushroom casserole; corn pudding; baked beets; Scandinavian red cabbage; pureed carrots, parsnips and ginger; mashed potatoes and turnips; Hungarian fig jam; New England-style whole-berry cranberry sauce; French cornichons and American chow-chow relish; and for dessert, a dense chocolate ganache tart and a traditional pecan pie. The party broke up at 11:30 pm; a few people stayed late to help us clean up, and we went to bed at 2:30 am, feeling very grateful indeed.
It was just a normal day here in Montreal, everyone going to work as usual in the unseasonably warm weather; I saw someone cycle by this morning in shorts (which was a little extreme.) Canadian Thanksgiving happened back in October, and tomorrow will be a normal (as opposed to crazed) shopping day. The Christmas lights and other decorations are appearing, however, and the stores are definitely decking their halls.
If it hadn't been such a busy day - I've been running from morning til night - I would have written more here about the holiday, but as it is, that will have to wait. I just got home from choir rehearsal, totally beat and ready for a cup of tea and early-to-bed. So I'll leave you with my best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving, I hope it was a very good day for all my American readers.
The plant is driven by osmosis that naturally draws fresh water across
a membrane and toward the seawater side. This creates higher pressure
on the sea water side, driving a turbine and producing electricity.
At first the plant will be producing a very small amount of power -- enough to run a coffee maker. A full-size plant would be the size of a football stadium and produce enough electricity for 30,000 European households; much of the engineering challenge, it seems, is to work on the membrane itself, trying to make it smaller and more efficient. The process would then be possible anywhere there is seawater.
Europe's osmotic power
potential is seen at 180 TWh, or about 5 percent of total consumption
-- which could help the bloc reach renewable energy goals set to curb
emissions of heat-trapping gases and limit global warming.
I'm interested in all of these renewable sources of energy; seeing our friends from Iceland recently reminded me of the potential of geo-thermal energy, a source which is also being explored in Canada.
From time to time, J. shares with me choice tidbits from the police blotter at the highly-regarded university in the northeastern U.S. that we lived near for many years. Here are three excerpts from the last week, which add fuel to my suspicion that Americans are becoming more and more anxious, more afraid of each other, more confrontational, and more whacked as a result.
Nov. 12, 7:15 p.m.
North Main Street
Hanover Police received a report of an assault near Baker-Berry Library
involving two 19-year-old male Dartmouth students. One of the students
allegedly attempted to steal the other student’s red hat. After the
student wearing the hat had reportedly walked away, the suspect
confronted the student again and allegedly assaulted him. Hanover
Police is still investigating the case.
Huh? (And while we're at it, shouldn't that be "are still investigating?" I mean, it's the Ivy League and all.)
Nov. 17, 6:34 p.m.
Hanover Police received multiple calls from individuals who observed
flashing lights in the sky and thought they appeared suspicious. Upon
investigation, the police learned that the lights were from F-16
military jets on a refueling mission.
(Forget the UFO suspicions; sure, it's perfectly normal for F16s to be refueling over small towns these days, why the hell not?)
Nov. 18, 7:12 p.m.
Hanover Police received a report of suspicious activity when an
individual was observed in a sand pit beside his car. When police
officers arrived, they learned that the individual was a Dartmouth
professor performing research on crickets.
These faces of women I take to be Mary and her cousin Elizabeth intrigued me when we passed the stained glass panels in the Met last week. I wished I had noted the date, because the glass was really old and yet doesn't the drawing style look very modern? Even comic-bookish?
Looking at them today, though, I'm thinking about their veils. I mean - look at this Christian depiction of women, and tell me we aren't totally culturally myopic.
At qarrtsiluni, earlier this month, we published a wonderful poem by Kadijah Anderson, called "Islam for Americans." I was delighted when the poem was submitted, and even more so when I heard Kadijah herself read it. Please listen to her reading and you'll see the connection with this picture, as well as the title of the post.