When I look at these sweeping views from my window, I feel the world belongs to me. It really is my oyster. But I have to accept my human limitations. Say, after I headed a mastermind session, had a 30-minute interview, and chose a template for my educational project, I can’t do much more today. So, I’m going to spend the rest of the evening doing some house chores and preparing for tomorrow.
To celebrate the unofficial World Cats’ Day here is Cancion Novisima de los Gatos by Federico Garcia Lorca, with a recital in Spanish.
The unofficial World Cats’ Day is celebrated on August 8th, so I’m sharing the original Spanish text of a poem by Federico García Lorca, Canción novísima de los gatos. I couldn’t find an English translation, so I’ll make a point of searching a library for it. The illustration is a portrait of Lorca’s friend of youth, Salvador Dali, with his pet ocelot. Read more about relationships between artists and their cats.
Canción novísima de los gatos
Mefistófeles casero está tumbado al sol. Es un gato elegante con gesto de león, bien educado y bueno, si bien algo burlón. Es muy músico; entiende a Debussy, más no le gusta Beethoven. Mi gato paseó de noche en el teclado, ¡Oh, que satisfacción de su alma! Debussy fue un gato filarmónico en su vida anterior. Este genial francés comprendió la belleza del acorde gatuno sobre el teclado. Son acordes modernos de agua turbia de sombra (yo gato lo entiendo). Irritan al burgués: ¡Admirable misión! Francia admira a los gatos. Verlaine fue casi un gato feo y semicatólico, huraño y juguetón, que mayaba celeste a una luna invisible, lamido (?) por las moscas y quemado de alcohol. Francia quiere a los gatos como España al torero. Como Rusia a la noche, como China al dragón. El gato es inquietante, no es de este mundo. Tiene el enorme prestigio de haber sido ya Dios. ¿Habéis notado cuando nos mira soñoliento? Parece que nos dice: la vida es sucesión de ritmos sexuales. Sexo tiene la luz, sexo tiene la estrella, sexo tiene la flor. Y mira derramando su alma verde en la sombra. Nosotros vemos todos detrás al gran cabrón. Su espíritu es andrógino de sexos ya marchitos, languidez femenina y vibrar de varón, un espíritu raro de inocencia y lujuria, vejez y juventud casadas con amor. Son Felipes segundos dogmáticos y altivos, odian por fiel al perro, por servil al ratón, admiten las caricias con gesto distinguido y nos miran con aire sereno y superior. Me parecen maestros de alta melancolía, podrían curar tristezas de civilización. La energía moderna, el tanque y el biplano avivan en las almas el antiguo dolor. La vida a cada paso refina las tristezas, las almas cristalizan y la verdad voló, un grano de amargura se entierra y da su espiga. Saben esto los gatos mas bien que el sembrador. Tienen algo de búhos y de toscas serpientes, debieron tener alas cuando su creación. Y hablaran de seguro con aquellos engendros satánicos que Antonio desde su cueva vio. Un gato enfurecido es casi Schopenhauer. Cascarrabias horrible con cara de bribón, pero siempre los gatos están bien educados y se dedican graves a tumbarse en el sol. El hombre es despreciable (dicen ellos), la muerte llega tarde o temprano ¡Gocemos del calor!
Este gran gato mío arzobispal y bello se duerme con la nana sepulcral del reloj. ¡Que le importan los senos (?) del negro Eclesiastés, ni los sabios consejos del viejo Salomon? Duerme tu, gato mío, como un dios perezoso, mientras que yo suspiro por algo que voló. El bello Pecopian (?) se sonríe en mi espejo, de calavera tiene su sonrisa expresión.
Duerme tu santamente mientras toco el piano. este monstruo con dientes de nieve y de carbón.
Y tú gato de rico, cumbre de la pereza, entérate de que hay gatos vagabundos que son mártires de los niños que a pedradas los matan y mueren como Sócrates dándoles su perdón.
¡Oh gatos estupendos, sed guasones y raros, y tumbaos panza arriba bañándoos en el sol!
There are two railroads near where I live. One, with two Birulevo stations, runs between Paveletsky Railway Station and Domodedovo Airport;another, Pokrovskaya, runs between Serpukhov and Podolsk and Kurskaya Railway Station.
This Tuesday, as I was coming home from my weekly mastermind with other amazing girls, I decided to take a walk from the metro. I ended up walking along the bridge over Pokrovskaya station, and when I looked back at one point, this was the view I saw.
I love this gentle light of August evenings. In the last two days it was +50 in the sun and +31 in the shade. But in the evening when the temperature drops and people walk home, exhausted by the heat, the streets are filled with calm and silence. Life resumes under the sunset skies.
Phos Hilaron is considered the first church hymn in a proper sense. It was sung every evening. In the video it is sung by the Valaam monks.
This beautiful hymn, Phos Hilaron (Gentle Light (Svete Tikhy in Russian; Lumen Hilare in Latin; O Gladsome Light in English) is the first church hymn in its proper sense. Every evening when the Christians gathered for the service they sang it and lit the candle or lamp that symbolised the ever-living light of Jesus. You can read the story of the hymn. Below is a video of its performance in Old Church Slavonic by the monks of the Valaam Monastery.
(The evening service is on the way in Russian churches, but I have to visit the library today to take back the books).
It is indeed the time to move to Russia and to bring over your “traditional” European or American heritage.
We shall welcome you all. I feel in a few years we will be rescuing the best of European and American culture, to save it from annihilation at the hands of modern-age barbarians who detest “the White Man”. So, it is indeed the time to move to Russia and to bring over your “traditional” European or American heritage.
I applaud the fact that my country’s media people have come up with this propagandist video promoting some aspects of Russia that the other Russian media used to look down on with disdain. And no, we as a nation, are not happy that the European gas prices are rising, and in France you cannot even water the home gardens. What needs to be understood is that much of Western prosperity was built on unfair price-setting for countries like Russia. The price for gas IS high when you trade it fairly.
I’m contemplating the value bubble in which our world has been living for the last 30-60 years. The monetary cost and the non-monetary value of things mostly contradict each other. Once somebody could treat his physical possessions more than his health or his family. Today he treats his virtual possessions more than anything in the physical world. We now have to rebuild an entire country as physicals factories and plants, but this means there will be real work, real money, real relationships.
This is the view I had today from my window. You’ve seen my sunset cloudscapes before, now here’s something I occasionally see in broad daylight.
My previous week was all about copyrighting work, and I did quite a lot! This week I’ve got other tasks at hand, so to manage ’em all I take a lot of rest. Surprisingly, this works really well.
My friend who’s presently living in Slovenia admits that Europe is literally grilling in hot temperatures. I sincerely hope all European citizens survive the heat.
I really think that one of the outcomes of the present situation in the world will be our reassessment of the role God plays and the place He occupies in our lives. For those who dare to “risk” the effort and let Him in to their mind, heart, and soul, He will manifest His benign nature. This is really not the time to question or challenge Him. We, however, have to rise to His challenge, for He is the Answer. Love is the Answer, Love is the Power (John Lennon, Mind Games).
In our hemisphere temperature’s rising, so it’s just the right time to start thinking about summer. Thus here comes Mungo Jerry! This song I first heard on an audio cassette my Dad brought to me around 1997. It wasn’t until some 10 years later that I saw the curly mane of the band’s leader.
Today we celebrated the Day of two Christian saints, Peter and Paul. Peter was one of Jesus’s disciples who tried to emulate his master and follow him in his footsteps but couldn’t quite do so. He was afraid to walk on water, and, despite his own expectations, refuted Jesus three times. Following the Resurrection, he became the leader of disciples and an ardent professor of faith.
Saul, on the other hand, was a staunch persecutor of Christians until the angel knocked him down and revealed God’s will. And so Saul became Paul and wrote many epistles to pagans and Christians alike. Caravaggio’ The Conversion of Saul depicts the moment of epiphany.
Both eventually martyred: Peter was crucified head down (at his own request), and Paul was beheaded for he was a Ronan citizen. As a result, Paul is often depicted with a sword, as in this painting by El Greco.
Paul may also be depicted with a book which is a nod to his literary activity, and Peter is portrayed with the keys to Kingdom of Heaven in his hand. In this Russian icon another aspect is noticeable: Peter is older and is always on the left side of the picture.
The saints were celebrated in Russia practically since the Christening, and the Cathedral of St Sophia in Kiev has the earliest surviving image of Peter in what was Ancient Rus.
The popular expression says “Peter and Paul reduce the day by an hour”. By August 2nd, St Elijah’s Day, the day will have lost two hours, which is commemorated in another expression.
The story of Peter and Paul is that of a person’s following his or her vocation with faith. At the beginning of this short fasting period I went to St Clement of Rome’s church where I wrote down something of my own epiphany, that Christianity is not about suffering but about faith and service. When one has found their vocation, they should follow it, not in the hope to martyr or to die a peaceful death, but in the determination to fulfill their vocation. Martyrdom or a good death is not the end in itself; the vocation is. The story of Peter and Paul is a good illustration of this thesis. After all, there were St Nicholas and St Spyridon of Trimythous who died a peaceful death but whose contribution to Christianity was no less than that of the apostles’.
There are two lessons Peter and Paul teach us. One, follow your vocation. And two, none of us is ever good enough for a task. Peter betrayed Christ but came to be the guardian of the heavenly Kingdom. Saul used to destroy Christians but eventually became the most ardent propagator of a new religion. Whatever we used to do in the past, we can always change our ways and start anew.
The storms usually come after an extended period of extreme heat. I’ve received an SMS from the agency alerting me of the possibility of another storm later today. So far I can state that the wind is blowing strongly, although the sun is raging. It’s +32 in the shade, whereas my home thermometer reads +48-50. If the storm and rain do begin later, they will last until midnight.
So I’m having a siesta on days like this. I may or may not have a nap but it feels good to be able to relax. This is a chance to think, to pray, to focus on yourself. This is what summer is for, after all.
The photo was taken a little over a month ago, on June 2nd, but today’s sky was exactly the same after the storm had subsided. I managed to go shopping at about the time the storm was beginning. A strong wind started blowing, and I narrowly escaped the moment when the torrential rain poured down with all its might, and the thunderbolt and lighting were very, very frightening indeed. I waited for some time in the shop, but the storm was showing no sign of calming down, so I decided to run home amidst the lighting and thunderbolts.
It was quite an experience! As I was running past the block of flats on the way to mine, I kept thinking of the old days. Then, when no brollies were yet invented, people must have been running for their lives, if they had to, in the storm like this! I vividly imagined the lighting tearing the sky in parts and illuminating the scenery below. If anyone hadn’t been religious until then, they would most certainly have come to believe in God.
Of course, there could be casualties in storms like this, as it happened today when a man was killed in Moscow city centre. In my own yard a few trees were mutilated by the storm. Some claim it was a hurricane; it certainly wasn’t as bad as the one we had in 1997 or 1999 when it even damaged a part of the Kremlin wall. But today’s storm was a spectacular, if frightening, occasion.