Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Air is the Soul of the Earth

The soul is a breath of living spirit,
that with excellent sensitivity
permeates the entire body to give it life.

Just so, the breath of the air
makes the earth
Thus, the air is the soul of the earth,
moistening it, greening it.

~Hildegard of Bingen
(1098 - 1179)

Of Note: Someone once told me that I reminded them of Hildegard of Bingen, particularly since I had cold hands like her. I wasn't sure if that was a compliment or not. After reading her biography, which contained some of the mystic's work, and then listening to a sample of sacred music she composed, I took it as a compliment no matter how the comment was intended. Besides being a writer and composer, the noble lady from Bingen was also a philosopher, Benedictine abbess, renowned healer and polymath with a scientific bent. At age three, Von Bingen began seeing visions, which she called "The Shade of the Living Light" and by age five began to understand what she was experiencing. As she got older, one thing the visionary did not want to do was share what she saw and became violently ill at the thought. The holy nun began to write and speak of her visions only after recovering from this illness--and did not stop for ten years. During this time, Hildegard created her own language and alphabet, which she called Lingua Ignota. In addition, she was a noted theologian when most were men, and many came to ask her advice. Interestingly, the Abbess called herself unlearned and attributed all her knowledge to the divine, which gave her a voice at a time when women were normally relegated to the kitchen. When she died, it is said that "two streams of light appeared in the sky and crossed over the room where she was dying. Hildegard's life had been marked by her visions of light, and it appears she was marked by this same light when she died." Throughout the whole biography, however, there was no mention of cold hands. I have wondered about that comment ever since.

Today's Weather Report: It snowed off and on all day. The temperature hovered in the upper 20's thus guaranteeing that the white stuff would stick. The poor UPS man is coming later and later as Christmas approaches, arriving this evening after 7 PM. When asked, the beleaguered deliverer said he had 7 more stops to make before heading home 50 miles to Rice Lake. Many times we are the last place, but not tonight. Snow was falling heavily when he turned around in the driveway--I could see it in the lights of his truck. By the way, I know the picture of this pitcher plant is somewhat blurry, but it encapsulates my feeling about the plant, which did not make it through the winter last year. This is the last shot of the beauty.