Category Archives: Holidays and Celebrations

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A Dream of Doves

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May you dream of doves,
Of a peace that rests
Gentle as a drift
Of pure white feathers
On your sleeping shoulders… Continue reading

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Someone Somewhere Sits Dreaming

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Someone somewhere
Sits dreaming
Between rocky earth
And boundless sky… Continue reading

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Of Mothers (and their dreams)

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Mothers dream, and acting on that dream:
…They pass the torch
One to another
To light a dark way…
– working to create a better world for children. Continue reading

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Thoughts Revisited, on World Water Day

Water…
It covers our world
In a moving blanket
Of currents and tides,
Pulses through our bodies
With each heartbeat…
Continue reading

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And a New Year Begins – Again

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I wish we could go forward into the year to come like children, eyes wide open, looking around with wonder, looking forward to the adventures that await. Continue reading

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays: A wish for love and joy

Margaret Mair, A Christmas Card for 2013, Original art

Margaret Mair, A Christmas Card for 2013, Original art

 
 
May you sail through the season
With love and joy,
The winds behind you,
Your boat rocking gently
Over calm blue seas,
And the horizon
Wrapped around you
In a warm celestial hug.
 
 
Words and painting by Margaret Mair

Thank You, Mother Mine

Margaret Mair, Come With Me, Original Art

Margaret Mair, Come With Me, Original Art

It has taken me this lifetime to realize all that my mother gave me. Love, support, guidance, comfort. Encouragement to spread my wings, even when I didn’t feel ready. A place to leave, a place to come back to. And something more.

My mother was a very important part of my development as an artist.

Art covered our walls, artists and art lovers were among the people we knew. There were art books for looking at, art shows and exhibitions to visit. There was thoughtful commentary, and support for rising artists. My mother loved beauty, but she also loved work that made her think, awoke questions in her. Work that was not always comfortable to look at. She gave me a foundation for my own work, though I did not realize it at the time.

Later, after she saw some of my pictures (I was living far away), she encouraged me to keep working and learning, and hung one of my pastels in pride of place on the dining room wall. And she shared others’ appreciation of it with me. Encouragement which gave me courage to keep going forward.

Now, as I think about her, I am grateful for all this and so much more.

I am grateful that she encouraged me to explore, to stretch my wings even when I was afraid. That she taught me to be self-critical without being self destructive.

I am grateful that she shared more and more of herself as I grew older – including, to my initial surprise, a bawdy and irreverent sense of humour.

I am grateful that she taught me to look closely at the world around me, with an observant eye, an enquiring mind and an open heart.

I am grateful that she showed me that the world was full of many different people, good and evil, poor and rich, and that worth is a matter of character not circumstance. I am grateful that she let me see that talent achieves nothing without hard work, and that no-one succeeds by themselves.

Thank you, mother mine.

Together We Soar

Margaret Mair, Butterfly Hands, Watercolor, original art

Margaret Mair, Butterfly Hands, Watercolor, original art

Today is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate how far women have come. It’s a time we can rejoice that so many can now make their own choices, can contribute their intelligence, skills and talents to building the world they live in.

It’s also a day to remember that around the world many women find themselves in difficult and dangerous situations simply because they are women.

When I think of us I think of butterflies, flying like dreams, like hope.  Before it soars the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, spreads and dries its wings. Only when they are dry and ready can it fly.

Around the world we too need to emerge, spread our wings, and fly together. Imagine such a world, in which we accept and celebrate our similarities and our differences.  In which we give what we are capable of, no matter who we are.

International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate how far we’ve come and to imagine how much further we can go.

On Joy and Sorrow and Christmas Wishes

Margaret Mair, Nature's Cathedral, Original Art

Margaret Mair, Nature’s Cathedral, Original Art

I know what I want for Christmas. I want Love. Because with Love, Peace and Joy are possible, Respect is always there, and Sorrow becomes more bearable.

No matter what the season joy and sorrow entwine, intermingle. We find that the higher the one, the deeper the other. It’s only in times of contemplation that we look back and, weighing them, find they both have their place in our lives.

Joy comes from rising above sorrow; sorrow from losing that which has given you joy.

“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.”

So wrote Khalil Gibran in Joy and Sorrow.

As I write many of us are consumed by sorrow at the deaths of the young children in Newtown. Deaths that came before they had time to experience their full share of life, of joys and sorrows. And we hurt for the adults who died with them, and for the families and friends left behind.

Faced with such sadness, how do we find our way back to joy and not wonder at ourselves for feeling happiness again? And yet we cannot live always in sorrow – we are creatures of hope, looking forward to better things and trying to find our way to them.

Perhaps the greatest joy will come in finding ways to make this world one in which such heartrending things will not happen so easily. In contemplation we may look at the path that took us here; with thought we may learn from all that happened along the way; with hope we may find a new way forward.

I am hoping. And wishing hope and love for you.

Rolling the Easter Egg…

Nikolai Andreevich Koshelev, Children Rolling Easter Eggs

Nikolai Andreevich Koshelev, Children Rolling Easter Eggs

When I was a child, an Easter Egg was a gift we received on Easter Sunday. The chocolate egg came wrapped in cellophane, and in its own fancy pottery egg cup which we would use later to hold our breakfast hard-boiled eggs. Memories of those Easter eggs are all wrapped up with memories of dressing up and going to church for the Easter Sunday service.

For many those chocolate eggs are now just treats to be bought and consumed. But for the children we see in the painting above Easter eggs were much more.

The Easter Eggs they are using are real eggs, boiled and colored. A young boy watches closely as a young woman concentrates on the roll of the egg she has just let go. We can see that they are serious about what they are doing.  The little ones are too young to care, but their lack of interest only emphasizes the concentration of the older two.

Whose egg will roll further down the polished wooden chute? Where will it stop on the heavy coat that covers the floor, cushioning the precious eggs so they do not break as they leave the chute and stopping them from rolling too far? Will hers hit or tap another egg?

The picture was painted by the Russian artist Nikolai Andreevich Koshelev in the nineteenth century. At the time he was painting depictions of village life and traditions – later he went on to develop a great reputation as a painter of historical and religious pictures. Here he was painting a traditional Easter game.

Egg rolling is still part of Easter in places in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. So why are they rolling eggs? And why do people continue to do it?

Before the coming of Christianity, the egg symbolized fertility, the coming of Spring, and the rebirth of the land. Easter falls at about the time that Spring arrives; egg rolling competitions and games probably celebrated the arrival of Spring. When some pagan customs were absorbed into Christian holy days eggs became a symbol of Easter and the rolling of the egg took on an added significance. It came to be seen as a symbol of the rolling away of the stone from Christ’s grave.

Just a seasonal chocolate treat? Maybe it’s time to look at the Easter egg a little differently…