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Mystical Realms newsletter for August, 2007
From Oregon, USA
And welcome to my newsletter for August, 2007. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me! To receive these newsletters regularly, please drop me an email or subscribe online at: http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms. Notices of new paintings and events are at the bottom of this email.
The grapevines are loaded, and the fruit on our fig tree is starting to show signs of ripening. Despite the drought, Yavanna has been busy.
We were outdoors yesterday, weeding one of the garden beds and planting new basil plants. That may seem late for some folks, but here in Georgia we've plenty of time for the seedlings to grow lush and fragrant before the chill of autumn arrives; we're just now moving into the season of riches.
Before planting the basil, we took nets off of our blueberry bushes and moved them to the muscadines, winding them around the vine trellises so that (we hope!) most of the fruit will be protected from the birds and the squirrels. Dark leaves hid pale berries that will bronze and plump over the next few weeks.
And then it will be time for the svinatura, the starting of this year's wine.
I've been a winemaker I was a child in north Georgia. I first made wine with the leftover syrup from canned cling peaches saved from the elementary school where my stepfather worked. The transformation of this liquid from something sweet to something exotic always fascinated me, and spoke to me of the hidden workings of the universe.
Although I understood that wine was produced by yeast working on sugar and producing alcohol and carbon dioxide, the mechanics of the process never quite captured what was really happening. The logic seemed circular, somehow, like the planet on which we live; if you tried to reduce the event enough, you'd end up back where you started, back at original definitions.
What _is_ yeast, anyway? What is sugar? Where do they come from? How are _they_ made? You can follow this back as far as you like, and
inevitably, you end up where you started.
G. K. Chesterton helps us out of the dilemma, by reminding us that the only proper way to look at the hard, concrete realities of life is to view them as a fairy tale. To paraphrase him, one might say that wine is produced through the Deep Magic of the universe. The grapes ripen because the warm breath of Yavanna has enchanted them and made them rich and sweet. The figs droop and form a drop of honey at their base, reflecting the light of the evening sun. Why? Because, as living things, they are giving praise to Eru Illuvatar, and are reflecting His glory and majesty.
We will gather up the figs and the muscadines, will crush them, and will set them in crocks to await the Magic. The sweet juices will be transfigured into a draught that will cheer us and recall to us these summer days, even when the bitter winds howl.
As a result of these mysteries, we'll huddle near crackling fires in the dark months, sipping liquid sunshine. And that same elixir will remind us of tales of long ago, tales that will, in turn, remind us that the story we are living now is just as mysterious, just as noble and just as full of grand feats and daring choices, as any we can recall from ancient times.
And what is our role in this grand tale? Perhaps simply to be thankful, to share good things and good times with those around us, and to trust that, unlike our little planet, the realities of life are not some circular construct. Rather, the mystery stretches up to the heavens and out into the deepest cosmos, with each of our lives at its center. And our task and our glory is simply to bear up this emblem of mystery, giving praise to the One at all times, now and always, and forever and ever.
Nai Eru laitalyë (may God bless you),
-I have uploaded five new images to my website at http://www.JefMurray.com, and am in the process of changing the layout for each of my galleries. The newest images are at the top of each gallery page, without prices or additional info. You will need to click on the thumbnails to bring up detailed descriptions, status of original paintings, print availability, etc. The latest images include the
Shire Dreams -
http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmu ... ien/375_Shire_dreams.html
http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmu ... ios/tales/376_Haydee.html
The Garden -
http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmu ... tales/372_The_garden.html
The Baptism of the Lord -
http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmu ... _Baptism_of_the_lord.html
Our Lady of Fatima -
http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmu ... 1_Our_lady_of_fatima.html
- In addition to new works at JefMurray.com, I've also uploaded two new paintings to my http://www.JefMurrayWildlife.com website. These include:
Zebra Lionfish -
http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmu ... ldlife/water_gallery.html
http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~jmu ... wildlife/air_gallery.html
Do let me know what you think of all of these works!
- The July/August issue of Amon Hen, the bimonthly newsletter of the Tolkien Society, features a cover that I was honored to have been asked to design. The cover commemorates the 70th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit.
- The White Tree Fund (see http://www.whitetreefund.org/ ) is now accepting memberships and is in the process of finalizing details for publication of "Silver Leaves", their new journal. I was honored to have been asked to contribute several painting images and sketches for their use in this inaugural issue of "Silver Leaves". Included in these was the cover image, which made us of my painting of Amon Hen.
- The July/August issue of the St. Austin Review (StAR)
http://www.staustinreview.com/) is out at any moment. It features a number of excellent articles on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, plus my latest "Fenestrae Coeli" article on the paintings of Jason Jenicke. Jenicke's work is marvelous, and it can be seen online at http://www.jasonjenicke.com/.
Posted on: 2007/8/3 15:20
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