3 ravens

Nevermore and two companions followed me to work, asking, Where shall we our breakfast take? I thought about it for a moment and recommended the fried rice at our neighborhood take-away in honor of Chinese new year… they agreed and took flight. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Happy Chinese New Year!

February 16, 2018

 

brown dog

Welcome Earth Dog! Earth Dog humans are communicative, serious, and responsible in the workplace. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Earth Dog 2018 Card

 

weathercock

The Weathercock was having a rough day… design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Weathercock Card 

“Restless life! Restless life!” moaned the Weathercock on the church tower by the seas as he felt the wind sway his direction suddenly. He creaked with dismay, “restless, toiling life, and everybody complaining of one all the time…”

An old woman hobbling towards the church lamenting: “There goes that tiresome weathercock pointing east… now I know why my rheumatism has returned!”

Then a farmer warned the old gravedigger: “Watch out Tomkins! If that rascally weathercock is to be trusted, the wind’s going to bring us rain.”

The steadfast weathercock was horrified that he was always to blame for the weather, and muttered to himself: “Am I to blame? Did I choose my lot? Do you think I would swing every which way if I had a choice?”

sundial

Gatty’s motto for this story: “They also serve who only stand and wait,” is from Milton, 1673 Poems, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

From below, the sundial grumbled under his breath: “Oh, how he chatters away up there… he almost makes me smile.” Reflecting upon his day, “Not a ray of sunshine has fallen upon me today. I wonder what Ol’ Weathercock finds to interesting to talk about. His life is so active, no doubt. Oh, what I would not give to be like him.”

The weathercock looked down at his longtime companion the sundial with envy: “Ah, that’s the life!”

Dial heard his name whispered in the wind: Hello up there! Did you call? Is there anything fresh astir? I get so tired of the long dark useless hours. So come on now, what have you been talking about?”

“Nothing profitable,” replied the weathercock. “I am just grumpy.”

“But why?” Asked the dial. “Your life is so active and bright.”

Weathercock thought Dial was mocking him. “Look at me! Swinging with every peevish blast that crosses the sky. Turn here, turn there, turn everywhere… never a moment’s rest.”

The companions fell silent as humans started passing with their daily routines… pausing a moment to examine the sundial or the weathercock to get a sense of what was coming.

A sailor lingered near the dial and read its weathered motto: “Watch, for ye know not the hour.” He just hankered for a long afternoon to relax, and mentioned this to the gravedigger in passing. Tomkins responded: “You’ll be cured of the wish for idle afternoons when they are forced upon you… wait until you are old like me and then you will understand.” With good-natured goodbyes, the two parted ways leaving the churchyard empty of its living guests.

The sailor went home and warned his sons to keep a lookout for there have been signs of a strong gale arriving and with the high tide, there could be dangerous or even deadly conditions.

Meanwhile, the sundial observed, “Just as I thought, everything is wrong because everybody is so dissatisfied.

Soon the farmer’s wife saw the tracts of white foam, thick like snow fields, on the ocean, followed the breakers as they crashed upon the shore like claps of thunder. That night, a mighty storm – a hurricane – came and stalled over the coastal hamlet causing great fear, but the weathercock and the sundial stayed the course.

The weather eventually cleared and the sun shined brightly over the village and the sea with the brilliancy of spring. Because the villagers recognized the signs and prepared, nobody was hurt and damage was minimal, indeed, the dial and the weathercock were buffeted to the point of shining like new. Villagers look at them renewed gratitude, thinking: “What a mercy!”

Dial heard this and asked his friend: “Are you silent, Weathercock?”

“I was just thinking,” he replied. “I have a new sense of my own responsibility. I have the sensation that everything is useful in its own place and at all times, though humans may not always figure that out.”

The sundial beamed, “that was my impression as well.”

===

Source: Margaret Gatty (1809–1873) wrote about marine biology and was prolific children’s book author and editor who mentored her daughter Juliana Horatia Ewing (1841-1885) in her writing career. While Gatty’s tales were targeted for juvenile audiences, she hoped that they would influence the minds of adults as well. This story is from her Parables from Nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

butterfly haiku

“The year’s first butterfly full of swagger” is a Japanese stylized butterfly riddle design… where the spider’s web is caught in the butterfly’s wings. Haiku by Issa, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Issa Butterfly Haiku card

Peace

December 13, 2017

dove and laurel

Dove offering laurel branch design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Season’s Greetings card

replenish harmony

Inspired by Zuni carving, this design is by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Frog sings the songs that summon the rains to our earth and cleanse and purify the soul as well as replenish harmony.

Frog Replenish Harmony Notecard

 

 

peafowl

Peacock exits after Juno’s refusal. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

In Greco-Roman mythology the Peacock is identified with Juno who created the Peacock from Argus whose hundred eyes symbolize the vault of heaven and the eyes of the stars.

Aesop tells of when Peacock was hanging out with the Roman goddess Juno. He petitioned her to give him the voice of a nightingale to compliment his handsome attire.

Juno refused.

Peacock persisted though: “Of all the birds, I know I am your favorite.”

To this the goddess wisely responded: “Be content with your lot; one cannot be best in everything.”

Peacock Notecard

 

Pink elephant sighting

January 26, 2017

elephant

“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant the only harmless great thing, the giant of beasts.” Words from John Donne, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Paisley Elephant Notecard and Survivors’ Hub Postcard

 

“Twelve Days” Song

December 6, 2016

peir-tree

The story goes that when being a Catholic was illegal in Protestant England, children would sing this song to profess their faith: the partridge and the pear tree symbolized Jesus Christ. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016. NOTECARD

The twelve days in the song are the twelve days starting with Christmas Day, or on Boxing (December 26th) and ending on the Twelfth Night (January 6). The most common English-language version this song was published in a children’s book called Mirth without Mischief (1780) as a “memories-and-forfeits” game called “Twelfth Night.” The leader in this game recited a verse, each of the players repeated the verse, the leader added another verse, and so on until one of the players makes a mistake, with the player who erred having to pay a penalty, such as offering up a kiss or a treat. The lyrics to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” may have served as a catechism song for young Catholics when the practice of Catholicism was criminalized in England between 1558 and 1829.

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween!!!

October 31, 2016

skull

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” Words by Thomas Merton (1915-1968), design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.

Over the next few days this site will explore the Mexican Day of the Dead that emerged from the ancient pre-Columbian traditions.

Notecard