Martinmas & Veteran’s Day

First of all, I want to give much love and support to all the veterans of past, present, and future for serving our country.  My thoughts and heart are especially with my great uncle ‘Pie’ today.  He passed away a little over 2 years ago and was finally given his purple heart as we were laying him to rest.  He was one of the most amazing and humorous men that I knew.  It breaks my heart that my boys won’t know him.  I miss and love him so very much.

Today is also Martinmas.  At the end of this post I will share with you the story of Martin and his generosity.  Yesterday, I went out and collected gorgeous fall leaves to make a lantern for myself to celebrate the day.  I decided to wait for Aidan’s lantern and let him make one with his class at Star Garden (our waldorf parent/child class) today.   I thought the star garland on Aidan’s was a nice touch!

How I made/acquired my lantern and leaves:  I wish I could say that we took a nice walk in the brisk fall weather to collect leaves as a family, but that’s not how it happened.  Deciduous trees are few and far between in my area, so I did a very un-eco friendly thing and drove around a neighborhood that is 15 minutes away and parked my car near every home that had a tree with red or yellow leaves on it.  In my defense, we had been playing at a park near this neighborhood for 2 hours previous to my excursion, but it was laden with pine trees.  Ok, now that my shame is out in the open, I’ll tell you how easy it was for me to make the lantern.

First, I handed a mason jar and a wire hanger to my husband and asked, ‘can you make a lantern with a handle out of this?”  Cheater.  I know.  I didn’t even pay good enough attention to be able to tell you how he did it.  I do know that it involved a pair of pliers and some twisting.  He used the entire hanger.  Second, I grabbed my mod podge and painted it on the jar and attached leaves.  I then painted over the leaves with mod podge.  It dried clear and shiny all while preserving those gorgeous red and yellow hues.  Add a tea light candle to the bottom – you can melt a bit of wax and then place the candle on top to make it stick – and you’re done!

The Story of Martin and the Poor Man

By Cerdiwen Anya Coit

Long ago their lived a good young man named Martin. Even as a boy, he knew that one day he would be expected to serve in the military. His father was an important military officer. And, although he desired a peaceful life outside of the military, he knew that it would be his duty to follow the life of this father. So, Martin joined the military, became an officer and eventually was assigned to garrison duty in the town of Amiens.

One bitterly cold winter evening, the young Martin rode through the gates of Amiens on his fine, proud horse. He was dressed in the regalia of his military unit: gleaming armor, a bright helmet and a beautiful white cloak, lined with lambs wool. It was nearly freezing outside, but his thick cloak kept him warm. He was hardly aware of the cold.

But then, as he approached the gates of the town, he saw a poor man, a beggar, dressed with clothes so ragged that he was practically bare. The man was shaking and blue with cold, but no one reached out to help him. People would pass through the gates, looking straight ahead, so their eyes would not meet with those of the poor, desperate man.

Martin, seeing this, was overcome with compassion. He rode straight to poor man and took off his white cloak. And with one stroke of his sword he tore the lovely mantle in two. He wrapped half of the cloak around the freezing man and the other half around his own shoulders.

The people nearby watched in amazement. To see a fine military officer do such a lowly thing was a ridiculous site to many, but others were touched by the goodness that Martin showed.

That night, as Martin slept, he had a dream. A man appear to him who looked so familiar, and he was wearing the half of the cloak Martin had given to the poor beggar. And then, Martin saw in the eyes of this man, the light of the Divine which we each carry within us.

From this day on, Martin’s life was changed forever. He knew that he could no longer be part of the military, for his true desire was to live a life of goodness.

The Lantern

There was once a boy called George who had been outside in the garden all through the Summer running after the butterflies, jumping like a grasshopper, singing like a bird, and trying to catch the sunlight.  One day when he was lying on his back in the meadow gazing up into the sun-filled sky, he said, “Dear Brother Sun, soon the Autumn winds will blow and wail, and Jack Frost will come and make us all freeze, and the nights will be long and cold.”

Brother Sun pushed the clouds aside and said, “Yes, it will be dark and cold.  In the deep midwinter, warmth and light live deep within, hidden from sight.  In the time of dark and cold, you will tend the Light Within.”

“But,” said George, “How will I tend this Light when it’s dark everywhere around me?”

“I will give you a spark of my last Autumn rays once you have made a  little house for it, for this spark must be guarded well.  It will light the way for you to tend the Light Within throughout the time of dark and cold.”

And then Brother Sun once hid again behind a cloud.

George went home and wondered how best he could make a little house for the spark of the sun.  He took a thick piece of paper and painted a beautiful blue and yellow watercolor upon it.  When it was dry, he cut windows into his painting.  Then he placed colored tissue paper on the back of his watercolor – and – he formed it into a lantern.  He took a candle and put it into the middle of his lantern.  And, as it was growing dark, he went outside with it.

George held the lantern up above him and said, “Brother Sun, I have made a little home for one of your golden sparks.  Please may I have one?  I will guard it well.”

Then Brother Sun looked out from behind a cloud and said, “You have made a beautiful home.  I shall give you one of my golden sparks.”

And suddenly, George saw how the windows of his lantern were lit up, and as he looked into the lantern, he saw a spark happily dancing on top of the candle.  Oh, how happy the light was in his lovely lantern!  It shone and shone so brightly.

“Thank you, Brother Sun,” George called out, “Thank you.”  And he took his lantern and carried it carefully home singing:

The sunlight fast is dwindling,

My little lamp needs kindling.

Its beam shines far in darkest night,

Dear Lantern, guard me with your light.

~ from Autumn, Wynstones Press, originally by M Meyerkort and revised by L Sutter.

3 comments to Martinmas & Veteran’s Day

  • the lanterns are beautiful! I really like your leaves idea… maybe will try that next year.

    I’m from southern california originally, so I understand about needing to drive to trees- just wouldn’t have looked the same with palm fronds would it?

  • lmao Exactly! We have oaks, crepe myrtles, and various palm trees. It doesn’t quite have the same effect.

    Thanks!

  • [...] it’s quickly become one of my favorite celebrations.  I love the lantern walk, the songs, the stories, and working on that inner light to hold us over through the dark winter.  The lantern walk is [...]

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