"Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty.
As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Finally, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores." -- History of Thanksgiving
Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo)
"The Cherokee honor both the owl and the cougar for watching over Earth for seven days during creation; the creatures are often associated even in appearance, as the wide eyes of the owl resemble those of the cat. As a culture that views animals as intelligent beings with spirits, the Cherokee sometimes endow the owl with a personality akin to that of a wise old man."
"It is the color closest to light. In its utmost purity it always implies the nature of brightness and has a cheerful, serene, gently stimulating character. Hence, experience teaches us that yellow makes a thoroughly warm and comforting impression."
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Dancer Making Points, 1879–1880
"Illuminated by gas footlights in the midst of a performance, a dancer “makes points,” or draws forms with her pointed foot. Edgar Degas’s daring, asymmetrical composition and the angled perspective he produced by the diagonal lines of the floorboards emphasize the sensation of plunging space.
Degas is best known as a painter of ballet dancers, whether rehearsing in a studio or dancing on stage. He was captivated by their sometimes graceful, sometimes awkward positions, which he captured in a variety of media over the course of his career."
A lion took a wolf and a fox with him on a hunting excursion, and succeeded in catching a wild ox, an ibex, and a hare. He then directed the wolf to divide the prey. The wolf proposed to award the ox to the lion, the ibex to himself, and the hare to the fox. The lion was enraged with the wolf because he had presumed to talk of “I” and “Thou” and “My share” and “Thy share,” when it all belonged of right to the lion, and he slew the wolf with one blow of his paw. Then, turning to the fox, he ordered him to make the division. The fox, rendered wary by the fate of the wolf, replied that the whole should be the portion of the lion. The lion, pleased with his self-abnegation, gave it all up to him, saying, “Thou art no longer a fox, but myself.” – Jalal al-Din Rumi
The Entombment of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, 1636/1637
Francisco de Zurbarán
Saint Catherine was a 4th-century princess of Alexandria who vowed to devote her life to God and was martyred for refusing to marry the Emperor Maxentius. After torture by fire, she was condemned to death on a spiked wheel, shown in the painting's right foreground. When Catherine touched the wheel, it miraculously fell apart, and so she was beheaded. Zurbarán depicts the deceased saint being lifted by angels who will transport her to the top of Mount Sinai, her burial place. Typically Baroque, the action of the painting nearly spills into our own space, and its deep shadows reflect the widespread influence, in this instance extending beyond Italy into Spain, of Caravaggio.
When it’s cold and raining,
you are more beautiful.
And the snow brings me
even closer to your lips.
The inner secret, that which was never born,
you are that freshness, and I am with you now.
I can’t explain the goings,
or the comings. You enter suddenly,
and I am nowhere again.
Inside the majesty.
Jalal al-Din Rumi