Time for another round up of links to interesting things.
The Anglo-Saxon poem, Deor, performed in Old English with subtitles. This reading really makes the poem come alive. (Via Mrs Darwin)
When I watched this on You Tube, I found other versions of the poem in the suggested videos. One of my favorite poets, Seamus Heaney reading his modern English translation of Deor. So long as they continue to inspire poetry in living languages, these ancient poems cannot possibly be considered dead:
And then there was this fun version. I don’t know how historically authentic it is—probably not very—but I admire this guy’s enthusiasm and I rather enjoyed his performance:
And while we’re on the subject of Old English, here’s a fun article about the letters that didn’t make the modern alphabet.
Do Rainbows Have Seams?
The picture that’s emerging is that colors aren’t quite random slices of the visual pie. They’re somewhat basic categories that humans from different cultures gravitate towards, and must have to do with how the biology of how we see the world. In other words, rainbows have seams. We can distill a rainbow into its basic visual ingredients, and a handful of colors come out.
I’ve often wondered whether what we call a color affects how we see it. Turns out it probably does. If there is not a word for it, our eyes don’t distinguish it. Which makes me wonder do women tend to see more shades of color than men because we bother to learn the words or is there a difference in the way we perceive color?
Elizabeth Duffy offers some thoughts on being a mother to a newborn yet again. I especially love her take on Psalm 128:
This, I suspect is what it means in Psalm 128 “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home.” I used to take offense at this particular verse. It sounded so territorial (YOUR home, YOUR wife–fat and stagnant there in the dark recesses of the house. God forbid the vine go out to the movies once in awhile).
p>I imagined that the vine was weak and passive, that it sat around feeding itself, or else waiting to be sustained, rather than being the source of life and sustenance to others.
Christ also says, “I am the vine, you are the branches…apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5) If motherhood is hard at times, it’s probably because it allows us, without going terribly far out of our way, to mimic Christ. Being a lifeline to others usually entails a cost to oneself.
There is never a time when I feel more at peace, more satisfied with the knowledge that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, than when I am in the active process of mothering. I don’t have fears about wasting my time when I’m pregnant or nursing a newborn. I have complete confidence that my life is being worthily spent, because it’s sustaining someone else.
This is me, the vine, climbing the stairs in the dark to wake up my children, calming the little people into sleeping bags on the floor in our room, nursing the newborn back to sleep. I don’t feel trapped and helpless. I feel infinitely useful.
For the Ladies
Seven Things Charting Taught Me. This article sums up so many of my thoughts when Dom and I first learned NFP eight years ago. I kept feeling like I’d been cheated out of knowledge by inadequate health classes in high school. Some men might find this article skipable, though Dom did find the biology interesting and does find it helpful too. This is why charting shouldn’t only be for married women. It provides a level of knowledge about your body that every adult woman should know. Not that everyone should necessarily chart, but I think everyone should know how to chart.
I Don’t Think That Means What You Think It Means
From The Atlantic, a schoolteacher opines: Introverted Kids Need to Learn to Speak Up at School
“A student who is unwilling to stand up for herself and tell me that she does not understand the difference between an adverb and a verb is also less likely to stand up for herself if she is being harassed or pressured in other areas of her life.”
Ugh. how many wrong ideas can one person have? No matter how many books she’s read this author doesn’t get introverts at all. Sadly, she’s not alone. In my experience introverts tend to be really good at understanding what makes extroverts tick and extroverts tend to be terrible at understanding introverts. They tend to think of introversion as shyness or social anxiety. No matter how much they try to understand, they still unconsciously think introverts would be better, happier, people if they would just be more like extroverts. So they’re always trying to “fix” us for our own good. Introverts tend to be very good communicators, we just tend to prefer small, intimate venues rather than large groups.
But even that is a generalization. Many introverts love large groups, they just find that such gatherings deplete their energy and thus they need to go recharge their batteries. Me, I love big gatherings where I know lots of people. Not so much big gatherings of strangers. While I’m with a group of people I know, I’m really on fire and full of energy and I’ll be the last person to leave. But then I want to hide in my room with a book for the next day or two to recharge.
Also, one of the problems I have with the author’s approach to teaching is that it rewards students who blurt out something, anything just to be participating and it penalizes the more thoughtful student who waits to have something meaningful to contribute. I often didn’t speak in class because it takes me a while to process what everyone has said, to think it through before I out with a response. That approach tends to be more rewarded in small group settings—I always did well in the seminars in grad school that had fewer than a dozen students. In large groups, it’s easy to have the conversation take a new direction before I’ve come up with a response to the former topic.
via Melissa Wiley, from whom I get most of my cool links.
Have you seen Jennifer Fulwiler’s reality show? So funny. So good.
The Scared is Scared
This short video just makes me happy. A film student asks a six year old what her movie should be about. Then uses his narration to make a movie. I love especially the way she captures the self-editing, the process by which he refines his ideas. Bella will do the same thing when she tells a story or plays a game, revising as she goes along. This film captures it in a way I never have been able to do when I try to transcribe her stories. And the end is so touching. I almost cried.
I asked a six year old what my movie should be about, and this is what he told me.
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If you liked the music in this film check out the webpage for the band Alpenglow: http://www.alpenglowmusic.com
There’s No Such Thing As Everlasting Love (According to Science)
This article in the Atlantic is a fascinating look at the biology behind the emotion that the author labels “love”.
In her new book Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become, the psychologist Barbara Fredrickson offers a radically new conception of love.
Fredrickson, a leading researcher of positive emotions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, presents scientific evidence to argue that love is not what we think it is. It is not a long-lasting, continually present emotion that sustains a marriage; it is not the yearning and passion that characterizes young love; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship.
Rather, it is what she calls a “micro-moment of positivity resonance.” She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with less likely candidates, like a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store. Louis Armstrong put it best in “It’s a Wonderful World” when he sang, “I see friends shaking hands, sayin ‘how do you do?’ / They’re really sayin’, ‘I love you.’”
I was really intrigued by the study’s findings but quibble with the attempt to limit the definition of “love” to only signify a temporary emotional state. I’m not sure whether the idea that science can redefine love comes from the reviewer or the book’s author. Either way, I’m not sure the fault ultimately lies with either author. Neither can be held accountable for the poverty of the English language. Really our language is inadequate when “Love” can mean another name for the all-powerful God who created the universe out of nothing, a lifelong commitment between two people, the bond between a mother and child, or a fleeting emotional state that isn’t there unless the other person is physically present. When we say that “love is a choice, not an emotion” we are obviously not talking about the same phenomenon as Fredrickson, no matter how much she might insist that her study tells us the true nature of love. Whatever it tells us cannot be what I mean when I say that God Himself is the true nature of love.