Good morning on this frosty holiday of St. Pancras – the 2nd of the Ice Saints. It was just below zero and that perfectly normal for the season and goes with these icy fellows. German folk lore (Bauernregeln) teaches their significance for farming and gardening:
Wenn’s an Pankratius gefriert, so wird im Garten viel ruiniert (If on Pancras it froze, gardens will drop fruit in droves)
or even harsher
Pankraz und Servaz sind zwei böse Brüder, was der Frühling gebracht, zerstören sie wieder. (Pancras and Servatius are bad brothers: Whatever spring brought, this couple smothers).
Reminds me a lot of winters down south: Frost in the morning, but the rising sun is quick to dispel the chill and brings the most delightful days of blue skies and balmy afternoons. I sure do hope, that the farmers didn´t lose too much of those blooming fruit trees – cherries, apples, apricots and pears. They´re all in full bloom right now – and those would be most susceptible to the dangers of these rough comrades. And then I´ve not even touched on the many flowers in the gardens and fields.
But, even as we know full well, that we and the trees, orchards and fields do need good old cold – and thanks to Robert Frost for keeping that clear. In that sense: Happy freezing this icy holiday. The summer is surely coming!
This saying good-by on the edge of the darkRobert Frost: “Good-by and Keep Cold”
And the cold to an orchard so young in the bark
Reminds me of all that can happen to harm
An orchard away at the end of the farm
All winter, cut off by a hill from the house.
I don’t want it girdled by rabbit and mouse,
I don’t want it dreamily nibbled for browse
By deer, and I don’t want it budded by grouse.
(If certain it wouldn’t be idle to call
I’d summon grouse, rabbit, and deer to the wall
And warn them away with a stick for a gun.)
I don’t want it stirred by the heat of the sun.
(We made it secure against being, I hope,
By setting it out on a northerly slope.)
No orchard’s the worse for the wintriest storm;
But one thing about it, it mustn’t get warm.
“How often already you’ve had to be told,
Keep cold, young orchard. Good-by and keep cold.
Dread fifty above more than fifty below.”
I have to be gone for a season or so.
My business awhile is with different trees,
Less carefully nourished, less fruitful than these,
And such as is done to their wood with an ax—
Maples and birches and tamaracks.
I wish I could promise to lie in the night
And think of an orchard’s arboreal plight
When slowly (and nobody comes with a light)
Its heart sinks lower under the sod.
But something has to be left to God.
So we rejoice in our good Lord, who has ordained all things well – frost, cold and rain – all in good season – and continue to sing His praises:
1 O Splendor of God’s glory bright,
from light eternal bringing light,
O Light of light, light’s living Spring,
true Day, all days illumining:
2 Come, very Sun of heaven’s love,
in lasting radiance from above,
and pour the Holy Spirit’s ray
on all we think or do today.
3 And now to you our pray’rs ascend,
O Father, glorious without end;
we plead with Sov’reign Grace for pow’r
to conquer in temptation’s hour.
4 Confirm our will to do the right,
and keep our hearts from envy’s blight;
let faith her eager fires renew,
and hate the false, and love the true.
5 O joyful be the passing day
with thoughts as pure as morning’s ray,
with faith like noontide shining bright,
our souls unshadowed by the night.
6 Dawn’s glory gilds the earth and skies,Ambrose of Milan (340-397) translated by Robert S. Bridges (1844-1930)
let him, our perfect Morn, arise,
the Word in God the Father one,
the Father imaged in the Son.