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Mystical Realms Newsletter for August, 2007

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  • jef.murray
    Greetings! And welcome to my newsletter for August, 2007. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me! To
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2007
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      And welcome to my newsletter for August, 2007. Please feel free to
      forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up
      with me! To receive these newsletters regularly, please drop me an
      email or subscribe online at:
      http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms . Notices of new
      paintings and events are at the bottom of this email.

      Epiphanies =========

      The grapevines are loaded, and the fruit on our fig tree is starting
      to show signs of ripening. Despite the drought, Yavanna has been busy.

      We were outdoors yesterday, weeding one of the garden beds and
      planting new basil plants. That may seem late for some folks, but here
      in Georgia we've plenty of time for the seedlings to grow lush and
      fragrant before the chill of autumn arrives; we're just now moving
      into the season of riches.

      Before planting the basil, we took nets off of our blueberry bushes
      and moved them to the muscadines, winding them around the vine
      trellises so that (we hope!) most of the fruit will be protected from
      the birds and the squirrels. Dark leaves hid pale berries that will
      bronze and plump over the next few weeks.

      And then it will be time for the svinatura, the starting of this
      year's wine.

      I've been a winemaker I was a child in north Georgia. I first made
      wine with the leftover syrup from canned cling peaches saved from the
      elementary school where my stepfather worked. The transformation of
      this liquid from something sweet to something exotic always fascinated
      me, and spoke to me of the hidden workings of the universe.

      Although I understood that wine was produced by yeast working on sugar
      and producing alcohol and carbon dioxide, the mechanics of the process
      never quite captured what was really happening. The logic seemed
      circular, somehow, like the planet on which we live; if you tried to
      reduce the event enough, you'd end up back where you started, back at
      original definitions.

      What _is_ yeast, anyway? What is sugar? Where do they come from? How
      are _they_ made? You can follow this back as far as you like, and
      inevitably, you end up where you started.

      G. K. Chesterton helps us out of the dilemma, by reminding us that the
      only proper way to look at the hard, concrete realities of life is to
      view them as a fairy tale. To paraphrase him, one might say that wine
      is produced through the Deep Magic of the universe. The grapes ripen
      because the warm breath of Yavanna has enchanted them and made them
      rich and sweet. The figs droop and form a drop of honey at their base,
      reflecting the light of the evening sun. Why? Because, as living
      things, they are giving praise to Eru Illuvatar, and are reflecting
      His glory and majesty.

      We will gather up the figs and the muscadines, will crush them, and
      will set them in crocks to await the Magic. The sweet juices will be
      transfigured into a draught that will cheer us and recall to us these
      summer days, even when the bitter winds howl.

      As a result of these mysteries, we'll huddle near crackling fires in
      the dark months, sipping liquid sunshine. And that same elixir will
      remind us of tales of long ago, tales that will, in turn, remind us
      that the story we are living now is just as mysterious, just as noble
      and just as full of grand feats and daring choices, as any we can
      recall from ancient times.

      And what is our role in this grand tale? Perhaps simply to be
      thankful, to share good things and good times with those around us,
      and to trust that, unlike our little planet, the realities of life are
      not some circular construct. Rather, the mystery stretches up to the
      heavens and out into the deepest cosmos, with each of our lives at its
      center. And our task and our glory is simply to bear up this emblem of
      mystery, giving praise to the One at all times, now and always, and
      forever and ever.

      Nai Eru laitalyë (may God bless you),


      Events =========

      -I have uploaded five new images to my website at
      http://www.JefMurray.com , and am in the process of changing the
      layout for each of my galleries. The newest images are at the top of
      each gallery page, without prices or additional info. You will need to
      click on the thumbnails to bring up detailed descriptions, status of
      original paintings, print availability, etc. The latest images include
      the following:

      Shire Dreams -

      Haydee –

      The Garden –

      The Baptism of the Lord –

      Our Lady of Fatima –

      - In addition to new works at JefMurray.com, I've also uploaded two
      new paintings to my http://www.JefMurrayWildlife.com website. These

      Zebra Lionfish –

      Peacock –

      Do let me know what you think of all of these works!

      - The July/August issue of Amon Hen, the bimonthly newsletter of the
      Tolkien Society, features a cover that I was honored to have been
      asked to design. The cover commemorates the 70th anniversary of the
      publication of The Hobbit.

      - The White Tree Fund (see http://www.whitetreefund.org/ ) is now
      accepting memberships and is in the process of finalizing details for
      publication of "Silver Leaves", their new journal. I was honored to
      have been asked to contribute several painting images and sketches for
      their use in this inaugural issue of "Silver Leaves". Included in
      these was the cover image, which made us of my painting of Amon Hen.

      - The July/August issue of the St. Austin Review (StAR)
      http://www.staustinreview.com/ ) is out at any moment. It features a
      number of excellent articles on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, plus my latest
      "Fenestrae Coeli" article on the paintings of Jason Jenicke. Jenicke's
      work is marvelous, and it can be seen online at
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