Hong Kong protesters wave American flag and sing our National Anthem

Protesters in Hong Kong waving the American flag and singing the American National anthem as they advocate for democracy. Wow!

Source: Kaya Jones | Facebook

That moment when protesters for freedom and democracy abroad are more patriotic Americans than are many here…!

Too many here in the U.S. are “taking a knee,” or attacking symbols of our history and heritage – including statues of Francis Scott Key, and even the National Anthem (“The Star Spangled Banner”) itself – while in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy, pro-freedom demonstrators have been protesting against the oppressive Chinese Communist government in Beijing for months, some of them (pictured here) are waving the American Flag and singing our National Anthem.

Unlike too many of our own people, they know what it really stands for.

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London’s last working shire horses revive centuries-old tradition of cutting rare hay meadows | Daily Mail Online

Ham House head gardener Rosie Fyles said: 'There's something really special about witnessing the sights and sounds of this centuries-old rural tradition in the heart of London today. We know these flood meadows have been part of the London landscape since the 17th Century and would have been used for grazing and ploughed for hay and feed'

London’s last working shire horses are reviving the centuries-old tradition of cutting rare hay meadows without heavy machinery to encourage the return of wild flowers.

Source: London’s last working shire horses revive centuries-old tradition of cutting rare hay meadows | Daily Mail Online

There are some things draft horses – or “heavy horses,” as they’re known in England – can do better than any tractor, and one of those is protecting the ecosystem that they’re working:

Despite weighing up to a tonne, the heavy horses are still lighter than tractors and compact the soil less as they plod the fields, which helps plants and wildlife to flourish…

The National Trust said it decided to return to the traditional method of managing the land because of its many benefits for nature. The horses are a throwback to a bygone era of farming, before the invention of the internal combustion engine. Their remarkable stamina also mean they can work well into their 20s and can mow an average of 10 acres of grass in one day.”

And of course, the “exhaust” they produce fertilizes the land, rather than polluting the air; and unlike tractors, they can breed their own replacements!

Heavy horses back at work in London, even if it is only on one select site… Perhaps Jethro Tull (the band, not the 18th-century agriculturalist) was prophetic:

In these dark towns folk lie sleeping
As the heavy horses thunder by,
To wake the dying city
With the living horseman’s cry.
At once the old hands quicken,
Bring pick and wisp and curry comb:
Thrill to the sound of all
The heavy horses coming home…

— Jethro Tull, “Heavy Horses

Today is the 159th Anniversary of the first performance of Thomas Arne’s “Rule Britannia”!

Source: Rule Britannia – Last Night of the Proms 2009 | YouTube

Thomas Arne’s song “Rule Britannia” was performed for the first time on this date, 159 years ago: August 1, 1740. Historic UK notes that

“The patriotic song ‘Rule, Britannia!, Britannia rule the waves’, is traditionally performed at the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ which takes place each year at the Royal Albert Hall.”

Ignoring certain historical inaccuracies , this is an awesome rendition by mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly!

 

The feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea | Holy Smokes

https://anglophilicanglican.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/86a7a01ec7dc9cadd7fad878edcb4555.jpg

 August 1st is the feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea in the United states (July 31 in the east). His story is one of mystery and tradition…

Source: Holy Smokes: The feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

— William Blake, “And did those feet in ancient time? (Jerusalem)

Today is the commemoration of St. Joseph of Arimathea (as found in “Lesser Feasts and Fasts 1963,” approved for use in the UECNA), who is best known from the Gospel accounts as the one who gave his tomb to be the burial place of our Lord, Jesus Christ, following his crucifixion. The Collect for this day reads:

O MERCIFUL God, by whose servant Joseph the body of our Lord and Saviour was committed to the grave with reverence and godly fear: Grant, we beseech thee, to thy faithful people grace and courage to serve and love Jesus with unfeigned devotion all the days of their life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

He – Joseph of Armimathea – may have another significance, too, especially for those of us who are of the English tradition. There is a persistent legend that Joseph was not only the recoverer of Jesus’ body, but his uncle, and a tin-merchant with trading contacts as far afield as Cornwall, in what was then the Roman Province of Britannia; and that he took the young Jesus with him on a trip there during the so-called “lost years” of Jesus’ life.

There is even a tradition that when Joseph thrust his thornwood staff into the ground, it took root, flowered, and blossomed, becoming the famous Glastonbury Thorn that survives to this day near the old Abbey of Glastonbury. It is, at any rate, this legendary trip (which cannot be conclusively proven – nor for that matter, disproven) which serves as the inspiration for the lines from the poet William Blake, quoted above, which became the well-known hymn, “Jerusalem”:

Personally, I tend to believe this pious legend – or at least give it the benefit of the doubt – and to consider that there is at least a good chance that “those feet in ancient times” did indeed “walk upon England’s mountains green”! Britain was in ancient and medieval times known as a particularly holy island, and what better reason for that, than that our Saviour did indeed grace “England’s green and pleasant land” with His sacred footsteps?

In any case, wishing you a blessed Feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea!

General Robert E. Lee explains the concept of “sacred geography” | YouTube

Sacred geography… one’s home territory, one’s homeland… the “soil” half of “blood and soil,” the two-pronged basis of nations and peoples, as they have been historically understood and experienced. The place one is willing to fight and even die for, because of what it means, the connection one feels for it, the history one shares with it. Even “liberals” of an earlier time – and not so much earlier, either, I’m talking the 1980s and even ’90s – would have understood, if you called it a “sense of place,” or “connection to one’s bioregion.”

We all have such a place. For many of us, it is the region in which we have grown up; to which we are joined not only by our own experiences, but those of our ancestors:

Sometimes, just our immediate family (I was the first of my family to be born in Maryland, but most of my life has been spent here, my parents lie in the ground here, and I deeply grieve at what it has become, and the thought that I might one day have no choice but to leave it… it will be a kind of exile, no matter where I end up); and sometimes, many generations of our forebears, as Gen. Lee speaks of in the clip above.

One’s sacred geography, one’s “home range” (to use an ecological term), should be source of comfort, reassurance, and stability. But when it has suffered disruption, and particularly when one is pondering the prospect of departing from it because of that disruption, to seek a place where one can find fertile ground to plant and tend the seeds that one is endeavoring to salvage from the wreckage, it can be a source of deep pain.

But either way, I pity those who do not have such a sense, of such a place. They are rootless and groundless, indeed.


N.B. What is “blood and soil”? Stephen Clay McGehee explains, from the perspective of Southern Agrarianism:

“Southern Agrarianism is a Blood and Soil movement. It takes in two of the most basic concepts in all of history: Our People, and the soil that provides the food that feeds our people. It means that, while we wish all the best toward others, our immediate family comes first, followed by ever larger circles of extended family, and then on out from there.”

In other words, it is not a concept / movement that teaches hatred toward others, nor does it seek supremacy over others. It simply places our priorities where they should be: on those closest to us, and on the land that supports us and them: the sacred geography of our homeland.

Her Majesty is in Scotland for Royal Week

From The British Royalist Society (links added):

Her Majesty The Queen attended the Ceremony of the Keys at Holyroodhouse today.

She is symbolically offered the keys to the city by the Lord Provost and tradition dictates that the Queen then returns them, entrusting their safekeeping to Edinburgh’s elected officials.

The Queen will be residing in Scotland for Royal Week, which kicks off with a garden party at Holyroodhouse Palace.

Glories of the West: Greece’s monasteries in the sky

Source: METEORA : Greece’s monasteries in the sky | Places and People (Facebook)

Once again, I would have hoped for better music: Greek Orthodox chant, ideally, or at least something recognizably Greek. But the (presumably drone) video footage of the monasteries themselves is splendid!