In a small pond in the rolling hills of Vermont, about 8 miles from the town of Woodstock, lives a blossom in a pond. It was “born” there and it shall live out its days in the sunshine of the Vermont summer. Then fall will come and with it the drop in temperatures until the cold chokes the life out of the blossom.
I have often wondered if other living things are more sentient than we suspect. Do they sense the shortening of the days and how it becomes hard and harder toward the end to find warmth and strength? Do trees grow weary of standing against the wind?
I don’t know, but I somehow suspect that if they are living things, there is more to them than we might surmise. I don’t think, however, that this blossom regrets for a single second having spent its days in the Vermont pond where I photographed it. I think it, like we, should rejoice in the days we have been given, even though many of those days may have been more filled with rain and clouds than sun. Those days are still a gift…and a precious one at that.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1572, King Charles IX of France, under the sway of his mother, Catherine de Medici, ordered the assassination of Huguenot Protestant leaders in Paris, setting off an orgy of killing that resulted in the massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots all across France.
Two days earlier, Catherine had ordered the murder of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, a Huguenot leader whom she felt was leading her son into war with Spain. However, Coligny was only wounded, and Charles promised to investigate the assassination in order to placate the angry Huguenots. Catherine then convinced the young king that the Huguenots were on the brink of rebellion, and he authorized the murder of their leaders by the Catholic authorities. Most of these Huguenots were in Paris at the time, celebrating the marriage of their leader, Henry of Navarre, to the king’s sister, Margaret.
A list of those to be killed was drawn up, headed by Coligny, who was brutally beaten and thrown out of his bedroom window just before dawn on August 24. Once the killing started, mobs of Catholic Parisians, apparently overcome with bloodlust, began a general massacre of Huguenots. Charles issued a royal order on August 25 to halt the killing, but his pleas went unheeded as the massacres spread. Mass slaughters continued into October, reaching the provinces of Rouen, Lyon, Bourges, Bourdeaux, and Orleans. An estimated 3,000 French Protestants were killed in Paris, and as many as 70,000 in all of France. The massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s Day marked the resumption of religious civil war in France.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The first on-screen kiss was shot in 1896 by the Edison Company. Titled The May Irwin-John C. Rice Kiss, the film was 30 seconds long and consisted entirely of a man and a woman kissing close up.