Friday, 21 September 2012

Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

One of my favourite pieces of literature comes from The Wind In the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. In the chapter The Piper at the Gates of Dawn Ratty and Mole go in search of the lost baby otter. After a night of searching an eerie music compels them forward to a clearing in the forest. In the dawn light they tremble in front of the great god Pan. Curled at his feet, sleeping peacefully is the little otter. Pan in his wisdom and compassion erases the memory from their minds for it is too great for such fragile creatures to bear. All that is left is a trace of ethereal music.
Pan playing pipes. Unknown artist

H.M. The Queen has her own piper play beneath her window at 9am daily. A tradition that started with Queen Victoria  at her favourite home in Scotland.

Royal Military College, Ca

Some say the sound of bagpipes was originally meant to strike fear in the heart of the enemy, mimicking the sound of the banshee, predictor of death. The banshee myth in turn may have developed from the screech of the barn owl as it hunted at night.

Here is a picture of the dawn piper at Frolander Bay.
                                                                               
  
California sea lion

A group of California sea lions have hauled out on a rock in the bay. I can just make them out through binoculars. Each morning, as I cradle my first mug of tea, a basso profundo Gregorian chant wends its way into a dark and primitive part of my psyche.

When I return to Calgary it will be the howl of coyotes calling me back to nature. Drawing me, like Pan's pipes, into the wild.

10 comments:

  1. Interesting. I read that Pan is short for panic and that his songs were used to incite panic. Much like the bagpipes, I suppose. The basso profundo would also incite a panic since it is so deep that it rattles the eardrums. ... I'm just being random.

    Safe travels back to Calgary.

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    1. Random thought processes make for the most interesting people.

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  2. A lovely post - Wind in the Willows is a favourite read - great to be able to see sea lions doing what comes naturally

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    1. I really feel part of nature out here.

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  3. Dear Susan,
    I liked this post.
    The Wind in the Willows is a favourite book of mine and I have always enjoyed the various poetic chapters within the book that act as aside to the main story.
    Our Dawn PIper is the local peel of bells at the Basilica. It is another nice way to awaken after a night of peaceful slumber.

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    1. Waking up to bells sounds lovely too.

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  4. A lovely post. My dad often told stories of the bagpipes leading them into battle during WWII. Your mornings sound magical. Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. I didn't realize pipers were used in WW2. I can feel a story coming on.

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  5. Beautifully written post. :o) I'm from California and love our sea lions. Have you found a new place?

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    1. We have about six weeks before handing over to the new owners and NO we don't have a new place. At our ages you would think we would have planned better. Obviously well into our second childhood. Plan B is our daughter's basement.

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