One hundred years ago today, at 11:00 a.m., November 11, 1918, the Great War (World War I) came to an end as the fighting on the Western Front (northern France) ended the hostilities with the signing of the armistice (cease-fire). The Treaty of Versailles, officially ending the war, wouldn’t be signed until June 28, 1919. The more than four years of fighting resulted in the highest number of civilian and military casualties ever recorded and continues to reverberate our history still to this day.
Throughout the world, tomorrow, the 11th day of the 11th month (November 11), is observed as Armistice Day. On this day in 1918, the armistice or cease-fire was signed and implemented at 11:00 a.m. The armistice ended the carnage and destruction of the Great War (World War I). In the United States, tomorrow is known as Veteran’s Day. In the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth, it is Remembrance Day.
In the USA, it is a time to acknowledge the veterans of all wars, both living and deceased.
When I was a student in primary school, our teacher periodically assigned poems for all of us to commit to memory in order to increase our comprehension of the written English language. As we were all Deaf, this assignment entailed us to not only remember the English words as they were written, but also their equivalent in our manual language: American Sign Language (ASL). For students who were either ten or maybe eleven years old, this was a very intimidating task and was not undertaken lightly.
Tomorrow, Saturday, May 6, 2017, is the 13th observance of World Naked Gardening Day. It was first celebrated on Saturday, September 10, 2005. It’s a time where all are encouraged to get outside, tidy our lawns and gardens and, of course, to do it while we’re all completely clothes-free! The purpose of World Naked Gardening Day is to promote the health benefits of nudity and to foster the harmony between nakedness and nature. On the event’s website, gardening nude is listed as the second favorite activity – behind swimming – that people like to do while naked.
Today, April 28, is Arbor Day here in the USA. It is the day when we again focus on our environment and nature and everyone is encouraged to plant a tree in order to replenish our natural resources. In many primary schools, a special ceremony is held and a sapling (an immature or “baby” tree) is planted and the students are told to “watch” it grow and are educated on tree-care. The U.S. Forest Service and/or individual state forestry agencies sometimes provide trees for the students to take home and plant in their yards.
In elementary school, we were required to memorize poetry in English then stand up in front of our class and recite the poem using American Sign Language (ASL). The purpose of this exercise was to teach us, as Deaf students, the ability to translate from English into ASL and to learn the essentials of English. This poem, The Daffodils, was one of those poems and I remember well the difficulties that I had committing it to memory.
I was in secondary school when I discovered the poetry of the Lebanese-American, Kahlil Gibran. By the time I read his work, “On Clothes,” my identical twin brother and myself were already staunch bare-practitioners and ever since that moment, I have been an avid fan of Mr. Gibran and his words. He remains one of my favorite poets of all-time even today.
This poem, “on Clothes,” continues to resonate with me. Not only does Kahlil Gibran discount the superficiality of clothing, he extols the virtues of nudity and simplicity. His work, in its entirety, follows below.