Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shaker Poetry for the New Year

When one thinks of the Shakers, poetry rarely comes to mind. Yet some Shakers did write rhymed verses in the journals they kept for the communities. One of the most prolific was Phoebe Ann Buckingham of the Church Family of the Watervliet Shaker Community.
The journals offer a glimpse into the everyday lives of the Shakers and Sister Ann (she most often went by her middle name), included many wonderful details.

Some of her rhymes were positive and hopeful, even humorous in nature.

January 1, 1867
The New Year comes with quickened pace
and greets us with a smiling face
O may he keep the same in view
As he onward moves his journey through

Showing that we have more in common with our predecessors than we realize, she occasionally bemoans the fact that she is not ready for the New Year.

1 January, 1857
The New Year has commenced without waiting to see if we were prepared.

On other occasions, she reflects on the more negative aspects of the passage of time.

1 January 1856
Behold the New Year now has come
O may it prove a prosperous one.
May everyone that now is here
Remain to greet another year.
How many changes time does bring
Some painful and some happy things.
Within the year that now is past
Many to us have breathed their last.
Some to a happier land have fled,
Others in thorns have made their bed.
Left home and friends and all for what--
The lowest pleasures the earth has got.

It is interesting that in the above passage she mentions the two ways that the Shakers lost followers. Naturally, some were lost through physical death, as suggested in "Many to us have breathed their last, some to a happier land have fled." However, many "absconded," or left the Shaker faith. The last three lines discuss this kind of loss.

Showing dedication to her faith, Sister Ann seems to make a New Year's resolution in this passage from 1837.

1 January 1837
I am determined to be more faithful
In this year which is now begun.
That I may gain a heavenly treasure
Which will fit me for the world to come.

Ann Buckingham continued to live in the Watervliet Shaker community for the rest of her life and was laid to rest in the Shaker Cemetery. She died at the age of 88 in December of 1892, just four days short of the New Year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Chance for the Christmas Craft Fair

Our Christmas Craft Fair is quickly drawing to a close. The past couple months at SHS have been filled with creativity, fun and camaraderie. If you haven't yet checked out the many items available, this is a perfect time to visit. While the crafters have been successful and sold many items, many have dutifully refilled their booths when necessary with new and wonderful things.
We will be open from 10 - 4, through Saturday, December 19.
If you are still trying to figure out what to get for someone, let us offer a few ideas. All items were made by artisans represented at our Craft Fair.

For the Manly Man...
  • Bank Made of an Original Post Office Box
  • Carved Wooden Bowl
  • Golf Ball Wine Stopper
  • Flattened Beer Bottle Cheese Board
  • "Harley Fund" Ceramic Bank
  • "At the Cabin" Key Holder

For the Fashionable Lady...

  • Beaded Purple Purse
  • Lavender Sprigs
  • Knitted Scarf
  • Beaded Necklace
  • Hand Painted Votive Holder
  • Lilac Room Spray and Lotion
  • Grapefruit Candle
  • Tapestry Covered Photo Album

For a hostess...

  • Ceramic Chip and Dip Bowl
  • Hand Painted Glasses
  • Pumpkin Spice Dip Mix

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Adirondack Trails with Tales Book Signing

Do you enjoy exploring the outdoors? Discover the wonderful hiking opportunities in our region! Authors Russell Dunn and Barbara Delaney will be at the Shaker Heritage Society on December 12 from 1:00 - 3:00, signing their newest book Adirondack Trails with Tales. This fascinating book details the stories behind both popular and relatively unknown hiking destinations throughout New York's Adirondack region. Dunn and Delaney have published a number of other books on outdoor topics that will also be available for purchase on December 12. These books offer an excellent balance between practical information about hiking the trails and the fascinating stories about their past.

Gift Idea: Get a signed copy of Adirondack Trails with Tales and combine it in a backpack or basket with a reusable water bottle, some granolla bars, and a small first aid kit. Voila! An instant hiking kit for your favorite outdoor enthusiast.