After a sprinkling of rain late last night, more hot weather today. Soil bone dry, wooden bathtub leaking. Running water battles have broken out in the streets of Carmine among the eight under-14s currently in residence.
On the mulattiera between Carmine Inferiore and Carmine Superiore lies a small Lady Chapel with a representation of the Madonna of which I'm particularly fond. See it here.
This detail shows that in Her hand she holds what appears to be an anemone, a flower often associated with the Virgin Mary. Like the Fleur-de-Lys (here pictured in the Annunciation gracing the walls of Carmine Superiore's San Gottardo church), the anemone in the Christian tradition symbolises the Trinity.
The anemone was once dedicated to the Roman goddess Venus. While the goddess of love, she was also the protector of chastity in women, and, interestingly, the anemone was said to have sprung up from the spilled blood of her lover, Adonis (cf. the spilled blood of Christ and the association of the anemone with sorrow and death).
In the Middle Ages, the anemone was called St Brigid. Brigid was a powerful abbess, and remains one of Ireland's patron saints. She is known, even, as 'the Mary of the Gaels' and is often mentioned in the same breath as the Virgin Mary.
Both Venus and St Brigid are associated with springtime (St Brigid's festival is 1 February - Imbolc, coinciding with the Celtic festival to mark the start of spring), the season in which this type of anemone flowers.
For myself, I just like to absorb for a moment the rich colour of the petals and the elegance of that long hand, early on a hard-pressed Monday morning.