Friday, October 23, 2020

Five on Friday: Cozy Up Dark Corners

" In the right light, at the right time,
everything is extraordinary. "

We have had a taste of winter here this week. Not only have we had the killing frosts that render any plant into compost fodder, but we have had snow. Although nothing to speak of, it did not melt away as it sometimes does this early in the season. So while some folks are still happily chasing autumn colours, we're staring through leafless branches into sullen skies of grey and powdery rooftops.

I don't mind at all. It means that we can turn on cozy lamps that peek through windows, scatter twinkle lights, and light some cheery candles to brighten shadowy corners. As we in the Northern Hemisphere begin the ritual of switching on our lights earlier and earlier, I hope you will enjoy this wee collection of candle and light sayings. I especially got a giggle from the one directly below....


" I wanted to buy a candle holder, but the store
didn't have one. So I got a cake. "

" People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when
the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed
only if there is light from within. "

" There’s a sorrow and pain in everyone’s life,
but every now and then there’s a ray of light that melts
the loneliness in your heart and brings comfort
like hot soup and a soft bed. "

" Know that when you live joyfully,
you radiate your light into the world. "

" As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give
other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated
from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others. "
* * *

Wishing you a pleasant weekend. Keep safe.

Heart Hugs,

All photos are courtesy of Pixabay

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Reveries....

" O autumn! O teakettle! O grace! ”

Although I started this post yesterday morning, it's late Sunday afternoon as I finish up. The weather has turned cold, and we have seen frost and a touch of snow on the pumpkins as the weekend winds up. I know I'm a bit of an oddball, but for me as soon as the weather turns cool, that's the time I really enjoy going out for my walks. Summertime is lovely, of course, but I have come to realize that autumn being my favourite time of year in so many ways, this also includes taking walks out in it. And it's not just for the vivid colours and earthy smells, but for the cold, crisp air itself. I am elated to feel that briskness brushing against my face, giving me a reason to hunker into my jacket with hands jammed into pockets, pulling my hat a little closer to my ears. I love it!

Out for my walk in the crisp morning air, a single pair of ducks paddled on the storm pond—they seemed a little forlorn, the only water birds still around that I could see. Or maybe they thought, Look, Henry, we finally have the place to ourselves. And, as I came up our driveway, it didn't take more than a glance to see that the garden had, indeed, succumbed to Jack Frost's chilling work. The geraniums, still bright pink, stood in freeze-dried state and a frost-brittle branch snapped off when I touched one blossom.

Returning to the warmth of the house, eyeglasses all steamed, I thought to myself, what a splendid day to settle in with my words and storybooks, not to mention cups of tea and little biscuits layered in dark chocolate. Today my thoughts are languid—unhurried—much like the rambly unfolding of this simple post. A bit of this and that, musings wandering in and out.....

I'm slowly working my way through A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I tend to read two or three chapters at a time and then balance its dark times by revisiting one of Jan Karon's gentle novels in her Mitford series. I poke around in Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, trying to fill in the blank spots that still trouble me on the grammar/punctuations front. You'd think after all these years, things would finally sink in. Like so many other thoughts, they, too, meander in and out.

" Pumpkin Pie is golden brown and rich as an old gold coin.
Its smell is autumn made manifest. "

A few days ago, we invited our dear friends J & V in to celebrate V's birthday with pumpkin pie and Monk's Blend tea. No, I didn't make the pie; we popped into the local French-style Duchess Bakery for something special. I set place settings on either end of the dining table, Covid-style. In spite of the physical distance, our visit was sweet, and the pie, oh my! was delicious.

" Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense
of quiet in a crowded day - like writing a poem or saying a prayer. "

The day before temperatures dropped below freezing overnight, I went round the garden to gather a few last blossoms. It was my time to say au revoir and offer a heart-felt thank you for all the joy and delight we had been given this past summer.

"Open afresh your round of starry folds,
Ye ardent marigolds!

I gather meaningful sayings the same way I gather flowers from a garden. Soon one quote and then another creates a cluster around a certain theme that often complement each other. Three came to me recently and I find that they mingle nicely together. The one below is from Louisa May Alcott's Hospital Sketches from the Civil War. In this slim volume, Miss Alcott describes her experiences, including the conditions that were appalling for both staff and patients. Although her volunteer nursing days were cut short when she got quite ill with typhoid pneumonia, she  never regretted signing up. I think these lines from the book sum up her thoughts and certainly her outlook. I felt certain you would appreciate their sentiment just as I have done—her words certainly have given me food for thought on several aspects.

" As no two persons see the same thing with the same eyes,
my view of hospital life must be taken through my glass, and held
for what it is worth. Certainly, nothing was set down in malice, and to the
serious-minded party who objected to a tone of levity in some portions
of the Sketches, I can only say that it is a part of my religion to look well
after the cheerfulnesses of life, and let the dismals shift for themselves,
believing, with good Sir Thomas More, that it is wise to 'be merrie in God'. "

“ Don't wish me happiness
I don't expect to be happy all the time...
It's gotten beyond that somehow.
Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor.
I will need them all. ”

This quotation by Anne Morrow Lindbergh also seems appropriate advice for these times. Even though my own days are quiet, pleasant and simple, and I am reasonably happy and content, yet still, there are days when I'm so reminded that the world is under such great strain generally, how can one be blissfully happy when so many others are in pain and distress. So maybe Ms. Lindbergh's words are helpful in reminding us that we don't need to jolly ourselves to be happy all the time. But in these times we can wish for courage and strength and a sense of humour, for indeed we need them all. For me, if I can keep my humour and always look for the beauty in the midst, that goes a long way to lifting my soul when it flags and grows weary.

"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Galdalf, "and so do all who live to see such
times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide
is what to do with the time that is given us."
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Oh yes, I have certainly wished for things to not have happened to me or in my time. Maybe you have as well. At least we're not alone in that feeling. That is a comfort at least. But we do have to decide what to do with the time that is given us. Dear Lord, help us to love You, to love each another, to be kind and gracious even on days when it's not easy, to speak truth in love always.... To decide to look for the cheerfulnesses of life as Louisa May Alcott did in her generation, to face our world with courage and fight to keep our humour 'in the midst' as Anne Morrow Lindbergh did in hers. Let us not be found wanting. Maybe one day someone will read about us and how we faced our challenges with courage and cheerfulness and grace.... it makes me lift my head and pull my shoulders back. Yes, we can do this.

* * *

Wishing you a beautiful week ahead.

From my heart,

Top Photo (teapot): Image by Sergey Norkov from Unsplash
Bottom Photo (candles): Image by RD LH from Pixabay
All other photos are mine


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Garden Goodbyes and Frost Warnings

" The human soul is slow to discover the real excellence
of things given to us by a bountiful Creator, and not until the
shadows of death begin to gather around the object that we love,
do we see its worth and beauty. Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters
about the sweet, precious things that God has created in the realm
of nature. While it robs them of life, it tears away the veil and reveals
the golden gem of beauty and sweetness. Beauty lurks in all the dim
old aisles of nature, and we discover it at last. "

With tenterhooks we watch as October relentlessly heads towards shorter and colder days. You see, we haven't had any frost to speak of and we are always grateful for one more frost-free day in the autumn. But the day of reckoning eventually comes—the weatherman forewarns that night temperatures will go below freezing next week. 

My guy and I plan to spend the day getting the storage area in the garage ready to haul in the pots, bring in the Peace Rose, and tidy up a few things. I tried putting one pot away yesterday (photo directly below), but its flowers were still blooming. I ask you, how is a person to look at them in the eye and unceremoniously dump into the compost before their time is done? So we wait another day.

With a last look 'round the garden before it succumbs to Jack Frost's dubious ministrations, I offer my farewell and thanks—it's been so beautiful this summer.🧡

Hydrangea photo taken yesterday

Same hydrangea today - must have been a bit cool in the night

Polish Spirit Clematis on trellis

" In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful
as those of a fine October, when the trees are bare to the mild
heavens, and the red leaves bestrew the road, and you can
feel the breath of winter morning and evening—no days so calm,
so tenderly solemn, and with such a reverent meekness in the air.
ALEXANDER SMITH, "An Essay on an Old Subject"

" The time of the falling leaves has come again. Once more in our morning
walk we tread upon carpets of gold and crimson, of brown and bronze, woven
by the winds or the rains out of these delicate textures while we slept.

How beautifully the leaves grow old! How full of light and color are their last days!
There are exceptions, of course. The leaves of most of the fruit-trees fade and wither
and fall ingloriously. They bequeath their heritage of color to their fruit. Upon it they
lavish the hues which other trees lavish upon their leaves....

But in October what a feast to the eye our woods and groves present!
The whole body of the air seems enriched by their calm, slow radiance.
They are giving back the light they have been absorbing from the sun all summer. "
JOHN BURROUGHS, "The Falling Leaves", Under the Maples

* * *

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.
Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians. Stay safe.

Heart Hugs,