Friday, July 01, 2022

Summertime in Poetry and Prose

"A whole summer ahead to cross off
the calendar, day by day."
RAY BRADBURY, Dandelion Wine

It was a fine summer evening when I went for my usual walk. The sun was still high; it had been a hot day. I rounded the bend in the road when I noticed a wonderful scent on the breeze. The trees in the neighbourhood were releasing their woody fragrance as the day cooled. It was a mix of something earthy, something green with hints of berries or herbs or something. I felt that zing of delight. In that brief moment the city disappeared and I was somewhere on a quiet woodsy path where concrete sidewalks and disturbing noises didn't exist. Then... a truck blew by and left diesel in its wake. The lovely scent was gone; I was back on my city street. It's just a tiny pocket of time, but it's these little bits of heaven that get etched forever in our minds, making summertime sing in our hearts.

Sometimes summer's special mood is triggered through our memories. Sometimes we get it through the books we read on our summer holidays. I love it when passages in a book echo the scents and sights and sounds of the summer season. Art and life joining forces, or maybe it's heaven and earth joining forces.

I'm hoping the few lines captured here today will evoke your own summertime bliss. 

"If you have time to open the back door in the morning
while you're drinking your coffee and look at the sky or
hear the chorus the birds offer, you have time for the marvelous.
You may only have a moment before the polite chaos of the day starts,
but that moment can stretch to the horizon."

"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining,
the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing,
and the lawn mower is broken."

"Flowers lead to books, which lead to thinking and not thinking
and then more flowers and music, music. Then many more
flowers and many more books..."

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass
under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the
murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the
blue sky, is by no means a waste of time."
JOHN LUBBOCK, "Recreation," The Use of Life, 1894

"One benefit of summer was that each day
we had more light to read by."

"Summer afternoon—summer afternoon;
to me those have always been the two most
beautiful words in the English language."

"There shall be eternal summer
in the grateful heart."
CELIA THAXTER, An Island Garden

"The luxury of all summer's sweet sensation
is to be found when one lies at length in the warm, fragrant grass,
soaked with sunshine, aware of regions of blossoming clover
and of a high heaven filled with the hum of innumerous bees."
HARRIET E. PRESCOTT, The Atlantic Monthly, August 1865

"tree-ward eyes do gaze
fragrant breezes feather our face
music from yonder leaves begins
shhh, be hushed! and let day's
agitations be released"

Wishing you a grace-saturated day, and
Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians.

All images today come from Pixabay:
(daisies) by Jill Wellington
(woman) by Akyurt
(blue tit) by creisi
(wildflowers)by pasja1000
(walking) by Pexels
(flower vase) by Regenwolken0
(afternoon tea) by Simon Delacre
(hydrangea) by MrGajowy3
(clover) by analogicus
(girl) by LuidmilaKot

Saturday, June 25, 2022

In My Happy Place

"Find your happy place and go there often."

I'm in my happy place when I come into my study, sit at my desk by the window, and open my blog It's A Beautiful Life. I love being here in my creative, musing space. It's the place where I write, commune with God, and connect with my dear blogland community. I love to show up to work on new posts as well as catch up with fellow bloggers and readers I've come to think of as dear friends. And when I can come here first thing in the morning, it grounds me for the rest of the day. I gaze from my window into the back garden. If I'm here really early, I'll watch the predawn slowly brighten the horizon. I listen to the robins sing. I do Morning Pages, write in my journal, read inspired words, whisper prayers for loved ones. I think about what to write and imagine what you might enjoy reading when you visit. It all fills me with sense of well-being.

Alexandra Stoddard once advised that we should do the enjoyable, creative work before our usual chores. We've often heard the adage, work before play, chores before fun stuff. But when I read Alexandra's words many years ago, they resonated with me. Doing what I love first energizes me for the rest of my day, and there's a more graceful, joyful ease as I tend to household chores and other work.  

Happy to report after a short search, I found Alexandra's actual quote, as marked in my copy of  her little Grace Notes book: "Do creative work before your habitual chores. While you do your necessary work you will enjoy it because you will have first satisfied yourself. Create first, then clean up." February 20th entry

And as I sit here, filling my soul with beautiful images and thoughts that thrill and encourage, not only am I now ready to meet my day, I have lovely things to share with others...with you. Oh, something else Alexandra Stoddard said: "You can't be a resource for others unless you nourish yourself." It's true.

"My happy place where love grows from within."

This morning has dawned with yolk-yellow sunshine and pale blue skies. After all the rains, there's such a freshness in the air. I hear stirrings in the kitchen—and I smell coffee brewing—it must be time to sign off.

Wishing you ease and joy this day.

With love,

Top photo: Pansies on my dining table
Bottom Photo: 'Gillian Blade' clematis, by the front door

Monday, June 20, 2022

Monday Marvels: It Bloomed on the Weekend

"When at last I took the time to look into the heart of a 
flower, it opened up a whole new world; a world where
every country walk would be an adventure, where every
garden would become an enchanted one."

It's Monday morning and here I am still trying to finish a post I worked on last week but couldn't get done. Today is too beautiful to be indoors fiddling with words on a computer screen. Setting the post aside for the moment, instead I want to show you who blossomed open this weekend.

Every season the joy rises up to catch sight of her newly forming buds. And then when the first rose blooms open, well, we're in seventh heaven. We never tire of her loveliness... I give you Miss Peace Rose.

"The woman who for the first time picks a small
flower so that she can have it near her while she
works has taken a step toward joy in life."
my feminine version of HERMAN HESSE's saying

Remembering my dear Dad this Father's Day with great affection
and gratitude. He would have loved the Peace Rose.

Wishing you ease and joy this day,