Sunday, February 17, 2019

It's Been A While: Sunday Evening Chat


The day I started this new post a couple of weeks ago, it was a day reminiscent of childhood winters: bitterly cold, treacherous roads, and 'no school today' broadcasts on the radio. I remember the thrill of those long ago days, when for a day or two (or even more), we'd nestle inside the four walls of our little farmhouse. Sheltered from the elements it became our whole world. Books and games and crafts called our names. The coal furnace would burp out hot air, and we'd jostle for a chance to stand by the kitchen register to feel the warmth blowing on our cold toes. Window panes frozen with layers of ice barely allowed a glimpse outside. Unless of course you breathed a patch so small you could only peer out with one eye, like a sea captain looking through a telescope. Oh yes, it was a sea out there ... waves of snowdrifts and snowflakes tossing wildly in a blizzard.

Between our recent snow days, there were days that burst from the gloom into bright, sunny ones. With skies all cloudless and blue and snow glistening and gleaming like diamonds. And if you look with an artist's eye, you notice the sky fading into smoky blue-grey along the horizon. The bright sunshine belied the fact that it was frigid out there. We woke several mornings to -30 C with a windchill of nearly -40 C (the temperature at this point reads the same in Celsius and Fahrenheit).  

Surely they were days for staying indoors where, cozy and warm, one could enjoy winter's beauty peering through a frost-free window. All the while taking time to sip cups of hot tea with nibbles at the ready to comfort, cheer, and make one glad to be alive.

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As I say, I started this new post a couple of weeks ago, but I got sidetracked by a sudden wave of inspiration to seriously delve into cupboards, closets and shelves to root out the excess and clutter that had once again accumulated over the last few years without my knowledge ... or permission (wink). When such an inspiration shows up out of the blue like that, I have lived long enough to know the error of ignoring such a gift. For I also know from experience that it may well be months before the Housecleaning Muse shows up again. And, I have learned that it's far better to undertake this kind of deep cleaning when one feels graced and inspired than to drag through when one is not in the mood for it.

So, now I can happily report that we have been through the house, we have given away several car loads of books, glassware, and other material possessions that we no longer need or desire -- and we still have plenty of nice and useful items to enjoy. Not being caretaker of all this stuff gives me room to breathe, to think new thoughts and imagine new possibilities. Without the clutter, I feel lighter. And freer ... freer to write ... I've got a memoir to finish and stories about how I found my beautiful life.

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Since we last chatted, I finally started the big project of sorting through a couple thousand photos from our trip to Britain in 2016. Believe me, it's no small task trying to select a few hundred from that great pile, but it seems enough time has passed to give me the distance I need to choose those photos that will become a permanent record (album) of the wonderful days we spent traveling through the English countryside and taking in some of the beautiful country homes and gardens in England.

I often wish I could return and take the same trip and do it in slow motion -- because those days just flew and it all seemed to go by in a blur. Makes me so grateful for photos. And memories.

Here's a tiny glimpse of what we enjoyed...

"How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
I'll tell you now of some that I know
And those I miss you'll surely pardon
Daffodils, heart's ease and phlox
Meadowsweet and lady smocks
Gentian, lupine and tall hollyhocks
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, forget-me-nots
In an English country garden
In an English country garden"

Songwriters: Phillip Guyler / Johnny Griggs
English Country Garden lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful;
they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul."


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Here's wishing you a beautiful week ahead.