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



  1. With the sharp drop in temperature we've had these last few days, one simply cannot go on believing it to be late late summer:) I have to accept that now it is, alas, deep into fall and heading straight for winter! How lovely you were able to gather the last blooms before the frost. I especially love the bowl of marigolds, they are so friendly and cheery. I can certainly identify with Frodo, and wishing for "not in our time". Yet the world continues to spin everyday on its axis, and the sun continues faithfully to rise and set and rise again. What shall I do with and in this time; I cannot think of anything better to say than simply, carry on.

  2. Another lovely post that echoes my feelings on this quiet autumn Sunday. Your last clippings from the garden are so pretty. The Alcott quote is new to me, and the other two fit with the theme of how we live in strange times. Your prayer is beautiful, especially for kindness and graciousness, which seem to be sorely lacking on the public front these days. We must all bring God's love to the one's we interact with each day. Have a most wonderful week, Brenda.

  3. Oh Miss Brenda this post lays easily on the heart this fine morning. So much gentle encouragement. Plus I too love to walk this time of year. I always feel so much more alive. I hope you have a great week too.

  4. Wonderful and clever post.Stunning quotes.Made my day!

  5. Such a thoughtful post...thank you.

  6. Friend, the Anna Morrow Lindbergh quote is inspiring! I think it is very appropriate for these days. Gandalf's quote from The Lord of the Rings trilogy always gives me courage, too. It reminds me that God allowed me to be born into this exact time in history. He makes no mistakes. Now to seek what He would have me do with the time that has been given to me.

  7. What a lovely, soothing and encouraging post. Thank you and have a wonderful week ~ FlowerLady

  8. Another beautiful blog post! Jan Karon’s novels are a balm for these troubled times. Your quotes are quite appropriate. Wishing you good days ahead!

  9. Those are beautiful words and images, Brenda. I especially connect with the AML quote. We don't get to chose our times or our circumstances. Courage to live through the unpleasant and gratitude for the gifts that come our way are essential in our lives. Perhaps humility and grace to accept things as they are. Enjoy the week!

  10. What a lovely post to read on a Monday morning, or anytime in the days we all find ourselves in and facing ahead still more like them. I liked your "languid" thoughts, Brenda, and have been doing a lot of it myself lately. All of your quotes are inspiring. I keep my old copy of Strunk & White on my desk, all of grammar that I was so good at when I was young, even as a proofreader in my job, seems to have vanished sometimes except for what comes naturally. We've had our first frost here in Nashville, only one night and then back to cold but not freezing temps. We covered up as much as we could and like you, I gathered a basket of flowers, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. And they do seem so much more precious than in the middle of July. Your Alcott books sounds fascinating!

  11. Love the quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh! I'll have to try to get a copy of her book!

  12. We too seem to have suddenly shifted into much colder temperatures. And like you, I am really enjoying my walks! I could barely see out of my glasses this morning but the crisp air felt so good. Stay warm and embrace the happiness you find.

  13. Oh yes, an encouraging post this is! (Strunk and White would not approve of the grammatical construction of that sentence. ~wink~) I agree with the theme of the quotes you chose. We do not have the power to choose the times in which we find ourselves . . . but, yes indeed, we can choose how we will live through them. It troubles me to see so much angst (especially among those who are Christ-followers) during these times. Facing our challenges "with courage, cheerfulness, and grace" should mark those who know Him.

    Thank you, Brenda, for this food for thought.

  14. This is a wonderful entry that covers much that we are seeing now. I especially like the words about courage and strength - we certainly do need those - but a sense of beauty and a sense of humor are necessary, too. May God help us all through these most difficult times.

  15. That is the darkest pumpkin pie I've ever seen... I wonder, did it taste of molasses? It's very appealing, and I'd like to make mine that deep brown. :-)

  16. I also love fall as it signals me that Christmas and New year are around the corner. The slight chill in the air just freshens up my mood! Regards Naomi


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo