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."
DIANE ACKERMAN




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




"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..."
MAIRA KALMAN




"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."
JEANNETTE WALLS, The Glass Castle




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




"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"
BRENDA @ IT'S A BEAUTIFUL LIFE, 2018



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

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."
UNKNOWN


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."
CLARISSA CARMACK


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,
Brenda

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."
PRINCESS GRACE OF MONACO 


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,
Brenda



Friday, June 10, 2022

Floral Fest Friday: Butchart Gardens




"But you, oh gardener, poet that you be
Though unaware, now use your seeds like words
And make them lilt with color nicely flung."
VITA SACKVILLE-WEST


I sit here and type words to reflect the summery day outside—warm sunshine and not a cloud to mar the blue, blue sky. Perhaps it knows rain is forecast for the next few days (which we need, so there's no lament here) and is making the most of the sunny day.




We were a few short days away visiting family on the West Coast (Vancouver-Victoria areas). It was so sweet to see the faces of people we love and share times together after so long a time apart. One afternoon we visited Butchart Gardens with Rick's sisters. An overcast day with chances of rain, we were glad it held off during our visit. Lots of people wandered the gardens, all eager to enjoy the early summer beauties. As author Clare Ansberry once said, "Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes."

The roses you see above were in full bloom in front of my sis-in-law's residence. I don't know their name, but the colour made me think of a sunset. We were told it's been a cool spring on the Island, so the roses at the Butchart Gardens are late this year. Shrubs in the rose garden promised a great show of blooms in a week or two but we only saw a sparse few the day we were there. 

In spite of the still green rose garden, there were flowers in abundance everywhere else in the gardens. It was such a lovely afternoon, I have to share a few photos for you. I hope you enjoy. For more about these beautiful gardens, do check out their blog HERE.



At the entrance...
 


Rick and his sister...



The two of us under the Laburnum anagyroides
Golden chain tree



The tulips were mostly done and gardeners were busy pulling them out,
getting the beds ready for summer blooms. Clouds of blue Forget-me-nots,
in the midst of the dying, drying leaves, still created a delightful display. 







"Until we can comprehend the beguiling beauty
of a single flower, we are woefully unable to grasp
the meaning and potential of life itself."
VIRGINIA WOOLF

 




"Just living is not enough...one must have sunshine,
freedom, and a little flower."
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN



Two siblings who share the love of gardening. 



A little bee having a dip in a blossom. There's a lilt in the heart
watching that little bum wiggle in its beesome reverie.






"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have
to choose joy and keep choosing it every day."
HENRI J.M. NOUWEN



And I admit, it's so much easier to choose joy when one is amongst
such glimpses of heaven. That's me standing by the water fountain,
lost in my own reveries.





"Small pleasures must correct great tragedies,
Therefore of gardens in the midst of war
I boldly tell."
VITA SACKVILLE-WEST, The Garden




Meconopsis
Himalayan blue poppy



"Where flowers bloom, so does hope."
LADY BIRD JOHNSON


Our meander through the gardens wound up at the cafe where we had tea and current scones, with a poke around the gift shop afterwards. My purchases included notecards of floral watercolour artwork by Jennifer Sammons and a bottle of French 'Champagne Peony' Eau de parfum by Mistral. The scent of summer in a bottle: "A sparkling mix of pink grapefruit, effervescent prosecco, raspberry, French cassis, violet leaves, peony, crisp mint, and grape leaf."  We all made our way home with hearts refreshed and filled with that certain lift to the spirits that only nature's bounty in a flower garden can bring. 

During the few days we were away, our own garden grew leaps and bounds—alas, so did the weeds. So I'm off to tackle them on this sunny afternoon. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


Heart hugs,
Brenda

All photos are mine, except the one where I'm standing
by the fountain, which was taken by my sis-in-law, Wendy.



Friday, June 03, 2022

Clematis, The Charm of Summer Stars





" Oh, I could dance and sing for joy that the spring is here!
What a resurrection of beauty there is in my garden,
and of brightest hope in my heart. "
attributed to ELIZABETH VON ARNIM, 1866 - 1941


And here it is the month of June—at last! Although we had two nights of near freezing temperatures earlier this week, the thermometer predictions promise warmer days and nights ahead. The tulips have given us a delightful display this spring, our perennials are greening beautifully, and now the lilacs and peonies are busy setting their blooms.

Then there is the 'Ernest Markham' clematis which I want to showcase today. We overwintered it in a patio container in our garage and it's now much farther along than the clematis plants in the garden. We are marveling at its many blooms so early in the season. With hand size magenta-red blossoms, ruffled edges, and buttery yellow centres, it makes me want to dance and sing for joy. And I agree with Elizabeth von Arnim when she declares the resurrection of beauty in her garden brightens the hope in her heart. Oh, yes, I find it so! For you today, here are five pretty poses for our Five on Friday segment:



" It isn't the big pleasures that count the most;
it's making a big deal out of the little ones. "
JEAN WEBSTER, 1876 - 1916


" What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer,
the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet
no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade. "
GERTRUDE JEKYLL, 1843-1932




" It is the month of June,
the month of leaves and roses,
when pleasant sights salute the eyes,
and pleasant scents the noses. "
NATHANIEL PARKER WILLIS, 1806 - 1867




" 'Cause a little bit of summer is
what the whole year is about. "
JOHN MAYER, American singer/songwriter




" June is bustin' out all over. "
OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II, 1945


There you have it—summer stars on a vine, my little touch of heaven. Hope you felt the sparkle in your heart today.


Wishing you a beautiful weekend ahead.
And if you're marking the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
in some special way, happy celebrations!
Brenda
    
Photos: Brenda