Friday, September 23, 2022

Five on Friday: Quotes from My 5-Year Diary

"Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it."

With autumn officially here, I'm adjusting my thoughts to be thoroughly present to the seasonal changes going on around us. It's been a very full week, with all manner of planned events and several unexpected situations.

As my mom's garageman noted when we went to pick up her car: I'm sorry it's not ready yet, almost done, but it's been the kind of day where Thursday and Friday are rolled into one. It was Wednesday as he said it. Oh yes, said I, I understand, it's been that kind of day for us as well. We chuckled. I intuitively understood his meaning—two days' work rolled into one; two days' problems rolled into one; two days' worth of busyness all rolled into one. And then some days we don't even know what day it is. Ha, sometimes life is like that.

On this cool September Friday, I've been dipping into my 5-year quote diary, looking at lines that have caught my imagination these last few days. If you don't know about the diary, you can find earlier posts HERE and HERE. I'm grateful to have access to so many inspiring and insightful thoughts—lines that make me sit up and take notice. I'm also appreciative of the many photographers who make their beautiful photos available to use, gratis, on sites like What a gift. On that note, here is Five on Friday. Hope you enjoy.

— One —
"Every morning lean thine arms
awhile upon the windowsill of heaven and
gaze upon the Lord. Then with the vision
in your heart, turn strong to meet your day."
attributed to THOMAS BLAKE

— Two —
(Brunetti) thought of something Seneca had written in one of his letters,
advising us that it wasn't until we had begun to go without things
that we realized how unnecessary they were.
Note from a Donna Leon Venetian mystery

That's certainly true in some cases. Interestingly, I have also found the opposite to be true, when I had gone without and realized something was necessary to my well-being. I guess it's about paying attention, knowing when to let go what I do not need and fully embracing what I do.

A note about Donna Leon's books. I love how thoughtful she has made her main character. While Commissario Brunetti works through his current investigation, he often finds himself musing about life, about the books he reads, about the authors his wife is devoted to, why people do what they do. As an avid reader myself, I find his musings thought-provoking and entertaining—often I come away with new thoughts and book titles to chase down in real life.

— Three —
"It is important to be able to hear 'the poetry of earth'.

It was one of my great delights this summer to sit in the garden while reading, for the first time, the classic novel Who Has Seen The Wind by W.O. Mitchell. It's the story of young Brian O'Connal growing up on the Saskatchewan prairies in the 1930s. Mr. Mitchell's prose sometimes reads like poetry.

— Four —
"Realize that life is glorious, and you have
no business taking it for granted."

— Five —
"(My friend) set me an example of how to deal
with life gracefully, and I hold it in mind
even if I can't always imitate it."
HILARY MANTEL (1952 - 2022)
from an interview she did a few months ago before she died

— Bonus —
"On my patch of the planet, the days keep getting shorter.
I'll miss these long, light-filled summer days, but
there's something about earlier sunsets that feels
like the language of my soul right now."
as seen on his Facebook page

Wishing you a beautiful weekend,

Photo Credits:
Top - KimGreenHalgh90 from Pixabay
One - HoaHoa111 from Pixabay
Two - Jennifer Latham from Pexels
Three - Raman Talpada from Pixabay
Four - S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay
Five - Tammy Shook from Pixabay
Bonus - Juanma Martin from Pixabay

Friday, September 16, 2022

The Queen, Memories, Dahlias

In Memoriam
Queen Elizabeth II
1926 - 2022

Some of my earliest memories of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II are probably from seeing the postage stamps, which bore her image, my mother used to mail her letters. And certainly from the lovely portrait I saw of her in public places—in our school, at the post office, in our community hall. It might have been the portrait above, it feels so familiar, which is why I chose it for this commemorative post. (artist unknown, image found on the internet)

As a girl, I remember waiting with my family every Christmas Day to watch the Queen's Address. The regal event was all part and parcel of the day's beribboned festivities. And when the Queen came to Canada on numerous occasions, I eagerly waited to catch the clips of her on television and in the newspaper. My mom as a girl made a scrapbook of Royal visits. She remembers waiting with her mom and dad to see young Princess Elizabeth step off the train in Edmonton with her parents, the then King and Queen. Mom's scrapbook, lost in the attic of her childhood home, came to light years later to the great delight of us all. It thrilled me to carefully page through this tactile remnant of my mom's girlhood. I think it captured my own imagination for the Royal Family. I was always glad Canada was a part of the Commonwealth Family.

The closest I came to seeing Queen Elizabeth in person was when she visited Edmonton, Alberta in August 1978 for the opening of the Commonwealth Games. I was twenty-one, had moved to the city earlier in the year, had started my first adult job. My first summer in the city. The news came down in our office that the Queen would be at the Alberta Legislature one morning, and anyone who wanted to join the lines could head down the hill to see her. The Queen no doubt came that day to meet her viceregal, the Lieutenant Governor, Alberta's representative of the Canadian monarch and to meet the Premier of Alberta, Peter Lougheed. It must have been a quieter day for the Queen, I don't remember hoards of people around that sunny morning. I easily found a spot near the north entrance of the stately domed building where she came out, stepped into the waiting car (probably a Bentley) with the royal flags fluttering on the hood. Her entourage slowly drove by, so close I could almost touch the car. I don't recall if she waved. I know I did; I might have had a little flag in my hand. It was a thrilling moment. Not having a television or a camera (certainly no iPhone), I bought up all the newspapers to clip photos for my own Royal scrapbook.

—— ❦ ——

This week I've been gently following the news of the Queen's coffin on its journey from Balmoral to Edinburgh to London, where she now lies in state at the Palace of Westminster until her funeral on Monday, September 19th. If you've been watching, you may have noticed the lovely wreath of white flowers set on top, designed using some of the Queen's favourite flowers picked from the Balmoral Estate. It included dahlias, sweet peas, phlox, white heather, and pine fir. info from Country Living magazine

The other afternoon, Rick and I visited the nearby St Albert Botanic Park where we hoped to see their beautiful fall display of dahlias. There was a definite autumnal feel to the day, warm sunshine mingling with crisp air and the sound of leaves scrunching as we walked. Since dahlias were a favourite of the Queen's, I wanted to pause right there amongst the dahlias. . . to honour the memory of this gracious lady I have known all my life and have loved as our Monarch.

Here are dahlia photos from our visit, including one pearly white blossom which I took especially with Her late Majesty in mind.

"May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

From King Charles's Address following his mother's death
—the line originates from Shakespeare's Hamlet

—— ❦ ——

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Monday, September 12, 2022

Guest Blogging Elsewhere Today

"It's the habits you develop over your lifetime
—that will make you or break you—as a writer."

Today I am guest blogging over on InScribe Writers Online.

Our assignment this month is to write to the theme "Creative Daily Rituals", in which we explore our daily writing patterns and how that's working for us. I hope you'll join me HERE.

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Top photo by Kim van Vuuren on Pexels

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Musings: The Impulse to Kindness

"What I regret most in my life
are failures of kindness."
2013 Commencement Address, Syracuse University

The musing for this post began some weeks ago. I think it started with the above line I saw on Twitter, and it went from there. You know how it is, you notice one thing and then you suddenly see more of the same.

I would have say, upon reflection, that I feel the same as Mr. Saunders. Of all the regrets I have had in my life, this is one I truly regret the most. Days later I came across a post on Facebook of a fellow sharing his recent experience. As I recall he mentioned walking on a busy Canadian city street, minding his own business, when he noticed an elderly black woman trying to get somebody's help with directions. People hurried past, ignoring her. But my FB friend stopped and pointed her in the right direction. He carried on to wherever he was headed but a moment later he felt a real regret—why hadn't he offered to take her there himself? She was elderly and unsure where to go. 

Oh my... I felt the pang of that, having experienced similar regrets for not having followed the impulse. Either because I didn't think of it soon enough, or I wanted to just get on with my own stuff. There are moments that linger even years later, and I still wish I'd had the fortitude to follow my heart instead of being stuck in that niggardly position. The fear, the fear, the fear... in all its shapes and sizes and reasons. I don't think well on my feet. When spontaneous things come out of the blue, I don't always know how to respond or I think of it too late. So I often miss those mercurial moments to respond generously without self consciousness, selfishness, or awkwardness. Over the years, I have worked on myself to be more prepared in situations - I try to keep cash in spare pockets for people on the streets. But it's not always money that's needed. Perhaps that's why this little story really resonated with me. These days it's easy to forget to reach out, especially after we've had two years being in pandemic mode where we isolated and kept our social distance.

I flex my kindness muscles as we merge back into society. And I yearn to be disentangled from the fear: the fear of what my friend will think if I say I have to stop; the fear of suddenly adapting my plans especially when it affects others who're waiting for me; the fear of not wanting to get too involved in the life of a complete stranger. All of it pushes me out of my comfort zone. I'm reminded of the line in the New Testament about perfect love casting out all fear. Yes, I long for that freedom. When Divine Love so fills my heart that kindness is the first impulse, not fear.

One morning some lines—I'd hardly call them a poem—bubbled up from my heart as I thought about it all. Although in its raw mostly unedited state, I hope you don't mind that I've shared them here today.

Groaning for Love
   to beat in my heart
   to love others without restraint
reaching out when I see the need
before the impulse strangles and dies
in the net of my soul's hesitancy

Should I? Should I?

Because fear throbs the moment dries up
I'm left holding an empty thought—unfulfilled
groaning for Love to reach out without fear
Perfect love casts out all fear
O LORD, let me carry Love like that
'the impulse to kindness'

On that note, I'm wishing you grace and kindness
on this beautiful September Labour Day weekend.

With love,

Top Image by Annette Meyer from Pixabay

The line 'the impulse to kindness'
comes from Donna Leon's new Brunetti mystery Give Unto Others.