Without poetry?

I heard a bird sing
in the dark of December.
A magical thing
and sweet to remember.

"We are nearer to Spring
than we were in September,"
I heard a bird sing
in the dark of December.
-Oliver Herford

  You see, the reason I use poetry so often is because it says what I want to say, only better. 
For an example, you could read this true account of an event in my life:

Two days ago when I got home from work, I heard a bird singing as I walked up the porch steps and it evoked memories of early spring when the ground is watery from the frost and snow melting, and those earliest weeds are greening up in the fields. 

Or you could return to the top of the post and read the poem again.   And the poem is simply more poetic! (As it is, ya know, a poem.)     Ok, I'll stop already.  :)  

What a dismal world this would be, without poetry.


Old Haunts

  One of the best things about Thanksgiving is that I get some time to revisit old haunts. (As is the case with most holidays, but I do so like Thanksgiving for that sort of thing.) 
  The photo above was shot from nearly the top of the hill that my uncle's farm is located on.  It used to be my grandparents' farm, and as a child I spent many happy hours wandering the cowpaths through the pastures and trekking up the hill.  
  It is a high green hill in the summertime, and there is a spectacular view of the valley from the top.  It's the perfect place to wave to airplanes (and to fly kites).
  You can just so see the barn roof in the lower left-hand corner.  The farmhouse is to the right of the barn, hidden by the curve of the hill.
  This hill is on my list of Most Favoritest Places (in all the World).   What's on your list?


WARNING: Randomosity is Imminent

  It was a dark and dreary November day when Dee began to notice that her mind was skipping about from one subject to the disjointed next with startling rapidity.     So she decided to relieve her mind of some of the burden it was evidently under, onto her blog.  That being what blogs are for anyway, right? 

  It is one day until Thanksgiving.  Hooray!  Aaaaaand it's supposed to be nice out, also hooray.  That in itself is much to be thankful for. For when one is in a school basement with one's relatives all day, and those relatives have small children who, under the influence of candy and other small children, somehow feel compelled to run about (inevitably crashing into chairs and people alike) nerves can sometimes wear thin.  If there is nice weather,  the children can go run off energy outside, or the adults can go run off energy outside.  See? 

  I dropped my phone into my very liquid fruit slush the other day.   I don't know how it happened.   I was getting into my vehicle, starting it, opening the container of slush, and trying to put my phone away all at the same time and there must have been a glitch in the system somewhere.  
  Fruit slush tastes very metallic after being sucked out of the tiny speaker holes, I'll just say that.   It must have something to do with the bananas and phone wiring mixing, I guess...

  Wait.  Do cellphones have wiring?

I saw a completely golden tree on yesterday. Late bloomer, huh? 

  Speaking of leaves, do you know how very tempting it is to drive through those piles of leaves people rake out onto the streets?   Poof!  Leaves swirling in your wake...

  An old lady I clean for sometimes told me she once had a cat she named Lindy, after Lindbergh.
"You know Lindbergh?"  she asked.  I said "Charles Lindbergh???"   She replied, "Yes, he was real popular when I was young."   Then she grinned and her eyes twinkled and she said, "I guess I'm tellin' you how old I am.  But I'm not really that old.  I'm only thirty-nine."    *wink, wink*

Chicken Stir-fry for supper. What for dessert?   Brownies? 

I need to go.  If I am to make brownies then so be it. (Gladly so.)   

As a parting bit of randomness, I leave you with a shot of a leaf on my lap, taken in the merry month of October.






O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost-
For the grapes' sake along the wall.

-Robert Frost

And for mine.  I who love fall, but not necessarily winter.  It's coming all too rapidly,  don't you think? 

"Begin the hours of this day slow....."


A Crowded World

"We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito."   -C.S. Lewis


Autumn Means...

That I'm happy.
Or happily melancholy. If that's possible.

And no, fall is not actually this advanced here, yet.  These are photos from past autumnal splendor.

I have to leave you with a quote from one of my adorable little boy cousins. 
 Background: Our family had spent the day with his family at a zoo.
 Setting:  Driving up the lane to their house, we are observing many small branches and leaves lying about on the ground by the light from the headlights. 

 "Hmm, what happened here today?  It must have been windy," my aunt said.
My little cousin piped seriously in his high little voice, from his carseat,  "No, I'll bet it was fall!" 

   I couldn't help laughing out loud and I think it rather embarrassed him.  He was in earnest, afterall.

But don't you think it was cute of him?


"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day."
-Alan Alexander Milne  (Winnie-the-Pooh)


The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of thy Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow Love.
Where there is injury, your Pardon, Lord.
Where there is doubt, let there be Faith.

Oh Lord, make me an instrument of thy Peace.
Where there is despair, let me bring Hope.
Where there is darkness, let there be Light.
Where there is sadness, let there be Joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek:
To be consoled, as to console,
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved, as to love.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow Love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.

And it's in dying that we are born
To eternal life, to eternal life.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy Peace.
An instrument of thy Peace. Amen.


You Fall In

Books fall open,
you fall in,
delighted where
you've never been,
hear voices not once
heard before,
reach world on world,
through door on door;
find unexpected
keys to things
locked up beyond
What might you be,
perhaps become,
because one book
is somewhere? Some
wise delver into
wisdom, wit;
and wherewithal
has written it.
True books will venture,
dare you out,
whisper secrets,
maybe shout
across the gloom
 to you in need,
who hanker for
a book to read.
  -David McCord


Charles Dickens

  If I say those two words out loud, I immediately get mental images.

 Coal dust
 queerly dressed Victorian people  

  I like Charles Dickens style of writing, and I needed a book to wade through, so I thought I'd tackle one that I'd never read before.    'The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club' or more simply, 'The Pickwick Papers', was what I decided on. 
  I checked it out of our town library,  (which by the way, is a queer library architecturally.  Not a good kind of queerness, either)   and started reading it late last night.  Perhaps it was the lateness of the hour but the first paragraph proved daunting. 


Chapter 1


"The first ray of light which illumines the gloom, and converts into a dazzling brilliancy that obscurity in which the earlier history of the public career of the immortal Pickwick would appear to be involved, is derived from the perusal of the following entry in the Transaction of the Pickwick Club, which the editor of these papers feels the highest pleasure in laying before his readers, as a proof of the careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discriminations, with which his search among the multifarious documents confided to him has been conducted."  

  And that, my highly esteemed friends, was only the first paragraph!  It then launched into an even more formal and flowery entry, which went on for three pages!!!   I wasn't sure what I'd gotten myself into.

  But I'm lovin' it.  Actually.  Somehow it comes alive, eventually.    It's also fun to read out loud. 
Try it! 
  Read it in your most pompous voice, tack on a British accent, try not to stumble over 'multifarious',  and try not to grin too hard.  It'll spoil the pompous tone.   



  You know that I said I kinda have an obsession with windows?   Well, I kinda have one with libraries too.  You know, those cool, darkish, exquisitely scented buildings?   Yeah, those.

  If I would collect things, I think I would collect libraries. As it is, I collect experiencing them.
  I like to explore all the ones in my local area and some not so local, if I'm staying in that town for a week or two. I have been in Ohio, Virginia and Maine libraries. (The Maine library I was in, was the Bar Harbor library, which is a Gorgeous library. It is old and full of quartersawn oak, two things that rocket my esteem of a building sky-high.) 
  That explains why I was so delighted yesterday morning to see a sign for a community library in a little neighborhood-like town that I never dreamed was big enough to even have a library.  I didn't go in.  I'm saving that for another day.  Some rainy day.  Rainy days and Libraries.  sigh.... That is just about enough to send me through the roof with giddiness.   Call me weird, but libraries make me hyper.

These are the front doors to one of the libraries in my old town.  They are magnificent. You really don't get a feel for how tall they are in this picture. And are they ever fun to open!!!  It's a very ornate, very small library, and sometimes I wondered if I went to open the doors, as much as to borrow the books.
  So, do libraries make you hyper?  Or perhaps, even claustrophobic?


"The Bike Ride"

I'm back from attending this weekend.  Immensely challenging, wonderful, happy, sad, good times were had by all.   This poem was read by one of the speakers, and I liked it so much I just had to share it with the few people who come to my corner of the world wide web.

The Bike Ride

Author Unknown

At first, I viewed God as my observer,
my judge,
keeping track of things I did wrong,
so as to know whether I merited heaven
or hell when I died.
He was out there, sort of like the president.
I recognized His picture when I saw it,
but I didn't really know Him.

But later on when I met Christ,
it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride,
but it was a tandem bike,
and I noticed that Christ
was in the back seat helping me pedal.

I don't know just when it was
that He suggested we change places,
but life has not been the same since.

When I had control,
I knew the way.
It was rather boring,
but predictable...
It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead,
He knew delightful long cuts,
up mountains
and through rocky places
at breakneck speed.
It was all I could do to hang on! 
Even though it looked like madness,
He said "Pedal".

I worried and was anxious
and asked,
"Where are you taking me?!"
He laughed and didn't answer,
and I started to learn to trust.

I forgot my boring life
and entered into the adventure.
And when I'd say, "I'm scared",  
He'd lean back
and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed,
gifts of healing,
and joy.
They gave me gifts to take on my journey, 
my Lord's and mine.

And we were off again.
He said, "Give the gifts away,
they're extra baggage, too much weight."
So I did,
to the people we met,
and I found that in giving I received,
and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him,
at first,
in control of my life.
I thought He'd wreck it,
but He knows bike secrets,
knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners,
knows how to jump to clear high rocks,
knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

And I am learning to shut up
and pedal
in the strangest places,
and I'm beginning to enjoy the view
and the cool breeze on my face
with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore,
He just smiles and says..."Pedal."


The Art of Beholding

"Beware of hurry. Beholding glory begs for lingering." -John Piper

Hurry can be an attitude.  Something I've been trying to do lately is to live in God's time. Sometimes that means playing Settlers with your brother and sister, when you really "should" be cleaning off your desk.
 Or posting on your blog.  :)


So I kind of have an obsession with windows.    Isn't this one amazing?  I think it looks as if Handel's "Messiah" is being sung in the background. 


"Ho!  Every one that thirsts, come to the waters..."
 -Isaiah 55:1 (New American Standard Bible)




Questions About Angels

Of all the questions you might want to ask
about angels, the only one you ever hear
is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time
besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin
or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth
or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.

Do they fly through God's body and come out singing?
Do they swing like children from the hinges
of the spirit world saying their names backwards and forwards?
Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?

What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,
their diet of unfiltered divine light?
What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall
these tall presences can look over and see hell?

If an angel fell off a cloud, would he leave a hole
in a river and would the hole float along endlessly
filled with the silent letters of every angelic word?

If an angel delivered the mail, would he arrive
in a blinding rush of wings or would he just assume
the appearance of the regular mailman and
whistle up the driveway reading the postcards?

No, the medieval theologians control the court.
The only question you ever hear is about
the little dance floor on the head of a pin
where halos are meant to converge and drift invisibly.

It is designed to make us think in millions,
billions, to make us run out of numbers and collapse
into infinity, but perhaps the answer is simply one:
one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet,
a small jazz combo working in the background.

She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful
eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over
to glance at his watch because she has been dancing
forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.


The Lantern Lawn

No, I was not in Narnia when I took this photo. 
 I was in New York, at a state park somewhere. (A while ago so I don't remember the name of it.)
  But isn't it wonderful??? I would've liked to take it home with me, but lantern posts are kind of hard to smuggle out in backpacks.


i thank you God

Here's a link to a song I've been listening to over and over recently. I have fond memories of this song. I first heard it sung at a wedding. The group of singers performing it was fantastic, the church had perfectly wonderful acoustics, and the church itself was lovely. It all worked together to create a very inspirational atmosphere.

i thank you God

Here are the lyrics. 

i thank you God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and for a blue true dream of a sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)



 Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things-
  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
     For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
  Landscape plotted and pieced - fold, fallow, and plough;
     And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
  Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
     With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                           Praise him.
                                                         -Gerard Manley Hopkins


Summer is Here

   It is warm. Very warm.  I think I'm going to go bury myself in cool recesses of our local library.  Problem is, it's such a gorgeous evening, I should be out messing about on the river.    
  A lovely dilemma.   Perhaps I can pull off both.   


Train Whistles

  If you stand at a railroad crossing while a train is going past, it's like standing at the edge of the ocean and getting swallowed by a wave. 

  out of control
 overwhelming sound,
instead of
   crushing water.

And something about it always makes me want to do it again.



Where'd spring go?
     I wasn't finished with it. 
Oh well.
I'm consoling myself with the thought that fall is coming.
Spring and Fall.
  My favorite seasons.
I've always pictured getting married in the fall. I really don't know why. The traditional fall symbolism doesn't blend very well with weddings.  
But don't you think that a church aisle would look lovely, strewn with leaves instead of rose petals?

Impractical me, I know. :)


Canoe Fever

That's what I have. Badly. 
 Canoe trip tomorrow anyone? Or how about right now? Can we go now? Yes, even if it's dark. 
We could take lanterns you know. 
I guess it is kind of raining.
We could take umbrellas!
Though that might get complicated if we have to paddle which is what one usually has to do in a canoe.
Well then, I shall go to bed, and dream of canoes and laughter, which is synonomous mostly.


  "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
 Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."  

-Howard Thurman


It's Raining

 Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...

it's about learning to dance in the rain.  -Anonymous



I like Winter

I do. Really.
I like the long evenings, the skating, the hot chocolate. 
I like the quiet hush that falling snow brings. 

I like blankets, sleds, icicles, and chickadees.

I rarely tire of Christmas carols.
I could stare at winter constellations for longer than my cold hands let me.

I think candy canes are the best.
I love having extended family around.

I like winter.  Really, I do.  That's what I keep telling myself,  persuading myself to live out the rest of the winter enthusiastically.  But lately, I've been looking at pictures, and you know what?

I really like spring, too. 

*last photo credit goes to my sister*


A Princess named Adelgitha

  It hasn't been for the lack of moments that I've neglected posting.  On the contrary, my life has been very full. :) 
  A delightful moment I had a week or two ago led to a new acquisition for my bookshelf.   I was digging through a stack of children's books at a nondescript thriftstore, when the title of a thin paperback book caught my eye.
  Cabbage Moon turned out to be my discovery of the day. 
  It is the story of a princess and her dog, and how they rescue the moon, just in the nick of time to save it from being made into cabbage salad.   The princess's name is Adelgitha and she walks about on stilts quite a bit.    
  I have a sneaking suspicion that several people in the thriftstore at the time thought I was crazy, because I was giggling to myself over the idea of a princess on stilts. 
  Now I want to try out stilts this summer, so I'll be all set for any adventures that might come my way.  


walking through a woods, after a rain... 

*photo credit to my sister.  :)