A child, her wayward pencil drew On margins of her book Garlands of flowers, dancing elves, Bird, butterfly and brook. Lessons undone, and play forgot Seeking with hand and heart The teacher whom she learned to love Before she knew ‘t was Art. ~ Louisa May Alcott (Louisa May Alcott: A Biography)
There’s a Mary Chapin Carpenter song, Zephyr, that keeps tugging at my heart the past couple of months. The lyrics may be about romantic connections but they stir up feelings about family ties for me. (Some of the lyrics included in italics.)
Why do crickets chirping in August sound so sad to me?
I don’t know nothing, nothing today…
“Good” stress vs. “bad” stress. How do we know which is which? When Tim was going through his cardio-rehab program I attended the group discussion about stress with him. The nurse moderating the discussion stressed that if something seemed stressful to you then it is stressful, no matter how anyone else might feel in the same situation.
“Good” stress: Tim came home from his trip to England with an assortment of cheeses and wanted to have a cheese tasting party. An incentive to clean the house!!! The party was wonderful!!! Our home is so clean!!!
“Bad” stress: unrelenting for the past few years… I used to be known as a meticulously clean homemaker, who often rearranged furniture and redecorated, but I no longer have the energy or the inclination to stay on top of things. A homebody by nature… Well, that’s not entirely true…
I’m a zephyr on the inside And it’s a hard ride when you feel yourself tied down Hide-and-earth bound But there’s no tether, on a zephyr
Because my father’s and my aunt’s situations are so distressing to me, when I find myself with “free” time I usually read or blog or redecorate my blogs, which is so very soothing and relaxing. Forget the housework. But it has been nice writing this today in a house a good deal cleaner than it’s been in a very long time.
I tried to be constant just like a star I tried to be steady and yar But the storms keep breaking over my head I’m aching for blue skies instead
What is “yar,” Mary Chapin? Sounds like a sailing word… She must mean yare, which is pronounced “yar.” I love looking things up! An adjective “describing a boat that handles with little effort. A good sailing design, quick and capable.” I have the feeling I should have known this. It sounds like a word my grandparents might have used. “Steady as she goes,” I do recall. Steady and yare, steady and yare…
Wish I could handle things with just a little less effort, because
I’m a zephyr on the inside And it’s a hard ride when you feel your heart tied down…
…All of the wings I’ve ridden back home to you All the things I’ve given I’ve wanted to All that you see has always belonged to you Except for the wind…
Yes, my dear family, little ones, elderly ones, and dead ones, I’ve freely chosen to give them all I’ve had in me to give. Even if it’s hard, love keeps me from flying away… As Louisa May Alcott once wrote, “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” Steady and yare…
Love is all there is and time is just sand And I might just slip through your hands
I took Auntie to the surgeon for a consultation again. More skin cancer to be removed, this time from her leg. It makes me remember when my children were young and Auntie was newly retired so she came to our lovely little beach with us all summer long. Time is just sand on the beach, and time often stood still on those endless days.
Those were good times, watching the kids’ swimming lessons, reading novels, chatting, soaking up the sun, damaging our skin.
The time a seagull pooped on our umbrella and us laughing at the antics of the kids dragging the umbrella to the outdoor shower in a futile attempt to clean it off with water… The times the gulls stole our fries or those scrumptious $1.50 each kraut-dogs… Melting ice cream dripping down sticky, salty bellies and legs… “Watch me swim out to the raft, Mom!” Marveling about the fact that we could hear their conversations out on the raft but they could not hear us calling them from the beach. Sound travels only one way over the water. I can still hear their voices sometimes…
The outdoorsy kid always in the water. The creative kid, drawing on or sculpting in the sand. The future social worker coming for frequent cuddles and eating all the slices of cantaloupe when no one was paying attention. The time Grandma & Grandpa came for a picnic and we all took a walk and saw three baby swans riding on a mother swan’s back as she swam around the salt pond… The year the kids were interviewed by a newspaper reporter about the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish population explosion…
Larisa K. Rodgers, a sixth grader, became a victim Monday. “All I know is, it hurts,” she said. Larisa was swimming at Eastern Point Beach when she was stung on both thighs, dashed out of the water and ran to the first aid room. “It rashes up really big,” she said, though she needn’t have explained. …. “I’ve noticed more,” said Larisa’s brother, Jonathan, who has his own method of measuring the jellyfish problem. He says he gets stung about once a summer, but this summer he’s been stung three times.
[Source: “Beware of the blob! Jellyfish numbers increase,” by Steve Grant, The Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut, 13 August 1992, page 1]
As I’ve been for many years, I’m still grounded, but…
I’m a zephyr on the inside And it’s a hard ride when you feel your life tied down Hide-and-earth bound but there’s no tether…
The one in Concord, Massachusetts. Not the “original” one in Sleepy Hollow, New York. In August 2006 my daughter Larisa and I visited the one in Concord, which, as far as I know, does not have its own website.
Julie left a beautiful poem – written by Louisa May Alcott about doves – in the comments on yesterday’s blog. The poetry made me recall the visit with my daughter to Orchard House, also in Concord, where the author and poet lived. We weren’t allowed to take pictures at Orchard House, but we got quite a few when we went to locate Louisa’s grave along the Author’s Ridge path in Concord’s Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Emerson lie buried there as well.
The unpretentious gravestones reflect the ideas of these Concord neighbors, writers who were prominent transcendentalists, naturalists, pacifists, philosophers, abolitionists and teachers. Louisa’s father, Amos Bronson Alcott, founded of the Concord School of Philosophy, and a building was constructed behind Orchard House to serve as a place for the public to attend the summer lectures offered about transcendentalism. Louisa’s parents rest on Author’s Ridge as well.
Larisa and I were so touched by the little stones people left in tribute. People from all over the world come here to pay their respects to the dearly loved writer. We were curious what people might have said in the notes they left, but chose to respect their privacy.
My father taught in the wise way which unfolds what lies in the child’s nature, as a flower blooms, rather than crammed it, like a Strasbourg goose, with more than it could digest. ~ Louisa May Alcott
All the beauty and advantages of Conversation is in its bold contrasts, and swift surprises… Prose and logic are out of place, where all is flowing, magical, and free. ~ Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888)
Wherever I turn I see the yoke on woman in some form or other. On some it sits easy, for they are but beasts of burden. On others, pride hushes them to silence; no complaint is made, for they scorn pity or sympathy. On some it galls and chafes; they feel assured by every instinct of their nature that they were designed for a higher, nobler calling than to drag life’s lengthening chain along. ~ Abigail May Alcott (1800-1877)
Direct your eye right inward, and you’ll find A thousand regions in your mind Yet undiscovered. Travel them and be Expert in home-cosmography. ~ Henry David Thoreau
It is to the credit of human nature that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
Respect the child. Wait and see the new product of Nature. Nature loves analogies, but not repetitions. Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Another grave I’d like to visit one day is that of Emily Dickinson, which I think is located in Amherst, Massachusetts. A day trip sometime… Maybe with Larisa??
In this quiet valley, as in the palm of Nature’s hand, we shall sleep well, when we have finished our day. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson