on the year’s shortest day

"Peasant Interior in Winter" by Carl Larsson (1853-1919) Swedish Painter & Interior Designer
“Peasant Interior in Winter” by Carl Larsson

A sly gift it is, that on the year’s
shortest day, the sun
stays longest in this house —

extends the wand of its slow
slant and distant squint
farthest into the long depths

of our wintry rooms — to touch, with
tremulous light, interior places
it has not lit before.

~ Robyn Sarah
(Solstice)

hanging garden of bottle gourds

9-25-16-0372
9.25.16 ~ Holmberg Orchards ~ Gales Ferry, Connecticut

As we wandered around a corn maze on a perfect autumn day, we came upon an enchanting gourd tunnel.

Gourds are natural born climbers. They seek out anything they can reach to climb closer to the sun. They grow so quickly it can become a daily task to move the vines away from some places you don’t want them to climb on. And once a tendril gets itself wound around a hold nothing short of breaking the tendril off the vine will get the little curlicue to let go. Not even the death of the vine will loosen their grip much.
~ Karen Hundt-Brown
(American Gourd Society)

9-25-16-0376
9.25.16 ~ Holmberg Orchards ~ Gales Ferry, Connecticut

While I looked, my inner self moved; my spirit shook its always-fettered wings half loose; I had a sudden feeling as if I, who never yet truly lived, were at last about to taste life: in that morning my soul grew as fast as Jonah’s gourd.
~ Charlotte Brontë
(Villette)

9-25-16-0379
9.25.16 ~ Holmberg Orchards ~ Gales Ferry, Connecticut

Yet poetry, though the last and finest result, is a natural fruit. As naturally as the oak bears an acorn, and the vine a gourd, man bears a poem, either spoken or done.
~ Henry David Thoreau
(A Week on the Concord & Merrimack Rivers)

9-25-16-0381
9.25.16 ~ Holmberg Orchards ~ Gales Ferry, Connecticut

stillness becoming alive

ane.lisbet.norway.2015.800wide
“Glorious Illumination” by Ane Lisbet Smedås

Was it light?
Was it light within?
Was it light within light?
Stillness becoming alive,
Yet still?
~ Theodore Roethke
(The Quiet Room)

1.22.16.katie600
Katie got a little bit of snow…

So… We finally got a snowstorm on Saturday, seven inches of snow here. Washington, DC and New York City got much more snow than we did. Record breaking amounts, in fact.

After eleven days of misery it was determined that I had a particularly nasty virus and that it wasn’t necessarily food-borne. I could have caught it the same way one catches a cold or the flu. Sobering thought.

I did not recover in time to go to North Carolina. Very disappointed, but we were given credit from our cancelled flight to apply to a new flight. Thank you so much, Jet Blue.

Yesterday I was dazzled by a photo my Norwegian friend Ane Lisbet posted on Facebook. It was from a walk she took in the afternoon, and I’m grateful she gave me permission to use it here. 🙂 The light is returning to Norway and my longing to go back there in a different season is getting stronger.

1.24.16.dima.katie800
1.24.16 ~ Dima and Katie

I hope we can schedule a new trip to see Katie and her parents very soon!

an ancient harmony

nasa.fluxropessun
“Flux Ropes on the Sun” by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO

I hear beyond the range of sound,
I see beyond the range of sight,
New earths and skies and seas around,
And in my day the sun doth pale his light.

A clear and ancient harmony
Pierces my soul through all its din,
As through its utmost melody, –
Farther behind than they – farther within.

~ Henry David Thoreau
(Inspiration)

swamp rose mallow

8.18.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut
swamp rose mallow ~ 8.18.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexations or concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.
~ Rachel Carson
(The Sense of Wonder)

Native to New England, swamp rose mallow grows along the salt pond near our beach and blooms from July to September. It is tall, reaching 4 to 7 feet high, and the lovely pink five-petal flowers are 4 to 7 inches wide. This sorrowful summer, when I’m in town, we go down to the beach nearly every day, sometimes twice a day. Enjoying the sight of these cheerful flowers en route helps me find those reserves of strength and healing Rachel Carson wrote about.

8.18.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.18.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut

my own nature

“Windflowers” by John William Waterhouse
“Windflowers” by John William Waterhouse

I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: 
It vexes me to choose another guide: 
Where the grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding; 
Where the wild wind blows on the mountainside.
~ Emily Brontë
(The Complete Poems of Emily Brontë)

a sacred zone

shell by Keith Shannon ~ Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Not a day goes by that I don’t take a walk on the beach. The beach is truly home, its broad expanse of sand as welcoming as a mother’s open arms. What’s more, this landscape which extends as far as the eye can see, always reminds me of possibility. It is here I can listen to my inner voice, shed inhibitions, move to the rhythm of the waves, and ask the universe unanswerable questions. That is why when I found myself at a crossroads in my marriage and my life, I ran away to Cape Cod and spent a year by the sea, I was sure this place, so full of my personal history, would offer clarity.

The beach to me is a sacred zone between the earth and the sea, one of those in-between places where transitions can be experienced – where endings can be mourned and beginnings birthed. A walk along the beach offers the gift of the unexpected. Scan the horizon and glimpse the endless possibilities. Stroll head down and encounter one natural treasure after another. Tease the tides and feel a sense of adventure. Dive into the surf and experience the rush of risk.

~ Joan Anderson
(A Walk on the Beach)

clothes and buttons

Mark Twain

What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, and every day, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his “thoughts,” not those other things, are his history. His acts and his words are merely the visible, thin crust of his world, with its scattered snow summits and its vacant wastes of water – and they are so trifling a part of his bulk! a mere skin enveloping it. The mass of him is hidden – it and its volcanic fires that toss and boil, and never rest, night, nor day. These are his life, and they are not written, and cannot be written. Every day would make a whole book of eighty thousand words – three hundred and sixty-five books a year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man – the biography of the man himself cannot be written.
~ Mark Twain
(Studies in Biography)

Happy Birthday, Mr. Twain!