Monthly Archives: April, 2013

Each moment an occasion

My dog lives freely each moment an occasion to cherish and leave — Drew Denton      (for Drew’s bio, scroll halfway down the page) Years ago I found this haiku, along with several others, among some handwritten drafts and school papers saved from Drew’s 10th grade year. He was probably around 15 years old when he wrote …

Continue reading

The day of liberation

“So now, muster your strength, and don’t lose heart. We shall all see the day of liberation. Have faith in life. Above all else, have faith. Drive out despair, and you will keep death away from yourselves…The same smoke floats over all our heads. Help one another. It is the only way to survive.” — …

Continue reading

Souls yearn

“When the fever-stricken patient is undermined with heat and craving with thirst, he dreams in his dozing of a fresh brook where he might bathe or a clear spring where he might drink in long drafts.  In the same way, in the complex agitation of modern existence, our wearied souls yearn for simplicity.”  — Charles …

Continue reading

Built in hope

“The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.”  — Marian Zimmer Bradley I love the book Life of Pi, especially the ending where Pi asks the skeptics a valid but often overlooked question: which is the better story? There …

Continue reading

A kind of beauty

“There is a kind of beauty in imperfection.” — Conrad Hall During our brief getaway to Captiva Island in January, I spent blissful hours walking along the shore searching for seashells.  Sanibel and Captiva are duly famous as a shell-gatherer’s dream.  I had never seen so many shells washed ashore anywhere.  Initially, I was searching primarily for the …

Continue reading

Start again

The birds they sang at the break of day Start again I heard them say — Leonard Cohen I can’t recall a single time when hearing the birds singing did not lift my spirits.  Sometimes they sound cheerful and perky, sometimes insistent, almost alarmed, but they never sound depressing.  Birdsong goes perfectly with the other delights …

Continue reading

Obstacles or gateways?

“The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.”  — Ralph Blum If you’ve ever seen the arcade game called “Whack A Mole,”  you may feel as I do:  that it’s a pretty good visual representation of what life is like.  Troubles keep popping up all over, and as soon …

Continue reading

Not quite refined

“She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.” — Mark Twain There is nothing profound, instructive or inspirational about this quote.  It made me laugh, so I wanted to share it.  Twain’s whimsical description somehow hits …

Continue reading

Capture a moment

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” ― Karl Lagerfeld A couple of weeks ago I went into D.C. for the afternoon to see the cherry blossom trees at their peak.  Not only was it indescribably beautiful, but I had perhaps the greatest opportunity ever to unobtrusively …

Continue reading

Fishermen know

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” — Vincent Van Gogh Fishermen are among many who labor at occupations fraught with potential hazards, but our lives and well being depend on workers who understand that benefits often outweigh risks.  …

Continue reading

A species of talent

“…happiness is a species of talent, for which some people have superior aptitudes.” — George Will Our younger son Matt was born with a rare genetic disorder that would not be diagnosed for many years, at which time there were only about six known cases in the world.  At birth, what we knew immediately was that he …

Continue reading

Solace in the seedlings

“…all of this time in the garden is stolen, snatched away from other priorities that clamor for attention before or after hours: family, meals, reading, household chores. This clamor is barely audible to the commuter gardener, though, for he has found his solace in the seedlings and flowers and fruits that come from the bits …

Continue reading

Slowly — but painlessly!

“By taking steps so tiny that they seem trivial or even laughable, you’ll sail calmly past obstacles that have defeated you before. Slowly – but painlessly! – you’ll cultivate an appetite for continued success and lay down a permanent new route to change.”— Robert Maurer Often despair is the result of feeling totally overwhelmed by misfortune.  Or, less …

Continue reading

The power to speak

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” — Martin Buber On a highway near Skagway, Alaska, we noticed a few people stopped alongside the road and quickly found what attracted their attention: a baby bear had ambled right up to the guard rail, looking at everyone with friendly curiosity.  It was raining lightly …

Continue reading

Libraries will get you through

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.” — Anne Herbert Whenever I am feeling grouchy about paying taxes, I try to think of the wonderful public libraries that have given so much to our family over the years.  I can think of …

Continue reading

Flowers have an expression

“Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals.  Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright…”  — Henry Ward Beecher On a recent visit to the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, I was delighted to see the beautiful …

Continue reading

Just enough intelligence

“As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly how utterly inadequate that intelligence is when confronted with what exists.”  — Albert Einstein Niagara Falls is one of those places that can’t be adequately described; one has to be there, hear the roar and feel the …

Continue reading

Like life

“Do not watch the petals fall from the rose with sadness; know that, like life, things sometimes must fade before they can bloom again.” — Author unknown The cherry blossom trees of Washington DC are justly famous, but the ones I most enjoy are right outside the front door of our townhouse in Alexandria.  Until …

Continue reading

Born on his father’s birthday

“He was born on his father’s birthday, a gift that keeps on giving.” — George F. Will, writing about his eldest son Jon This month I pay tribute to the two men who, other than my husband, have had the most lasting influence in my life.  My father was born in April, and his first child …

Continue reading

Somewhere it hides

“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery Tucked away in the chilly magnificence of the Yukon, there lies a true curiosity of nature: the Carcross Desert.  At about one square mile, it is called the “world’s smallest desert” although it is actually a series of sand dunes left …

Continue reading

The familiar exotic

“Make the familiar exotic; the exotic familiar.”  — Bharati Mukherjee I’m pretty good at making the exotic familiar, or at least trying.  When Jeff and I travel, we tend to avoid the tourist routes and go to places where the locals are: public transportation, grocery stores, municipal libraries.  The more intriguing a city is, the more I am determined …

Continue reading

In even the smallest matter

“Be satisfied with success in even the smallest matter, and think that even such a result is no trifle.” — Marcus Aurelius If you’ve ever been to Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara or certain other well-known Mexican cities, you probably have seen the beautiful artwork created with tiny seed beads or yarn in the tradition of the Huichol people.  With …

Continue reading

In the cherry blossom’s shade

“In the cherry blossom’s shade there’s no such thing as a stranger.” — Kobayashi Issa Have you ever noticed how often people share their excitement at a beautiful landmark or stunning view?  Tourists who have never met offer to take photos for each other, handing expensive cameras to total strangers.  Except, as Issa says, there’s no such thing …

Continue reading

Something is there

I go out to the pale dunes, to look over the empty spaces of the wilderness.   For something is there, something is there when nothing is there but itself, that is not there when anything else is. – Mary Oliver There are places where vast emptiness stretches so far as to suggest infinity.  The more …

Continue reading

After ecstasy

“After ecstasy, the laundry.” — Zen saying Perhaps no quote can so succinctly capture the experience of parenthood, especially in its early stages.  The unsurpassed joy of holding a newborn baby is quickly tempered by the grinding realities of sleep deprivation, miscellaneous messes to clean up and a never-ending pile of laundry to be done.  Yet there is joy even …

Continue reading