Monthly Archives: September, 2013

Autumnal sunshine

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” — Nathaniel Hawthorne “In autumn, don’t go to jewelers to see gold; go to the parks!” — Mehmet Murat ildan As our President would say, let me be clear.  Yesterday’s post was about rainy weather.  On a gloriously bright fall day, we simply MUST find …

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What to do

“Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” – Susan Ertz As the warm weather fades and the cold or rainy season moves in, we’ll all be indoors more, whether we like or not. I like it. I relish the chance to spend hours at home, puttering …

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A moveable feast

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”  ― Ernest Hemingway I haven’t even been lucky enough to visit Paris more than twice, but for me it was love …

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Its own season

“Oh how we love pumpkin season.  You did know this gourd-ish squash has its own season, right?  Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin…. We anxiously anticipate it every year.”  ~Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer Full disclosure: I don’t care for eating anything pumpkin-flavored.  I know many people who do, however, and I love the scents and sights related to this gorgeous gourd.  …

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Our gardens — our wills

“Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.” – William  Shakespeare The more I think about this analogy, the more it holds up on several different levels.  Gardening is not easy; it involves no small amount of dirt, sweat and failure.  But the rewards, which go beyond the final results each year, …

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We must discover

“We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” — Marcel Proust As several readers have pointed out recently, we have many sources from which to seek wisdom. For people of faith, holy scriptures are primary; for all of us, other …

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If I do nothing else

“If I do nothing else in my lifetime but leave the world a good tree, I’ve done something.” — Ray Bracken George Washington did far more than leave the world a good tree.  He left an entire estate of trees, shrubs, flowers and innovative building techniques that can be seen to this day at Mount Vernon, …

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The world’s best teachers

“Children and animals are the world’s best teachers– but very few adults really want to be educated.” — Ashleigh Brilliant Educators have long known that learning is optimal when the lessons are engaging and fun.  What better teachers, then, than animals and children?  I hope there are more adults wanting this sort of education than …

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What the world gives you

“Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, …

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Such a beautiful day

“I cried at first…..and then, it was such a beautiful day, that I forgot to be unhappy.” — Frances Noyes Hart Have you ever walked outside in a gloomy mood, and been overtaken by the sheer beauty of the day? It’s happened to me many times, and the feeling of relief and joy that floods …

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A combination

“Home is a combination of human will and divine grace.” — Alexandra Stoddard Whether we live alone or with family, whether we open our doors to traveling friends and adopted animals, or prefer a more solitary life, it takes substantial effort to create and maintain a home.  Despite what we sometimes refer to as modern conveniences, the …

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Things that look used

“I like things that look used, especially when they were used by someone who matters to me.” – Gary Hager Does this raggedy raccoon look familiar?  If so, you may have seen him in this post.  Actually, I have pictures of him in any number of places; looking out the window of the Coast Starlight, …

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If you look closely

“Even the most ordinary life is a mystery if you look close enough.” — Kennedy Fraser It seems to me one of the saddest aspects of modern culture that people get a lot of their reality from television shows.  Admittedly I know very little about it since I’ve shunned television for over 25 years now, but …

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The most effective technique

“People often ask me what is the most effective technique for transforming their life. It is a little embarrassing that after years and years of research and experimentation, I have to say that the best answer is–just be a little kinder.” — Aldous Huxley I thought quite awhile about Huxley’s conclusion, and I think it …

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The world’s largest collection

“I have the world’s largest collection of seashells.  I keep it on all the beaches of the world…perhaps you’ve seen it.” — Steven Wright I think one of the best traits we can develop is the capacity to thoroughly enjoy something without having to own it.  If you can master this skill, you can have …

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Other springs

When we began this endless trek, I feared I saw a darkened door, Through which a line of marching sick Were heading for some winter shore. But now the news the doctor brings Seems to promise other springs. — Jane Yolen One year ago today, Jeff went into the local emergency room with sudden, acute …

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A harmony in autumn

“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!” — Percy Bysshe Shelley If I was absolutely forced to choose a favorite season, it would be autumn.  Even its name is more …

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The gift of crisis

“You have been offered the gift of crisis.  As Kathleen Norris reminds us, the Greek root of the word crisis is “to sift,” as in to shake out the excesses and leave only what’s important.  That’s what crises do.  They shake things up until we are forced to hold on to only what matters most.” …

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In the fall

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” ― Nora Ephron I love fall because it is connected with my happiest memories of childhood.  In particular, the onset of cooler …

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The people weeping

There is sobbing of the strong, And a pall upon the land; But the People in their weeping Bare the iron hand: Beware the People weeping When they bare the iron hand. — Herman Melville Almost all of us who are old enough to remember September 11, 2001, can describe where we were and what …

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When action grows unprofitable

“When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.” — Ursula K. Le Guin When I read this quote I liked it instantly.  As a librarian, I tend to prioritize information gathering over action, and action over sleep.  But Le Guin’s formula makes a lot of sense to me.  It’s very easy to get stuck …

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Inconceivable antiquity

“How cunningly nature hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew!” – Ralph Waldo Emerson Ah, but Ralph, you say “inconceivable antiquity” like it’s a bad thing!  Some of us would like to think that nature is all the more appealing because of her longevity.  Perhaps the flowers are not …

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Persistent prayer

“The value of persistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will finally hear Him.” — William McGill It’s all too easy for believers and unbelievers alike to confuse prayer with some sort of divine bargaining system, or a kind of formal ritual for advising God what we need — as …

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I’ve tried

“I’ve tried talking to animals, but it’s no use – their minds are usually already made up.” —  Ashleigh Brilliant Since I’ve featured dogs, birds and other animals here, I thought it was about time to include a cat.  This is my sister’s cat, named Kit Kat after the cat we had as children. Kit …

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What really knocks me out

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” — J. D. Salinger Who comes to mind when you read this quote?  …

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