Voices at the door

Doorway in Mykonos, May 2008

A doorway in Mykonos, Greece, May 2008.

“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door” 

J.R.R. Tolkien

One year ago today

January beckons

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    How did you ever think to pair this photo with this poem? It’s amazing, the way the photo expands the applicability of the verse.
    Happy New Year to you and Matt!!

    • It has been so long ago I don’t remember. Happy New Year to you, too! 😀

  2. Ann

    Thanks for the beautiful photo and lovely poem. We have visited Mykonos several times and have fond memories of our time there. Looking at the previous posts, there were many comments from years ago that the past year had been difficult but in my experience nothing matches 2020 in the many problems/challenges the world has faced. I’m trying to remember the good things too but I’m having a hard time doing that. Maybe more time on this site will help. Thank you Julia.

    • Ann, probably most of the comments from past years were about what Jeff and I were enduring on a personal level, and it was truly beyond description. I was telling my sister today that when I think of all that happened to Jeff and Matt during those years, I am proud of myself to have survived at all. Having said that, there has never been an era or a time when people did not complain and think things were horrible. In the many military moves we made, I soon noticed that every single tour we had, no matter where it was, the locals made two claims: 1. “This is the allergy capital of America.” or 2. “This is the worst traffic in the country.” Somehow, we are so much more aware of things that go wrong, than of things that go right. I’m trying not to make that mistake. Case in point: I try to think less about the people who are dead or absent from my life, and more about the relatively few who are still in it, who bring me so much joy and consolation. I hope the posts I wrote years ago will somehow be helpful! Did you get my Christmas card? I got one just yesterday that had been mailed December 5! And we used to complain about the slow mail service. See? 😀

      • Ann

        I did get your lovely Christmas card. I have it prominently placed to remind me of you and to remind me to respond!

        • Good, Ann! I’ve had lots of mail go missing or severely delayed, so I’m relieved you did get the card. No pressure to respond, I just wanted you to know I was thinking of you. ❤

  3. Dorothy

    Wishing you and Matt a Happy and Healthy New Year. In Australia we seem to be managing ok compared to the rest of the world. This summer is completely different to last year in many ways but especially weather wise. Last year heat and fires, this year rain, rain and more rain! The gardens are looking wonderful with an abundance of ever growing weeds to keep me busy. Last year from the end of March, I took piano students from school online until December. An interesting exercise. Hopefully 2021 will prove to be a better year for all especially health wise.🤗

    • Hi Dorothy, thanks and Happy New Year to you also! I always appreciate your updates. I’m so happy that the gardens are looking lovely. A good sign, I think, despite the weeds. Do you plan to teach online again this year? Or are things beginning to open up? I am more than ready to start traveling again! Let’s hope and pray that the vaccines do their work, and the world can return to something resembling “normal.” Thanks for being here! Hearing from you always cheers me up. 😀 ❤

  4. mike c.

    Beautiful image. Never been to Greece.
    Rollheiser says,” poetry is stronger than armies, and a poetic vision has great power and that the nation with the best poets will be triumphant” This was in one of his articles on the mystical imagery of St. John as when in the Da vinci painting of the last supper- The beloeved disciple is depicted leaning on the breast of Jesus.

    • That’s an interesting quote from Rollheiser. Poets would agree with him; soldiers and historians might not. But regardless of the rise and fall of nations, poetry lives on. That in itself is a form of power.

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