Tag Archives: history

Our due as humans

“Whereas 19th-century Americans perceived limits on how many people they could know, how much they should self-promote, how much excitement they should expect, 21st-century Americans are coming to expect that endless affirmation, unfettered anger, infinite cognitive power, unending entertainment, and constant companionship are our due as humans.”— Susan J. Matt This is one of those …

Continue reading

Patience and perseverance

Dear Readers, As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, I find myself sorely in need of both patience and perseverance. This week has been filled with endless paperwork, logistical tangles and other oppressive tasks, and it feels increasingly difficult to muster the energy and enthusiasm to keep going. Here I am, once again re-blogging a …

Continue reading

Count on flowers

“No matter how uncertain our world sometimes seems, we can count on flowers to appear each spring.” – Barbara Milo Ohrbach Longtime members of the Defeat Despair community will be familiar with Susan, whom I first met here and whose previous visits have inspired earlier posts. She spent some time with Matt and me this …

Continue reading

To look forward

“I didn’t have particular baseball heroes in those days…I didn’t relate to baseball players, even though I played the game myself, because I knew I had nothing to look forward to. There was no hope for me to play in the big leagues back then because I was black.” — Hank Aaron Wow. Talk about defeating …

Continue reading

A thousand tongues

“There is an air about it, resonant of joy and hope: it speaks with a thousand tongues to the heart: it waves its mighty shadow over the imagination…and points with prophetic fingers to the sky.” — William Hazlitt, describing Oxford This was my third visit to Oxford, but the first time I stayed more than three …

Continue reading

To transform

“He had a way of using all that he read and experienced to transform the way that he lived. There was no such thing as purely academic knowledge for him…” — John Bremer As it happens, I’m taking a break from working hard on a “purely academic” paper on C. S. Lewis that’s due in …

Continue reading

It harbors beauty

“History should be studied because it is essential to society, and because it harbors beauty.” – Peter N. Stearns Leaving aside for a moment the arguments that might arise from Stearns’ assertion that history is essential to society (I’m one who agrees that it is), I think most everyone will admit that history indeed harbors …

Continue reading

The quickening pollen

“Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.” ― James Russell Lowell If you suffer from seasonal allergies, the term “quickening pollen” might not sound like a good thing. But in the sense that Lowell intended it, the concept is quite exciting. Suppose you could somehow time travel to have …

Continue reading

Webbed and sustained

“Liberty is as relevant to modern Americans as it was to the men and women of 1776. We live in a world webbed and sustained by the liberties they won at terrific cost in an agonizing eight-year ordeal.  The freedom to speak our minds, to worship in the churches of our faith, to vote for the …

Continue reading

Free and undivided

“Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic.” — John A. Logan Union General Logan was an important leader in the movement to recognize Memorial Day (then known as …

Continue reading

A pathological nostalgia

“I had a pathological nostalgia.  I grieved not only for my own rapidly receding childhood but also for the years, ‘the pasts,’ that I would never experience.  The past seemed as real to me as the present, as real as another country.  But unlike another country, its borders were closed…pictures felt like the next best …

Continue reading

You’d think I knew

“The way I run this thing you’d think I knew something about it.” — Bugs Bunny Bugs Bunny is 75 years old today! No puns about gray hares, just heartfelt celebration for the laughs he has given us all these years.  Bugs had some very similar cartoon cousins who came before him, but the general consensus is …

Continue reading

Don’t lose sight

“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” — Walt Disney Walt Disney’s success is legendary, and the tough road he took to get there is well documented.  He died in 1966, soon after his 65th birthday, an age that sounds far too …

Continue reading

The experience of a great people

“The flag of the United States has not been created by rhetorical sentences in declarations of independence and in bills of rights.  It has been created by the experience of a great people, and nothing is written upon it that has not been written by their life.  It is the embodiment, not of a sentiment, …

Continue reading

Hopeful signs

“I’m looking for some hopeful signs — and something keeps telling me to look in your direction.” — Ashleigh Brilliant Today is my 800th published post, not counting the special posts linked above.  That number becomes more amazing to me the more I think about it.  Not only have I been writing that much, but …

Continue reading

Silence sings

“The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.”  — Aaron Kilbourn Today, on Memorial Day, I hope you will join me in listening.

Continue reading

We are all storytellers

“We are all storytellers, photojournalists of lives that are rich with tears, bruises, tenderness, strangeness and humor.  There’s nothing wrong with shooting smiles and holidays and rituals, but life isn’t a marketing campaign.  More interesting stuff is going on.  That’s your job as a photographer – to shoot the world as it is.  Remember that …

Continue reading

My garden of thoughts and dreams

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” — Abram L. Urban This year, the Yorktown Garden Stroll was scheduled a month early, in April instead of May. …

Continue reading

Little oases

“All that the historians give us are little oases in the desert of time, and we linger fondly in these, forgetting the vast tracks between one and another that were trodden by the weary generations of men.” — John Alfred Spender One of the most fascinating (and frustrating) aspects of visiting historic sites, especially ancient …

Continue reading

The greatest time machines

“Two of the greatest time machines ever invented are called memory and imagination.” — Ashleigh Brilliant It’s beginning to look as if this winter will mean a lot of time indoors for most of us.  So it’s a great chance for some time travel!  Pick up a historical novel (and feel free to share recommendations …

Continue reading

We come home, eventually

“Our ancestors derived less from life than we do, but they also expected much less and were less intent on controlling the future. We are of the arrogant generations who believe a lasting happiness was promised to us at birth.” ― Amin Maalouf “We return to the lives of those who have gone before us, …

Continue reading

Indistinguishable elements

Dear blog readers, Yesterday afternoon Jeff and I got shocking news of the unexpected death of a dear family member, Larry.  Those of you who read the comments may already know of him through his thoughts that he often posted here.  Larry was the husband of Jeff’s younger sister, Jennifer. He died Saturday at their …

Continue reading

The past is beautiful

“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” ― Virginia Woolf Reading this quote, I can only wish that Woolf had thought of these words before she took …

Continue reading

In a fast-moving world

“A friend of the first man to fly an airplane, Lindbergh lived long enough in a fast-moving world to befriend the first man to walk on the moon.” — A. Scott Berg Isn’t it astounding how rapidly the world is changing?  Maybe it’s my imagination, or my limited knowledge of history, but when I look …

Continue reading

Courage undaunted

“Of courage undaunted, possessing a firmness and perseverance of purpose which nothing but impossibilities could divert from its direction, careful as a father of those committed to his charge, yet steady in the maintenance of order and discipline, intimate with the Indian character, customs, and principles; habituated to the hunting life, guarded by exact observation …

Continue reading