Alfred Brendel was a renowned classical pianist. He’s also known to have said, “The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.” When I was navigating breast cancer treatment, the most precious gift was the gift of someone’s presence. Even silent presence can speak loudly.
Lines from the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, A Gleam of Sunshine, come to mind as I cross on a walk-bridge in rural Kentucky:
“The past and present here unite
Beneath time’s flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook,
But seen on either side.”
A Gleam of Sunshine poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Every year I am amazed that tiny seeds become yummy vegetables. The photo shows a carrot seed (under the first stitched “R”). Every day I am surrounded by awe-inspiring design in the world around me. Working in the garden reminds me to notice and appreciate these dependable and intricate designs.
The flower at a highway rest stop stands tall. My mind drifts to thoughts of stance. I stand a bit straighter. My view—viewpoint changes. My look—outlook adjusts. I should think of that flower more often.
“Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”
“The Rainy Day” poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow fits the weather as I write. Clouds gather and rain is predicted. I believe I appreciate the sunny days more because of the overcast ones. Bring on the rain!
Not so sure I agree with this month’s quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. “The fountain of perpetual peace flows there” is from his poem, “Hymn to the Night.” So many people have trouble sleeping at night for a whole host of reasons. Sleeplessness is thankfully very rare for me. If my mind hasn’t quieted down at bedtime, the reader and writer in me acts. I read some light-hearted fiction or a spiritually comforting passage. And I keep a piece of paper and pen on my nightstand to document anything that pops into my mind—even if I wake during the night. It can sometimes be challenging to read what I wrote in the dark. But writing does get the thoughts out of my mind and into a physical medium. Just what I need to slip back to sleep.
“Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee;
All things are passing”
This, from Longfellow’s translation of “Santa Teresa’s Book-mark” continues to comfort.
Just finished reading “Wired For Story” by Lisa Cron. This book has found a place in my top three books for writers. Lisa links scientific knowledge of the human brain with specific techniques writers can use (and avoid) to make their stories what our brains want. As an avid reader and a writer, I found this fascinating.
“The farmers grew impatient, but a few
Confessed their error, and would not complain;
For, after all, the best thing one can do
When it is raining, is to let it rain.”
From “Tales of a Wayside Inn” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I found this fragile slip of paper in some ancestor belongings. The words belong to Wilferd Arlan Peterson, an American author. His words remind me as I step increasingly into public spaces to not always be in such a hurry.
Slow me down, Lord
Amidst the confusion of my day, give me the calmness of the everlasting hills. Teach me the art of taking minute vacations… of slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read from a good book. Remind me to look upward at the towering oak, and know that it grew tall and strong because it grew slowly and well. Slow me down, Lord.