A record of love

A record of love

Thoreau’s journals have many comments on the nature of journals, of which this one is closest to my own impetus for writing one, albeit patchily: I put off writing for weeks because once I start there is so much to say, even keeping only to one’s...
Luck be lavender tonight

Luck be lavender tonight

Lavender is a resistant plant, surviving a generous spectrum of cold and heat, rain and drought. It’s perhaps therefore an appropriate plant to bring you bomb-dodging luck in a blitz. I liked this anecdote by Steinbeck, firstly the details that people remember...
Rita meets the Bee Gees

Rita meets the Bee Gees

A few years ago I had a professional trauma and a friend sent me this video. It became my resistance song, making me laugh at the nonsense. Having noticed that when leaving an organisation, it was common to lace your parting farewell note with strategic input and...
Far the greater number

Far the greater number

If you can die concluding that by far the greater number of people in the world are very good, you have had a good life or perhaps you have just lived it well.  Here, Steinbeck concludes his slim, rich account of a month spent in the Soviet Union at the height of the...
The culture of place

The culture of place

An interesting observation by James Rebanks, who has fought to keep alive some older traditions of farming and sheep-rearing, including a particular type of sheep, in the north of England.  His book seems to have touched a chord, resonating with a deep-seated need for...
A people of poetry, music and dancing

A people of poetry, music and dancing

Being cautious about characteristics attributed to entire nations which might be more suitably attributed to individuals, I hesitated to share these observations by Steinbeck of his experience of Georgians, during a short visit of a few days or perhaps a week. What it...
Sunlight time

Sunlight time

Time pouring down with the sunlight while diaphanous drakeflies dance on the water. A perfect summer scene and one to share at the cusp of summer. I am still sorting drakeflies from damsel- and dragonflies.  It appears that what I have been joyously calling out as...
Hone your senses

Hone your senses

An unexpected reason to take up the arts, it sharpens your appreciation. Among other things, it seems that many forms make you notice detail, they invite you to see or hear more, at different levels. They also invite focus, filtering out distraction and the...
Of wholehearted hospitality

Of wholehearted hospitality

Steinbeck describes the warmth and generosity of the welcome he and Robert Capa received in Ukraine, during their month long trip to the Soviet Union in 1946. The entire village was party to the plan, and contributed what they could. This was a great show of...
Time fell away

Time fell away

This describes one of those timeless stretches when you step outside the sturm und drang and step into flow of one kind or another. This is the detachment we find each in our own way, but commonly it seems to involve contact with a natural setting, or being involved...
Joy in a whistle

Joy in a whistle

A wonderful moment captured, or imagined, in the playful, cavorting, dangerous life of an otter. Here Tarka’s mate whistles to him and he responds in joy. ‘Soon he heard a whistle, and a feeling of joy warmed his being.’  Williamson’s is one of...
Emblem of transience

Emblem of transience

A contemplative observation on flowers and their beauty. However, to the transcience I would add resilience. It amazes me how flowers come to places from which they’ve been excluded, if given half a chance. I find them boldly blooming in hair-pin cracks in...
At one with the universe

At one with the universe

A joyous, rolicking testimony of the power of wine to turn men into gods, or at least make them feel that way. Zorba’s exuberance and vivid experience of even the commonplace makes him a world class nuannaarpoqian. May you occasionally feel as if you will live a...
Come back in a few years

Come back in a few years

Steinbeck’s parting shot on leaving Kiev a few years after the end of the war had razed the country, celebrates their resilience and determination.  Their invitation to him to come back also signals a confidence in their own reconstructive capacity.  Whether...
The flow of beauty

The flow of beauty

It’s years since I singled out this quotation, by someone whose hands produced beauty and whose eyes were attuned to it. And now it comes to the front of the nuannaarpoq pipeline just after I watched an hour long interview with a doctor; ostensibly about...
Here is a valuable life

Here is a valuable life

Lopez’s description of a tough animal encountered on a summer’s day, arresting him with its direct gaze, reminds me of the sightings of birds we enjoy in our garden. In one spot, we used a pair of terracotta pots, about a foot high and nearly as much...
Seven steps to heaven

Seven steps to heaven

Now I know why it’s called ‘seventh’ heaven – it takes only seven steps to get there. I stumbled upon this revelation while doing the Spring Circular, the 10km round robin walk with which I’ve been savouring the season’s renewal. A...
Of spacious afternoons

Of spacious afternoons

We tend to think of time poverty as a feature of modern life. I was curious that George Eliot, writing in the middle of the 19th century, looked back to Henry Fielding’s time, a good hundred years earlier, noting that time, in his time, was more...
The naming of plants – I

The naming of plants – I

Spontaneously, during this period of self-isolation we have been walking (and in Luiz’s case, biking) more. We are surrounded by countryside and can walk or bike for hours barely crossing paths with others, and if so, at well over the required two metres....
The texture of the everyday

The texture of the everyday

This thoughtful reminder of the splendour of everyday happiness made its way into the nuannaarpoq pipeline long before the world we love was swept by pandemic. How many of those in quarantined ‘exile’, or ill, or on their deathbed may be recalling with...
Every day is new

Every day is new

One of the tricks of nuannaarpoq living, as far as I can see, is to remain wide-eyed and open-hearted, to view and experience things as if they are new, even if they are quotidian. It is this quality, along with sheer unbounded exuberance, which wins Zorba a...
No charm equal to…

No charm equal to…

Emma’s development from a clever girl into an intelligent woman includes a growing appreciation for tenderness and sensitivity to others. Here she notes the charm of tenderness. ”There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart,’ said she afterwards to...
Hefted to a landscape

Hefted to a landscape

One of the delights of repeated exposure to a landscape is the growing level of granularity in our observation and enjoyment of it. A hedgerow or embankment or copse yields more beauty and variety the more we see it. Here George Eliot evokes the tenderness of...

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