Bea, your web site is spectacular. I love the colors, the approach, the design, the words.

Nancy

The high Greek sky

The high Greek sky

Not the first time I have seen or read of the soaring 'limitless Greek sky'.  It has something vaultingly, deeply, coolingly hyacinthine blue about it, making things seem clean, clear and uncluttered. You can stretch your spirit and limbs lying somewhere staring up at...

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A Samaritan at Salisbury

A Samaritan at Salisbury

This account of the 17th century English clergyman and poet, George Herbert, stopping on his way to help a poor man, gives us an insight into his character. His friends asked him why he would sully himself to lend a hand and his answer has the lyricism which imbues...

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The nature of wonder

The nature of wonder

This caught my eye, a surprising definition of wonder, presented as 'broken knowledge'. I wondered if that meant 'incomplete' knowledge, the awe that comes of observing without understanding, but the scientist Richard Dawkins has pointed out that understanding the...

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A thought on childhood

A thought on childhood

According to his biographer John Drury, the English poet George Herbert 'thought that it was better being a child than an adult', perhaps confirmed by the simple closing line to his poem 'Holy Baptism (II)', comprising three diamond-shaped verses of five lines rhymed...

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My kind of civilization

My kind of civilization

You can spend a lot of time thinking about civilization and whether it has a future, but defining it isn't so straightforward.  Or is it? This definition works for me, particularly on a hot summer's day in a piazza in Italy. Or anywhere.Favourite flavours - deepest,...

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Pushing the boundaries

Pushing the boundaries

Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, puts our relatively short-termist parochialism in stark contrast to that of our forebears, who despite multiple constraints of which we are free, were able to conceive and implement long term projects which they wouldn't see...

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Happiness is …

Happiness is …

This is a sweeping definition of happiness and particularly touching given it was uttered by a science teacher in Odessa. Pavel Viktor began posting his lectures online so students who missed them could catch up. But his teaching style was so inspiring that he ended...

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Play time by the brook

Play time by the brook

One of the delights of observing birds and animals is to see them apparently at play. Williamson's slim, taut and charming classic on otters gives many examples of them playing. Here I liked Tarka's trying to catch and bite a rope of water twist-tumbling out of a...

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New, new, new

New, new, new

Something wonderfully simple in these closing lines of Dante's Purgatory, which open up a new and dazzling vista. You know he will next embark on his journey up and into Paradise. The cadence is also of someone confidently stepping out into a new phase of life, with...

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Fruit and more

Fruit and more

This line from a George Herbert poem bespeaks a sense of abundance and satiety - the wine is made of grapes, so you don't need them besides.  Herbert collected nearly two thousand aphorisms and they echo in his poetry.   'But can he want the grape, who hath the...

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Joyeuse Fête des Muguets

Joyeuse Fête des Muguets

Two things to share today, both lily-related.  I first heard of the 'Fête des muguets' when I was a teenager and was given a bunch of lilies of the valley. Yesterday in Geneva I was happy to see the shops stocked up with slender, small pots and bunches of these...

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Living in the moment

Living in the moment

Keats is one of the Great Nuannaarpoqians. He grew up with sorrow, first nursing his mother through tuberculosis and, a few years later, his younger brother, before then succumbing himself. These and other travails did nothing to curb his capacity to grasp moments of...

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How to be gentle

How to be gentle

This is a striking comment, that lack of gentleness may stem from having been shocked into fear at some point. How many 'loud and aggressive persons' might have been otherwise had they not been confronted by an enemy of some sort, something propelling them into fear?...

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When we think of joyful things

When we think of joyful things

Remember, if you can, a moment when you have been speaking with someone and you land on something about which they are passionate, and you see their face light up and their eyes sparkle. I can think of several such moments, but one which stands out was a couple of...

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Blue-bells in spring

Blue-bells in spring

Blue-bells, more even than roses, are the flower I associate with England. There is magic in walking under a woodland canopy among the delicate blue bobbing bells as they carpet the ground for weeks. When I grew up, holidays were spent with my grandmother at her...

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Lent lilies and swallows’ time

Lent lilies and swallows’ time

A delicious description of the days of mid-April, when the wild narcissus, known as 'lent lilies', bloom. We've had daffodils and tiny narcissi sunnying the garden for weeks, visited by early-buzzing bees.Williamson's account includes the intriguing mention of house...

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To rejoice the heart

To rejoice the heart

A pretty good list of joy-triggers: clear laughter, kind words and tasty dishes. What else? Tell me three more, or one, or two. And what a comment on Zorba, that his return meant the return of all the things that rejoice the heart. There can hardly be a greater...

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Because they dreamed of this place

Because they dreamed of this place

I like that Dante's promised land mentions 'human innocence' alongside nectar in everything and spring eternal. Innocence doesn't receive much air time, but to me it could be listed among 'human rights'. When I was growing up it was a put down comment, as if...

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Uncharted coexistence

Uncharted coexistence

Don't worry, this isn't about Brexit. Rather, a TED talk by Eileen Crist on 'confronting anthropocentrism' which considers the need to change our engagement with the world if we are to make it to the ever elusive sustainability. However, unlike much of the discourse...

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An ageless conversation

An ageless conversation

This distinction between individual and collective dreams comes from the book that inspired nuannaarpoq.com. Both types can fuse into our future, making or breaking it in terms of whether it is bright, liveable or simply bleak. Arctic Dreams probes many of the issues...

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Which will you be?

Which will you be?

Essentially, do you cleave to integrity or niftily skirt around obstacles? I liked the choice presented as Achilles or Odysseus, the singular hero or the ingenious man (or woman, this isn't a gender-specific issue).Nicolson's wondrous book poses many questions about...

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Across the divide

Across the divide

We play with dogs and cats and some other creatures.  I used to play with a fox in our garden in London: he made a show of taking my abandoned fleece delicately in his mouth and began pulling it off the table where I'd left it, all the while staring at me...

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The keen joy of meeting

The keen joy of meeting

Isn't this a marvelous account of a joyous reunion, including the playful pretence of ignoring each other, the better to extend that first thrill of meeting? You will soon perceive, from this and other quotations from the same book, that I've concluded...

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How simple and frugal

How simple and frugal

A ringingly simple statement about happiness needing few props in the right place with the right person. A happy moment between Zorba and his friend and occasional boss. Feel free to complete the sentence, 'How simple and frugal a thing is happiness...' with your own...

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A spell of peace

A spell of peace

An intricate description of the effect an ancient temple can work on the spirit - a falling away of complication and anxiety and a spilling over of clarity and hope.  I had such a feeling when a handful of us were allowed to roam untrammelled through ruins...

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An easy load

An easy load

You've put in the effort and now is the payback, and by the bucket load.  Dante's payback for schlepping through the underworld towards the higher realms was the easy task of returning to where the world is bright. Let me know if you have a place that makes you feel...

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Fat with time

Fat with time

If you are busy, perhaps worth scheduling in your packed agenda an hour, morning, day, month or year, in which to be 'fat with time', free of the need to move or do. Or you could propose a regular spot of unscheduled time to your employer, such as Fat With Time...

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This land …

This land …

Our relationship to landscapes fascinates me.  Partly it's our reaction to a physical landscape, as when we are bowled over by a view of the sea, rolling hills, desert, meadow or mountains. But it's also the idea of a place and its cultural or personal...

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Alive and alone, alone and alive

Alive and alone, alone and alive

Laurie Lee captures a moment of being fully alive and fully alone, during his long, hot walk across Spain in the 1930s at the age of 18. Alone, not lonely.  As you know, you can be happy in solitude, and lonely in company. The book is a wonderful evocation of walking,...

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Everything good in this world

Everything good in this world

Zorba lived life to the hilt long before the advent of political correctness.  He wouldn't have had much time for it even if he had lived to see it.But this comment made me laugh, particularly the relegation of chamomile tea to the unpleasant aspects of life. I grew...

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Unload your heart of grief

Unload your heart of grief

What a kind, loving, compassionate injunction to Dante. Keep it in mind if you find yourself berating yourself. And if you are experiencing grief, I hope you find the means to unload it soon.  "Much greater faults than yours are washed awayBy much less shame," my...

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The tempests of change

The tempests of change

This seems a lesson in authenticity.  Those occasional moments when you say, do or think something and suddenly it rings hollow and tastes metallic, and you wonder who that person is because it isn't you, that much you know. Such disconcerting feelings of...

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A sheer cascade of light

A sheer cascade of light

A luminous encounter when Dante finally makes it to heaven. I once saw a human being with such radiance, a child of about 18 months standing on the edge of a swimming pool, naked and joyous, throwing himself from the edge of the pool into his parent's arms and the...

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A prodigality of marvels

A prodigality of marvels

A wonderful feeling to have about life or any aspect of it.  I often feel it when I wonder if life will give me the time to savour and appreciate all its marvelous details; or those of a culture; or a place.  A good library can also trigger that fox in a...

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Time equals hope

Time equals hope

This short statement caught my attention as I haven't before seen such a tight correlation between time and hope, though I think about both a great deal.  But it makes sense, if having time allows fortunate things to come into play: relief, coincidence,...

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Lolling alone in languid bliss

Lolling alone in languid bliss

A deliciously lazy, stretching, sun-watching, cat-napping moment of solitude.  All the more poignant given the general tenor of Kertész' novel in which the protagonist makes it out of Auschwitz alive only to find himself confined in a different totalitarian system,...

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On walking and talking

On walking and talking

Clive James' cadenced translation of Dante includes this lovely image of walking and talking, talking and walking, with neither slowing the other. He masterfully conveys a walking rhythm in his rendition. It also reminded me of long evening walks with friends when we...

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Remember Alfonso!

Remember Alfonso!

How are you doing with the new year resolutions?  Do they feel long ago and fallen by the wayside, after the first burst of the year has moved into the realities of daily life and human frailty?  It happens to me regularly, but I have another bigger resolution, which...

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Even as I sing

Even as I sing

Clive James' translation of Dante's Divine Comedy is far the most entrancing I have read, an entrance-lation. A few quotations will appear here and elsewhere and, in due course, a quote-studded review. Here James highlights Dante's exuberance even in the face of...

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A perfect day for …

A perfect day for …

Today is a perfect day for it. A deep, crunchy blanket of snow fell overnight, the branches thickly dusted and the ground uplighting the world with the astonishing luminosity of snow. It also reminds me of a shared moment with my brother.  He had just...

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Nuannaarpoq on the bus

Nuannaarpoq on the bus

One day I was on a crowded bus in Geneva. A boy of about 12 got on and finding there were no free seats, he sat on the step of the back row, and took a mini-chess board out of his bag with pieces apparently set mid-game, magnetically or otherwise held in place. He...

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Time and diamonds

Time and diamonds

On a day when many people will be spending precious time with friends and family, this quotation resonates. But Christmas Day is one day of the year, and diamond-precious hours can happen any time, in joy or pain. Feel free to send me a description of some hours you...

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Introducing the Isumataq School of Leadership

Introducing the Isumataq School of Leadership

Barry Lopez' masterful Arctic Dreams gave me an inkling of a richly philosophical seam in Eskimo language. If you watch, read or listen to the news, you may despair at the apparent absence of anything resembling an isumataq in the upper echelons of...

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Winter is…

Winter is…

James Rebanks' Shepherd's Life is an engaging examination of a working life and of keeping a way of life going in a world that doesn't appear to value its culture or traditions.  And it isn't an easy life either, as this biting description of winter makes...

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