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

Nancy

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 …

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

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

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

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

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 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 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

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

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

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!

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

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 …

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

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

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

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…

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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Memory in triplicate

I liked this pithy analysis by Vico, which could serve as an exercise in imagination training: take a memory, describe it as a realistically as you can, then alter or imitate it in some form, then give it a new turn by placing it in a relationship to other things....

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On Arctic trees

An underlying condition of being able to live in the spirit of nuannaarpoq is resilience in the face of setbacks.  It's a quality I particularly admire in people who manage to keep enjoying life and its finer moments even after suffering severe shocks and trauma. ...

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Shining like a new creation

The miracle of morning is that when it shines as if it has finished its ablutions, it seems new-made. Early morning is my favourite time of day, particularly in summer when it can make you feel as if life has begun again and all is possible. 'One day I rose and...

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But I was content

A delightful, easy moment captured in a few simple lines which remind me of the French expression to feel 'good in your skin' ('bien dans sa peau'). May you laugh only because you really want to and because you feel so well, and the air is so good. Hall's account of...

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Resilience as defiance

John Keats died young of tuberculosis, but while he lived he was resilient and determined to squeeze every drop of life and happiness despite nursing first his mother and then his younger brother as they themselves were assailed by TB. He knew all about fragility of...

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Sleep and sanity

We know that insomnia can drive you insane and a good sleep can make you feel sane (or saner), but here is something to wish for, that you may go to bed sane and arise sane, with nothing but uninterrupted sleep to connect the two ends of your mental health. What has...

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Life-giving elixir

As often happens in 19th century literature and no doubt in reality, freedom could come to women with access to some kind of economic independence, however modest. In a world where jobs were limited (and often galling or exhausting in their nature), this could be in...

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Resilience on the wing

Of course, we don't know what swallows speak of as they prepare for long, gruelling flights to weather havens, but I liked this poetic description of these darting birds on the eve of migration, a hymn to joyous resilience. 'They talked of white-and-grey...

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Life regained

This comment on life regained is all the more poignant for the context - the protagonist survives a Nazi concentration camp only to then find himself living in another species of totalitarian state. But there is that astonishing moment when he realizes he has survived...

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A factory of dreams, laughter and sighs

One of the most charming and imaginative descriptions of human beings. Well worth keeping in mind in case you find yourself standing before a panel of Martians demanding that you explain homo sapiens to them. Think about it: all the bread, wine, fish and radishes you...

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The blue bow

One evening I had supper in an Italian restaurant in Beijing. A family came in, Spanish: a pretty wife, a smiley husband and a girl of about eight. She sat with her back to me which allowed me to see the beautiful big blue bow in her hair. Then she looked...

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The joys of this world

Many indeed and I like the short list, but even more the loving depiction of cleaving to the sea and the islands in a gentle autumnal light. May your masts spring branches and fruits, but not before you are safely in harbour. “Many are the joys of this world – women,...

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As obstinate as a robin

A beautiful way to insist upon freedom and independence of expression.  Robins are so chirpy and robust, hopping about in midwinter, apparently cockahoop about being alive. On the things that matter, and without harming the things that matter to others, let's try...

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An unaffordable bird

This thrush pops up twice in Keats' letters, singing so heartily as to run him up 'a pretty bill for music'.  Having stood, numerous times, at the open window or beneath the roof edge just so I could hear the loud, ringing, endlessly varied song of the blackbirds who...

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Keen and buoyant

A short, fine description of a complex, quirky, interested and interesting character.  How many people do you know whom you could describe thus? Wishing you plenty of time with keen, buoyant natures, with varying passions for flowers, metaphysics, or whatever else...

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Go towards the good

What a fine, ringing send-off.  Think about it next time you wave goodbye to a friend - why not send them towards the good and wish them 'the Good Hour'.   We hoisted our bundles and set off downhill. "Go towards the Good," one of them said, and the other, "May...

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Beautiful and full of sunshine

Spending a few days in Ljubljana, we enjoyed a visit to the National Gallery of Slovenia and in particular, an exhibition dedicated to Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926), a Slovenian artist who flourished around the turn of the 20th century.  She spent much of her life in...

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Blue and gold

This is an opening line in Christa Wolf's novel Till Eulenspiegel.  Something about it haunted me, two colours flying as emblems of the Middle Ages, and since I took the photo on a brilliant day in October, they are equally pennants of autumn.  Hence posting this at...

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Life burning with a free flame

A marvelous description by Mervyn Peake of a life lived authentically. I see this kind of genuine free flame burning in the lives of people who are working in a field or in a manner attuned to their values and inclinations, rather than being just a means...

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