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

Nancy

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...

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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...

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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...

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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 the most enchanting and...

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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 pavements...

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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...

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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 they were...

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The mother tongue of our imagination

The mother tongue of our imagination

A lovely notion in George Eliot, that our imagination has its own mother tongue.  It made me realize how much of my imaginative world was indeed seeded by my mother. I can't even put my finger on how she did it, other than by simply being an imaginative person and...

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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 coronavirus,...

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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 across, as the...

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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 child with chalk showed me the way,...

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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 abundant.Striking too...

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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. Building up...

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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 longing those...

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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...

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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 herself.'  ...

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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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Resilience on legs

Resilience on legs

During their month long trip to the Soviet Union after the Second World War (and during the Cold one), John Steinbeck and Robert Capa spent a few days in the bombed out siege-opolis of Stalingrad, where they found human scenes, some startling in their extremity and...

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A new sparkling world

A new sparkling world

As winter is ushered out the door ever earlier and the last of the snow visible on the Jura melts, I wave goodbye to it with this magical moment. Snow may become something of a rarity in a warming world.In any case, do not make yourself hurry.'But Dorothea could not...

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Everything and nothing

Everything and nothing

Lovely description of those precious moments when having nothing doesn't get in the way of having everything. We are lucky, we have some things and we have everything: trays of flower and vegetable seedlings are soaking up the spring warmth on the terrace; blackbirds...

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Impeccable integrity

Impeccable integrity

Barry Lopez came up with this touching idea of comparing perfect integrity in a human life to aspects of nature: the way light works, wind moves, birds sing, or seed pods burst. They are all good models for coherence in life. 'I wish the order of my life to be...

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Statistic of the day

Statistic of the day

I started viewing handfuls of healthy soil, forest or otherwise, with new respect when I learned of their teeming life forms.  That awareness has now extended to including rotting old tree trunks and stumps, smothered with moss and lichen and countless invisible...

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Small boy, large mind

Small boy, large mind

A lyrical description of a boy's realisation that the world is a tiny pebble compared to the stars he is learning to observe. He swings from an awareness of our insignificence to the fact that he has something vast to commend him: knowledge and understanding. 'Those...

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Live to be ancient

Live to be ancient

Long live trees. I love this observation by a dendrologist who has brought to our attention the hidden life and communication of trees. I also love that trees operate on their own timescale and in so doing display an apparent disinterest in a 'scientfically...

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In praise of delight

In praise of delight

We tend to think of piety as being about prayer or action - addressing God or doing good. We know there are many things we should be doing to Save the Earth or Protect the Planet.  Here, in the mid-19th century, is another view, which has a surprisingly modern ring to...

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Why fly when you can swim

Why fly when you can swim

A wonderful anecdote to read about someone else; of course it would be infuriating if it happened to you. Nevertheless, I can't but enjoy this account by Steinbeck of being left stranded at an airport in Soviet Georgia for the very good reason that the crew decided...

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People just like us

People just like us

At the height of the Cold War when Westerners were facing down Russians and vice versa, John Steinbeck and Robert Capa got it into their heads to hop over to the Soviet Union to see for themselves. Visiting three Soviet republics, they finally concluded that the...

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Plump with happiness

Plump with happiness

Another beautiful description of a young dog's capacity for joy and playfulness, even when hungry and abandoned. Vasily Grossman seems to have had a particular sensitivity to animals and appears to convey the deeper reverberations of their souls.  Whether this is...

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Surrounded by sky

Surrounded by sky

The Swiss explorer and travel writer, Ella Maillart (1903-97), spent the second half, or third age, of her adventurous life in the Alpine village of Chandolin at 2,000 metres. We spotted this quotation during a walk through the snow, on an engraving featuring the...

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Pardon my barging in

Pardon my barging in

A beautiful, exuberant image of spring as an emotional and late arriving guest or friend, with its heavy showers transformed into 'copious tears'.  Welcome, spring, tears and all.  We need them to help the summer grow. 'As I write this spring barges in, late, with...

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In praise of the individual mind

In praise of the individual mind

A fascinating comment by a very individual mind on exactly that, individuality and its creative capacity. While I believe also in the power of combined minds, and don't agree with Steinbeck's 'the only creative thing our species has', I do believe that such creative...

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Gathering roses and sprinkling petals

Gathering roses and sprinkling petals

A beautiful, bright image. Mary is one of the finest characters in Middlemarch, with a sure touch and a strong inner light that outshines her outward lack of beauty. She gains and retains the love of a man who needs her steadying strength to right himself. Here he...

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The happiest time of life

The happiest time of life

A beautiful description of the sheer, unbounded joy of being alive in a small mongrel dog who finds herself on the streets of a Russian city. Grossman's capacity to imagine the mind and feelings of animals is concentrated in this essay and another in the same...

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How to surprise and shake people

How to surprise and shake people

Grossman's war writing is interlaced with subtle and not so subtle pleas for individual kindness, small, humble, random, spontaneous, and free of corrupting ideological pieties. Here he comments on the habit people in war acquire for suffering, whether they are...

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Of memory and vivid moments

Of memory and vivid moments

I like Esterly's skillful account of how the vividness of moments scrambles the natural order of past and present in our memories. Vividness can bring the past to the fore and make the present appear like a long-cherished memory even as it happens.This happens to me...

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Alive on this earth

Alive on this earth

Grossman's essay on the Sistine Madonna by Raphael is one of the most splendid responses to art I have read. He deploys all his descriptive powers to encompass what it means to him and to us. Above all, it is a symbol of precious, tender, vulnerable, resilient life...

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The body’s thinking

The body’s thinking

An unusual take on the physicality of our reactions to art or beauty, which Esterly attributes to Yeats as the 'thinking of the body'. I like the wholeness of it, the combination of mind and body in responding to something splendid, man-made or natural. 'What is this...

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An atmosphere of pleasure

An atmosphere of pleasure

In the 1870s Robert Louis Stevenson ambled over a rocky bit of France helped and hindered by a donkey he came to love even while being frequently furious with her ornery stubbornness. Perhaps she thought the same of him. Here he relishes a moment of place-peace, and I...

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Of cake and roses

Of cake and roses

I recently celebrated a birthday. We drove into Geneva for a walk around the old town, stopping for hot chocolates and cakes here and there. Before we left, a friend and neighbour rang the bell to drop off a lace-crocheted initial she had made for me, the letter B...

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Skiing to stop time

Skiing to stop time

A marvelous moonlit moment when David Esterly was skiing to keep the moon in a fix spot, creating a parallax effect. He felt he was arresting time for a moment and luxuriated in its apparent suspension or even reverse. 'Hah! I could make time run backward. If I kept...

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The most splendid thing in the world

The most splendid thing in the world

Vasily Grossman, who lived through and witnessed some of the vilest episodes of human history, never lost his belief in humanity as embodied in the smallness of an individual human being with quirks, dreams, longings and a capacity for love and kindness.He is, for me,...

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An all-embracing toast

An all-embracing toast

Hard to imagine a toast which encompasses more. This is John Steinbeck's description of the open-hearted hospitality he enjoyed, together with his friend the photographer Robert Capa, when they were invited to dine with ordinary people on their month-long trip to the...

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Unspoken kindness

Unspoken kindness

David Esterly describes an act of kindness in which the unspoken is heard in the spoken. His wife lost a close relative. A few days later a lifelong friend and neighbour pitched up with a box of garden-grown vegetables. He didn't mention the loss, only what was in the...

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The great amulet

The great amulet

What a wonderful tribute to love. Why not tell someone that you love them, and enjoy love's protective amulet?And if you're into gardening, let this inspire you to get out your digging gear and start making 'the world a garden'.  (I just planted several hundred...

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