April lushness

April lushness

I love spring days brimming over with hope and lushness, as our garden is now, and I love quotations which convey such tumbling abundance.   Here is one describing such a day in Hungary, and for continued plenitude, another one by the great wood carver David Esterly....
A question of landscapes

A question of landscapes

I haven’t managed to answer these questions for myself, but still keep returning to them, and wonder how other people are shaped by their landscapes, and how they perceive them.  How do people imagine the landscapes they find themselves in?  How does the land...
A livelier iris

A livelier iris

A dousingly delicious account of the effects of rain, verdancy-pouring, sky-tumbling life.  I write this as the winter cloud cover empties its freshness into an already soaked ground, replenishing aquifers.  In the glorious reaction of the sunshine after the downpour,...
Natural blessings

Natural blessings

A comprehensive – though incomplete – list of nature’s beauty and diversity.  So much to celebrate … The manifold diversity of beauty in sky and earth and sea; the abundance of light, and its miraculous loveliness, in sun and moon and stars;...
Extra pleasure

Extra pleasure

There are those who suggest that understanding too much of the workings of things diminishes our sense of wonder.  Like many, I believe the opposite, the more we understand, the more pleasure we can derive from this complex thing called the universe.   Thus to a man...
Enjoy, wherever you are

Enjoy, wherever you are

A simple reminder to enjoy the beauties of life at home, whenever you can.  Since the news is full of people losing their homes to war or natural disaster, it is worth remembering how wonderful a secure home is. Life could be beautiful, thought the old traveller,...
Smell the autumn

Smell the autumn

After an extended Indian summer, the last few days we’ve seen early morning mists and a delicious freshness to dawn and dusk.  I always feel sorry when summer fades and then have a surprise at the recurring mellow beauty of its successor.  This year, as the...
Of acorn cups

Of acorn cups

A lovely preparation for the bride of a god, including cowslip-ruby bejewelled acorn cups.  Some stole the light from glow-worms’ tails, and wove it into a necklace, and others pulled the ruby spots from cowslip leaves, to set with jewels the acorn cups that...
A life-loving syllabus

A life-loving syllabus

What a teacher, this god who exhales perfumes and offers to impart his knowledge of nature’s flourishing.  And what a syllabus: “I am the genius of clouds and sunshine,” answered Frey; and as he spoke, the essences of a hundred perfumes were exhaled...
Without going soft

Without going soft

I recently read Thucydides on the beach and was struck by how contemporary, or perhaps just timeless, he is.  Here is a thoughtful reflection in one of his reported speeches; you can love beauty of things and of the mind without going soft.  Our love of what is...
The blue of the hyacinths

The blue of the hyacinths

The poet Rilke, writing to Elisabeth Ephrussi, told her to: ‘Look into the blue of the hyacinths.  And the spring!’  Well?  What are we waiting for?  Let’s go and find a hyacinth and then inhale its heady perfume! And meet their wild cousins, the...
Mind hoard

Mind hoard

I love the word ‘hoard’, in the sense of a bardic ‘word-hoard’, or here, a hoard of observations you stash in the cupboard of the imagination, a mind-hoard.  And I like the absolution from having to understand those bright-shining things you...
Go and look at flowers

Go and look at flowers

A wonderful story of a woman who decides her grandchildren need to spend more time looking at nature and talking to people.  I loved her humorous and decisive course of action and the fact that she was so loved by her family that they forgave her technological...
A bouquet of kindness

A bouquet of kindness

This Russian writer remembers moments in her harsh Siberian childhood where someone showed passing kindness and in so doing, made her and her sister feel they were recognised as human beings.  Coming as they did from a family of political exiles, in a system where the...
A sight you never tire of

A sight you never tire of

This is from a collection of interviews with Russian people by the Nobel-prize winning journalist Svetlana Alexievich.  Here, one of them explains why there is one sight she has never tired of, and not only due to its beauty. The one thing I haven’t got sick of...
Like a cradle-song

Like a cradle-song

Such a comforting line this, from a letter by the German poet Hölderlin. The sky and the air embrace me like a cradle-song.May they embrace you, too.  And here is another thought of Hölderlin, on a peaceful state of work; and in another letter, his admiration for a...
Richness on the world

Richness on the world

A lovely summer image of blueness infusing the landscape. The hills Lullingford way were blue as a summer sky, a deep promising blue, and there was a richness on the world. Wishing you richness on the world, wherever you are. Source: Mary Webb, Precious Bane...
Life as miracle

Life as miracle

Attributed to Einstein, this gives us two clear-cut approaches to life.  Babies and small children seem more alive to the miraculous but a challenge for adults is that of both seeing the world as it is, tragedy and all, while maintaining that miraculous sense. Or, to...
Of leaping dolphins

Of leaping dolphins

I found this somehow touching, the way the parent dolphins don’t overstretch their offspring.  Also curious about the fact that the calves always stayed on the right side of the mother and in seeking a photo, it struck me that this appears to be a calf …...
Sand bars like snow drifts

Sand bars like snow drifts

A magical description of ephemeral islands rising and sinking with time and tide.  From Maxwell’s fine account of time spent on a Scottish island, anything but ephemeral. Sand bars as white as snow-drifts and jewelled with bright shells rise between the islands...
And life is…

And life is…

This poem, ‘Into Battle’, was written in 1915 by an officer serving in the First World War, Julian Grenfell.  It was published in The Times the day after his death from war wounds. The poems draws on different threads of life as providing strength to the...

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