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...
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...
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...
What makes a place secret?

What makes a place secret?

Like many children, the characters in Ransome’s books have a refreshing way of stripping things down to essentials.   ‘This isn’t a secret place,’ said the boy. ‘Any place is secret if nobody else is there.’  See another comment on the nature of secrets. ...
A clutch of bright berries

A clutch of bright berries

Otters seem to be the most nuannaarpoqian of animals and their eye is easily caught by bright objects.  Here a bunch of red berries does the trick, apparently leading to a form of horizontal meditation. Once, I remember, I went to look for him there and at first could...
The grammar and syntax of inspiration

The grammar and syntax of inspiration

Picasso is said to have said that inspiration exists but needs to find you working.  Similar in sentiment is Saint-Exupéry’s thoughts on illumination. Yes, it can strike you suddenly and apparently miraculously, but only if you’ve made the effort to learn...
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...
My kind of market (II)

My kind of market (II)

If you follow this website, you will know I’m partial to cornucopian markets bursting with fine foods and other delights.  Here’s a new description to whet the appetite for such magical human hubs. The Abkhazian bazaar!  Those smells, the sounds … It...
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 grandfather’s love

A grandfather’s love

The Hungarian poet Faludy gives an enticing description of his grandfather, seen through a boy’s eyes.  I like how he pitches his speech appropriately for a child, consciously or not.  Also the idea that his words sunk into the young mind, and were understood...
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...
This blue and golden world

This blue and golden world

A lyrical commitment to his own odyssey, self-promised the first time the author sailed past Ithaca.  He made it, a mere three or four decades and a war later.  How could he not, a ‘blue and golden world’ would exercise a strong hold on the soul (mine,...
Every journey starts somewhere

Every journey starts somewhere

James Rebanks had a childhood awakening when accompanying his grandfather on a tractor, making the connection between his family, their farm, and the gulls and the plough.  It’s a fitting start to a heartfelt journey from that ‘ancient farming world’...
A singing sense

A singing sense

This enigmatic statement by Elizabeth Bowen caught my eye, even though I’m not sure what it means.  Only that some roads invite you to follow them?  I often find when we’re driving or walking or biking that a sly side road winks and nods and invites you to...

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