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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

DSCN6229In between leisurely walks in the Autumn woods, raking leaves, or conjuring up soups, late afternoons will often find me these days curled in a leafy corner somewhere, pages of words in my hands.  It might  be a cookbook, a vintage copy of Victoria magazine,  or Laline Paull’s “The Bees”, which will be our garden club’s January book discussion.

This afternoon found me in the arbor, sycamore leaves the size of dinner plates rearranging themselves here, there, and everywhere. The sun wove through the latticework. A light jacket kept me warm from the chill in the air and William Lange’s “Tales from the Edge of the Woods”  kept me company.

I’ve come to appreciate Willem Lange’s writings since Favor Johnson took up residence on a bookshelf one Christmas. You can read about my copy of “Favor Johnson” here.

“Tales from the Edge of the Woods” is a lovely collection of memories and words in short tales with titles like Sliding on a Shovel, Not Love at First Sight, or The Old Canoe, not to mention Favor Johnson. These are well varnished stories of folks you may know, or wish you did, and simple reflections on life.  I hope Mr. Lange won’t mind too terribly if I quote a few words from the story that found me in the arbor today, The Carpenter and the Honeybee. You will need to find “Tales from the Edge of the Woods”, which is available in all the ordinary bookish places, or from his website to read the whole story.

From The Carpenter and the Honeybee by Willem Lange

“She was a honeybee. Just as I was about to put my hand down upon her accidentally, my unconscious mind hollered, “Look out!” and the reflex jerked my arm back. I staggered, out of balance. If she noticed the close call we had both had, she gave no sign, and continued to try to wedge herself into that crack. Intrigued, I put down my plank and bent down to watch her. I wondered for a moment, as I pulled my specs down my nose, the better to see her up close, how it would feel to have a bee sting right on the end of my nose.”

Favor Johnson is a story from “Tales from the Edge of the Woods” as well as a children’s book.

Do you have some favorite books of short stories, memories, or essays?

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autumn-in-connecticut

Come said the wind to
the leaves one day,
Come o’re the meadows
and we will play.
Put on your dresses
scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone
and the days grow cold.  

 A children’s song of the 1880’s

The days are closing in now, here on the Cutoff. The air is crisp, the colors sharp. Leaves carpet the ground, stuff the eaves, and decorate the tops of cars as the trees bare their souls in anticipation for the winter to come.

We have days of heat and humidity still, but, more  and more days of refreshing, cooler temperatures. The night air carries brisk breezes as the crickets correspond in the moonlight and the frogs keep up their low, liquid stream of primal conversations.

The other day, late afternoon, as dinner warmed in the oven,  I spent an hour attending to potted plants that were spent of their summer splendor, sweeping leaves off the deck.The leaves, dear friend, filled a large trash can and end up in the compost pile. The deck looked neat and welcoming as we sat down to dinner inside. As we ate, we could hear the wind kick up. A pot was blown over, the trees scraped the air and anything else in their way. A few, caught in filaments of spider webs,  flitted like butterflies as the temperature fell a good 20 degrees in about as many minutes.

As to the deck, well, it looks like it did – before I cleaned it.

Lamps and overhead lights come on earlier as darkness creeps in sooner each day. It is a time for candles and hot cider, soups and corn bread. It is, after all, sweet Autumn.

I love the changes in colors and the mellowing of the landscape that evolves in this season. There is a heady fragrance that permeates the air.  Just yesterday, I kept telling my Tom that I was smelling maple syrup. I am wondering now if it isn’t the coverlet of sycamore leaves that are bunched up after their night of tossing and turning just outside of the back door. The leaves have a faint maple scent. Oh, dear; I now have a craving for waffles, made in my mother’s waffle maker; an even more aged antique than me.

Such it is with Autumn and me; we seem to have a relationship that conjures up memories and heightens senses as it kisses me with all her splendor.

Do you enjoy Autumn? Do you have a favorite season? For those of you where spring is coming, how are your days and nights?

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I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.
Willa Cather

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I call it “my tree”;  a stately copper beech, it holds court just east of the visitor center It is an anchor of the shade garden at the Morton Arboretum.

It isn’t really mine, of course. It is everyone’s, but, I call it mine as it is truly my favorite tree. I look for it each time I wander the Morton. It’s copper leaves, smooth bark, sturdy limbs and strength of character call to me.  It is a prescient presence, whatever the season. This copper beech is so wide of girth that I could never hug it completely. I know. I’ve tried to. Standing beneath its comfort and shade, however, seems to be all the beech I need.

Sir Author Conan Doyle knighted one of his stories  The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. Maeve Binchy gave Copper Beech  title to a book. Poets and troubadours have caught its essence in verse and in song.

Soon, very soon, “my tree” will turn  toward another season. It will shed its leaves, resigned to the way it must live, but, its strong trunk and encompassing limbs will still hold court in the shade garden.

Do you have a favorite tree?

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DSCN5211“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad

Oddly enough, or maybe just so, as I was mating Margaret Atwood’s words to my photo, the news came to me that Elaine Stritch had passed way. I gasped. It was as if the water, the words, and the woman were one.

I took this photo at day’s end, about a week ago, while walking the path at the pond in the Dean Nature Sanctuary. I was at the water’s edge, in those ethereal moments of light so bright that they make even color evaporate.

What a remarkable talent Elaine Stritch was – and how brilliantly she flowed through life.

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A poet could write volumes about diners, because they’re so beautiful. They’re brightly lit, with chrome and booths and Naugahyde and great waitresses. Now, it might not be so great in the health department, but I think diner food is really worth experiencing periodically.  David Lynch

Calbay

Denver omelets and grilled cheese sandwiches. Swiss steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. Being recognized by name with “Hi, Hon. Howyadoin’ today?” by the waitress as she pours your coffee into a thick, white mug. The cook, his papered head showing over the half wall of the grill, starts your order as soon as he hears you say it, the stub from the waitress just a reminder of whether to add Swiss or cheddar at the end.

With all our fancy, four starred, gourmet restaurants – gastronomical emporiums that I certainly have enjoyed – I think it is the homespun diner that I love the best, especially during a cold, white winter such as 2014 has been. Our favorite diner is Cafe Calbay, just around the corner from the “main drag”, across the street from the train station, a block from the post office, and on the way to anywhere I need to be.

How about you? Is there a diner, cafe, local restaurant where someone knows you name is Hon, Sweetie, of Dear?

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There is only one kind of love, but there are a thousand different versions.  

La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

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920“I often get up in the night and add to my list. Somehow the main function of a list is to make me feel well organized. Practically speaking, they aren’t much use as I invariably mislay them. I make careful grocery lists and leave them behind when I go to the village. But it is nice to know that when I get home, I’ll know what I forgot because it is under the coffeemaker right where I left it when I unplugged the pot. I put it back on the counter by the door and add to it. There is hope that I may once catch up with just one list for I notice they are smaller than they used to be. They are only one page. This is because I have discovered if I walk slowly down all the aisles at the market, ideas come to me! I look with interest at the soap shelves and I think SOAP, and get it.”  Gladys Taber. “The Stillmeadow Road”, November. page 246

I had just returned from a marathon of grocery shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner, settling the turkey in the refrigerator, piling sweet potatoes into a basket, placing a can of pineapple on the counter with an orange, an apple and cranberries for the relish. Turning around, there it was; the grocery list I’d forgotten! It was, of course, sitting right where I had placed it; that perfect spot where I wouldn’t forget it.

While waiting for water to boil for tea, I pulled out “The Stillmeadow Road” and turned to the chapter entitled November. I soon came upon the passage I quote. It was as though Gladys Taber was writing about me when she penned this more than 5o years ago. Gladys Taber‘s words still ring true today. I love it when prose is everlasting, don’t you?

It snowed today. Not much. Just enough to set the evening rush hour in a spin. Supper is in the oven. The table is set. Tom will be coming in the door in a bit. Until then, I think I’ll settle in a chair and see what else Gladys has to say about November – and maybe start a new list of all that I forgot.

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