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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

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Well, now, I just assumed we all celebrate Arbor Day at the same time. Silly me.

Here is a neat little map that shows when Arbor Day is in your neck of the woods.  Click here to find your state’s date with a tree, then, go plant a tree, visit an arboretum, garden or zoo, recycle paper, take walk in the woods, breath a little lighter – or just give thanks for trees in our lives, wherever you may live.

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.

Henry David Thoreau

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“This we know: All things are connected like the blood that unites us.  We did not weave the web of life.  We are merely a strand in it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”

Attributed to Chief Seattle.

Cover image from Susan Jeffer’s “Brother Eagle, Sister Sky”.

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DAFFODILA house with daffodils in it is a house lit up, whether or no the sun be shining outside. . .

A. A. Milne

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It is, however, nice, very nice indeed when the sun IS shining outside. Don’t you agree?

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IMG_7000“It was one of those March days
when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:
when it is summer in the light
and winter in the shade.”

– Charles Dickens. Great Expectations.

 

 

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“How often it is a small, almost unconscious event that makes a turning point.”
― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

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On Monday, the Elmhurst Garden Club celebrated our scholar recipients with a festive, delicious, nourishing “spread”. Tables were adorned with bookish centerpieces and the names of the scholarship recipients. The meeting’s highlights were the creative and informative presentations by these worthy scholars. They give me hope for the future.

On Tuesday, I put a few bits of our home back to order; the “this” and “that” which  become jumbled when one has been laid up for a spell. It feels good, does it not, to slowly get back to normal – whatever your normal may be?  I then doused some “fires” that had been simmering, learning a few new tricks of the technology trade as I did. While I whimper over how many issues seem to cross over my virtual desk, I do love a challenge and the opportunities to still grow and learn and be useful.

On Wednesday, as I wended my way down the Cutoff, a Cooper’s Hawk caught my attention. He was perched on a branch, not ten feet from my car. As I rolled down my winter-smudged window, we stared, eye-to-eye, for a few pregnant moments. He then he tilted his head, shrugged his shoulders and rose, his magnificent feathers barely whispering in the crisp wintry air. I so love the sound of a bird taking flight; that almost imperceptible instant of take-off that catches the air.

On Thursday, which was colder than cold, the Antler Man and I spent the afternoon at the retinologist, heading home as the sun was setting. I iced my knee, then headed back in the same direction I had just come from. Sometimes I wonder if my life isn’t just making a rut in the road with my tires. I nibbled on a few crackers (I’m telling a fib; they were Oreos) parked my car, and was greeted by Marilyn, who always make me feel good just telling me hello. We were headed to Hammerschmidt Chapel at Elmhurst College, picking up other friends along the way, with Bev driving . Like the good little pilgrims we are, we filled two pews and chattered away, not missing a beat, from one conversation to the next, turning left and right and behind, as only women can do.

Our rewards for venturing out on a frigid night were twofold: the first being the rising of our faithful friend, the moon, who crept up over the roof of the student union, round and full, casting its reflection upon the sleak slate of icy snow on the college’s quad. It brought to my mind Corrie ten boom’s “almost unconscious event” as we oohed and ahhed, greeting others who also stopped to look at the moon before heading inside for a most remarkable and challenging lecture by Sister Simone Campbell. Also known as the Nun on the Bus, she was the second reward and the reason for our evening’s adventure. She made us laugh and challenged all in attendance with her faith and her life’s mission of justice.

Now, it is Friday. The week is nearly spent. The sun is shining, defying the mere 10th degree. There are deceptively thin sheets of ice to navigate and shards of icicles hanging from eaves; weapons of nature to avoid. We are still bundled up beyond recognition and so weary of winter we could cry – but our tears would freeze. Our mothers told us so, many full moons ago.

We are, however, at a turning point. There, in the snow and ice and rotting leaves of last Autumn, low on the ground and ever-so-tentative, are the precious tips of daffodils pushing through frozen soil, poking and shoving, demanding this winter to cease.

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It is such a joy to have someone who wishes to sit with you on a sofa and listen to a watch tick.  Penelope Fitzgerald

DSCN7323When I first saw this quote on Nan’s blog, Letters from a Hill Farm, I knew I would eventually pirate it to the pages of the Cutoff. Fitzgerald’s quote speaks volumes about the sweet moments of being with children. It is the simple, quiet (or not so) moments that are endearing and that keep us company in the off hours when they are not with us.

As I’m nearing my time to leave for home, the tender moments of being with Kezzie and Ezra are all the sweeter, as is my time with their Daddy and Mommy. I will soon get in my car, packed with my belongings, and a few of theirs; their sweet child smells and their soft padded tread, as well as enough loud and enthusiastic sounds that could fill a sports arena. I will pack their endless questions and propositions. “One more time, Yia Yia.” The whys and whens, and the inevitable poopies, Yia Yia” ). In will go the yogurt smudged sweater and the slightly bent emery board.DSCN7353

Gone is my little notepad, now Kezzie’s Journal. Can you imagine that? A kindred spirit if ever there was one. Her first entry is a picture and a fine one at that.

As I mosey down the long road toward home, I’ll wonder if Ezra will finally call me Yia Yia instead of Jenny – once I close the door – and if Kezzie will still feel our cuddle times when I’m no longer there and I will hold the gentle bliss that comes from listening to a watch click.

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DSCN7328Photo on 2-6-15 at 1.46 PMPhoto on 2-10-15 at 12.05 PM #2

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“A writer – and, I believe, generally all persons – must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.” Jorge Luis Borges

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The photo above was my last view of a sunset, two days ago. So rare have sunsets been this January that I almost forgot how magical one could be. It has been so gloomy and gray. I know I really should not complain. We have not had the snowstorms other areas have had and this is certainly a milder winter than last year’s – at least so far.

With all these gray, gray days, I’ve indulged in a few more cups of coffee and tea than I usually have. The result is a look reminiscent of a current movie. What do you think? Do I deserve an Oscar?

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Then, there was a long and sleepless night that resulted in this,

4-up on 1-25-15 at 4.34 AM (compiled)

which probably was influenced by an overheard conversation between four fellows, one of whom regaled the others with a tale about a vacation he took a decade past. He was, I overheard,  on a cruise ship that became stranded off the coast of Alaska. It was a rather riveting tale, full of drama and fear, rocking and rolling, waves and weather, and a vow to never set sail again.

I tried not to listen. Really, I did, but, gosh and by golly, it was such an adventure that I just pretended to have my nose in a book. The chap seemed sincere. His table mates seemed to believe him. It didn’t matter, for it was so gloomy and grim and cold outside that I might as well have been stranded at sea as well and so, I engaged in art of eavesdropping.

The chap was rolling like waves in a storm as he told of panic aboard and of those who tried to stay calm. There were helicopters and deck chairs dancing, seasickness and worry. He claimed a depiction on some adventure channel and then . . .

. . . snip, snap, snout, his tale was told out.

The men put on their hats and coats. Still talking, they followed him out the door and my mind followed my nose back into my book, “Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good” by Jan Karon. It was there that I came across Jorge Luis Borges’ quote, which was, I thought, quite timely, and just the kind of raw material I needed to shape this winter night’s post.

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