Monday, January 21, 2019

and what shall I do today?

January 21, 2019

I am musing over breakfast about what I should do today, and where....It is wonderful to have options, even one-sided ones.

I could clean, or I could weave!

I scan the sky and note a few pink clouds clustered at the top of the Cawston Hills, 
which bodes well for the day (and for gardening if it wasn't January).  

Should I ignore this lovely weather and favour a creative day weaving,
or should I go out and feed the birds,
 poke around to see if any of the bulbs have heard the call to arms. 
 I am lost in the thoughts of spring...

Suddenly the pink clouds part, and the sun rises to lighten up the day!!!

Not all it lightens up, - my gaze is drawn to the coffee table, the piano and the buffet, 
where the sun has exposed the dust which lies, just an unseen part of the gloomy days,
 but complacent and resting comfortable on each and every surface!!

If I hesitated before, now my mind is made up for me!!!

I think of a couple of familiar housekeeping poems that might haunt me 
if I was so inclined to give them haunting room.....

This one you must know.  

 Dust if you Must
Rose Milligan

Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there's not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there
With the sun in your eyes and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it's not kind,
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself, will make more dust.

Well, I did dust, and did  things to make the kitchen counter happy, 
and the hallway floors, 
but now I have had a bit of lunch and the sky is still blue, 
and the sun is still shining, - so I am off to check on the bulbs, 
and perhaps when I come back I will quote you the poem of 
"A Psalm of Life", by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow!!!


I found a few Hellebores

the scarlet nubs of a peony 

and a few early crocus stalks

and I look for the catkins to start filling out,

growing long and golden,

but not yet.......

A little stroll around the garden and the luck of being
able to see last night's amazing and beautiful
red moon eclipse,
and the moon, this morning
just setting, - golden and glorious

all this speaks of 
A Psalm to Life!!

Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumnbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Finds us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints in the sands of time;

Footprints that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

My thanks to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for inspiring me to get the cleaning done
. - the dusting and the scrubbing, 
so that perhaps some 
"forlorn and shipwrecked brother (sister),
seeing, shall take heart again!!!

I will be glad if my dusting is of some service!!!
Besides alleviating my housewifely guilt.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

so I am off to do some weaving

for a while.


John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I'm reminded of the mother of one of my childhood friends who was addicted to tidying and cleaning. My friend would often admonish her "Mother, the world is made out of dust!"

Hill Top Post said...

I hadn't read "Dust If you Must" in a long while, so it was not only enjoyable, but admonishing to those of us to overthink the cleaning thing. I am always amazed that your garden begins to show life in the cold of January. Ah, the Great Henry Wadsworth Longfellow... "Art is Long and Time is Fleeting." Another great page, Hildred, in your 2019 Journal!

Barb said...

You seem to make time for everything! I have taken Dust If You Must to heart.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I think I've told you about my mother who as a child was made to learn to recite poetry for parlor entertainment (in Kentucky). Very Victorian -- or at least Ante-Bellum; her mother was 45 when mom was born in 1910 and I think her upbringing was old fashioned even for then. ... Anyway, Mother couldn't sing or play the piano, so she learned to recite poetry. And 'Life is Real, Life is Earnest" was one of her "parlor pieces" I guess, because she could still recite it when my brother and I were children. (Those were the words I remember the poem by, but she recited it all!). Unfortunately, to our rolling eyes -- we were tiny town Eastern Washington State children and nobody else's mother did things like that. How I wish now that I could hear her again.

I had not ever heard (or read) the 'dust poem', but it definitely speaks to me! Thanks for a great post as always Hildred!!