Friday, January 11, 2008

Bits and Pieces

As a result of Chapter's After Christmas sale - (oh, much too good to be ignored) the Bedstead Library Shelf has expanded to hold a bit more choice reading material. 'The Gathering' by Anne Enrigh, 'Atonement' by Ian McEwan, 'Divisadero' by Michael Ondaatje, and two books for re-reading by Alexander McCall Smith. I have read them as library books, but now it is a joy to own them and to be free to pass them on....'Lover over Scotland and "Friends, Lovers, Chocolate'.

"Alexander McCall Smith once again proves himself a wry but gentle chronicler of humanity and its foibles." (The Miami Herald) and how comforting and settling it is to read him in these unsettled times. I am thinking that it may be necessary to spend a great deal of my time in bed in order to absorb all these wonderful stories....

And if I were to do that I can see a number of difficulties, not the least of which would be
a querulous reaction from Husband.

And another would be a nonchalant disregard of the pressing knitting deadline that an up-coming birthday inflicts upon me. The reason for the Fearless Knitting icon on my Blog is to remind me I have only a limited time to finish a pair of stripey socks, and this is as far as the stripes go on the first sock. (These socks are for a two-legged granddaughter.....)

And the third little 'bit' that delights my day is the result of a curious inspection of the Lenten Roses. Brought about by the fact that Lent arrives in about three weeks, and I am expecting that spring will be aware of this and hurry along with her arrival...... Sure enough, - two lovely green knobs peeking through the ground, - one even showing a smidgin of a little white petal curled tightly within the green sheath.

A great flock of probably 100 small black birds circled the pasture a number of times this afternoon, eventually stringing themselves out in a ribbon on the telephone wires. Husband and I had to admit that they flew like starlings, but hoped that a closer inspection would prove them to be blackbirds. Alas, no opportunity to confirm this, as they flew off to Cawston where the sun was shining!

Yesterday we made the journey over the pass to Penticton. The roads were slushy and the clouds were dour and heavy, but on the way home, as we drew closer to our own favoured valley, the sky lightened and I took some pictures of K mountain in the distance. A feat that required considerable dexterity and cooperation. We were snapping pictures through the window - a truck passes spraying us with slush and water - Husband activates the window washer, momentarily and with great speed - he turns off the wipers - I snap the pictures - another truck comes splashing down the road... and so it goes!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The first of the after Christmas Amaryllis. This is Exotic Star, - a medium size flower, but what is exotic is the length of the sepals. Very pretty, tucked in with the last of the Poinsettias.

Peeking out the window to the south are the remaining Amaryllis, - stretching out tall with lovely, fat buds promising exquisite blooms.

They are keeping the languishing Paper Whites company. Poor Paper Whites, - they were banished to the loom room because their fragrance was just too much for Husband to contend with - but I went in and sat with them whenever the spirit moved me, and they grew tall and elegant. If the room was kept closed I must admit their scent was pretty over-powering on first opening the door.....

Moderation in all things - I must remember that.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Greed and Generosity.

There are two books tucked into the sideboard of our bed, - two books about widely divergent subjects, and I am reading them in tandem. This serves to keep me in a constant state of flux, as I try to determine just where I lie in relation to each subject (well, I lie on the bed, but that's beside the point...)

Phyllis Tickle has written the book entitled 'Greed' as part of a series on the Seven Deadly Sins. The reviews state that it is an elegant little book, and I can't disagree with that. Its contents send me scrambling to a dictionary (and beyond) as I am woefully unfamiliar with some of the literary and historical references. But the facts of the matter are well understood, and I am familiar with greed and all its many disguises, - avarice, miserliness, covetousness, acquisitiveness, - and even, in its more noble aspect, thrift.....

The book refers to Greed as the Mother of all Sins - or to put it more elegantly 'Greed, by any name, is the mother and matrix, root and consort of all the other sins'. It is not only western civilization that recognizes this primacy of Greed, - it is equally abhorred by Buddhists, Judaism, Hinduism and hopefully, by Secularism in this day and age. In that it leads to all other 'Sins' (or activities that damage the moral fibre of civilization) should we not be aware of its presence in each of our lives?

Which, of course, leads me to poke around in every nook and cranny of my own life, looking for symptoms of unacknowledged Sin. I think I am not Lustful, - nor can I be accused of Gluttony. I am not Envious, being greatly contented with my life - but I do suspect there may be some Greed lurking. Not for material things, but I must admit to being greedy for approval. I think it is one of the pistons that drives my engine, and results in slavery to Ego! A vice I am desperately trying to bury deep. It keeps popping up, and I keep pushing it down, but there... (sigh) I still strive to achieve.

The other book I am reading is "Being Generous (The Art of Right Living) by Lucinda Vardey and John Dalla Costa. A simpler and more comforting book. It caught my eye in a book store while I was shopping for Christmas gifts, and I thought of any number of people I could give it to, but it is still with me. I will give it away, but in the meantime if it is the night I read about the Art of Right Living, that is the night that I am inspired.

I quote from Chapter Seven - 'Generosity embraced becomes the defining aspect of one's character, permeating and unifying all that we are, all that we do, think, speak and feel. Integrity lives within our generosity, a wholeness that is consistent, reliable and humble;...'

I hope that I strive to be generous. I try to be conscious and mindful, without the ego 'being the head of my ( personal) household...' I know that I am not always successful, but to be generous with time, with love, with grace, with patience and service, - that surely is the true achievement.

And to be humble...