Saturday, February 28, 2009

Reality in the house, - the flowers of Winter.

But out in the garden the buds swell softly and down the road the pussy willow tree at the big house braves winter's bitter farewell, - and inclines me to dream and entreat....

Shall I call the flowers?

Come littlest, come tenderest,
Come whispering over the small waters,
Reach me rose, sweet one, still moist in the loam,
Come, come out of the shade, the cool ways,
The long alleys of string and stem;
Bend down, small breathers, creepers and winders;
Lean from the tiers and benches,
Cyclamen dripping and lilies.
What fish-ways you have, littlest flowers,
Swaying over the walks in the watery air,
Drowning in soft light, petals pulsing.

Theodore Roethke

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A familiar sight on Shrove Tuesday.

These are not the men of our Parish, but here is the clean-up crew that took over when all the pancakes and sausage and eggs were scoffed...

And here are some of the people who scoffed them...

A friendly outreach into the community and a really delightful evening, which morphed overnight into the somberness of Ash Wednesday.

The purple of Lent - and now begin the days of mindfulness and spiritual examination.

This Lent I have chosen to re-read a book by Lucinda Vardey and John Dalla Costa - Being Generous, The Art of Right Living.

I quote from the outside cover......

"Generosity, as the word itself connotes, is about not only giving but also generating. It is a creative act, rather than a handout, an attitude or ethos rather than an exchange between someone who has too much and someone who has too little. Even when pursuing other objectives, or coming from other motivations, generosity is often at the heart of what brings peace and real self-worth... In virtually all relationships, but especially in friendship, partnership and marriage, generosity is the expansive quality energizing hope and happiness. As such, generosity is not optional. Nor can it be occasional. Rather, it works its uplifting magic only when it becomes a central characteristic and ordering principle in one's everyday life".

It is a goal worth achieving, - to avoid the mean and miserly, and to embrace life itself with a spirit of positiveness and sharing. To be mindful of making generosity a way of life, so that where love lives misery cannot abide.

Will I be successful? - ah, who knows. It takes a lifetime of striving to overcome ego and look outward with open arms and heart. And an awareness...

"This delicate balance of living generosity as a spiritual practice takes some dedication and resolve. Like all magnificence it can't align aspiration with practice without a dutiful development of consciousness"

The wonder of our consciousness which we
neglect to explore in depth, although we see
that it and it alone provides the cast
that makes the universe so huge and vast,
that it and it alone supplies the base
for all the immensity of time and space,
that it and it alone allots the size,
the shape and form which we mark with our eyes,
also the number, distance and the span
of time we try to calculate and scan.
Gopi Krishna

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I was late taking coffee out to the man in his workshop. Breakfast was late because we'd had such a nice sleep-in.

When I slipped out the door with the coffee tray (guiltily eluding Caspar who has a little inner clock that tells him when it's time for walks and biccies)I found a large coffee tin on the workbench,(one of many that grace the garage) - the repository for numerous small treasures which were now laid out in rows, neatly wrapped in plastic bags. A lifetime of precious findings, although they may have merely carried visions of a practical future when first they were gathered.

I understand this quite well, being something of a hoarder myself, - is there anybody who grew up in hard times who has never said "I might need it some day" as they wrapped some precious object and put it away in a large coffee can, or a drawer or a trunk, along with all the other treasures.

And they were lovely, these small brass hinges and drawer pulls and the tiny coaster balls that were most practical when you needed to make something movable. There was no expendable plastic amongst them. They were all heavy and durable and spoke clearly of days gone by, when even small hardware was made to last and be elegant.

We discussed possible ways of using the drawer pulls, - or the double hinges that would go on a swinging door, if we had room for such a convenience. I came away empty handed, but I know that each and every one of those small plastic bags went back into that large coffee can, just in case they should be needed for another day.

I ponder - is it nature, or nurture? Is it hard times and a scarcity of the means to replace things that causes us to save and make do, and use our inventiveness to make those funny redneck things instead of going out and buying new? Never mind that they work, - they always draw smirks from those not afflicted....

Or is it a gene?

If it's a gene I can see that there is a possibility of these coffee cans being around until at least the end of the century. We have six children, some of whom I suspect are incapable of throwing things away. You know who you are!

Monday, February 23, 2009

There are great advantages to being a morning person.

By ten o'clock you have accomplished enough to carry you through the rest of the day with an easy conscience. And you can slide into tea-time and the happy hour looking back on the pot of soup you put on to simmer before the sun was up, and the apple pies that were cool by noon, feeling fairly pleased with yourself (but not too fatuous, we hope).

It was good to be in the kitchen today. Winter skulked around outside in company with a damp, raw wind. For a short while the sun battled valiantly to part the clouds, but alas, in vain.

I notice that the snow drifts are somewhat diminished, and that gives me some hope that they will be gone before tulip time.

To tide me over 'til then, - the magic that happens on the wide bathroom windowsills
where the amaryllis have blossomed overnight.