winter's day

Margaret Mahy has died


shades of overlapping blue...

"I know this sky, its shades of overlapping blue. I've memorized its patterns, the wispps of the northern lights. From here, I can't see the colors in the aurora borealis, only the white funnels against the night.
I know the crab apple trees, the weeping willows, the Manitoba maple trees. I know the layout of streets, the flow of the Winnipeg River, the rustle of bulrushes in summer. I know the Canadian geese, the blueberries, the shapes of moss and lichen, the sour-sweet taste of rhubarb."

From "Maya Running" by Anjali Banerjee.
winter's day

Men esteem truth

Still Thoreau, but this time from Walden.

Men esteem truth remote, in the outskirts of the system, behind the farthest star, before Adam and after the last man. In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here.

A written word is the choicest of relics. it is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; - not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself.

I rejoice that there are owls. Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men. It is a sound admirably suited to swamps and twilight woods which no day illustrates, suggesting a vast and undeveloped nature which men have not recognized. They represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have.
winter's day

Consciousness in Concord

More quotes from Consciousness in Concord - one of Thoreau's journals.

"I had two friends. The one offered me friendship on such terms that I could not accept it, without a sense of degradation. He would not meet me on equal terms, but only be to some extent my patron. He would not come to see me, but was hurt if I did not visit him. He would nnot readily accept a favor, but would gladly confer one. He treated me with ceremony occasionally, though he could be simple and downright sometimes; ...."

I stood by the river today, considering the forms of the elms reflected in the water. For every oak and birch, too, growing on the hilltop, as well as for elms and willows, there is a graceful ethereal tree making down from the roots, as it were the original idea of the tree...

To my friend I write a letter, & from him I get a letter. It is a spiritual gift worthy of him to give & of me to receive. It profanes nobody. In these warm lines the heart will trust itself as it will not to the tongue...

Methink I hear the clarion sound, and the clang of corselet and buckler from many a silent hamelt of the soul. The morning gun has long since sounded, and we are not yet at our posts.

I should wither and dry up if it were not for lakes and rivers.

The dead tree still stands erect without shame or offence amidst its green brethren, the most picturesque object in the wood. The painter puts it into the foreground of his picture, for in death it is still remembered.
winter's day

Bare trees and a want for books

I love reading books that make me want to read other books. Madeleine L'Engle is like that, a bit, though more than books she makes me want to listen to the classical music that she mentions in her book.

Recently, I've been reading Dorothy Butler - the second part to her autobiography ("All This and a Bookshop Too" - of course, I did read the first part "There Was a Time" first), which includes the trials and triumphs of opening a bookstore.

The bit I want to quote, though, is an echo of what I noticed in early Spring in the eastern United States, and in Winter in Paris and the area we visited in Southern France, particularly around the Rhône:

I was struck by the beauty of the huge bare trees, towering over the houses which were all two or three storeys high. Later, people kept saying, 'Wait until the trees are all in leaf!' and I looked forward tot his; but the branches were delicate in a way no New Zealand trees are. They seemed to form a fretwork, through which the pale-grey sky had a sad beauty. I did look forward to seeing the trees in leaf, but I was glad I had seen them bare too.

She mentions so many books that had a part in my growing up, books set in England and the US (because there weren't a lot of NZ authors publishing), and which populated my belief in universal myths of children's literature - that arrowheads can be found in gardens, and that wandering around the countryside you can find roman roads.
somewhere out there


Okay, whose bright idea was it to buy people round plates for Christmas? They're devilishly hard to wrap.

However, also on that note, whose idea was it to buy STARFISH SHAPED plates for people for Christmas? They're even HARDER to wrap!!!

Squares and rectangles and boxes are oh so much easier!
winter's day

More numbers game

Days until Christmas: 17
Days since last mailing date to "Rest of the World": 7
Gifts wrapped: 11
Gifts given: 11
Gifts sent: 8
Gifts addressed: 8 (all sent)
Gifts purchsed: many
Parts of gifts purchased but not completely assembled: many
Fully assembled gifts: 5
Christmas cards sent: 0
Christmas cards received: 0
Christmas decorations up: 6, all by my desk at work.
Carols CDs listened to: 8


I don't know what it is about this time of year - though it's possibly the whole "Summer is coming!" thing - but I keep wanting to break out into song. I'm not usually like this, but sometimes....

It's also due to the Christmas time of year, I think. I vaguely remember a very summery christmas song, only I don't remember any of the words of it and I used to know it by heart. I also used to know which order the verses and lines in Little Drummer Boy went, but I keep stuffing that up these days.

Two and a half more weeks of work to go this year. Yikes!
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winter's day

Books and TV Shows

I'm listening to an audio book of "Drawing Lessons", by Tracy Mack. Some time in the long distant past I'm sure I read the book - I don't remember when, but a lot of the story rings bells for me.

But right now, the odd part isn't that I only half remember the story, from a long time ago. The odd part is that the main character is Rory, and her friend is dating a guy called Dean.

It also reminds me more than a little of Donna Jo Napoli's "Changing Tunes".

Gilmore Girls, anyone?