Sunday, July 26

peaceful heart

I have been amongst my books for the past few days, sorting and dusting and making piles. It is grubby work, and rather melancholy, as I decide what to keep and what to give up.

This afternoon I came across a lovely (inside and out!) Henry Van Dyke book (have you met him yet?) called The Friendly Year. It has an excerpt from his writings, one for each day of the year, and my edition is from 1912. For today:

July 26th

"Do you suppose that this wondrous stage of earth was set, and all the myriad actors on it taught to play their parts, without a spectator in view? Do you think that there is anything better for you and me to do, now and then, than to sit down quietly in a humble seat, and watch a few scenes of the drama? Has it not something to say to us, and do we not understand it best when we have a peaceful heart and free from dolor? That is what in-dolence means, and there are no better teachers of it than light-hearted birds and untoiling flowers, commended by the wisest of all masters to our consideration; nor can we find a more pleasant pedagogue to lead us to their school than a small, merry brook."

A timely reminder in the fast-slipping summer days and also the gift of a new word to roll around my mouth.....dolor (meaning a state of sorrow or distress). And to find that the meaning I knew for "indolence" is only a recent one (18th century : ), and that it previously meant simply the absence of "dolor". Something I will be seeking as I remember to more often be a spectator of this world...with a peaceful heart.

Saturday, July 11

a trio

There has been little time for reading in the past month, tho' even as I typed those words I realized that is is not quite true (and what a dreadful reality it would be to truly have no time to read!).

My life has been so full and demanding that those hours without responsibilities were filled with sleep or movies. There was one book (chosen for its very undemanding-ness) which also meant there was nothing in it to share here.

But the past few nights, I have treated myself to a little bit of reading from the charming essays in Abbie Graham's _Vain Pomp and Glory_ 1927. Abbie Graham's books are some of my most favorite books in the world. Someday (in a project I am beginning work on) I will share her writings on a regular basis, but tonight I just want to jot down three lovely and satisfying words:




...I was still glowing from the beauty of "forsythia" on page 48 when I read "sparrow" on page 49 (a word that has always beguiled me), quickly followed on page 50 with "farthing" (quickly climbing the charts).

And on page 56, a whole passage I must copy out here:

"A home-going sense pervaded the dusk. All the traffic was homeward-bound, flashing red tail-lights of departure. I could but envy the automobiles as they went, for even the meanest of these sent forth a joyous signal that the day was ended and evening was at hand. Yet I stood in the greyness of the twilight a dull figure, hardly distinguishable from the drab pavement. Was there no way by which home-going pedestrians might grow luminous, haloed with joy, radiating the tidings that they, too, were going home, that in some small corner of the apartmented air candle-lighted dinner tables awaited them, and books, and good company? Must we leave this glowing expression to taxis, trucks and limousines?" -AG

Do you have your own trios to share, I hope?