Monday, April 26, 2021

end of April musings, including creeping authoritarianism

 I finally saw a rabbit today; I've been looking. The little chickadee still flutters over my brother's car when he's home, and I've seen a sparrow hang around the nest and even go in twice, but coming out right away. I don't like it.

I've been continuing the plan of cooking the same meals every week for the whole month. It's a good way to hone a promising recipe, perhaps finding ways to make it more cheaply, or improving it in some way. I like it - less menu planning, anyway. 

Poor Dolly's allergies are terrible right now. She's always had them, some years worse than others. Her eyes stream and she ends up looking like Alice Cooper. No photos! I will not photograph Dolly unless she's looking her beautiful self. She's eighteen now, by the way.

Someone is coming Thursday to look at the tree stumps and remove them. And we're still thinking about what kind of trees we want to replace them. Another cherry, for sure, and something else. Nothing slow-growing, or too tall.

I picked up a book about education in our state during the Revolutionary War, from 1763 to 1800.
"Parents and relatives, school and church, town and state shared the responsibility for guaranteeing the piety and morality of the next generation...The colonists themselves recognized that the Revolution occurred only because the commonality could read and write. The Patriots, believing education determined the character of a people, recognized the crucial but indirect importance of morality in creating and sustaining the Revolution....Americans were thankful that they could perceive the difference between creeping authoritarianism and necessary order. Eighteenth century man believed that anarchy in the state would lead to chaos in church and family. Parents, ministers, and magistrates should cooperate in instilling the right mixture of assertion and deference in each citizen. Education was the method by which a society could preserve what was most essential School, church, and family worked together to inculcate correct attitudes towards God and country."

                                                 -  by J. William Frost

Sunday, April 25, 2021


 I'm reading Bandersnatch, about the Inklings. They made a point to not skimp on praise where it was due, which struck me as awfully nice. 

"Resonators* offer their support in a number of different ways, and the most obvious one is praise. [C.S.] Lewis firmly believed praise should be part of daily life. He asserts: 'The world rings with praise - lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walker praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game - praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars.'"

*"What is a resonator? The term describes anyone who acts as a friendly, interested, supportive audience."

                                          - from Bandersnatch, by Diana Pavlac Glyer

Thursday, April 22, 2021

does this remind you of anything?

 "What Rome was capable of, the achievement of her empire shows. The Roman character had great qualities, great potential strength. If the people had held together, realizing their interdependence and working for a common good, their problems, completely strange and enormously difficult though they were, would not, it may well be believed, have proved too much for them. But they were split into sharpest oppositions, extremes that ever grew more extreme and so more irresponsible. A narrow selfishness kept men blind when their own self-preservation demanded a world-wide outlook.

History repeats itself. The fact is a testimony to human stupidity. The saying has become a truism; nevertheless, the study of the past is relegated to the scholar and the school-boy. And yet it is really a chart for our guidance - no less than that. Where we now are going astray and losing ourselves, other men once did the same, and they left a record of the blind alleys they went down. We are like youth that can never learn from age - but youth is young, and wisdom is for the mature. We that are grown should not find it impossible to learn from the ages-old recorded experience of the past."

                                            - Edith Hamilton, The Roman Way

Monday, April 19, 2021

memories of a tree


The maple right there, right before you get to the bridge - well, take a good look. It isn't there now.

The infamous October snowstorm from nine and a half years ago caused this dear tree to lean toward the house, and another one on the side near the fence had damaged limbs up high. We thought it would be safer to take them down.

A co-worker had a tree land on her house during a very windy night. Now, a year and a half later, they are still living in a condo, waiting for their home to be finished - the delays due to COVID, for the most part.

This is the tree Dolly and I sit under every summer, with our quilt and music and books and magazines - well, my stuff, but she enjoys the quilt and the music. No more, Dolly. 

There is a tree out there the clothesline is attached to, so we do have some backyard shade. And we're wanting to put another two or three trees back there as soon as the stumps get removed. Maybe another ornamental cherry, Japanese maple - nothing too tall. 

It was quite something to watch these fellows; they were here seven or eight hours, and it's such hard work. Worth the amount we paid them. And it was arranged that they'd drive the logs up the road to a neighbor who can use them, so that was very tidy.

At the end as they were leaving, a sun shower arrived. Immediately, I started looking for the rainbow.

It was faint, though not as faint as it looks here. But it was heartening to see a rainbow, and now there's nothing to block the view. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

with us abide

 That Eastertide with joy was bright,
The sun shone out with fairer light,
When, to their longing eyes restored,
The glad Apostles saw their Lord.

He bade them see his hands, his side,
Where yet the glorious wounds abide;
The tokens true which made it plain
Their Lord indeed was risen again.

Jesus, the King of gentleness,
Do thou thyself our hearts possess
That we may give thee all our days
The tribute of our grateful praise.

O Lord of all, with us abide
In this our joyful Eastertide;
From every weapon death can wield
Thine own redeemed forever shield.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

chickadee nest, found

 The chickadee nest is in that hole in the middle of the picture.

Monday, April 12, 2021

little neighbors

 It's been a few days now this little chickadee has been seen flitting distractedly around my brother's car. It's like he's trying to get in, but I suppose he's really seeing his reflection? We feel terrible about it; he's going to wear himself out. Yesterday it was sunny - my brother even moved the car a little and it seemed to stop. For a while - but maybe just because somebody was there. Today it was cloudy, but that didn't matter - he was there again. I hope he gets over it, whatever it is.

A young woodchuck came quite near the house the other day, seeing something tasty to eat, I guess. Here he is, heading for the house. I've never seen one that close.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Divine Mercy

 "Mercy consists in bringing a thing out of non-being into being."

                                        - St. Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

translating Horace

 This book about the Romans is way more interesting than I expected it to be. The present chapter is on Horace. The author says it is impossible to accurately translate his poetry*; she does quote some of his prose, however. "I can do nothing about what fate sends me, but I can do everything about the way I take what is sent. I can so order my own spirit that no matter how outrageous fortune is I can keep my balance within unmoved. Do you know, friend, what I feel, for what I pray? Not to waver to and fro, hanging upon the hope of the dubious hour. God may give this or that - life - wealth. I will my own self make my spirit undisturbed." 

                                                   -   The Roman Way, by Edith Hamilton

*Her reason is not that his poetry cannot really be translated, but that with him, it's the way he says things, the words he so carefully chooses that make him unique. So a translation would fail to show that.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

still Easter

 How the time goes by - over a week since I've been here! I never mean to stay away so long. 

Easter was lovely, of course. It just is. But note to self: next time you cook a rich piece of meat (lamb), it's better to avoid other potentially rich sides (Ina's roasted asparagus with melted parmesan), or desserts (cheesecake). It wasn't bad and nobody complained, but I did have the thought. It might be helpful to write these things on a notecard for the recipe box. 

I was emptying my wastebasket and saw these stamps in there - ahhhh! 

While I'm typing this, Dolly is behind me on my bed, with the radio - of course - and the jazz program on - of course. And they're playing a couple of things by Paul Desmond. Which reminds me of a touching story I came across very recently about him from The New Yorker. Read it - it's very short but very sweet. 

I took this week off, and am making great progress with the mending pile. 

I also pruned the roses today, quite late; they had quite a few small leaves on them already. Well, this will set them back a bit but it can't be helped. 

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the gardener and we the soil:
Let the seed of Easter life bear fruit in us for your eternal harvest.

A Happy Easter!