"Joy to the world! the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare him room, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing." (I know many dear people who are suffering this Christmas - and for them I add this verse:)
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor ... to comfort all who mourn ... to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. "
This little dove flew in to visit us one chilly morning while we were staying at the beach. She stayed a while in the shelter of the sunny porch, then flew off, presumably to finish her Christmas shopping or perhaps to meet the partridge in a pear tree, for lunch.
“In Ireland, you go to someone's house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you're really just fine. She asks if you're sure. You say of course you're sure, really, you don't need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don't need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn't mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it's no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting.
In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don't get any damned tea.
the clock ticks,
the dog next door voices his "let me in" bark,
and i sit here, as usual, ad infinitum,
with a cup of tea and a laptop and a window,
today the sky is gray, yesterday it was sunny,
today the air is still, yesterday there was wind.
the pine branch that flamed so bravely last fall is sill there,
a woodpecker investigates its rich, insect-ridden, hollow depths.
oak seeds litter the ground, the walks,
the chairs and picnic table in the garden.
the squirrels feast there daily, in spite of the dog
who once stalked them mercilessly
but now through deafness or benign neglect
we watch together, dog and i,
i am always drawn to pottery over fine china.
i like the round earthiness of it,
the way a mug feels solid and warm in my hand
when it's filled with hot tea and honey,
the way it sits there waiting
to be filled up
with something good.
Is anybody else excited about the new movie adaptation of Romeo and Juliet? (I mean, it's brought to us by the creator of Downton Abbey. Win win, right?) Here's a little something to help you celebrate in style:
P.S. "Great Expectations" is opening this week too. Click on the link to find out why baking a pork pie for your friends (or enemies) can change the course of history (or at least gain you an inheritance!)
“Out of damp and gloomy days, out of solitude, out of loveless words directed at us, conclusions grow up in us like fungus: one morning they are there, we know not how, and they gaze upon us, morose and gray. Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in him.”
It's been a rough week. We found out that Lady, our 13-yr-old basenji, has early kidney failure (as well as some chronic lung problems caused by old age.) The vet put her on a special diet and said she can live months to years. I'll take years, please! (She has no symptoms of kidney problems yet - the failure was caught in routine blood work during her check-up.) So we've been giving her lots of extra love. When one is mostly housebound due to chronic illness, as I am, the companionship of a beloved pet becomes extra valued. Lady is such a good friend - she comforts me and makes me laugh every day. Now it's my turn to return the favor. Here's a favorite Mary Oliver poem, about her dog Percy, to sum things up:
I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life Mary Oliver
Love, love, love, says Percy. And hurry as fast as you can along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.
Then, go to sleep. Give up your body heat, your beating heart. Then, trust.