I hunger for the miraculous
I hunger for deep woods at night
and storm clouds tinged with pink.
I hunger for the miraculous
I hunger for deep woods at night
and storm clouds tinged with pink.
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
“April… hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” – William Shakespeare
“There is no glory in star or blossom till looked upon by a loving eye; There is no fragrance in April breezes till breathed with joy as they wander by.” – William Cullen Bryant
“Break open A cherry tree And there are no flowers; But the spring breeze Brings forth myriad blossoms.” – Ikkyu Sojun
“In the cherry blossom’s shade there’s no such thing as a stranger.” – Kobayashi Issa
“The April winds are magical.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Our spring has come at last with the soft laughter of April suns and shadow of April showers.” – Byron Caldwell Smith
The winds were wild the day you died
Pear blossoms scattered like snow.
First green tipped the thin tree branches
And your redbud flowered in purple.
Cold wind and sunshine embraced us
As we crossed from house to house.
And the grass and hedge surrounding your yard
Shone in an emerald green.
I knew you had a hand in it –
Delighting in the April glory.
A day of beauty and laughter
When Heaven touched Earth in joy.
“The snow has not yet left the earth, but spring is already asking to enter your heart.”
“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.” – Ernest Hemingway
“That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs.”
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus
“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” –Percy Bysshe Shelley
Images of Ireland and quotes from John O’Donohue’s book, “Beauty, The Invisible Embrace.”
“When we experience the Beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming.”
“When the imagination is alive, the life remains youthful.”
“Beauty calls us beyond ourselves and it encourages us to engage the dream that dwells in the soul.”
“We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful for it meets the needs of our soul.”
“The imagination creates a pathway of reverence for the visitations of beauty.”
“With swift, sheer grace, the Beautiful is like a divine breath that blows the heart open.”
“Beauty is quietly woven through our days.”
“The imagination is the great friend of possibility…In a sense, that is what beauty is: possibility that enlarges and delights the heart.”
“Beauty does not linger, it only visits.”
“To experience beauty is to have your life enlarged.”
“When the soul is alive to beauty, we begin to see life in a fresh and vital way.”
“The earth is full of thresholds where beauty awaits the wonder of our gaze.”
“Ultimate beauty is a profound illumination of presence, a stirring of the invisible in visible form.”
“When we awaken to the call of Beauty, we become aware of new ways of being in the world.”
“The eye of the imagination will often be drawn to the edges of things where the visible and invisible worlds coalesce.”
“True beauty is from elsewhere, a pure gift.”
“Everywhere there is tenderness, care and kindness, there is beauty.”
“Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue was a native Irish speaker, a former priest, and author of books that provided sustenance for many souls hungering for connection.” (www.npr.org)
(Images from Pinterest)
In the Christmastime series, Lillian collects Victorian cards and displays them on her mantel for the holidays. Below are a few cards that might have been part of her collection, along with a few Victorian sentiments ushering in the New Year.
“Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow…”
“Only a night from old to new! Only a night, and so much wrought!” ―Helen Hunt Jackson
“So may the New Year be a happy one to you, happy to many more whose happiness depends on you!” ―
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
For many years I had longed to see the beautiful medieval city of Carcassonne and recently I was able to make that dream come true. Carcassonne did not disappoint.
Located in the Languedoc region of southern France, Carcassonne is famous for its medieval citadel, La Cité, the largest walled city in Europe, with numerous watchtowers and double-walled fortifications. Languedoc is also famous for its wines and the hilltop city sits high above the surrounding vineyards.
I arrived Carcassonne in the evening under a near-full moon. The hotel I stayed at was located at the foot of the hill, and I had a magnificent view of the fairytale city from my balcony.
Every day, I crossed the footbridge over the river Aude, climbed the steep cobblestone streets to the top of the hill, and entered the citadel through the lowered drawbridge. I spent hours wandering around the labyrinthine village, climbed the ramparts and spiral stairs of the towers, walked the walls which provided magnificent views of the valley below, and then rested and recharged at its many outdoor cafes.
Carcassonne was occupied by the Romans and later the Visigoths. Its strategic hilltop location was fortified over the centuries with walls, towers, drawbridge and moat, a fortress, and a cathedral — the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire. Layers and layers of history pervade the stones and gargoyles, the slate roofs and worn steps.
Today Carcassonne relies heavily on tourism and has several hotels, restaurants, and shops — even a small museum on the history of the French school system.
The heraldic Occitan cross, which dates back to the 12th century, and the fleur-de-lis hearken back to its medieval history and can be seen throughout the city.
In the fall, Carcassonne has a particular beauty — pensive, tranquil, a bit wistful — and despite the tourists, a few quiet areas can always be found.
It is at night when the magic of Carcassonne can most be felt — when the years of history fall away and you step into the past. The crenelated ramparts and rounded towers take on an architectural sharpness, accentuated by light and shadow.
Crossing the drawbridge you can imagine the creak and clang of its chains, and you notice that the sounds inside the walled village are different — quieter, sometimes hushed. The interior of La Cité is softly lit by lampposts. Gold light pours onto the stone walls and archways and illuminates the curves of the cobblestone streets. It becomes a place of shadows and textures, mystery and beauty, drawing you further up into its heart.
Even in the off-season of late October, the hilltop is surprisingly alive at night and the sound of conversation and laughter fill the outdoor cafes that ring the small square at the center. Wandering through the narrow streets, you come across several restaurants and hotels that bid a warm welcome.
Carcassonne sets one to dreaming. Its deep history and beauty inspire, shift your perceptions, and bring about a silent exchange with the past. For many, it is representative of the unattainable — something actual, yet ever elusive. In 1887 Gustave Nadaud wrote a poem called “Carcassonne,” in which an old man dreams of seeing “fair Carcassonne” before he dies. To him, the city embodies the longing for an ideal, a place of profound meaning, an experience that could be his — yet it remains beyond his reach. The final line is “each man has his Carcassonne” — a beautiful distant dream.
Carcassonne — medieval city, hilltop fortress, fairytale village, a step back in time.
The longer nights and cooler temperatures of autumn are perfect for browsing through a good bookstore — and leaving with an armful of books.
“There were fewer finer things in life … than spending time perusing the shelves of a good bookshop.” ― George Mann
“The truly wide taste in reading is that which enables a man to find something for his needs on the sixpenny tray outside any secondhand bookshop.” ― C.S. Lewis
“To my mind there is nothing so beautiful or so provocative as a secondhand bookstore.”
“Perhaps that is the best way to say it: printed books are magical, and real bookshops keep that magic alive.” ― Jen Campbell
“Books are an escape route. A refuge…. a tunnel to the outside world. A glimmer of something beyond.”―Chloe Coles
“Reality doesn’t always give us the life that we desire, but we can always find what we desire between the pages of books.”― Adelise M. Cullens
A friend of mine recently returned from two weeks in Europe. She took writing and drawing classes in Italy, spending most of her time on the Amalfi coast.
Her pictures and stories filled my head with dreams — and plans. I’m long overdue for some traveling, and Italy has been beckoning for quite some time.
“Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life.” — Anna Akhmatova
“You may have the universe if I may have Italy.” — Giuseppe Verdi.
Travel opens the mind, fills the soul, and touches the heart. It allows you step out of your daily routine and see the world afresh.
Though there are many colors of summer, yellow — bright and cheerful — stands out as the emblematic color of the warmer months. Perhaps because it’s the color of the sun and sunflowers, dandelions and lemonade, and other associations with hot summer days.
“Indicating sunshine during the Renaissance to being one of the primary colours of Cubist art, yellow finds an intrinsic place in literature, allegory and symbolism.
Representing light, hope, happiness, and wisdom, yellow is meant to evoke optimism or natural light with an airy, radiant atmosphere. ” — http://www.architecturaldigest.com
“How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.” — Vincent Van Gogh
“Few artists in history have been known for their use of yellow, though J.M.W. Turner and Vincent Van Gogh are the most notable exceptions” — most famously, Van Gogh’s depictions of the sunflowers and fields of Arles, and Turner’s “sublime and sun-lit seascapes.” http://www.artsy.net
“We find from experience that yellow excites a warm and agreeable impression….The eye is gladdened, the heart expanded and cheered, a glow seems at once to breathe toward us.” — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“The yellow glistens.
It glistens with various yellows,
Citrons, oranges and greens
Flowering over the skin.” — Wallace Stevens
“The road to the City of Emeralds is paved with yellow brick.” –L. Frank Baum