Friday, June 26, 2009

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."
E.B. White

Today I rejoiced in the sunlight. Our laundry pile had been getting out of control, thanks to the week of wet weather, but today, I managed to lower it considerably - though now most of my newly clean clothing is hanging nervously on the line, waiting for this evenings clouds to drench them. We're promised a storm tonight, but I'm hoping it holds off until Monday and we can have the weekend to enjoy.

I've been enjoying Tolstoy again, which distracts me from the important things in life. Tolstoy makes me hungry for good things - made with consonants and vodka, displayed lavishly; C.S. Lewis makes me hungry for soft-boiled eggs and toast; Hemmingway makes me hungry for beer, oysters, and bread. They all make me want tea. I have been drinking so much tea - hot and cold this month.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
John 3:30

The summer solstice came on Saturday, and now the day is declining again. I love the solstices – especially the summer solstice when we celebrate the changing tide of light to dark, and the birth of St. John the Baptist, the fore-runner of Christ. The birth of John the Baptist today, used to be a celebrated with more enthusiasm. It falls directly across from Christmas and just as Christmas, which celebrate the Incarnation at a time when light is triumphing over darkness; at the feast of John the Baptist, we celebrate the fore-runner, who decreases as the coming of Christ approaches, preparing the way for Him.

There is a rumor that if someone was to go wandering in the woods on St. John's Eve, at midnight, when the feast is just begining, he might find a fire-flower - which blooms only for a moment. If he can find and pick this flower his life will be blessed and the scent of it will hang about him forever. We have no woods to wander, but someday, I would like to go looking for this flower.

It’s unfortunate that the days have been too grey to fully appreciate their length. We’ve had no real sun for at least four day. We’ve filled the house with flowers to try and brighten things, and I am trying to keep the floors as clean and bright as possible. The wood is such a warm honey color and it reflects what little light there is, but I miss how it looks in the summer sun when it glows. I hope this summer will not be like the last- too rainy to grow radishes, but it certainly has started out that way. Our first planting of radishes are already waterlogged, I’m sure.

A friend of ours came over yesterday and she’s reading War and Peace. I wish she lived nearer, I miss conversations like the one we had. I think I’ll begin the Death of Ivan Illych today, I wish I could find Divine and Human. Tolstoy is ideal for rainy days, cold tea, and sourdough bread.

Happy feastday!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"If I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior."

Today the sky is bright and clear, and I've been walking under it. I need to fire my pots, and do a dozen other things I can't remember without a list in front of me, but I went walking instead and am thrilled to be a long walk from home, cooling off at the library before going out again.
I'm trying to discipline myself and accomplish more with my days, but under the grey skies we've been having it's difficult to feel motivated, or to feel anything but tired. But now that the sun is out I only want to be out enjoying it, not inside with a hot kiln. I suppose this is when discipine would start paying off.

My husband and I have discovered vodka mojitos. We have vodka, but no rum, and an abundance of mint in the yard. We made our own simple syrup with turbinado sugar, which makes the drink a little dark, add lime juice and club soda, sometime lemon balm, and it's fantastic. Perfect for sipping while grilling on the back porch.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

“Go thou my incense upward from this hearth,
and ask the gods to pardon this clear flame.”
Henry David Thoreau

I love to burn incense in my little home – particularly when it’s clean and well-arranged and I have bread, butter, and honey on the table, with tea to drink and cut flowers against the window. Because of the threat of rain recently, I’ve been staying home and walking less than I’d like to be. The heavy sky makes me tired and every hour feels like evening. Today though, I’ve braved the clouds and the few daring drips that always threaten to precede a downpour but never do. I’m out with the intention of reconnecting with a few friends I’ve neglected recently, and busily doing all those internet related things that need doing. I have a list now, of things that cannot be put off or forgotten –its better for me to have lists, with little boxes to be checked off, otherwise, nothing is ever done, except the few little things I remember. I can spend a whole day busy and happy, accomplishing many things, and doing nothing necessary if I’m not careful.

I’ve been rereading Tolkien recently, he reads like the Edda or like the Russian myths I love so much. I haven’t read him in so long, I’d forgotten how unlike the usual fantasy writer he is. Read the Edda –a collection of Norse myths – then read Tolkien and you’ll see.

I'm in the library looking for something to replace Tolkien now, something very good. Any recommendations?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"My will is absorbed in growing
and young..."

Everything is growing in the rain. I can see our late planted spinach in little green rows beside the peas, and the beans are reaching their tendrils as high as they can to grip and grow. The roses are almost blossoming and the irises are in their glory. I am having a pottery sale next weekend, and so my stockpile of pots is growing as well. I've just turned from mugs to pitchers today, and if all goes well I'll have a nice variety. I only hope the sale will be a success, it seems like little home sales are either a sweeping success or an utter failure. I'd rather not fail.

Today the sun stayed hidden behind the clouds and I couldn't fully wake up with the dim light and the soothing patter of rain agains the trees. I couldn't sleep either and lived out my day in-between - until my husband came home and woke me up with laughter.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"The only way we can be saved from succumbing to the inflation of words is if we have the courage to face silence and in it learn to listen afresh to the Word."
Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

Now that it's summer I'm beginning to feel stifled in the city. I want to wander in woods where no one can see me and stand barefoot under the trees while moonlight comes down between the branches. We have just renewed our lease, and so can stay another year in our beautiful apartment, and I am determined that at the end of this year we will be on our own land. There really aren't many better places to "learn to listen afresh to the Word" than a quiet wood at night.

I've been neglecting writing, the borrowed internet we had at home is gone again and in the rain all last week I couldn't be certain of making it to a cafe without getting caught in another shower. Our seedlings are out in the garden now, some doing better than others, but all alive and striving. I'm preparing for a solstice pottery sale out of the apartment, and hoping it will go very well.