Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Number 285: Ranier Maria Rilke "Moving Forward"

Moving Forward

The deep parts of my life pour onward,
as if the river shores were opening out.
It seems that things are more like me now,
that I can see farther into paintings.
I feel closer to what language can't reach.
With my sense, as with birds, I climb
into the windy heaven, out of the oak,
and in the ponds broken off from the sky
my feeling sinks, as if standing on fishes.

--Rainer Maria Rilke
(Translated by Robert Bly)

Monday, July 27, 2015

in and out for a week

Heading out to Georgia for a celebration of  my mother-in-law's 8oth .
Plans changed from a bigger event to a quiet one. The Lord knew because now she is in a retirement home. We are going to see her new home tomorrow. 

Then heading down to the beach with my family and chill.

Be back in August. 

last night's stroll from my brother 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

sabbath 2001, Wendell Berry

Thinking upon these words on this summer
sabbath afternoon and the rest of the poem is here.

this makes my eyes squint .... from the murmuring cottage tumblr


Sit and be still

until in the time

of no rain you hear

beneath the dry wind's

commotion in the trees

the sound of flowing

water among the rocks,

a stream unheard before,

and you are where

breathing is prayer.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

for the love of handwriting

I pull out pages out of magazines for ideas. 
This time it was Wendy Brown of Brown Ink. 

Brown INK started with a blog about handwriting and birthed
into a stationary company: Brown Ink. 

I want to meet Wendy. I have the page up on my frig. 
of her workroom which has a butcher block desktop that 
runs the entire galley of the office. Bulletin board for ideas. 
Narrow room and a window. I can't find a photo of this to show 

I love letter writing, stationary, paper, pens , and
now pencils. 

Getting ideas. 
Don't you like getting ideas. 

Travel Journals aren’t just for out of state trips. 

More links on the side if you have time and you 
want to keep the lost art of letterwriting going. 
Or the lost art of handwritten journals.

My daughter is making special cards for letter writing
when she goes off to college. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Let Evening Come

I have been reading Donald Hall's 

new book called Essays After Eighty
I saw him stare at me from the library  shelf:

"New poems no longer come to me, with their prodigies

of metaphor and assonance. Prose endures."
First essay is Out the Window which he said was 
featured on Fresh Air after it was published. Later, 
he was interviewed after this book was out. 

Here is his wife's poem for this evening. Jane Kenyon 
died in 1995 at age 47. It is very beautiful. Behold. 

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving   
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing   
as a woman takes up her needles   
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned   
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.   
Let the wind die down. Let the shed   
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop   
in the oats, to air in the lung   
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t   
be afraid. God does not leave us   
comfortless, so let evening come.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

more good tips

Finished " Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen" and remember it is rated R. It is worth reading 
and here are a few more tips:

- one chapter on pencils made me stop in Target today
and stare at the choices. I have never thought about good, good pencils besides the normal ones. I have thought about good erasers. Then  I bought pens on sale. Here is a website: Pencils. org 

- What piece of punctuation has the most gumption?
Is it an exclamation mark because it screams or packs a punch?

- "Punctuation is a deeply conservative club. It hardly ever admits a new member. In the 1960's , an ad man invented
the interrobang, a combined question and exclamation point, but it didn't catch." 

- "The interior punctuation that goes on in sentences is even more subtle. It's like a family-- we have built on the comma
and the period, and come up with pretty touchy characters, as well as with some snobs and some saintly family members who are ready for everything. For instance, the dash family." 

- " A sentence should have one colon just like a period."

- Learn to have word sense. 

- look up in a dictionary for where to put breaks in words
when moving to the next line ( a hyphen)

Favorite sentences: 

" It is better to fail in originality , than to succeed in imitation."  Melville

" And the women of New Bedford,  they bloom like their own red roses." Moby-Dick, Melville 

Monday, July 20, 2015

good tips

Just reading Mary Norris " Between You and Me: Confessions
of  a Comma Queen" and here are some tips so far:

- substitute "and" where the comma is if the comma's placement
seems odd and see if it sounds better

- do not read Introductions unless the author wrote it.
If a translator or other person wrote it, do not read before the story.

" I never read an introduction that is not by the author: I find it gets
in the way, and can prevent me from reading the book. I once tried
to read Ivanhoe, because it was cited in some children's series- Trixie
Belden or Betsy and Tacy--and I got so bogged down in the scholarly
pages with lowercase roman numerals that I never go to Sir Walter Scott. 
I still have never read Ivanhoe."

Sunday, July 19, 2015

sabbath rest

Long poem but leaning into Wendell Berry 
this Sabbath afternoon and you can listen to him 
read it here for 3 and a half minutes.
It is hot and too hot to be outside unless you are 
near water. I highlighted my favorite lines. 

photo by mindfulness

November 24, 2011


The bell calls in the town
Where forebears cleared the shaded land
And brought high daylight down
To shine on field and trodden road.
I hear, but understand
Contrarily, and walk into the woods.
I leave labor and load,
Take up a different story.
I keep an inventory
Of wonders and of uncommercial goods.
I climb up through the field
That my long labor has kept clear.
Projects, plans unfulfilled
Waylay and snatch at me like briars,
For there is no rest here
Where ceaseless effort seems to be required,
Yet fails, and spirit tires
With flesh, because failure
And weariness are sure
In all that mortal wishing has inspired.
I go in pilgrimage
Across an old fenced boundary
To wildness without age
Where, in their long dominion,
The trees have been left free.
They call the soil here “Eden”; slants and steeps
Hard to stand straight upon
Even without a burden.
No more a perfect garden,
There’s an immortal memory that it keeps.
I leave work’s daily rule
And come here to this restful place
Where music stirs the pool
And from high stations of the air
Fall notes of wordless grace,
Strewn remnants of the primal Sabbath’s hymn.

And I remember here
A tale of evil twined
With good, serpent and vine
And innocence of evil’s stratagem.
I let that go a while,
For it is hopeless to correct
By generations’ toil,
I let go my hopes and plans
That no toil can perfect.

There is no vision here but what is seen:
White bloom nothing explains.
But a mute blessedness
Exceeding all distress,
The fresh light stained a hundred shades of green.
Uproar of wheel and fire
That has contained us like a cell
Opens and lets us hear
A stillness longer than all time
Where leaf and song fulfill
The passing light, pass with the light, return,
Renewed, as in rhyme.
This is no human vision
Subject to our revision;
God’s eye holds every leaf as light is worn.*
Ruin is in place here:
The dead leaves rotting on the ground,
The live leaves in the air
Are gathered in a single dance
That turns them round and round.
The fox cub trots his almost pathless path
As silent as his absence.
These passings resurrect
A joy without defect,
The life that steps and sings in ways of death.

* this line is full of theology

Friday, July 17, 2015

good words for this day

( youngest is 18 today!)

A  poem for her  with a wish 
to hear music that you never would have known 
To listen for.

The Rain Stick, by Seamus Heaney

Upend the rain stick and what happens next
Is a music that you never would have known 
To listen for. In a cactus stalk
Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash
Come flowing through. You stand there like a pipe
Being played by water, you shake it again lightly
And diminuendo runs through all its scales
Like a gutter stopping trickling. And now here comes
A sprinkle of drops out of the freshened leaves,
Then subtle little wets off grass and daisies;
Then glitter-drizzle, almost-breaths of air.
Upend the stick again. What happens next
Is undiminished for having happened once,
Twice, ten, a thousand times before.
Who cares if all the music that transpires
Is the fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus?
You are like a rich man entering heaven
Through the ear of a raindrop. Listen now again. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

almost friday

from the murmuring cottage tumblr

Another peek into my day:

- got up early to read : 
an unpublished book by Anne White
which will be launched soon. Stay tuned. 
She is one of the Ambleside Online founders
and an expert on Plutarch. I am teaching 
Plutarch in two classes in the fall. Easy with 
her lessons here and to make good citizens. 

I started another  book yesterday and almost halfway 
through. Mary Norris is a copy editor for the  The New Yorker
 I am reading it to see if I could use it for my high 
school class. Not using it but I do like a few of her 
tips. I have a list of books she mentions to look at now.
 Here is an article Mary Norris wrote in The 
New Yorker. The magazine  is for readers so the 
article is long. 

- read to young kids at a refuge center 
and then put bag after bag of clothing
on hangers in the free clothing store

- latte at a local coffee shop afterwards

- yesterday I went to one of those "5.00 a bag"
booksales and came home with 3 bags

- daughter turning 18 tomorrow and she has plans
with friends and family's turn is Saturday night

- long prayer list these days

- potatoes cooked to make potato salad

- laundry on the line

- Gilmore Girls on Netflix still continuing in the evenings. 
 If you did or are watching the show , here is a 
NY Times article on July 13, 2015: 

Why the ‘Gilmore Girls’ Fandom Lives On

Monday, July 13, 2015

monday's day

 Annie Dillard says, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."

A peek into my stay at home day 
which has been very fruitful. 
One of those days where you feel
sort of accomplished and good not 
to run around.

- read I Chronicles. Chapter 21:1 says
Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.
The word " incited" made me stop and see 
what happened. Kind of scary, if you ask
me. If you had asked me this this morning, I would say
"be gone" to Satan. David does take a census.
Satan incited him.  

- talked with a good friend who lives in Chapel Hill

-wrote letters

- a load of laundry hung out to dry

- made a nice lunch for my husband

- got a fall calendar for a middle school class 
done and have started to name it and work on 
it. Wednesdays this fall... 

- organizing books 

- looking ahead:  daughter's 18th birthday on friday

- nice pace to the day and here we are at dinner
and have to think of what to have! 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

don't you want one

the murmuring cottage tumblr

or write a story with this picture as a prompt!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Round Church

in Cambridge:


this  one below is a bit large so you can see it here
lectures here
article here
been thinking about when I first heard of restoring The Round
Church to its origins of Christianity: L'Abri Conference in
Greensboro 1999. I drew a round church in my notebook
to do as the speaker asked: pray-- Susan Schaeffer Macaulay's workshop on
True Spirituality...

Friday, July 10, 2015

letters falling

Illustration by Kris Di Giacomo from 'Enormous Smallness' by Mathhew Burgess, a picture-book biography of E.E. Cummings

Click image for more.

there and back again

- Anniversary week and we stayed in Staunton,VA to see two Shakespeare plays at the BlackFriars Theater: 
Antony and Cleopatra ( fierce romance)
and The Winter's Tale ( romance too and funny). 
This is the only replica of Shakespeare's indoor theater. 
My husband sat on stage the second night. He was part
of the play in a way: had to roar and had his hand shook
by an actor in a scene. If you know him, he loved it. 
Me: I sat downstairs about 10 rows back. It was preview
night so it was pay what you will! Grab a seat. You can
do that on any other night with tickets. Once the show
starts, all is for grabs!

We stayed in a bed and breakfast called Anne Hathaway's Cottage owned by a Brit from Bath. All Shakespeare inside and has been sold. Last time to stay there is in October. It will be turned into a tea room.

You could walk from one to the other if it hadn't been so hot. 

We also saw some beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows in an Episcopal church:

Saturday, July 4, 2015

good for the soul

- a new short story by Wendell Berry just published
and I will read it today. Print it to keep it tucked in 
one of his books, possibly A Place in Time. 

- my childhood home went on the market after 47 years
when we moved from New York to North Carolina. Same
family stayed there for that long. I have been chasing memories since yesterday and get to look inside on virtual tours. 

- cookouts: small family one tonight and a group of old
friends last night

- The Gilmore Girls: onto Season 3 and Rory going to college and anticipating my youngest leaving next month

- blueberries from my neighbors bushes

- kept my son's corgi overnight

- very , very good first part of my friend's plenary at the Charlotte Mason conference and Liz got a 2 minute standing ovation : Vision for Children

- Happy 4th! 

My sister and I shared the  far left room at the top and there was a door to my parents room so I think this was probably set up as a nursery when built in the 1920's. I would love to see the walk-in closet of that room. So many
nooks and crannies ....