Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say, and what can be more beautiful than the site of spring flowers in the garden? This pot of miniature Iris never fails to delight me, and the sight of the first, and at the moment, only periwinkle flower, hiding its light under a bush almost, was something else to give me pleasure. The garden is full of narcissi, and the late, tall snowdrops are out under the laburnum, along with little blue anemones, wild violets, blue muscari and the path alongside is full of flowering wallflowers, and on a day like today, clear blue skies and warm sunshine, the smell is almost heady. However, I noticed on a walk round there this morning, that there is a cluster of smallish white feathers on the ground... is this the result of natural moulting I wonder, or the new cat on the block, a delightfully pretty, pure white young cat, not well looked after in my opinion since it has no collar. It has taken to coming in the garden, hiding amongst the daffs and wallflowers, underneath the birdfeeder... I am not amused, having no Rosie to shout at for tormenting the birds, I don't intend an interloper like this young madam to start causing mayhem. That part of the garden is due to be changed anyway soon, the bulbs lifted, medium shrubs removed, so she won't have anywhere to hide. Will she be brazen enough to just sit in the open? Time will tell.
Words are another thing of beauty. Some can be harsh and wounding (as in an argument), can cut to the quick, make a lasting impression. Others can soothe and heal, can bring a tear to the eye, a quickening to the heartbeat (as in a love letter perhaps). Some can instruct and broaden your horizons, whilst others can jar.. like LOL which I absolutely hate! We have a beautiful language, why not use it properly? I have a journal of collected thoughts, dreams, poems, some by me, others kind words sent from friends, some written by strangers but which touched me. The following was sent to me by a friend in New Zealand and comes from a book of marriage sayings.. I think it is just lovely. It's called THE ONE.
'When the one whose hand you're holding is the one who holds your heart;
When the one whose eyes you gaze into gives your hopes and dreams their start;
When the one you think of first and last is the one who holds you tight, and the things you plan together make the whole world seem just right;
When the one whom you believe in puts their faith and trust in you, you've found the one and only love you'll share your whole life through.'
Isn't that beautiful? I have been so lucky to have two husbands to whom this could be ascribed. Sadly the first wasn't with me more than a few years, but still holds a special place in my heart, thirty five years on since he died. And the second also holds a special place.. I didn't think I would find someone to love ever again all those years ago, but I did, and we have been together over thirty years now.
So many beautiful poems... 'Love's Philosophy' by Shelley is a favourite, 'I carry your heart' by ee cummings another.
A short extract of just a few words from Peter Pan, caught my attention and I used it as the verse inside the welcoming card for our granddaughter, Summer. 'When the first baby laughed for the first time, it's laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they went skipping about and that was the beginning of fairies'. Whether you believe in fairies or not, it's a lovely thought.
This to me, is another thing of beauty. So beautiful and moving did I find this to be, that I have a framed photo of it near my desk. She fills me with sadness, touches me, and when I actually saw it, I just wanted to touch it, and sit beside it. It is the Victorian tomb of ELIZABETH DACRE HOWARD who was born in 1883, and as you can see, died as an infant not long after. It can be found in LANERCOST PRIORY near Brampton in Cumbria, and is one of my favourite ruins, with some gorgeous stonework and a wonderful stained glass window designed by Burne-Jones.
Many people are touched by this photo, there is one very similar on Flickr or whatever it's called, and some fabulous views of the Priory itself on its website. Well worth a visit if ruins are your thing and you are in that area.
And my two favourite books this month have been 'KNIT TWO' by Kate Jacobs, the follow up to her best seller THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB. This follows the group, along with new members, following the death of the founder, the gauntlet and the shop, Walker and Daughter, now being taken up, reluctantly it seems, by the daughter, Dakota. I loved the FNKC, and can't wait for the DVD of the movie, starring Julia Roberts, one of my all-time favourite actresses. The other book is THE HOUSEHOLD GUIDE TO DYING by Debra Adelaide. You could be mistaken for thinking this would be a really miserable, unhappy book. But far from it... it's all about Delia Bennet, an American writer famous for her HOUSEHOLD GUIDE TO... series of books. When she is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she decides to write this one last guide, to prepare her family for the inevitable as much as anything else. It brings out some ghosts from the past which she has to deal with first, before she can deal with everything else. A brilliant read, though I think the graphic detail of an autopsy could have been skipped!
We all have some beauty in our lives, maybe in amongst those SIMPLE PLEASURES I've written about, maybe something completely different. For me, other things of beauty include my husband's smile... the sight of four goldfinches feeding on the nigella seed feeder... my yarn stash... piles of fabrics waiting to be turned into whatever the fancy takes me to make... a pile of new books waiting to be read... pretty vintage china... pressed glass dishes in pink and green and blue, all lined up on a shelf... the last photo ever taken of my mother not long before she died in 1975... a piece of music, Barber's Adagio and the Pearl Fisher's Duet amongst my favourites... so much to admire and enjoy and be thankful for.