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Rose Roberts


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Garden Buddha’s brand new hat! Wishing you a peaceful weekend lovely friends!
A reflection, a poem, and a moment in which to “rest in the grace of the world”. . A few weeks ago I received a letter from my pen pal. We share many interests. But poetry, well...She said, “I’ve tried. It’s  just not my thing.” I get that so I was surprised that a few paragraphs later, she returned to the subject of poetry. She said she wanted to try reading poetry again and asked for suggestions about where to start. She also asked what poetry “does” for me.  But you know, as I wrote my response, listing various poets, sharing how poetry affects me, how it brings me to a place of stillness, and so much more, it felt backwards, like it was too many words. So I changed direction. . I selected a couple of poems I felt she might relate to. I wrote each one in cards I’d made using pressed flowers, and sent them on their way. Yesterday, I received her letter. Her response to the poems? “I didn’t know a poem could touch me so deeply. Send more!” Her favourite was The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry. I want to share it with you. . “When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound  in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,  I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into to the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought  of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” Wishing you a peaceful day! x🌹 Photo: sculptor unknown
Grace notes...For the last few days, I’ve been thinking about grace notes. Those in music. Those found in the everyday. Those quietly present at the intersection of departure and arrival. . I think my first notion of grace was the musical kind when I was taking piano lessons. I remember being both excited and anxious when I saw notations for grace notes. I understood the theory. They’re meant to be played quickly, equal to half of the principal notes. They’re considered ornaments, thus not essential to the overall harmony and melody. But I really liked them and my recalcitrant fingers tended to linger on them. And then there’s this... . Flash back to Sunday: While walking in the garden, I had a grace note sort of moment. A few plants were still blooming — roses and lavender and sedum. And the ground beneath my feet was thick with leaves — birch, maple, oak. I marvelled at the rhythm of the seasons, at this graceful interval when summer folds itself into fall. It brings an extra spark of beauty. A flourish of joy. I wanted to share it with you.  Wishing you a lovely day! x
On this Sunday...pausing to remember
Thursday’s poem:: The Marrow . “There was a word inside a stone. I tried to pry it clear, mallet and chisel, pick and gad, until the stone was dropping blood, but still I could not hear the word the stone had said. . I threw it down beside the road among a thousand stones and as I turned away it cried the word aloud within my ear and the marrow of my bones heard, and replied. ~~ Ursula K. Le Guin (Oct. 21, 1929 - Jan. 22, 2018) . I’ve long admired Le Guin’s poetic sensibility in her novels, but I only recently turned to her poetry. ‘Finding My Elegy’ (2012), which includes both new and selected poems, is one of 12 collections published over the course of her career. . The poems are contemplative, grounded in images of nature, in everyday things. Tones of humility and tenderness weave their way through the collection. As I read, I had an image of the poet observing and listening to the life around her, to herself, as if for the first time. But I struggled to find the right word to capture what I sensed between the lines. . There it was, on the inside front cover, in a statement about Le Guin by Margaret Atwood: “She never loses touch with her reverence for the immense what is.” It seems so obvious now. Reverence. Yes. . Hope you’ve been having a wonderful day!x
Monday’s Reflection:: “How we spend our day is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ~~Annie Dillard, The Writing Life . This morning I awoke to the usual stream of thoughts running through my mind. The rain was beating against the windows. The morning was pretending to be night. I turned to Annie Dillard for some much needed motivation. . In this section of the book, Dillard reflects on schedules. A schedule can be a net or a scaffolding or a lifeboat. She also considers the balance between presence and productivity by drawing on examples of schedules in the lives of Wallace Stevens, Nietzsche, and Emerson, to name a few. . It seems there are many differences in what a ‘good day’ looks like. And by extension, what a life well-lived looks like. . This is not a new consideration for me. But on this particular morning, I’m happy for the reminder. Actually, it’s inspiring— and somewhat of a relief. Wishing you a good week! x
What November looks like in our backyard...No matter the season in your yard, wishing you a wonderful weekend. x
Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated, has been sitting on my TBR shelf since it was published early this year. I finally started it a few days ago. It’s beautifully written and well-paced. Her story is moving, inspiring and raw in its honesty. But it is the clarity of her voice and the depth of her perceptions as she chronicles her complex journey that astonishes me. She does it with such grace. .  I was about to share an excerpt with you but just realized I haven’t said what the book is about! Here are the bare bones: Westover lived with her survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho. She spent most of her difficult childhood assisting her mother, a midwife, salvaging metal from her father’s junkyard, and stockpiling food — all in preparation for the end of the world. She didn’t attend school until she was 17 years old, yet she went on to complete a Ph. D. at Cambridge. . In her deft retelling, Westover’s struggles are raised from the personal to the universal. We recognize the courage required to break ties with family and its preset stories about the world and your place in it. This book is about writing your own narrative. I think it also acknowledges the step that precedes it: realizing you can/must give yourself permission to do so. ‘Educated’ is a testament to our human capacity for resilience...over and over again. To keep moving forward, for me, is the beating heart of what it is to be educated. . I’ll leave you with an excerpt from chapter 22: What We Whispered and What We Screamed . “ I rise from my bed, retrieve my journal, and do something I have never done before: I do not use vague, shadowy language, as I have done in other entries {...} I write what I remember.{...} I have often wondered if the words I wrote that night came not from anger or rage, but from doubt: I don’t know. I just don’t know. Not knowing for certain, but refusing to give way to those who claim certainty, was a privilege I had never allowed myself. My life
Today’s reflection...”Things are such that someone lifting a cup, or watching the rain, petting a dog, or singing, just singing —could be doing as much for the universe as anyone.” Rumi . In light of all that is happening in the world, I want to believe this is true — that each small gesture of kindness, of shared joy, of connection have a ripple effect. It’s a start. Isn’t it? Wishing you a peaceful day!
Sunday morning arrives...wearing a thin coat of snow. It could be worse. Still...can someone please remind  Winter its debut in the Northern Hemisphere is December 21 and that it’s impolite to horn in on Autumn’s moment?  Wherever you are and whatever the season, wishing you a wonderful Sunday! x
Thursday’s poem: Inside Your Body There Are Flowers . “Don’t go outside your house to see flowers. My friend, don’t bother with that excursion. Inside your body there are flowers. One flower has a thousand petals. That will do for a place to sit. Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty inside the body and out of it,  before gardens and after gardens.” ~~ Kabir, translation by Robert Bly . I believe I know what he’s saying — at least my interpretation of what he’s saying. I believe we carry flowers within us— ideas and values and quandaries and vulnerabilities and small buds of clarity and slender leaves of truth. Am I taking this image too far? I don’t know. I do know that my excursions outside yield their own types of gifts and challenges. I also know this: Now and then, when I’m sitting alone and still, I catch a glimpse of that thousand-petalled flower and I feel a sense of peace descend. . And when next I step out into the garden, and feel the ground beneath my feet and breathe in the scent of the world, there is only one thing I want to do: rejoice in the confluence of beauty...within and without. Wishing you a beautiful day. x
Healing Spaces... . “There is a turning point in the course of healing when you go from the dark to the light.” . So begins Healing Spaces, The Science of Place and Well-Being by Immunologist, Esther M. Sternberg, M. D. I’ve been fascinated by the mind-body connection for a long time, including how all types of spaces, by virtue of their smells, sounds and vistas, can help us heal or drag us down. Even as I type this,  the feelings of sitting in my quiet garden in contrast to sitting in a hospital examination room with no windows spring to mind. According to Sternberg, we can design places — civic buildings, hospitals, green spaces— so as to enhance their healing properties. I would also include, the small shelf beside my desk and my own inner landscape. . In accessible language, Sternberg cites various studies from environmental psychology. She highlights the coming together of neuroscience and architecture in the creation of environments that can not only help alleviate stress but actually help us to access our “brain’s internal pharmacies”. Her explorations yield many practical examples of how environmental variables affect the brain’s stress and relaxation responses. She devotes entire chapters to sound and silence; thought and prayer; hospitals and well-being; healing cities; healing gardens and more. . I’ll leave you with this excerpt from the chapter on Mazes and Labyrinths: “{...}What is it about mazes that triggers anxiety and the stress response? Two important features are responsible, and they involve senses that are most important in finding your way: vision and hearing. In a maze you cannot see where you are going and there are no clear sounds to guide you.{...} Unlike a maze,{...} a true labyrinth has only one path in and one path out. The one in leads to the center, and the one out leads back to the starting point. There are no decisions to be made {...} There is no reason to be vigilant— you simply follow the path. Unlike a
Monday’s Reflection: the inward and outward flow of coming home to yourself...Some days it feels as simple as picking up an autumn leaf that’s fallen to the ground. Other days it’s like trying to catch one that is whirling in a wind storm. It’s an art. This catching of leaves; this inward journey. These are the words I turned to this morning, companions along the way. . “To Come Home To Yourself” By John O’Donohue . May all that is unforgiven in you Be released. May your fears yield Their deepest tranquilities. May all that is unlived in you Blossom into a future Graced with love. ~~from “To Bless the Space Between Us . Wishing you a lovely Monday! x🌹
Thursday’s poem and a flower...I’ll be offline for a few days but first, I want to share the poem I read this morning. I was moved by its poignancy and power. “Hurry” by Marie Howe. . We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store and the gas station and the green market and Hurry up honey, I say, hurry, as she runs along two or three steps behind me her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down. . Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?  To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown? Today, when all the errands are finally done, I say to her, Honey, I’m sorry I keep saying  Hurry— you walk ahead of me. You be the mother. . And, Hurry up, she says, over her shoulder, looking back at me, laughing. Hurry up now darling, she says, hurry, hurry, taking the house keys from my hands.” #poems #mariehowe . Enough said. Except to wish you a wonderful day as we inch ever closer to the weekend. Talk soon. 🌹
“In the shade of the house, in the sunshine on the river bank by the boats, in the shade of the sallow wood and the fig tree, Siddhartha, the handsome Brahmin’s son, grew up with his friend Govinda.” . So begins ‘Siddhartha’ by Hermann Hesse. This quiet novel is about Siddhartha’s spiritual search, with all its stops and starts; its shade and sunshine. . I first read Siddhartha as a teenager, around the time I embarked on my own spiritual quest. It was among the books that marked a turning point for me. And while I’ve been thinking about revisiting it for months, I kept hesitating. I suppose I just don’t want to be disappointed. (It might be a ‘right book at the right time’ scenario, but that’s a different discussion.) . Anyway, today seemed like the perfect time to return to it. (I’m confined to bed with the flu. Warm blankets, ginger tea, and this book seem like a comforting combination.) . Reading that first sentence opened the floodgates of memory: I remember that nature plays a large role in Siddhartha’s journey. I remember the river and its symbolic power coursing through the novel. I remember the opposites, the paradoxes he faced — I faced. I vaguely remember that each crisis marked a new beginning. I vividly remember that his story gave me hope and validated my questioning mind. I fondly remember Siddhartha’s relationship with the silent ferryman, who not only navigated the opposite banks of the river with great skill but had an ability to listen like no other. And I remember the moment when the two men stood in silence by their beloved river, listening to its music. And everything changed. . Well, I need to crawl back under the blankets and start reading. Wishing you a wonderful day!
Monday’s reflection: to think of dangerous and noble things. . I was flipping through my journal of quotes in need of a sliver of light on this damp and dreary morning. . And there it was - starred and underlined and, yes, adorned with my characteristic heart in the margin. It’s an excerpt from Mary Oliver’s poem, Starlings In Winter. . “ I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable  beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.” . Yes, I want that — to be noble and frolicsome and afraid of nothing. I want to move toward rather than away from. I want to claim all of it, my shadow and my light. . What do you think, my friends? Shall we hold the light for each  other as we let the wings of creativity and inspiration unfurl? . Wishing you a wonderful Monday!
Thursday’s poem on Friday...because it’s been an unusual week. So, in my usual fashion, I turned to poetry. And there it was — my week beautifully summarized for me in this poem by Mary Oliver. . ‘Mysteries, Yes ‘ . “Truly, we live with mysteries too marvellous to be understood. How grass can be nourishing in the mouths of the lambs. How rivers and stones are forever in allegiance with gravity  while we ourselves dream of rising. How two hands touch and the bonds will never be broken. How people come, from delight or the scars of damage,  to the comfort of a poem.  Let me keep my distance, always, from those  who think they have the answers.  Let me keep company always with those who say “Look!” and laugh in astonishment,  and bow their heads.” . So yes, at the end of a week marked by delight and damage, I bow my head. I laugh in astonishment. Mysteries too marvelous to be understood? Yes! . Happy Friday, lovely friends. {Sculpture: Artist unknown.}
It’s a wet and windy Canadian Thanksgiving Monday.  I decide to take a short walk. I love all of it: The leaves that whirl through the air and plant themselves in my hair. The skinny raindrops that touch my face and hands. And even the thunder that speaks its mind. All this ‘weather’ is happening. Still...I’m in awe of the transformation that has begun. I’m enchanted by its brilliance. I’m grateful for the gifts of autumn. Wherever you are and whatever the weather, I wish you a wonderful day!