March 25, 2017
You can listen to actress Noma Dumezeni read Wordsworth’s “Daffodils” poem on the BBC at this link.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
March 10, 2017
March 30, 2016
March 26, 2014
“Since every variety of tree and plant comes into bloom in its own time in one of the four seasons, we prize the timeliness and rarity of the blooming of each. . . . Now what we call hana or ‘flowering,’ what we call ‘interesting,’ and what we call ‘rarity’ are not three separate things but really one and the same. But all flowers eventually are scattered, none stays in bloom. And it is precisely because it blooms and perishes that a flower holds our interest as something rare. . . . to know the flowering is first of all to know that nothing abides.”
— Zeami, from Kadensho, translated by William LaFleur
“Death is the mother of Beauty.”
— Wallace Stevens
Cherry blossom viewing carries with it a Japanese sensibility, the awareness of the ephemeral. It is heartening to see such a diverse group of people enjoying the magnificent blooming cherry trees on the University of Washington campus. These Yoshino cherry trees are a natural wonder.
March 21, 2014
“It seems as if one never could get to the end of all the delightful things there are to know, and to observe, and to speculate about in the world.”
— John Burroughs, from The Writings of John Burroughs, vol. 15, The Summit of the Years
Daffodils are always delightful, spots of sunshine after a gray winter.
April 2, 2013
I’m getting ready to leave on a month-long adventure. I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks tying up loose ends and making preparations. This involved eating up some of the food in my freezer and pantry — a flurry of rhubarb pie baking to use up the last of the frozen rhubarb. And cooking chicken in my crock pot with nine cloves of garlic, knowing that if it sat around for a month, the garlic would be old when I returned.
I hauled out the lawn mower and gave the yard its first shearing of the year. Always something of a milestone for the year.
One of the more pleasurable preparatory tasks involved managing my library account — suspending my list of holds so that my reserved items would not come in while I am away. And hastily reading the stack of books currently checked out. There were some good books there —
- Susan Wittig Albert’s journal from 2008 called An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days (I love that title)
- Gretel Ehrlich’s book about traveling in Japan in the year following the devastating tsunami called Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami (in which she stands as witness to the heartbreaking and excruciating pain of loss and the unexpected joys of survival)
- Mary Coin by Marisa Silver, a fictionalized story about the lives of Dorothea Lange and the migrant mother in Lange’s famous WPA photo.
- Eighty Days: Nelly Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman about two young women, journalists and single, who in 1889 – 90 travel around the world by steamship and train in an effort to match or beat Jules Verne’s ’round the world in 80 days. One woman travels east, the other west, and both beat the fictional travel record set by Verne’s hero.
- Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd, one of the best books about writing that I’ve read in a long time. Kidder and his editor Todd have around 40 years of experience crafting nonfiction books and articles, so they are worth listening to. If I ever were to write more seriously, I would write nonfiction, so I found this book very inspiring.
I expect that I will write more about my adventures when I am back home, but while I am away for the next month I plan to take a (needed) break from writing new posts for my blog. I will not be leaving you in the lurch, however. Starting tomorrow (April 3rd), my blog posts will feature a new project, which will unfold in serial fashion over the next 30 days. So please do continue to check in daily. And although I am taking a break from posting and writing, I will be reading Comments from the road. Your comments will keep me from getting homesick, so write (often).
April 1, 2013
“The word APRIL comes from the Latin root, aperi’re, “to open. ” . . . Buds and birds burst forth from nature’s womb, the fallow earth steadily fills, and eventually we emerge from our sleepy state in March and break out of the house.”
— Amanda Hesser, from The Cook and the Gardener
After a few days of partly sunny weather, nature has awakened in Seattle. So many things are bursting into blossom and bud. You can’t beat Seattle in April. Here are some photos from a walk around my neighborhood: