It has been far too long since I posted some wonderful words of wisdom from other souls that have or still are travelling along this road of life. I was searching for a particular piece of writing and came across some great quotations. Here they are.
“The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” (Muhammad Ali)"
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” (The 14th Dalai Lama)
“May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty.
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.”
(Chief Dan George)
“You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.” (Pearl S. Buck)
“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.” (Leonardo da Vinci)
“Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.” (Julia Child)
“Ideals are like the stars; we never reach them, but like the mariners of the sea, we chart our course by them.” (Carl Schurz)
“I never thought that a lot of money or fine clothes – the finer things of life – would make you happy. My concept of happiness is to be filled in a spiritual sense.” (Coretta Scott King)
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for home.” (Dame Edith Sitwell)
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” (Alan Alda)
So many words of wisdom. So many God-given truths. So much shared by our fellow travelers. Sometimes I look at a phrase or a sentence and I wonder what was the author thinking. What was going on in his or her mind? Or perhaps it was something they were seeing or hearing or touching or tasting or smelling at the time.
Some phrases leave me in awe with their simple beauty. Others leave me breathless with their construction, the way the words are strung together. One thing is for sure, words will always hold me caught up in their magic like a child caught in the wonder of a firework display.
I am not in the least bit embarrassed to admit that I acknowledge my inner child and frequently allow her to come out and play!! I love blowing bubbles and reading fairy stories. I often watch the movies The Secret Garden, The Chronicles of Narnia, Fairy Tale – A True Story, and The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns.
When I watched the first Harry Potter movie I fell in love with the scene where the character Hagrid takes Harry to buy his first magic supplies. As they walked through that brick wall into Diagon Alley, I SO wanted to be able to go there, or at least someplace like it. I want to own a bag of fairy dust, and it takes all my willpower not to get in line to go into Santa land in the Mall at Christmas:-).
So last night as we prepared to say goodbye to 2009 I found myself with my husband in St. Augustine, Florida. To be more precise we were on Anastasia Island. (Just the name Anastasia gets me tingling with excitement as I remember the Disney movie of that name. Uh-ho, did I mention Disney……….!!) I walked with childlike anticipation to the pier where they were holding a New Year event.
Christmas lights lit up the whole area and I had to push my hands deep in my pockets because I so wanted to clap in delight and do pirouettes. There were lots of food stalls, but there were also various stalls that sold all those magical flashing light things that kids so love. I desperately wanted a pair of pink and violet flashing bunny ears and at least two or three of those tubular necklaces with the running flashing lights inside them!
I managed to contain myself by watching all the kids have fun with their “stuff” and living my childlike dreams vicariously through them. After walking around some, Rich and I went over to the boardwalk and staked out our spot for the firework display. As if to add to the magic of the evening a “blue moon” tried hard to show itself from behind a dense cloud cover.
As 8.30pm rolled around I could feel the butterflies in my stomach just dancing all over the place. Suddenly the big lights were dimmed and almost immediately with a flash and a bang the show began. Nothing and no one stopped me from clapping in delight now. The sky lit up with golden rain, purple, pink, and green flashes, rockets racing high up into the sky and exploding into huge, bright orbs of multi colors.
I know my eyes were wide, my mouth was open. I was caught up in the sheer magic of the moment. It was as though the hand of some gigantic goddess was splashing glittering paint across the sky and I was mesmerized! In some day-bright moments the sea could be seen roiling on the rocks below us, and we heard the sizzling of the foam as the waves crashed over each other creating an orchestrated accompaniment to the dazzling show above.
All too soon it was over. The sky turned dark once more and the sea was just a murky movement below us. The crowds dispersed and all that was left of the glorious light display was the acrid smell of sulfur that hung in the air. But my little girl went home very, very happy. And if I want to relive the moment I can always watch the great video that Richard made of the whole show!
Words have always fascinated me. The way they march across a page creating people, places, and life stories, or laying down facts and information, excites me to the core. I curl up with pleasure at the sight or sound of certain words while others have the power to chill me to the bone.
Words can be kind and compassionate, soft and gentle. Words can cause love or anger to burst forth in an eruption of passion more impressive than the best orchestrated firework display. They can soothe the soul and warm the heart or they can cut sharper than any well honed knife.
Words light up my own imagination and set my soul on fire. Perhaps for this reason I am always reading. As I already mentioned in my previous posting Musings- Relationships, I devoured books as I child. In elementary school they couldn’t keep enough books on the classroom library shelves for me.
Even poetry pleased me from an early age. Perhaps that is why I began writing my own poetry as I emerged from my painful “past life”. In High School, perhaps my sophomore or junior year, we held a poetry reading contest. One of my class mates, Mary Griswell, read a poem called Snake written by the somewhat controversial author D.H. Lawrence.
I was mesmerized by the second line. I was there, a few yards from the water-trough, in my own pajamas and I could feel the heat all around me. As the poem unfolded I was transported to this hot place in Italy (strange that it was in my beloved Italy!), and I could see the snake, his colors, the texture of his skin, and the slow movement of his body. Let me share the poem with you.
A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before
He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,
Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.
He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.
And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.
But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?
Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.
And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!
And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.
He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.
And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
Overcame me now his back was turned.
I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.
I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.
And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.
And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.
For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.
And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
And I have something to expiate:
This poem made such an impression on my heart and mind that some years later I was inspired to make a pen and ink drawing of the snake. It sits in my dining room to this day. Whenever I look at it I can picture Mary in the library of the Ursuline High School, and if I close my eyes I can still hear her reciting the poem.