Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Nina Simone, Feeling Good

Wow, I wish I had made this. Just in time for Spring.

20 Little Things to Look Forward to in Spring

I just got my Spring catalog from Smith & Hawken and, I confess, I’ve been rubbing my face all over the pages of pots spilling over with basil and coleus. So, in no particular order …

1. Getting my hands dirty with potting soil, and putting my mother’s bulbs in the dirt.
2. Saturday morning coffee on the patio with a magazine.
3. The arrival of migratory song birds. We live near a ravine that attracts them.
4. The upcoming neighborhood yard sale when I’m going to move out everything we don’t love or need.
5. Putting away my heavy, winter clothes and making room for linens and cottons. But my shawls stay.
6. Opening the windows.
7. Sandals and bare arms.
8. Letting the cat out into “the big green room.”
9. Taking a bike ride with my jeans rolled up.
10. Evening rain showers.
11. Talking with neighbors on their front porches.
12. Hearing the squeals of neighborhood children playing outside.
13. A trip to the nursery with a cup of strong coffee.
14. Reading in bed at night with the window open.
15. A total Spring cleaning overhaul.
16. My husband firing up the grill, and making homemade pizza on it.
17. Refinishing the teak patio furniture.
18. The way smells are carried on the lightest breeze.
19. Buying fresh, local produce at the farmer’s market.
20. The cobalt color of the sky when day moves into night.
What would you add? Visit The Inspired Room and see what others are looking forward to.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Antonia

I don’t know what took me so long to get to Willa Cather; she was a vast, unknown entity to me, much like the landscape she writes about. But I became addicted to My Antonia from the first lines and came to fall in love with Antonia as much as the hard, cruel land of the Great Plains in which we meet her as a little Bohemian girl with bare feet and tattered skirts.

My Antonia is a poignant love story, but not a traditional one. (Sorry to spoil it, but) The boy doesn’t get the girl, though the whole story points to his deep and lasting affection for her and their shared childhood. On meeting her much later in life, our protagonist, Jim Burden, remarks that, “I was thinking, as I watched her, how little it mattered – about her teeth, for instance. I know many women who have kept all the things she had lost, but whose inner glow has faded. Whatever else was gone, Antonia had not lost the fire of life.”

Perhaps we all have someone in our past for whom we still see only beauty where the world does not. Or, should we be so lucky, someone who sees in us only the spark of life that won't be smothered.

But as Jim says, “Whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incommunicable past.”

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