Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year's End

This last day of the year is when I typically take stock, reinvent myself.  I've spent it looking across the harbor where the Hawaiian king was born, stillborn; climbing to the Anasazi caves in the red sandstone valley, facing the sun, smelling the pungent juniper berries on my fingers; lighting the Chinese fireworks with long poetic names. Today, in New York, I spent the afternoon with the French Medieval saints, the sage Cycladic figurines, and the rhapsodic colors of the Bonnards and Gauguins.

The ruins of the year are beautiful, like these in Mallorca, and I treasure what I have been and seen.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Mallorca 2013

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ten Favorite Things of the Year

  • meeting my three good high school friends again, in Santa Fe
  • making the acquaintance of smoked sage margaritas and Kakawa spicy hot chocolate
  • walking the labyrinth at Ghost Ranch
  • all of John O’Conor’s late Mozart piano concertos
  • sfogliatelle from La Biscotteria
  • my purple kilim pillows from Turkey
  • listening to Mozart at Glyndebourne, after walking in the gardens there in view of distant sheep
  • the walled garden in Pisa with its vibrant green shutters, orange tree, and cat
  • our pilgrimage to Puccini’s villa
  • every day with my innamorato, soulmate, and friend

image:  Golden Morning, Evolver Social Movement, Andriy Semenovych

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Wishes

May your day be a day of glorious light!

And may the year ahead be blessed.

Love, peace, joy to all.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Mallorca church

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Playing Favorites

This is my favorite Christmas card, in a year of cute cards.

My favorite of the low-carb cookies I have baked:  almond shortbread with lemon zest.

The favorite things I’ve done this week:  walked the labyrinth, gone to the spice shop.

My favorite carol:  O Holy Night,” sung by Jonas Kaufmann (though the “Huron Carol,” posted by one of my favorite authors, Louise Penny, is also wonderful—a new favorite).

My favorite other find this week:  a gold wire Christmas tree that stands inside a wine glass (my favorite Shakespeare Santa Cruz wine glass) on the table.

images:  The Almanac Gallery, UK
             Christie B. Cochrell, Christmas Cheer

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Carol of the Bells

What more is there to say than this?  

Ring forth your oh so precious life!

It's like the bumper sticker I saw last week:  "Mo bettah no can get."

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Mission Bells

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Color of Gratitude

Things I am grateful for today:
  • melon white tea
  • my silver bracelet inscribed with a sonnet
  • moose confetti (Paper Source)
  • harissa—particularly satisfying for breakfast
  • flannel nightgowns
  • time to sleep beyond the usual limits
  • our little cottage, despite how cold it is and how the circuit-breakers drive us out most evenings in the rain and dark to turn the lights/heat/dryer/Christmas tree/ t.v./you-name-it back on
  • my sweet husband freeing the graceful mosquito-eater from a web
  • ever and always Mozart
  • the fragrances of lavender and lemon zest (going into almond shortbread)
  • lunch with friends
  • the green of this Mallorcan door

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Green Door, Mallorca

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Rewriting the Dark

I’ve always thought of the winter solstice as the low-tide mark of the year, the shortest day, the final test of endurance after which the light begins coming back.  But today I’ve been challenged to think of it in another way—to celebrate the darkness.  For itself, its healing powers, the dreams it allows.

I’ve been telling myself that though this day is the shortest, nothing has been lost—the night will be the longest.  The glass is not half-empty at all, but half-full.  (Or all full, only of different things; which reminds me of a favorite line in Murder by Death, “this room is full of empty people!”)

Pacing off the day, I walked the labyrinth, feeling the turns in my body the way the year now turns.  Inward, and again outward; the long half circles and the short; the journey centering myself.  The center is the fifth direction, where the other cardinal directions join.

I walked through the New Guinea spirit house, after, among the carved wooden figures and crocodile drums, and gathered short-needled evergreen that had been trimmed from the trees there. Then I went to the spice store and bought rubbed sage, French lavender, juniper berries, crushed red pepper, garam masala, cinnamon.  And a piece of swordfish, remembering the island where the seller of swordfish—spada—came around in a three-wheeler with a bell; and I was taught to marinate it in a blue bowl with lemon and olive oil and a little salt.

Later perhaps I’ll try this meditation on the riches of the dark that call us home—

“The best meditation for the winter solstice is a simple one that some of you may already know. It is the star in the heart.
The evening of the winter solstice, turn out the lights, light a candle, and meditate quietly for a while with the candle, and then blow it out. Sit for a while in the dark. Notice what arises. Is there a fear of the dark? Does it feel peaceful, relaxing? Ask that dark to guide you. People are fond of asking the light to guide them. But there is guidance in the depth of the night, in the darkness of the night sky.
Imagine the night sky. Imagine one star coming closer and closer and closer to you, until it enters your heart. Feel that star in the heart . It is radiant. Its bright white light permeates your being, pulsates within you. Feel yourself as a star in the sky, the darkness around you, the light within you, the energy that radiates from you. You, from your heart, by simply being, illumine the darkness. That radiance guides you and illumines the path for others. Light the candle again. Notice the shadows, the interplay of light and dark.
You are participating always in that dance of light and...”
(Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans)

image:  Michael J. Bennett, Night Sky, Stars, Trees

image:  British night sky, Tom Bayly

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Slipping Away

This week has slipped away.  I wonder where they slip away to, weeks?  Like the spotted horse, appaloosa or pinto, I dreamed about last night, disappearing down a cross-street in some busy city, maybe the cobbled shopping district of Pisa?  Or like a full-rigged sailboat zigzagging off toward the far horizon?  (The flotilla of boats, masts strung with lights, that I remember coming down the Kona Coast on Christmas Eve?)  Like the minnows we tried to catch in our cupped hands, the darting sunspots reflected on floor or bedroom walls my cocker spaniel chased?  Impossible to stop, impossible to quantify or qualify.

Somewhere there is a lake of time where all those slipped-away weeks have collected—vast, meandering, between high blue-hazed mountains.  It looks something like Lake Como, I imagine, and you can sit out on a terrace there and eat grilled lake perch with saffron risotto, or wander in striped espadrilles along it to the villa with the devastatingly orange wall imprinted with the memory of sturdy old shutters, the sleep of centuries, the morning’s waking, opening, barefoot and silver-sparkling, the unlimited day ahead.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Sandbars, Cape Cod

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Impulse Buying

This morning I went to the farmers’ market looking for an onion, and ended up buying
  • baby lettuces
  • pimientos de Padron (in mid-December!!!)
  • chicken cheddar apple savory pies
  • blueberry tartlet
  • a nice piece of Ahi tuna (which I’ll marinate in orange juice and soy sauce, and grill)
  • wrapping paper and ribbon
  • Oaxacan tamales and ancho chile salsa
  • dried apricots

And of course I almost forgot the onion!

image:  Peppers for Sale, Tech. Sgt. Michael B. Keller

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Earthy Brown Mushrooms

Feeling rather better here.  The tree is up (straight and sturdy!) and has our favorite ornaments on it and smells deliciously of Noble Fir.  I’ve got the Whiskey Sour Balls stirred up, and they have just to be rolled into shape, four dozen of them.

A big storm is coming, they say, so I’ve got things laid in to eat in case we lose our power.  Eggs hard-boiled for egg salad, a giant can of tuna and one of diced green chili (one of my favorite combinations), some Genoa salami, smoked cheddar, hummus and avocado, and before long a sausage pizza with a cornmeal crust.  Nothing better than cold pizza!  But in the morning I’ll make the egg muffins too; I’ve caramelized some onions for those, sauteed mushrooms, and roasted multi-colored baby peppers.  There’s mint in the garden, and marjoram.  Of course I’ve got enough emergency provisions for a whole week, or more!  The makings for sangria, too, with lots of fresh oranges.  And Whiskey Sour Balls for the third week…  Nothing like weathering a storm in style.

A lovely older woman found me poring over brown mushrooms at Draeger’s, and was as delighted as I with their robust round earthy mushroom nature.  She told me about going out and picking mushrooms like that in New York somewhere, when she was growing up.  It made my shopping special to have her share that with me.

So the season’s shaping up again.  The purple carnations and fir branches help too, giving the kitchen another moment of intense color.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Dove Ornament

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Karma

With this lovely picture I’m try to improve my Christmas karma, which started out so well with the carols on Saturday (some wonderful new things like John Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music” and Otto Goldschmidt’s “A Tender Shoot”), but then fell apart yesterday.  The Christmas tree lot nowhere to be seen; the tree I chose arguing with its stand and then the stand leaking all over the living room carpet and some inherited linens I had in the wicker chests I’d set it on; and then the tree not fitting in our other stand, and toppling over, and over.  As a result I got no baking done, though I’d wanted to make some whiskey sour balls with orange juice concentrate and coconut and bourbon.  And no cards, and no writing.

But thinking positively has helped.  The Christmas tree is up, finally.  I’ve put the lights and favorite ornaments on it, including two glass balls (La Traviata, and a Tuscan bird) which we bought in Lucca in a most tempting pottery shop.

Now we’ve got trout baking for dinner, and yellow cherries in a bowl.  I believe things are coming ’round.

image:  Photos prises au Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte par Denise Jacobs, créatrice de France d'art et de lumière

Saturday, December 6, 2014

All Hunkered Down

Torrential rains yesterday evening, as I was driving back to the Press from a shopping run (guacamole and chips; two berry scones; eggs to make egg muffins over the weekend; a Côtes-du-Rhone for sangria with Cointreau and orange slices).  The parking lot was inches deep in rain in just a quarter of an hour.

But it all cleared, and we listened to Mozart calmly on the way home.  And tonight will be the annual Festival of Lessons and Carols on campus, in the chilly gold-and-song-lit church, and I'm trying to summon energy to go because it's always cheering at the start of this so-busy season.

The things that stay in memory from my week are the raccoon dead in the road that made me sad and the bicycle built for two parked by the walking trail, a child's seat and wheel behind the adult's, gracefully and sweetly joined.

So it begins, the descent into winter, the thoughts of hibernation and all things to keep off the chill.

Friday Flowers, Obee Designs

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

An Extra Day of Gratitude

I am grateful, above all, that I have so very very much to be grateful for!  My heart is full of thanks.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Blown Glass

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Week of Gratitude: Laundry

Like kites sometimes, airborne.

The laundry room at Green Gulch, which is always comforting to walk through, on our way to soup and bread or to the gardens and the trail past horses to the ocean.

The intensely yellow laundry basket in the hall at the hospice on the St. Bernard Pass, reflecting on the surface of the old polished gray stone.

The laundry line under the pines, which made me happy to regard while writing and drinking cold sencha tea.

The poem I’m not remembering about dancing with a clean nightgown or shirt as dancing partner, in the moonlight or sunlight, and the delight in that.


p.s.  I''ve been reminded that the poem I was trying to remember, and remembered so insufficiently, is Richard Wilbur's wonderful "Love Calls Us to the Things of This World" 
Read it and rejoice!!

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Venetian Laundry

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Week of Gratitude: Italy and Its Benediction

“And off in the far distance, the gold on the wings of the angel atop the bell tower of San Marco flashed in the sun, bathing the entire city in its glistening benediction.”  —Donna Leon, Death in a Strange Country
I am always grateful for Italy—its gold-winged angels, its bell towers (even in the absence of bells, like Lucca in October), the houses of the composers like this brilliant pink villa of Giuseppe Verdi's, and the more subdued villa where Giacomo Puccini wrote his operas on Lake Massachiuccoli near the Tyrrhenean Sea.  Its colors and its fragrances—onions cooking in olive oil for the noontime pasta sauce, the tart purple of blackberry gelato, that whiff of rosemary.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Verdi Villa

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Week of Gratitude: Holy Places

"Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again."
— Joseph Campbell 
“The places where water comes together with other water. Those places stand out in my mind like holy places.”—Raymond Carver

Having grown up in a place without water, I do find it both holy and revelatory.  The idea of sacred springs, the Waters of Lethe, baptismal fonts, the Acequia in Santa Fe that is cleaned by townspeople in a ritual each year (as is the creek at Tassajara), the translucent bay at the Place of Refuge where I’ll take my mother’s ashes in the spring, the tides that cut off Lindisfarne, rainwater pooled in a stone basin, the snowmelt in little Bean Creek that runs underneath the Anasazi caves, the floor of water in this medieval Venetian church.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Venice Crypt

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Week of Gratitude: Red Bookshelves

I’m grateful to have grown up with these jaunty red bookshelves—the bookshelves in my father’s den, where he wrote on weekends (cursing most pithily when the carriage return of his typewriter knocked his mug of coffee off the stand, especially the second time), and went to look up words for double crostics in the big Random House dictionary that lay open at all times, offering a smorgasbord of words.  

Where the Tanqueray gin was kept for martinis, and the Christmas cookies in their festive tins, spicy gingersnaps and anise-scented biscochitos and shell-cupped Norwegian sandbakkels.  Where the poets and philosophers kept company, shouldered together on those bright red shelves, and Archy & Mehitabel, and underneath, oversized atlases—enticing colored maps that were my only contact then with foreign countries  (not knowing that I lived in one:  childhood, the most exotic and distant).

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Red Shelves, Santa Fe

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Week of Gratitude: The Bird That Sings

I am grateful for the wisdom of the sages and the poets.

For my faith in birds and light and singing:  holy auguries.

For the singing away of the dark (the way the Hopis believed their willing the sun to rise again each morning was what made it rise).

For the trees birds live in; their roots and time-drawn rings, the silver shimmer of their leaves.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.”  (Hermann Hesse)

image:  Christie B. Cochrell

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Week of Gratitude: Recognizing Beauty

“Everything in the world is beautiful, but Man only recognizes beauty if he sees it either seldom or from afar.  Listen, today we are gods!  Our blue shadows are enormous!  We move in a gigantic, joyful world!”  (Vladimir Nabokov)
I love the thought of our blue shadows being enormous, and our joy along with them.

Such enormity in even the smallest and simplest things:  morning coffee, a tame or wild bird sharing the morning with us, the colors that an artist puts down with a sable or boar's bristle brush.

image:  Morning Coffee, Alexander Sigov b.1955 ~ Russian Surrealist painter,

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Week of Gratitude: Monday

“Happiness is itself a kind of gratitude.” 
(Joseph Wood Krutch)
It made me happy today to go outside into the warm November sun and sit in a garden of rosemary, of gray stone and of thyme, my feet up on the wooden bench in favorite purple shoes, to read over what I had written over the weekend.  An hour in a day, a moment in a life, the tremendous blessing of being what I am at best.  In quiet, in stillness, in dappled sunlight with green things around me and words playing through my head where music has recently been and will be again. 

How could I be more grateful than this?

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Dapple

Friday, November 21, 2014

Coloring the Gray

A gray day—which can of course be colored in so many ways. 

I’ll add a vivid painting first (which I love is named Grey Weather), wanting to myself be the one to feel the paintbrush in a viscous glob of crimson lake or Tyrian purple.  And then perhaps dye a dozen or two Thanksgiving eggs, since Easter has enough color of its own?  Or paint Arabian poems on my hands in North African Violet ink, like ritual henna tattoos.  Or find a bazaar with Moroccan spices, and plunge my hands up to the wrists, the elbows, in warm orange turmeric, golden saffron, the combined earthy colors of ras el hanout.

Coloring too the other senses, spicing them up—like the Ondaatje poem I am reminded of, The Cinnamon Peeler, here read by the author.

image:  Armand Guillaumin (French, Post-Impressionism, 1841–1927): Crozant Landscape (Grey Weather), c. 1910, I Require Art

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Things Squirreled Away

Ready to write, the bits of things already saved as Word files catch my eye.  Yellow rice with orange rind, a recipe.  Tasseography, the start of a story.  Cognitive maps, contemporary shamanism, cousins, Montecatini Terme, Mozart KV 11, seagrass matting rug, holy clothing, grilled biftekia, Ghost Ranch.  A good writing exercise would be to weave all those things together in a couple of paragraphs, a page.  To find the connections, other than my squirreling-away nature.

The next time I am at a loss for what to write, I’ll have some fun with that.  For now, it’s off to Mallorca and my second mystery story, “Out of Whole Cloth” (which weaves together ubuntu, wild mushrooms, Mallorcan fabrics, Spanish rappers, and prehistoric goddesses).

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Collage

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Calm

And again the words are slow to come.

The silence of the vanished birds, the moss-cool stones, is all there is to listen to or say. 

Two by two the hours slip away.

There is calm in the slippage.  A certain calm in the absence of words and birdsong; no need just now to wonder where and why they've gone—that needless seeking.

image:  Sparrow

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wanting Warmth

I’m light-gathering again, color-collecting, wanting warmth.  I’m cooking comforting things: turkey with oranges, rosemary, and sage; spiced rice with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and toasted almonds; sauteed Brussels Sprouts with red clay salt, a gift from Hawaii.  I’m wearing sweaters with texture and favorite beaded necklaces against them.  I’m bringing out fun socks.  I’m thinking about baking bread, and really kneading it, in my Mother’s big wooden bowl (which she used too for Sunday popcorn).  I’m thinking about publishing selections from Writing with Light, though I'd love to produce it on the letterpress I never weighed myself down with.

image:  My French Country Home

Monday, November 10, 2014

To Mull and Be Mulled

Wet fog.  Gray day.  Monday.  Wanting to write, but hiding out in thoughts of the Sonoma Mission Inn, and spa treatments instead.  Hot stone massage, a crushed bamboo scrub with the scent of bergamo, orange quince steam, blood orange olive body butter, pumpkin cream body wrap.

Which makes me then yearn for those yummy pumpkin chocolate bars I’ve tracked down the recipe for.  And autumn pumpkin chili (a good idea, which I see lots of others have had before me).  And pumpkin pie spices—cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, mace, nutmeg.

And then . . . and then.  My two hours of writing time are gone, with my need to gather rather than give, my need to selfishly hold these imagined comforts up against my quaking heart, along with hand-stitched quilts and sleepy puppies.  (The plunge into the cold season, the time without sun.)

I am not brave today.  I need to mull and be mulled with the mulling spices.

image:  Mulling Spices, Nina Nelson

Saturday, November 8, 2014


. one black river stone
. the masses (Messa di Gloria) of the Luccan composers we’ve found
. the Baba Yetu we heard on Thursday, the Lord’s prayer sung in Swahili (a space in which to reflect and to be together)
. the lily broken off its stem, opening flamelike in the water glass—

—despite.  Despite its injury, despite our stress and having to fight for time off in busy days, despite the absence of river, or Lucca, or the rest.

Despite.  That is my word of hope for the morning, a word of such tremendous hope and quiet strength.

image:  I Require Art, Frits Thaulow (Norwegian, Impressionism, 1847-1906): Sunset on the Arques to Péquigny (Soleil couchant sur l'Arques à Péquigny). Oil on canvas. Musée des beaux-arts de Reims, France

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What I'm Voting For Today

Here are the things I’m voting for today—

temple bells
green oranges in a walled garden in Pisa
Lady Grey tea

All of these philosophies, these poetries, these ways of being—these I choose.  These I elect, embrace, for two years, four years, for my life.  Hope for our world.  My friends in dialogue with one another.  All write-in candidates, I know; I can’t find boxes on the ballot for any of them.  They are crucial, though, and overlooked, and I write them defiantly in, with my red crayola.

“Walking, I am listening to a deeper way.  Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me.  Be still, they say.  Watch and listen.  You are the result of the love of thousands.”
(Linda Hogan)

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”   (John Muir)

“Be loyal to what you love, be true to the earth, fight your enemies with passion and laughter.”  (Edward Abbey, Confessions of a Barbarian)

"You have to pick the places you don't walk away from."  (Joan Didion)

“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.”
(Mary Oliver, “Mysteries, Yes”)

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."  (Thomas Jefferson)

"Maybe this is the way to come out of a war, he thinks. A burned man to care for, some sheets to wash in a fountain, a room painted like a garden."   (Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient)

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."  (Colette)

"Look up at the sky. Ask yourself, 'Has the sheep eaten the flower or not?' And you'll see how everything changes...
And no grown-up will ever understand how such a thing could be so important."  (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince)

"I grow into these mountains like a moss. I am bewitched. The blinding snow peaks and the clarion air, the sound of earth and heaven in the silence, the requiem birds, the mythic beasts, the flags, great horns, and old carved stones, the silver ice in the black river, the Kang, the Crystal Mountain. Also, I love the common miracles-the murmur of my friends at evening, the clay fires of smudgy juniper, the coarse dull food, the hardship and simplicity, the contentment of doing one thing at a time… gradually my mind has cleared itself, and wind and sun pour through my head, as through a bell. Though we talk little here, I am never lonely; I am returned into myself. In another life—this isn’t what I know, but how I feel—these mountains were my home; there is a rising of forgotten knowledge, like a spring from hidden aquifers under the earth. To glimpse one’s own true nature is a kind of homegoing, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon—the homegoing that needs no home, like that waterfall on the supper Suli Gad that turns to mist before touching the earth and rises once again to the sky."   (Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard)

"So, friends, every day do something that won't compute...Give your approval to all you cannot understand...Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years...Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts....Practice resurrection."  (Wendell Berry, The Country of Marriage)

"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it."  (J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan)

"Be silly. Be honest. Be kind."  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"Remember on this one thing, said Badger. The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memories. This is how people care for themselves."  (Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel)

 “Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.”  (Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own)

"And the reason I am writing this
on the back of a manila envelope
now that they have left the train together

is to tell you that when she turned
to lift the large, delicate cello
onto the overhead rack,

I saw him looking up at her
and what she was doing
the way the eyes of saints are painted

when they are looking up at God
when he is doing something remarkable,
something that identifies him as God."
(Billy Collins)

"I wish people were all trees and I think I could enjoy them then."  (Georgia O’Keeffe)

 “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”  (Rumi, Masnavi I Man’avi, the spiritual couplets of Maula)

 “I don't think you help people by making their conduct of no importance—you impoverish them. As long as every man and woman who crowded into the cathedrals on Easter Sunday was a principal in a gorgeous drama with God, glittering angels on one side and the shadows of evil coming and going on the other, life was a rich thing. The king and the beggar had the same chance at miracles and great temptations and revelations. And that's what makes men happy, believing in the mystery and importance of their own little individual lives. It makes us happy to surround our creature needs and bodily instincts with as much pomp and circumstance as possible. Art and religion (they are the same thing, in the end, of course) have given man the only happiness he has ever had."  (Willa Cather, The Professor’s House)

Life is an old man carrying flowers on his head."
(E.E. Cummings)

 “The heart's actions
are neither the sentence nor its reprieve.

Salt hay and thistles, above the cold granite.
One bird singing back to another because it can't not.”
(Jane Hirshfield, Come, Thief:  Poems)

“There is no god
apart from poppies and the flying fish,
men singing songs, and women brushing their hair in the sun.”
(D.H. Lawrence)

"Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms, like books written in a foreign tongue...Live the questions."  (Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet)

"The moon and sun are travelers through eternity. Even the years wander on. Whether drifting through life on a boat or climbing toward old age leading a horse, each day is a journey, and the journey itself is home."   (Matsuo Basho)

image: John H. White, LesCorsetsLeFuretParis18cutA