bellasemplicita

Regaining a lost love for beauty and simplicity.

Tag: beauty

Expressing Gratitude

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As I am looking forward to entering College this fall I am beginning to more deeply appreciate the small things in my life.  Knowing that I am about to be placed in a new environment away from some of the most important things in my life has been alternately exciting and terrifying to me.  As I have been thinking about this upcoming transition, I have been trying to savor the last little bit of my high school years.

And as a continuation of this I would like to share some of the things that I am most grateful for on this blog over the next two weeks.  I want this to be a celebration of the beautiful and the good things that I encounter – the things that are both the very anchors of my being and the small and fleeting blessings that surprise me every day.

‘Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.’ – Gertrude Stein

A Few Updates

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Since I have been so long absent, I hope it is alright if I share a few of the things happening in my life.

– I am enjoying my summer – immensely!  I am trying to really soak in the beauty of the smells of rain and dirt, the brilliance of green, the warmth of the sun, the smell of roses.  I run through a small forest preserve nearly every morning and I love that I am able to follow the change of the seasons in this place.  At the moment there are myriads of birds and in the morning their singing is so calming.

– I am attending Wheaton College in the fall.  I am so excited about this!  My good friend and I will be rooming together so we are busy planning our room and discussing the new excitements of college life in general.  I am entering as a Mathematics major (and no, I do not want to teach) and an Art History minor.

– Now for me, this is really big news: I am running Cross Country in college!!  This is huge because about eight months ago I absolutely hated to run.  However, after forcing myself to ‘do it’ nearly every morning, I realized I had fallen in love.  I am excited to begin training with a team and I hope I will be able to greatly improve my speed.

– Yes, there are many other important things happening in my life – perhaps I will share them at a later time.  But for now, I will end with an extract from a poem by William Blake.

‘And we are put on this earth a little space

that we may learn to bear the beams of love.’

I’m Back

Hello again!  After a very long hiatus I am back to blogging!  (My absence was mostly the result of technical difficulties, so hopefully I will be back here for good.)

In celebration, allow me to share one of my very favorite poems.

 

“Glory be to God for dappled things –

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.”

 

Pied Beauty, Gerard Manley Hopkins

In Honor of Spring

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Nothing is so beautiful as spring –

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;

Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush

Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring

The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;

The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush

The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush

With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?

A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning

In Eden garden. – have, get, before it cloy,

Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,

Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,

Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

– Gerard Manley Hopkins, Spring, (1918)

For Lent

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Michelangelo, Crucifixion

‘How precious is the gift of the cross!  See, how beautiful it is to behold!  It shows no sign of evil mixed with good, like the tree of old in Eden; it is all beautiful and comely to see and to taste.’

– St. Theodore the Studite, On the Adoration of the Cross

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Some Goals

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I normally refrain from making any definite goals for the new year – things along the line of ‘run more, bike more, etc.’  Things that are far from helpful.  So this year I am making myself several very definite goals.  I thought I would share some of them with you.

–  Run a Marathon.

–  Run a 70.3 Ironman event.

–  Take a photo every day.

–  Read 156 books, that is 3 books a week.

–  Make one of those 3 books a Shakespeare play.  (I don’t know my Shakespeare nearly as well as I could wish!)

–  Read a new poet every week

–  Cook/bake a new recipe every week

–  Knit an Aran sweater.

May your New Year be blessed!

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’     – Tennyson

On The First Day of Christmas . . .

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On the First Day of Christmas my true love sent to me,

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

The Annunciation

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On a recent visit to the Art Institute of Chicago I saw this beautiful Annunciation by George Hitchcock.  During an often hectic Advent season, this painting has encouraged me to calm my soul and stand in awe before the lovely and humble coming of Christ.

‘Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.’     – Isaiah 7:14

‘Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.  Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”  Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.  For with God nothing will be impossible.”  Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.’     – Luke 1:26-38

Autumn

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O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

“The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

“The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

– To Autumn, William Blake

‘Poetry’

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‘The very fact that she wrote poetry in Buchenwald suggests that poetry itself is a part of the mind reserved for resistance to force.  Poetry doesn’t just help someone survive, it is a survivor itself: fluid, protean, as it passes through walls, and brings a particular beat to a way of thinking and being.’

Fanny Howe