bellasemplicita

Regaining a lost love for beauty and simplicity.

Tag: outdoors

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

From ‘My Several Worlds’

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Well, I am back from my long and unintended hiatus! I had a lovely trip to Italy and have thoroughly enjoyed my summer. When the days grow shorter and the weather turns, I will post some of my favorite pictures of the trip.
In the meantime, I would love to share with you several passages from a book I just finished – My Several Worlds, by Pearl S. Buck. The book is a lovely autobiography after a type. As she states near the beginning, ‘the story is incomplete, and, worse still, that it is told upon different levels and about different places and peoples, the whole held together merely by time . . .’. I found this book utterly beautiful and refreshing. It was one of those lovely reads I wished would never end.

The great beauty of Japan is in the spots that you and I, if we be mere passerby, never really glimpse.
It is the beauty which moves the veriest coolie, after a day of crushing labor, to throw aside his carrying pole, and after a bit of fish and rice, to dig and plant in his garden the size of a pocket handkerchief.  There he works, absorbed, delighted; his whole being resting in the joy of creating beauty for himself and his family, who cluster about him to admire.  No one is without a garden.  If fate has denied a poor man a foot of ground, he buys a big plot for a penny and slowly, after hours of labor pleasant and painstaking, he constructs a miniature park, with a rockery, a tiny summerhouse, a pool, with bits of moss for lawns and grass heads for trees and toy ferns tucked into crevices for shrubbery.

It is the quality of beauty, too, which moves a Japanese host to place in his guest room each day for the delight of his guest one single exquisite note.  From his precious store he selects today a watercolor, in black and white, of a bird clinging to a reed, painted with a charming reserve.  Tomorrow it will be a dull blue vase with one spray of snowy pear bloom arranged in such a way as to be a living invitation to meditation.  Sometimes it is a piece of old tapestry, with a quaint procession of lantern bearers marching across its faded length.

………………..

Meanwhile I was also enjoying quite a different sort of life.  First of all were my house and garden.  Though I can live anywhere, be either rich or poor with equal acceptance, I have to have a setting, and if there is not one, I make it.  I subdued, therefore, the too large and somewhat graceless grey brick house where I lived, and within the limits of a small amount of money, I did as my mother had taught me to do and created as much beauty as I could.  The garden furnished plenty of flowers, and well-designed furniture of cheap materials could be cushioned with the inexpensive but beautiful chinese stuffs.  Wicker and rattan I had wearied of, but the Chinese about that time were weaving cash string, a thin robe made of grass, upon strong bamboo frames, and such chairs were comfortable and substantial.  Old chinese blackwood tables could be bought cheaply, and there were always delicate and beautiful bowls and vases in the chinashops.  One day in a silkshhop I found yards of faded silk going at a bargain price and I bought it for curtains and dyed it in different colors.  Matting rugs upon the floor gave good effect and sunshine and flowers did the rest.  I enjoyed the whole process and have often thought to myself that if I had not wanted to write books above all else, I would be a cook in a big family, perhaps in an orphanage, and make delicious dishes for everybody.  But there are many persons I would like to have been – for example, again, a sculptor – had I not wanted to write books.

 

These passages are just a selection among the many I found refreshing and inspiring.  They slightly readjusted my vision for a beautiful, peaceful, and God honoring home.

 

 

Italy

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I have always, quite possibly from the moment I gained consciousness, desired to travel the world but especially Italy.  The many things that I have heard second-hand about Italy deeply resonate with my ideas off family and culture and life.  I love the geography, the cities, the art, the history, the food, and what I think the culture and the people are like.  And I am finally heading of to Italy!  Finally!  My Mom and I have two weeks to hit all of the main spots – Rome, Siena, Florence, Venice, Ravenna, Assisi, etc.  I don’t know how we will be able to see all I could wish!  Of course if you have any ideas and travel tips please feel free to pass them along.

And now enough of me – here is a quote from Alberti’s Prologue to On Painting.  He is speaking about the accomplishments that some at the beginning of the Renaissance had achieved and later more specifically Brunelleschi and ‘his dome’.

“Therefore, I believe the power of acquiring wide fame in any art or science lies in our industry and diligence more than in the times or in the gifts of nature.  It must be admitted that it was less difficult for the Ancients – because they had models to imitate and from which they could learn – to come to a knowledge of those supreme arts and sciences without teachers or without any model whatsoever.”

A Man Is Rich . . .

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“for a man is rich in proportion to the number of things

which he can afford to let alone” – Henry Thoreau, Walden

In Praise

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‘You, O Lord my God, gave me life and my body when I was born.  You gave my body its five senses; you furnished it with limbs and gave it is proper proportions; and you implanted in it all the instincts necessary for the welfare and safety of a living creature.  For these gifts you command me to acknowledge you and praise you and sing in honor of your name, because you are Almighty God, because you are good, and because I owe you praise for these things, even if you had done nothing else.  No one but you can do these things, because you are the one and only mould in which all things are cast and the perfect form which shapes all things, and everything takes its place according to your law.’

–  Saint Augustine; The Confessions – Book 1, chpt. 7

 

‘Tis the Season

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I have been absent from this blog for much too long.  However visiting Seattle with my family and wrapping up this school semester have kept me very busy!  When I get the chance I will share some of my pictures from Seattle and some portraits of my beautiful friend Madeleine.

Until then let me share this passage from Isaiah with you.  I always love Advent – a time for anticipating the arrival of Jesus.  Reading the prophesies about the coming of the Messiah at this time every year always fills me with such excitement, joy, and peace.  I hope this passage blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

‘A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;

    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.’

Isaiah 11:1 – 10

In Thanks.

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Oh Lord that lends me life,

Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.

– William Shakespeare

That kind of day.

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This time of the year always seems to mourn for a departed Summer that still lightly lingers in the sun and to mourn for the coming of an Autumn that has yet to fully arrive.  I am always sad about the end of summer and for the departure of all of the lovely, empty, timeless, days.  But, Autumn, with its cozy sweaters, mugs of tea, rainy Sundays, brilliant chilly afternoons, crispy leaves, fresh apples to be crafted into pies and sauce, and of course the long hours reading and studying ancient historians is always irresistible.

Today is definitely the first day that has really smelled and felt of Autumn, and it is a lovely day.

Summer.

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fire

 

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beach

 

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water

 

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berries

 

fields

 

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My!  I have not been on here for ages!  I have been enjoying a lovely summer with visits from family from Colorado, Seattle, and North Carolina.  As Henry James said, “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”  I hope that you have been enjoying just such a wonderful summer.

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”

– Ray Bradbury

Sand, Wind, and Stars

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I personally enjoy looking at beautiful photographs, and for this reason I am now enjoying Tumblr.

If you have a minute give mine a quick look.  It would make my day!

(The name – ‘Sand, Wind, and Stars’ – is taken from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s book of the same name.)