Whose woods are these

stressless recliners, fairy tales can come true

I dare not leave these woods quite yet, something lurks up above, something lingers behind a tree, waiting just for me

… in these woods, lovely, dark, and deep.

I cannot sleep for from the distance in the woods comes a sound, “Who?” it calls mocking me. I dare not answer, my knees are knocking, teeth chattering. Am I scared?

You bet.

Then, I hear a branch crack, needles crunch, and I have got a hunch from the woods there comes for me a dark and hairy beast. Should I run, should I grab a great big stick, or, should I fall and make a tiny little ball? Then, I manage in a tiny voice to call out, father-mother are you there?

Silence, says my father, go to sleep.

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Great starts

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”  –  Mark Twain

frog in pond

It certainly had a wide celebrity…but I was aware that it was only the frog that was celebrated. It wasn’t I. – Mark Twain’s Autobiography

frog-submerged in water

It seems like such a waste, what do the French do with the rest of the frog, and what does the frog do with the rest of the day?

My candle burns at both ends

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!
Edna St. Vincent MIllay

edna st. vincent millay eyes

Friday already, and I haven’t done half of what I need to do. That is life in the digital age.

Time out!

Edna St. Vincent Millay died at the age of 58, the result of a heart attack after a coronary occlusion. She was dressed in a nightgown and slippers when her body was found by James Pinnie, a caretaker, (who cares?) who had arrived to light a fire for the evening. “Miss Millay,” as the New York Times called her, had lived alone in her home in the Berkshire hills of New York, close to those same hills that James Taylor sang of (he lives there), since her husband died ten months earlier.

The Times continues to say: “Miss Millay was born in Rockland, Me., on Feb. 22, 1892, in an old house ‘between the mountains and the sea’ where baskets of apples and drying herbs on the porch mingled their scents with those of the neighboring pine woods.”

She had friends, she had foes, she acted, she wrote, she lived in The Village, she escaped to Florida, the Riviera, Spain, and finally, she escaped to Maine.

She was, the Times continued, “a frivolous young woman, with a brand-new pair of dancing slippers and a mouth like a valentine,” young, red-haired and unquestionably pretty.

What we remember is what we choose, ’tis the pity, she was much more.

My choice…

Figs from Thistles: First Fig
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

For this and other poems, Millay won the the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923.

Friday already, and I haven’t done half of what I need to do.

millay-poster

Tolkien Variations

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
Hands that touch warm the heart
Such is the nature of love.

Tolkien Variations

forest-couple-1280

The wind and the waves

He who has never gone to a lonely stretch of ocean, to stand before the waves and hear the wind whisper, to feel the salty breeze against one’s cheeks, to know the simple things – that life and living need not be so hard – has never lived.

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There is an ancient story, one of King Canute, tall and strong, the handsomest of men, King of England, Norway, and Denmark, son of Sweyn Forkbeard, father to Harthacnut, step-father to Edward the Confessor.

Told his subjects believed him to be almighty, King Canute commanded that a chair should be set on the shore and when the tide began to rise, he spoke to the rising sea saying,

“You are part of my dominion, the ground that I am seated upon is mine, nor has anyone disobeyed my orders with impunity. Therefore, I order you not to rise onto my land, nor to wet the clothes or body of your Lord”.

But the sea carried on as if it heard nothing, rising without any reverence to his person, and soaked his feet and legs.

Canute, moving away said:

“All the the world should know that the power of kings is vain and trivial, that none is worthy the name of king but He who commands the heavens, earth and sea by His eternal laws”.

Like the image? You can purchase it at homefurnishers.com.

beach dunes propac images home furnishers
beach dunes

 

Thanksgiving thought

Each day I pray
I’ll learn
I am not too old to learn
So many things become so little

When I realize
How blessed and lucky I am.
What gets bigger the more you take away?
The anger in your heart because
That space is filled with love

thanksgiving_pumpkin_pie

 

Look if you dare

LIFE AMONG WAGE-EARNERS 1880

To the men who work the docks, coal shovelers, hucksters, women who work for a day, sell newspapers at the ferries, or work in the factories, every child in the alley who does what one can for a penny from the time one could walk.

To the men at their clubs, to the women who shop, to those that dine without a thought of the cost.

Look if you dare
Look at the life of a wage-earner
Where life is lived
Simply
The needs so evident, the value of words not at all
Where
Action expresses the heart perfectly
The baby with brother or sister
Each dependent on the other
The child finds that in a morsel of bread weariness
A father or mother in words unspoken
Knows the sadness
And still make
Sacrifices
Their ease and their comfort and even their sleep
To provide a home
And what is more important
Love
To nourish the soul

Inspired by author Lillian William Betts, who wrote books and articles about life in the tenements at the turn of the 20th century. The Leaven in a Great City is one such book.

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In someone else’s shoes

In case you wish to complain about your work, listen to Mary Paul, and how she patiently took to her job and 12 hour days.

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For some the summer days were golden,  others had to work.

 

Mary Paul grew up in tiny Woodstock and smaller still Barnard, Vermont. Mary described her father as “a man of great natural abilities,” who earned his living as a cobbler and farmer, but later on suffered from debilitating rheumatism.

One imagines that Mary’s early life was full of golden summer days.

In 1841, at the age of 11, her mother died and she and her brother were “put out” to earn their board, which was room and board and nothing else. In 1845, she left home for Lowell, Massachusetts and immediately found work in the textile mills, working alongside hundreds of other girls for two years.

Mary wrote home to her father describing work for the Lawrence Corporation, Mill No. 2 spinning room, and a day in the life of girl in the textile mills.

Dec. 21, 1845; Lowell, MA

Perhaps you would like something about our regulations, about going in and coming out of the mill. At 5 o’clock in the morning, the bell rings for folks to get up and get breakfast. At half past six it rings for the girls to get up and at seven they are called into the mill. At half past 12 we have dinner are called back again at one and stay till half past seven .

I get along very well with my work. I can doff (strip carded fiber from a carding machine) as fast as any girl in our room. I think I shall have frames (tending the warp as the fiber is woven) before long. The usual time allowed for learning is six months but I think I shall have frames before I have been in three as long as I get along so fast.

I think that the factory is the best place for me and if any girl wants employment I advise them to come to Lowell.

Later, after Lowell, Mary would partner with another seamstress in Brattleboro, Vermont to make coats. In 1857, she married Isaac Guild, and, after living in an utopian community in New Jersey and working as a housekeeper in New Hampshire, the newlyweds moved to Lynn, Massachusetts, where Isaac worked in the marble industry and Mary raised two daughters.

Read more Vermont History

vermont-farm

Success

[In case you wondered, from time to time, I sell Stressless recliners and home furnishings on homefurnishers.com. It is a living, but not a life.]

It is said that to succeed one has to get up before the others, before the birds, before the sun, drink a cup of coffee, eat a piece of toast and an egg, put on your shoes and run, run just to keep in the same place, and run faster if you want to succeed.

Oh, but the trees, the mountains, and the lakes know better. They are always there  wordlessly, watching me, knowing there is a joy in the silence. Lessons are learned by listening, not just with the ears, but the eyes.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, Stresslessly.

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What a beautiful place to be, I thought, gazing around Kintla Lake. Calm, peaceful, serene, about as far north in Montana one could go without going over the border into Canada.

“Be mindful of the bears,” the park ranger said.

“Oh, I know,” I replied, “life is full of them.”

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