Sometimes it takes unexpected events to help us enjoy simple pleasures…
The snow fell heavily here in Oxfordshire yesterday. One minute we were out walking under stunning blue skies and the next looking out to see a blanket of grey cloud and a heavy sudden snowfall. It was mesmerising watching the fat, fluffy snowflakes rapidly covering the garden and turning it into a winter wonderland before our eyes. We turned on the local news to hear that the surrounding roads were rapidly becoming impassable and that many people were finding it hard to get home from work.
It is amazing how a day can suddenly change, plans can be scuppered and we can suddenly end up having to change our routine. We wonder how long the snow is going to last – some of us are pleased to have an unexpected day or evening off, some of us are fed up when we can’t control events and some of us go into ‘Girl Guide or Boy Scout’ mode and enjoy the challenge of helping others and making the best of things.
Change is always challenging whatever the circumstances but sometimes having some unexpected time out can give us time to rediscover the smaller pleasures of life and even bring out our inner child if we are getting on a bit!
Sometimes we find ourselves doing a task we have been meaning to do for ages – for me it was polishing some silver! Whilst looking amongst my keepsakes a found an old medal that had been awarded to my grandfather in the last war. It gave me time to contemplate and remember someone very special to me.
My Grandfather Arthur
‘Thefirstfall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?’ J.B.Priestley
‘I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’ Lewis Carroll
So thinking about snowy days, if you had the chance, did you build a snowman?
Here is a poem I would love to share with you today – a little glimpse into the world of our frosty friend! It illustrates the fact that even when things don’t last, we can enjoy the moment and make memories too, in unexpected ways.
Poetry from ‘Under the Same Stars’ (C) Lyn Halvorsen
I welcome your comments and would love to hear your favourite snowy pastimes!
Is there any excuse for bad behaviour in politics? When will the media circus calm down?
Well it could be quite a momentous day today. Here in the UK all the focus is on the vote regarding the Brexit agreement put forward by the Prime Minister for leaving the EU. Following weeks and weeks of haggling and bickering, the next few hours seem quite critical. I have my own views on what I want to happen, but this post isn’t about just me. I think this is what is often forgotten. The bigger picture.
Here I quote an excerpt of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year speech….
‘There’s a parallel with our country today. We’re much more diverse than we used to be. Yet we disagree on many things. And we are struggling with how to disagree well. Turn on the television, read the news, and you see a lot that could tempt you to despair. Hope lies in our capacity to approach this new year in a spirit of openness towards each other. Committed to discovering more of what it means to be citizens together, even amid great challenges and changes.’
It sometimes it seems that the whole nation is in disagreement. Have we forgotten our basic and fundamental manners? Certainly some of the politicians I have listened to recently have. There needs to be a wake up call. A return to civility and respect for others. This doesn’t mean that those who govern can’t take action; of course we need to be governed, but governed in a way that benefits all of us. And even if the outcome isn’t one we would choose, if it is objectively administered and sensitively handled we could at least start to move forward.
Sometimes actions speak louder than words. There is a description in one of my favourite books ‘In Tune with the Infinite’ by Ralph Waldo Trine. He describes a man who owned a beautiful lotus pond. It was in a natural basin on his farm, supplied with water from a reservoir in the foothills some distance away:
‘ A gate regulated the flow of water from the main reservoir to the pond. It was a spot of transcendent beauty. There, through the days of perfect summer weather, the lotus flowers lay full blown on the surface of the clear, transparent water. June roses and other wild flowers were continually blooming upon its banks. The birds came here to drink and bathe, and from early to late one could hear the melody of their song. The bees were continually buzzing and at work in this garden of wild flowers. A beautiful grove in which many kinds of wild berries and many varieties of ferns grew stretched at the back of the pond as far as the eye could see. The good man who owned the grounds put up a sign to welcome all people to the lotus pond so good were his intentions. Here, were often merry groups of children playing and those who were weary could rest. Men and women seemed to be lifted of their heavy burdens. Many called the place ‘The Garden of God’. The man called it his ‘soul garden’. He would often sit and enjoy the fragrant flowers and sit on a bench in the moonlight. He was a man with a simple outlook but in this place, all his successful dreams and plans came to light. Everything in the vicinity seemed to breathe a spirit of love and kindness, comfort and good cheer. Even the cattle and sheep in the fields flourished. The gate of the pond was always open giving them pure mountain water to drink. For so long this wonderful place flourished until sadly, the man had to go away for a year. A new man was put in charge; one who had not much time for anything other than practicalities. He turned off the water flow and made the area private and invited no visitors. A great change came over everything; the flowers in the pond wilted; birds no longer came to drink and sing and the flowers no longer bloomed. The bees no longer hummed and as the stream dried up so the cattle no longer got their supply of water so they perished. By shutting the gate to the pond, thus preventing the flow of water from the reservoir in the hills, which was the source of life, the appearance of and around the beautiful lotus pond was entirely changed.’
Do we not see a parallel here? When we are connected to the source of good things, to the infinite, then all good things flow, and we live in harmony with the universe. We are connected to beauty and all things that are pure and health-giving. When this is taken from us or we disconnect from what is good, then we can fail to flourish, just like the lotus pond.
So on these, some would say, tumultuous days and when we are feeling less than optimistic, its good to remind ourselves to stay focused, to remember that good actions and good deeds bring the best results, and that when our hearts are open to others we live and let live. We remember that everyone has their own thoughts and opinions and we respect their right to go their own way.
‘Good manners and kindness are always in fashion.’