We’re in all day, reading Harry Potter aloud, while heavy rains are forecast for today and tomorrow. Nothing like the July floods, when our own paddock, and our favourite meadows temporarily became the habitation of happy ducks and seagulls who had evidently successfully prayed the prayer of Jabez, bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory…
Here’s a lovely excerpt from Gilead by Marilynne Robinson which I am currently reading with great pleasure.
The story of Hagar and Ishmael says that it is not only the father of a child who cares for its life, who protects its mother, and it says that even if the mother can’t find a way to provide for it or herself, provision will be made. At that level, it is a story full of comfort. That is how life goes–we send our children into the wilderness. Some of them on the day they are born, it seems, for all the help we can give him. Some of them seem to be a kind of wilderness unto themselves. But there must be angels there, too, and springs of water. Even that wilderness, the very habitation of jackals, is the Lord’s.
A surprise among the lists of ten most popular websites is a spunky North American one, Flylady.net. It’s basically about the problem of too much stuff and how to organize it. The stories and testimonials are chilling–about the real distress caused by those who have too much stuff, more than they can handle, organize, keep tidy, deal with. Flylady offers a simple system of chores, one step at a time to get your house and life together until
Every room will be orderly
Every mess heap shall be laid low
The pathways straight
The surfaces clear
And the glory of order shall be revealed….
And the family shall rejoice together….
And yes, confession, I have used Flylady on occasion…. and am doing so now. Like all systems, it works if you work at it (rather than blog about it). 🙂
The Heartbreaks of Country Life: Foxes and Myxomatosis
Sue Hubbell writes in her book, A Country Year, that people who find life hard in town, find it far harder in the country.
Well, we’ve lived in the Oxfordshire countryside for a year. Harder? Perhaps! Better? Without a doubt (or without many).
Country traumas. The fox that seized our friendly brown hen, who allowed herself to be petted and carried, and entered the house in search of the above, reducing her to a heap of brown feathers. Twice the same (or different) foxes have seized our ducks, once by the leg–lame duck is no longer a metaphor–once by the shoulder. Each time, we have rescued them, but is the writing on the wall. How long can we outwit cunning Mr. Fox? Any suggestions?
Fox fleas gave our baby rabbit, who I really did love myxomatosis. A terrible death. The vet suggested giving her five days. We only survived 2.5 of watching her eyes water and swell and suppurate with pus, her fur drop off, her breathing become laboured and painful, before we gave in, and the vet let her sleep the sleep of the just.
The children want to know if there are rabbits in heaven. There must be. Heaven wouldn’t be perfectly heavenly without them. Or without dogs.
Another day we cut down the hedge separating two lawns, and find 4 blue robin eggs in a nest. One hatched. We return in 10 minutes, and see what I never expected to: a robin baby actually emerge small, ugly and defenceless from the egg. They wriggle and pant and almost visibly grow as we watch. Or do we imagine that?
We go the next morning, the nest is there, but no eggs, no baby robins. Evil Mr. Fox, or a cat, or a magpie. Irene thinks I’m joking. Life is raw in the country.
More on Country Life: Plagues
June 1st, 2007
In these wide-ranging lyrical essays, Anita Mathias writes of her naughty Catholic childhood in Jamshedpur, India; her large, eccentric extended family in Mangalore, a sea-coast town converted by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century; her rebellion and atheism as a teenager in her Himalayan boarding school, run by German missionary nuns, St. Mary’s Convent, Nainital; and her abrupt religious conversion whereupon she entered Mother Teresa’s convent in Calcutta as a novice. Later essays explores the dualities of her life as a writer, mother, and Christian in the United States– Domesticity and Art, Writing and Prayer, and the experience of being “an alien and stranger” as an immigrant in America, sensing the need for roots.
Anita Mathias has won several awards for her non-fiction including fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts; The Minnesota State Arts Board; The Jerome Foundation, The Vermont Studio Center; The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the First Prize for the Best General Interest Article from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada. Her essays have been published widely–The Washington Post, The London Magazine, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Commonweal, Notre Dame Magazine, America, The Christian Century, Religion Online, The Southwest Review, Contemporary Literary Criticism, New Letters, The Journal, and two of HarperSanFrancisco’s annual The Best Spiritual Writing anthologies.
through the conquest of space, through either pyramids or fame.
the sanctification of time.
time is elusive;
time is eternity in disguise.”
~Abraham Heschel, Sabbath
By Amy Lowell
And a dusky, purple poppy-pod-
Out of these I made a beautiful world.
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