the peace of wild things


Today, a bit of miscellany:

+ My lovely friend Torunn just opened an Etsy shop - check it out.

+ I want to live in above tree house. Please. (PC: Beth)

+ Pear and Almond Chocolate Cake with Cider Glaze. Yum.

+ I am excited about autumn, but but but . . . these pictures. Cape Cod in the summer? Sigh.

+ And this poem . . . read in the art department chapel the other day. I heard it awhile ago and fell in love with it, but then forgot about it. So glad to be reminded of it . . .

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


year in the kingdom


This is a good song - especially for a cold, rainy, long Monday. (J. Tillman = drummer for Fleet Foxes.)


when autumn flares out





Had a lovely day with some friends last weekend at a local oktemberfest celebration . . . we bought a little disposable camera to document the day along the way and these are (some of) the results. Root beer + the first time wearing sweaters + wandering through old neighborhoods and churchyards + listening to records + long train rides into the city + zucchini races + the smell of smoke + the Western Philosophers + mugs of duchess grey tea.

Happy first day of fall . . .

Fall Song
by Mary Oliver

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.


more fully alive


I am rereading Madeline L'Engle's The Summer of the Great Grandmother for class this week. So many rich words . . . oh for grace . . .

"I look at Mother, and think that if I am to reflect on the eventual death of her body, of all bodies, in a way that is not destructive, I must never lose sight of those other deaths which precede the final, physical death, the deaths over which we have some freedom; the death of self-will, self-indulgence, self-deception, all those self-devices which, instead of making us more fully alive, make us less." (Madeline L'Engle, The Summer of the Great Grandmother, 53)

"The times I have been most fully me are when I have been wholly involved in someone or something else; when I am listening, rather than talking; cooking a special, festive dinner; struggling with a fugue at the piano; putting a baby to bed; writing. A long-dead philosopher said that if we practice dying enough during our lives we will hardly notice the moment of transition when the actual time comes. But I am far from a saint, and I am seldom able to practice consciously this kind of dying; it is not a do-it-yourself activity. I know about it only after it has happened, and I am only now beginning to recognize it for what it is." (Madeline L'Engle, The Summer of the Great Grandmother, 53)

"Did Mado ever have the sudden, intemperate rages which sometimes hit me, and which are produced by what seems completely inadequate causes? She surely had reason for rage and resentment, and yet these are qualities which are never mentioned in regard to her. If they were there, she kept them to herself, and healed them in her own way, with prayer. I have her battered Bible, which Mother had rebound for me. It was much read, much marked, and there are stains which came, I think, through private tears. Perhaps through it she will teach me an alphabet of grace. She had that spontaneous quality of aliveness which illuminates people who have already done a lot of their dying, and I think I am beginning to understand the truth of that." (Madeline L'Engle, The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, 179-180)

[picture of hampstead heath - where john keats wrote a lot of his poetry - near london]



an alphabet

One of my goals this year is not to be so preoccupied with the college world - to remember that I have goals beyond this place. Because while it is a good place and I am happy to be here, I find it is easy to be all-consumed with it and to forget about the person I want to be beyond college. I want to be a better artist. I want to be a better dancer. I want to be a better writer. Etc.

And in hopes of furthering my pursuit of being a better writer, I have decided to try and be more intentional about just writing. One of the ways I hope to do this is by blogging more consistently. (Although I don't promise to always be good at this.)

So on this rainy and humid Saturday on which I don't really have anything important to say, I will instead share some random thoughts, in alphabet form, inspired by Grace. I don't usually like these things, but I just felt like doing this tonight . . .


ambition: to live gracefully and attentively and slowly. to be less consumed with myself. to travel a lot. to have a home that is welcoming and hospitable to all. to live on a farm. to adopt a child. to be a better person tomorrow than I am today. to love God more fully. to be a better photographer. to write more poetry. to have many adventures. to not always be safe and comfortable. to be a better dancer and runner. and lots of other things.

bad habit: not committing to things and changing my mind too often.

city: paris.

drink: homemade banana blueberry smoothies, or earl gray tea, depending on the day and temperature.

education: pursuing a degree in english and art.

food: strawberries. peaches. good crusty bread. scones with jam. goat's cheese. arugula.

guily pleasures: um, reading design and food blogs and snooping on other people's lives.

hometown: complicated - but I guess I'd say charlotte, north carolina

ice cream: cinnamon

jonesing for: a bicycle. or new clothes. I don't really need either though.

kryptonite: anthropologie. and jars of any kind.

look-a-like: I tend to get julia stiles or alexis bledel a lot . . . not sure how I feel about that.

movies: oh, I don't know. the tree of life and little women? I don't watch many movies.

nicknames: ceenie. jessie-lynn. pookie.

obsessions: organization. good food. summer. nature. bread. design blogs. making lists.

perfume: philosophy's "summer grace." (I think I just like the name of it.)

quirk: playing with my food after a meal or shredding paper napkins under the table. yeah.

regrets: not spending more time in prayer. not being more adventurous.

starbucks: americano - black with cinnamon on top.

talent: um, making things beautiful?

university: wheaton college

vacation: maine. or california. or the mountains. or nepal. or italy. or a cottage in france. or london.

wine: I wish.

x: x to procrastination.

years: nineteen.

zen: near bodies of water. rooms full of sunlight. my morning room. st. bartholemew's in london.

[self-portrait while on a long walk through the cobblestone streets of durham, uk]