Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Jack

our beloved friend, author and brother-in-Christ, C. S. Lewis.
.
November 29, 1898 - November 22, 1963
endlessly quotable,
tremendously insightful,
Known in our home not only for launching the Dawn Treader and such, but for so often putting into words something dear to our hearts, but difficult to express.  He is quoted and referenced a great deal here, not only for his brilliant mind and writings, but also for his appreciation of the cosy pleasures of life; such as Tea, reading, and solitude.  Here is a delightful quote of his on just such a subject.

"For if I could please myself…I would choose always to breakfast at exactly eight and to be at my desk by nine, there to read or write till one. If a cup of good tea or coffee could be brought me about eleven, so much the better. A step or so out of doors for a pint of beer would not do quite so well; for a man does not want to drink alone and if you meet a friend in the taproom the break is likely to be extended beyond its ten minutes. At one precisely lunch should be on the table; and by two at the latest I would be on the road. Not, except at rare intervals, with a friend. Walking and talking are two very great pleasures, but it is a mistake to combine them.
The return from the walk, and the arrival of tea, should be exactly coincident, and not later than a quarter past four. Tea should be taken in solitude…for eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably. At five a man should be at work again, and at it till seven. Then, at the evening meal and after, comes the time for talk, or failing that, for lighter reading; and unless you are making a night of it with your cronies, there is no reasons why you should ever be in bed later than eleven. But when is a man to write his letters? You forget that I am describing the happy life I led with Kirk or the ideal life I would live now if I could. And it is an essential of the happy life that a man would have almost no mail and never dread the postman’s knock.
Such is my ideal, and such the (almost) was the reality of “settled, calm, Epicurean life.” It is no doubt for my own good that I have been so generally prevented from leading it, for it is a life almost entirely selfish."
-C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, p.143

Monday, November 7, 2011

November


  As I visited Jodi's lovely blog today, I was inspired to write about the beauties of November myself.  Contrary to the dark forebodings of some, I look on this month as a relished, not to say essential part of the year.
 For me it is the bridge between beloved Autumn and the Joyous season, encompassing both in its slate-colored days.  Not that this time cannot glow with an Octoberish brightness, but after all I like the colors of frost and bare-trees and woodsmoke.  Centuries of 'nesting' (harvesting, storing, and tucking in for the winter) has graced the arch of this bridge, and the air is sweet with the first preparations and expectancies of the coming One.
Among the Novemberish beauties is our First Snow.  It actually happened in October this year, and not a flake stayed on the ground, but it still fits the category.  I hope I never forget the thrill of joy and sparkle that comes with each year's first snow.  Some years it starts with a blizzard, and sometimes we only have a few flurries before December, but it's always an occasion.
 Dad noticed it first from work, and called home.  I ran out to make sure, and watched with glee as a few white specks flew down and melted on my hand.  I then called Katie, and she hurried to show Greta before they stopped falling: our day was made. 
Of course I hurried to the attic right away for the Charlie Brown Christmas CD--we always get to listen to that on the first day of snow.  It was chilly up there, and the light was dim.  I had no idea where it would be, and ended up finding it in the bottom of three stacked storage bins (which I balanced on another pile while pulling out the box).  But I wouldn't have missed that moment for anything.  That old red box has held our Christmas music for as long as I can remember, and just last year Mama glued a vintage magazine clipping over the ripped spot on top.  I put the bins back and opened the red lid.  Each CD and cassette in that box is as familiar to me as any Christmas tradition, and I fingered lovingly the worn and cracked cases that reminded me of my whole life.  Everything from Bing Crosby & Nat King Cole, to Handel's Messiah is in that box.  And right there, under a few others, is the one I am looking for: Charlie Brown Christmas.
I thought for a moment of how many times I have retrieved that CD on the first day of snow, and how comforting traditions are, even in a new and different home.  Somehow I'm surprised we have lived here less than a year!
I carefully replaced the lid on the special box and left it in the attic, but easily retrievable this time.  I creaked down the stairs, turned off the light, shut the ceiling door, and glanced for a moment out the window at the sky that begins to look wintry.  Then I hurried down to the kitchen to push play on O Tannenbaum.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Here and There

~freckles and sunshine~
Luzianne
family suppers...

Pies for suppers, pies for feasts...


~~potato soup in the making~~