“Idylls of the King” jogs my memory as stories of knights but these are tales of the ladies. I read “Enid” with amazement at how well this reads as a story. Now I am reading “Vivien” and what a vixen is she! This I knew from reading the Mary Stewart novels and others, each with its unique viewpoint. Next comes “Elaine” and then “Guinevere.” My copy was published by Ticknor and Fields in M DCCC LXIV. I come up with 1864. My book is that old! It’s pages are still strong but the leather binding began to give way and I strengthened it with strips of thin gauze inside the front and back covers.
The book is propped up with my newest scarf in “Drooping Elm Leaf” pattern.
Amy Clampitt wrote this lovely poem.
Recently I reread “The Lady of the Lake.” I am memorizing German poetry. What a turn-around to read German poetry that was originally written in English!
This will be a very quick note and photo to tell you that I am reading Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun, who won a Nobel prize for Literature in 1920, partly based on this book, which was recommended to me on the basis of the theme of connection with the soil. No one prepared me for the theme of infanticide that dominates. I notice that in this former era the author’s thoughts and opinions and judgments could be expressed almost as a side commentary to the plot, a practice that I doubt would be accepted today. I would like to enter into dialogue with the author on some of his assumptions and regret that I cannot.
Yes, the African Violet is in full bloom and is one of the very few house plants that remains indoors. My front porch is a conservatory for most of the potted plants during the summers.
I tend the gardens and I read.
We have a new clump of Foxglove that is about to open with a hint of pink., next to the Russian Sage. The Oriental Poppies are more than a hint of luscious pink. I moved a tall variety of violet to the other side of the house under a newly trimmed pine and gave it a dose of dark compost. Out in the vegetable garden my tomatoes grown from seed are safely snugged inside half a dozen wire towers. The carrots and beets are weeded. The only strays I leave near them are young California Poppies. At least a few Nasturtiums have sprouted near the picket fencing. Wild and tame Morning Glories twine together. I marked the prettiest blue and white lupine stems with twistie ties to distinguish their seeds from the plain violet spires.
I am reading THE BLACK BANNERS by Ali H. Soufan and have just finished JAYBER CROW by Wendell Berry. I cannot afford to miss these books. If anybody knows of other must-reads, please tell me.
Now I turn to doll-making.
The lower branches of the pines snapped off easily and once removed left pathways through my little forest. I planted Impatiens and clumps of moss and Forget-me-nots. Two Jack-in-the-pulpits already grew there, and a Painted Fern, and a Goatsbeard. Two large Rhododendrons close by are now in full bloom.
…From a dark and fertile corner springs something glorious….
I am still here.
The photo shows my hand-spun, hand-knitted shrug, just completed with a crocheted picot edging. Enjoying the cosy setting are my two favorite Cabbage Patch dolls.
A quick note ~ I have been reading essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson and am astonished at their content, expanse of vision, and congenial use of abstracts that usually turn me away. Joel drew my attention to Emerson. Several summers ago Joel and I were browsing in an antique book store in Waterville where I found a beautiful edition of Emerson poems. I bought the volume and gave it to Joel for his birthday. Now he is pairing the thoughts of Thoreau with the poems of Emerson, focusing on a beautiful poem titled Hamatreya.
The first note here is a reminder to myself to consult the author directly rather than relying on the critics, several of whom have been less than enthusiastic about the poetry of Emerson. To my taste, Hamatreya is a wonderful poem, and I am enjoyably in the midst of reading Emerson’s essay titled “Spiritual Laws” from an old Spencer Press hard-cover reprinted in 1936 and now in my possession.
This morning, treading gingerly in my Birkenstock sandals, I took a stroll across the frozen tundra of the back lawn to see what might be happening inside the picket-fence that borders our vegetable garden. I removed a window pane from the cold frame and tested the soil. It is soft! In a few minutes I will plant some seeds for salad greens. Near the Tithonia stalks I noticed a pair of sewing shears lying on the grassy path, Gingher Chrome shears, showing rust. After checking to see whether brother Fred’s mint had sent up new shoots, and finding none in the solidly frozen ground, I brought the shears inside and gave them a good going over with steel wool. I dug out my scissor-sharpening tool and squeezed the blades through it a few times, then tested a fabric scrap from the Russian dress.
To my astonishment, the shears that spent the winter outside cut fabric better than the pair I have been using!