There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Friday, 7 March 2014

Finding Spring in Oxford

"It is spring again.  The earth is like a 
child that knows poems by heart."    
                                     ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Merton College along Grove Walk
After a very long and soggy winter, filled with a conveyor belt of storms that brought endless wind and rain to the UK, I think I can speak for an entire nation when I say we've been watching for any sign of spring, no matter how small.

One of the first signs was the snowdrops bravely pushing their way through last summer's grasses and autumn weeds, which were cruelly battered down and flattened by months of wind and rain.  They're not as delicate as they look, these little snowdrops.

"She turned to the sunlight and shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour, winter is dead."  ~A.A. Milne

As the snowdrops start to fade, the daffodils come out in force.  First in little nooks and crannies that are protected and warmed by the weak February sun, until finally by mid March there's a full chorus of yellow heads, waving along paths and side walks and roads, cheering on the warmth of the sun well into April.

Flowers return to our back terrace, in our window boxes and our bicycle out in front, along with dirt under my fingernails.

"In the spring, at the end of the
day, you should smell like dirt."
                     ~Margaret Atwood

One of the best places to mark the bloom of spring is 
in the college gardens.

Merton College

Merton College at Grove Lane

Spring even spills out onto the streets.
Radcliffe Square and the High Street at the University Church of St Mary.

But best of all is being able to step out my back door again after a long and especially cruel winter, and see the daffodils nodding in the breeze and the cheerful faces of purple pansies. The storms have finally passed, the moss is starting to fade, and soggy soddeness is being replaced by sun and freshness.  And finally in Oxford and in the countryside, we don't have to look far for spring.

Oxford University Parks
Balliol College

Christ Church Meadow along the River Cherwell

"Spring grew on..........and greenness grew over those 
brown beds, which freshening daily, suggested the thought 
that hope traversed them at night and left each morning 
brighter traces of her steps."  
                                                     ~Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

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