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

Monday, 6 October 2014

Some Thoughts on Rain

"Rain is Grace;
rain is the sky 
descending to the earth;
without rain there 
would be no life."
~John Updike

Autumn rain in the morning.

After weeks of a glorious Indian summer we're back to rainy skies this morning, but I don't mind at all.  Living most of my adult life in the rain shadow of the Cascade mountains of Washington state,  I had my fill of wall to wall sunshine month after month, until I was desperate for a dreary, cozy, fall day.  I know most British people don't share that sentiment and sun is all they wish for, but I still love a rainy day.

"The best thing one can do when 
it's raining is to let it rain."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Rain washed Merton College

Trust me, by March I'll be hungering for the sun and our endless summer evenings, but for now this transition into autumn and moving toward winter feels very good and is a welcome relief from a very busy summer.   We'll be putting our garden to sleep for the winter, getting out heavier blankets and quilts, the scarves will come out from the back of the closet, and the leeks and potatoes on our kitchen counter will turn into the soup that replaces our summer salads. Stuart and I need long evenings with our feet up, a fire going in the breakfast room, and guests snug and warm in their rooms.

This is a time for baking and reading and sleeping, reflection, regrouping and of rest.  Seasons are like the tide and fall is the ebbing of the tide, the autumn rains washing things out to sea, making way for what's to come in the fullness of a summer day.  So let the rains come.

"Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your
head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby."
~Langston Hughs

Shoppers and students on a rainy Cornmarket Street.

O sacred season of autumn, be my teacher,
for I wish to learn the virtue of contentment.
As I gaze upon your full-colored beauty,
I sense all about you
an at-homeness with your amber riches.

You are the season of retirement,
of full barns and harvested fields.
The cycle of growth has ceased,
and the busy work of giving life
is now completed.
I sense in you no regrets:
you've lived a full life.

I live in a society that is ever-restless,
always eager for more mountains to climb,
seeking happiness through more and more possessions.
As a child of my culture,
I am seldom truly at peace with what I have.
Teach me to take stock of what I have given and received,
may I know that it's enough,
that my striving can cease in the abundance of God's grace.
May I know the contentment
that allows the totality of my energies to come to full flower.
May I know that like you
I am rich beyond measure.

As you, O Autumn, take pleasure in your great bounty,
let me also take delight
in the abundance of the simple things
in life which are the true source of joy.
With the golden glow of peaceful contentment
may I truly appreciate this autumn day.
~Edward Hays

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