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

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

March So Far--A Walk in the Park

One attraction in coming to the woods to
live was that I should have leisure and
opportunity to see the spring come in.
~Henry David Thoreau

 March is already half over and I don't know how it happened. Every year January and February march a slow slog through time and seem to last for months each. Then the month of March comes along, I blink, and it's half over. Sometimes I think if not for Jack, I'd go from February to April and not know how I got there. But Jack gets us out into 'March' every day, three times a day and we experience every bit of it--not just the daffodils, but the wind, the filmy sunshine, the misty rain, and the morning fog. There's no escaping March when you have a puppy that needs walking, but it also means we have the "opportunity to see the spring come in".

This is what happens when puppies get bored~
they turn into laundry thieves and

have stand-offs with vacuum cleaners.

So we walk, and walk some more.
We walk in the University Parks, we walk in
Holywell Cemetery and Christ Church meadow,
sometimes we just walk around the block,
but always we walk...........and often run.

Rain never stops us and
we always play as we walk.

Throughout all our walks we watch the seasons 
come and go-- and what's better than
eagerly watching out for signs of spring?

Come and let us seek together
Springtime lore of daffodils,
Giving to the golden weather
Greeting on the sun-warm hills.
~ Lucy Maud Montgomery, 
'Spring Song'

Early daffodils peek
out from behind a gate.

The Holywell Cemetery spring clean-up means
there's an abundance of sticks to collect and
proudly carry along, anxious to get them home.

The March winds have been blowing cold, so we all still
have been bundling up with winter scarves and hats--

as well as wee puppy coats.
Walking down Parks Road,
bundled up against the cold.

On the mornings we have off and no breakfast to serve, it's
wonderful to see be able to see Oxford in the early morning
light--something we're so rarely able to do.

Wadham College cottages, Parks Road

Now that the sun is returning and the days 
are longer, we see the late afternoon and early
evening light too, as the sun sets over Oxford.
However dark the night, however dim our hopes, 
the light will always follow darkness.
 ~Louis Zamperini
Late afternoon light in the University Parks.

What a privilege it is, in the middle of a bustling
city, to see wildlife, to see nature amidst the
dreaming spiresSometimes we're lucky enough
to spot a fox or a deer, but mostly it's birds who
accompany our walks, their songs growing
louder each day we draw closer to spring.

To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk
or an evening saunter;
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird’s nest or
a wildflower in spring —
these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
~John Burroughs

Jack, busy discovering his first Spring.
And maybe the best way to mark the march
toward spring is with flowers,
greeting each one as it newly blooms.

I love spring anywhere,
but if I could choose I would
always greet it in a garden.
~Ruth Stout

Jack and new life in the University Parks.

Now is the time in the illuminated woods.....
when every leaf glows like a tiny lamp.
~John Burroughs

And it's not just in the parks or the meadow
that spring is arriving and March is making it's
way to April, Holywell is marking spring's
progress too--as always, with flowers.

Narcissus bloom on our back terrace with the
Harris Manchester clock tower as a backdrop.

Laundry room windowbox.
And always, ALWAYS, flowers in the
kitchen--how I love daffodil season.
Daffodils light the way to spring--only a few more days!

I don't know what smell of wet earth or rotting leaves brought back my childhood with a rush and all the happy days I had spent in a garden. Shall I ever forget that day? It was the beginning of my real life, my coming of age as it were, and entering into my kingdom. Early March, gray, quiet skies, and brown, quiet earth; leafless and sad and lonely enough out there in the damp and silence, yet there I stood feeling the same rapture of pure delight in the first breath of spring that I used to as a child, and the five wasted years fell from me like a cloak, and the world was full of hope, and I vowed myself then and there to nature and have been happy ever since.
~ Elizabeth von Arnim, Elizabeth & Her German Garden, 1898


  1. Hi Carrie: How lovely! The poetry and the flowers, and of course, Jack!! Such a delightful break in my morning's work to look up and see FAWLTY SPIRES in my inbox!! Thank you for another enchanting walk through Oxford parks and cemetery. Enjoyed seeing you and Stuart taking turns, too! Jane xoxo

    1. ....and it's just about time for another walk--last one of the day. Whew--then we can put our feet up for a bit! Hope all is well. :-) xxCarrieoo

  2. Hi Carrie! Oh how I love your blog and your posts. Thank you so much for sharing your life, your photos and Jack with us! Have a happy Wednesday. Bless you! Xoxo

    1. You're very welcome!! I've always thought that Jack is just too good and sweet not to share his little face and antics. Thanks as always for stopping by! xxCarrieoo

  3. Thank you for your beautiful pictures , quotes and writing ! I especially love that you quoted from EVA , Elizabeth and Her German Garden . I'm hoping I can find a copy one day . I googled her , what a life she had - often very difficult . I have to thank you for introducing me to Gladys Tabor and Susan Branch , I love them ! I just started reading SB's A Fine Romance , falling in love with the English Countryside , I can't put it down ! Maybe we'll meet for tea one day :) P.S my " real " first name is Ruby , Beatrice is my middle name . I was named after my English grandmother from Shrewsbury , Ruby Wild .Sadly she died when I was one year old but I realized something a few months ago when I was thinking about her . She really left a big hole in our lives and I was grieving the fact that I've never known her when it occurred to me that she knew me and would have held me and cuddled and kissed me . I just never thought of it that way and it gives me great comfort now . We made it to Shrewsbury in 2008 to scatter my Mom's ashes in the Dell ( some of her is in Oxford Botanical Gardens too :) ). I should have moved there when I was young and brave ! Take Care ,Ruby .

    1. Hi Ruby~Elizabeth and Her German Garden is such a treasure book. Whenever I read it, I want to imprint almost all of it onto my heart. As your family is from Shropshire, you may like the author Mary Webb (or you may have already heard of her). She lived and wrote in Shropshire and wove it into her stories. Her book 'Precious Bane' is one of my most favourite books, one I can read over and over again. She was chronically ill but managed to publish quite a few books and C.S. Lewis was one of her biggest fans--he wrote the forward to an edition of 'Precious Bane'. She paints a beautiful picture of Shropshire and the Welsh Marches. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and story and thank you for being here. xxCarrieoo