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

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Home Again, Home Again, Good to be Home Again.

No one realizes how beautiful
it is to travel until he comes
home and rests his head on
his old, familiar pillow.
~Lin Yutang

Eight years ago exactly, when I made England my home with Stuart, I took a pair of decorative pinking shears and neatly cut my heart in two--splitting it between Washington State and Oxford. Now Home is Washington and Home is Oxford. I've logged a lot of air miles between these two places since then, and just flew 10,000 miles more. It makes me tired just typing that!

It's never easy living with your heart split in two, but it does makes life sweeter. So coming back last week to my English home, after three weeks away visiting my American home, was very sweet. It's good to be back, especially home to Oxford in May. Every moment has been a revelation, since when I left the trees were barely leafed out and the lilacs were full of tight buds. I returned to an explosion of spring. Wisteria is hanging heavily against college walls and archways, and there are lilacs on every corner scenting the air. Sweet, sweet May.

I always think of lilacs as the Queen
of spring and wisteria as the King.

The Laburnam especially has been exploding
with blooms and colour this year.

Bright yellow Laburnum with
New College as a backdrop.

Laburnum mixed with Queen Anne's Lace,
also known as wild carrot, in Holywell Cemetery.
The Queen Anne's Lace in Holywell Cemetery
grew about five feet in my absence. It lines the
pathway now so you almost feel like a bride
walking down the aisle--or at least I do.
I'm pretty sure Stuart just feels like
a bloke walking [insert smile emoji here].

Buttercups and ox-eye daisies 
have appeared too.

Stuart and Jack are awfully glad to have me
home and Jack spent the first few days
leaping and bounding wherever he went.

Exuberance is Beauty.
~William Blake

The first thing I did when we got back from
Heathrow was to take a walk. It's a great remedy
for jet-lag and helped me relax before going 
to bed. The evening shadows were just falling.

Wild irises growing in Holywell Cemetery.

I only had a day of rest before we re-opened
and our guests arrived, but my first day
home was a perfect day. I slept in until
9:30am and then we had a beautiful and
long morning walk in the University Parks.

Jack, so happy amongst the buttercups,
glad to have us all together again.
From the University Parks we walked straight
to the Turf Tavern, just down the street from us,
between Holywell Street and New College Lane. 
Lunch out on the terrace sitting in the sun, me with
my cider and Stuart with his Hook Norton ale.
A perfect welcome home.

We had a leisurely lunch out on the
sunny terrace--and then back down the
street, back home for a three hour nap.
(The other best remedy for jet lag.)
It was an ideal spring day, a light blue 
sky flecked with little fleecy white clouds
drifting across from west to east. The 
sun was shining very brightly, and yet
there was an exhilarating nip in the air,
which set an edge to a man's energy.
~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle .

After our nap and a cup of tea, it was out to
the garden to see how my garden grows.
Miss Havisham and Lady Catherine de Bourgh
were so happy to see me, or at least I think they
were. Maybe it was just the blueberries I tossed
to them. Hard to say with chickens.

Miss Havisham in her natural habitat surrounded
by forget-me-nots and English daisies. The lawn
needs a good mowing, so that's today's job.
I never get tired of opening the little door and
seeing their daily gift to me. I always thank the
girls and tell them how wonderful they are,
and they strut around saying, "We know."
And now I've been home for exactly five days and feel like I'm back in the Oxford groove again. Back to making breakfast, back to walking everywhere, back in time for glorious spring and summer. Living as I do, with my heart always in two places, is not easy. I'm always missing someone or someplace, always longing. But it also means that I have to dig deeper into myself and find the vein of a deeper life, look for the 'deeper magic' as Aslan calls it. As long as I do that, a life with a heart split in two carries more meaning and with that, more joy. And with joy comes gratitude. Gratitude for a safe trip and a wonderful, magical time with my family and friends, and gratitude for the home I've come back to. So you see? A heart cut in two by a pair of pinking shears is a good thing. As it turns out, it's ALL good.

Happiness is a form of courage. 
~Holbrook Jackson


  1. I've never been to England and yet my heart longs to be there. So strange to be drawn so fiercely to a place I've never been.

    1. I know just what you mean, and also felt that for many years. Just keep longing and hoping and dreaming, and one day that dream to be in England will come true. I promise, England will not disappoint. Thanks for stopping by today and take care. Carrie xxoo

  2. Wonderful blog, Carrie. I love the metaphor of the heart cut in two by pinking shears!! It helps to see the best in all the places lived. And I feel the richer for having experienced several "worlds" -- East Coast, West Coast, and in between!! They all offer something different.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, and your lovely photos of Spring in Oxford. Truly a magical time to be there. Is there any time that's not magical there, though!! Enjoy experiencing it through you!

    Fondly, Jane xoxo

    1. Hi Jane ~ Thank you and thanks for sharing your thoughts as always. It's very true, Oxford is magical the year round but May, along with October, are my two favourite months. It never gets old and I feel inspired by it every single day. Take care, safe travels up to Kansas City, and have a wonderful, magical time with Sweet Susan and all the GFs. Carrie xxxooo

  3. Good morning Carrie! So much in your beautiful post resonates with me...having half my family in Australia means that I can never feel truly content. But we're home! And it's gorgeous! May is my favourite of all months I think...soft, fragrant, green and so very beautiful. Welcome back to Oxford! xx

    1. Good morning to you Rachel......and you know then exactly how it feels, always split in two. But it's a wonderful life too, which I learned once I fully embraced it. Sometimes things are just hard--but you're still OK. And May is so magnificent--that's why I made sure I was home to enjoy at least half of it. Even today in the rain, it's magnificent. I can hear the flowers in our garden growing. :-) BTW Stuart just asked for more brownies for his birthday in July--so we're looking forward to seeing that beautiful box come in the post. Have a wonderful day and so excited for September! xxxCarrieooo

    2. .........and for anyone reading these comments.....Rachel is a Brownie Wizardess and her brownies are the best in all the land. If you're in the UK please please run, don't walk, to her website and order your own brownie magic.