Thursday, 18 June 2015

Hope gives you wings


"They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for."
Tom Bodett)
What is Hope?
As a word, we scatter it like seed throughout our everyday conversations; we hope it won't rain, we hope to get there by two, we hope England will beat Slovenia, we hope you feel better, hope to hear from you soon. Yet this benign four letter word, so handy and familiar, has such huge connotations.
Hope is a word of wonderment, desire and longing, chance and miracles. A little word of really epic, Biblical proportions. It fuels our dreams, it holds Love's hand; life partners with Trust, they sit like a gentle mantle around the broad shoulders of Faith itself.
Heady stuff, this Hope. I've always loved Emily Dickinson's poem " Hope Is The Thing With Feathers": my association of Hope with angels, flight and rescue I suppose. Like many, I feel comforted when a white feather flutters towards me; a message of goodwill and encouragement from the heavens. Although in this part of Brighton, perhaps I should be more wary of flying feathers and the well-being of my feathered friends, Jonathan Seagull and his somewhat hooligan companions.
In a week when one of my neighbours has tried to do something unspeakable to Jonathan, the bird's hope and faith in general and in me in particular feels humbling. He was back in the comparative safety of my garden within an hour of the shameful incident,  around my feet and within spitting distance of the cat. I hope my neighbour realises that Jonathan is indeed a fine specimen of a species protected by the law; I hope Jonathan doesn't rely on that intelligence.
Hope is indeed the birds chirping in my garden each dawn and dusk, possibly recognising that the strange dweller of a place bedecked with lanterns, chimes and Buddhas is probably good for a digestive biscuit or two. Hope is my own persistent watering of what a friend described as a marooned twiglet until it became a fuchsia once more. Most essentially, Hope is that fuchsia.
Mankind is all hopefulness. We have built our society on Hope. Victor Hugo noted that our future is made up of today's hopes. And indeed we live our lives in the hope of becoming someone's memory.
Hope really does "spring eternal". Like Faith, it is naturally occurring; as essential to the spirit as nourishment is to the human body. Yet it's evolution can't be tamed or mapped by our sciences; we cant reproduce it in a test-tube. The unsung, extra-sensory gift; it's the Desert Island Discs luxury that we all have as standard/
A few years ago, I toyed with the idea of a bright tattoo. I wondered about a Celtic cross on my upper arm, but my sister's reminder that I've inherited sturdy Celtic limbs chastened me that I might resemble a merchant seaman. The only other design I was taken by was a pair of angel-wings between my shoulder blades. To me, they signified optimism and nurturing, being both protected and protective. Finally, friends convinced me I could hold on to my dreams without looking like a reject from The Only Way Is The A27.
Far away from the angels, I often hear folk hoping for darker things than a football score or a lottery win. They "hope" that others will get what they deserve, or come undone; terminal illness is often a preferred option. Can something as unsullied and beautiful as Hope really become hitched to a curse?
Hope is universal. Like Freedom, it is not divisible; you cannot have it at someone else's expense. I'm certain that Slovenians were praying just as fervently for an extra goal against England a few days ago; Hope cheers on both sides of what is, truthfully, only ever a Beautiful Game, favouring only skill and recognising fortune.
I'm equally sure that my seagull-hating neighbours hope I will pack up and move and take my feathered friends, chimes and lanterns with me. By return, I hope they'll leave me and Jonathan in peace. Hope is not partisan. And war, where Hope flourishes as battlefield flowers and kindles homefires - how can Hope ever be available to our enemies? The neutrality of Hope should be comforting: Hope didn't want conflict in the first place.
If I can find some inexpensive, vegetarian-friendly angel-wings in Brighton, I hope to wear them to our Pride festival this summer. Meanwhile, the white quill feather I found on my doorstep at the weekend is now propped in one of my garden pots. I've checked that it isn't one of Jonathan's. He's already given it a beady eye. I hope he doesn't mind.
"Hope Is The Thing With Feathers"
(Emily Dickinson) 

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
"Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the windows which hope has opened."
Charles H. Spurgeon)
"The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveller than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination."
Marion Zimmer Bradley)
"Hope is a waking dream."
"Not About Angels"  Birdy

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Resolution and Remembrance

"Auld Lang Syne". Mairie Campbell (version) 
"Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future."
(Fulton Outsole)

"I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done."
(Lucille Ball)

"At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent."
(Barbara Bush)

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne;
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for the sake of auld lang syne."
(Robert Burns - adapted)
My mother said that there were always four things you could never get back in life; the harsh word after it was spoken, the stone after it was thrown, the occasion after it was missed, the time after it was lost. We set our lives to the ticking of clocks and the buzzing of alarms, dashing from one scrawled page entry to another. We tie ourselves into appointments and routines to make the most of the time we may have, then mourn the lack of time we've left ourselves simply To Be.
At New Year, we celebrate the opportunity to do all the things we've been meaning to do but  never found the time for. We immediately make lists, physically or mentally, and commit a whole new calendar to appointments and events. Yet we also encourage ourselves to look to times past; to reminisce and mourn. Memories, remembrance; this is how we mortals hold on to people, animals, places and events. It's how we hold on to ourselves in the passage of time.
I wasn't unduly surprised when a friend told me that the blog and I had missed New Year, even before the twelve days of Christmas 2014 were over. We pin our hopes and dreams on the big clock striking midnight; we link arms with inebriated strangers to call to mind sadly missed loved ones and opportunities. Then the first day of January stumbles into the second day, slips into the third and beyond... The truth is that this will be a "new" year until we embark on the next one, God willing. It's a fair assumption, based on personal experience, that the majority of resolutions earnestly embarked on ten days ago will be abandoned within weeks. Is it any less commendable if we restart the diet, finish the painting, join the gym or begin the Mandarin conversation course in May?
Mankind has not equipped itself well so far this new year: the news stories attest to revenge and aggression rather than remembrance and resolution. In the blink of an eye, the squeeze of a trigger, those who were so recently clearing away over-priced wrapping paper and cheap tinsel and vowing to give up smoking after that last packet are gone. Whoever they are, whatever they have done, their names may indeed be brought to mind for those who remain to link arms at midnight at the end of this year. And so it continues; until, one day, it stops.
All our days are numbered; the longest life may still be too short if it's heavy on regrets. I have learned at least one lesson in recent years; that time can scar as well as heal when it's mishandled. This year, I've resisted the urge to comfort myself with a list of resolutions that may become a testament of regrets. Instead, I've decided that, whatever I achieve or fail to do, getting through this year must be sweeter if I try to move forward with Grace, Grit and Gratitude in equal measure.
Instead of New Year's resolutions, I've included here some little guidelines to living well, applicable regardless of how old the year is, or indeed how old we are. I've also included a favourite version of "Auld Lang Syne", even though New Year's Eve really is old-long-since; possibly not that surprising, considering my Robbie Burns crush. Burns didn't intend to restrict his iconic anthem to one day of the year. Across the globe, it's sung on birthdays and anniversaries, at funerals and reunions. I often find myself humming it in my local Poundland (they're used to me). Which is just grand, because resolution and remembrance, like friendship and kindness, are for life, not just New Year x

 ("One Day Like This"  Elbow, with the BBC Concert Orchestra and choir Chantage)
"Drinking in the morning sun,
Blinking in the morning sun;
Shaking off a heavy one,
 Heavy like a loaded gun.
What made me behave that way,
Using words I never say?
I can only think it must be love:
Oh anyway, it's looking like a beautiful day.
 So throw those curtains wide;
One day like this a year will see me right."
(Garvey, Jupp, Potter, Potter and Turner)


Sunday, 4 January 2015

It's a Cracker: in search of Comfort and Joy

"Ring out the old, ring in the new;
Ring, happy bells, across the snow.
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true."
(Alfred Tennyson)
 I had already prepared this and another fairly light-hearted post for the New Year before events beyond Gigionsea shocked and saddened the world. Planes drop from the heavens and people continue to take up arms against each other; disease and discontent find seemingly endless ways to hide and thrive and re-invent in the dark recesses of fear and deprivation. The news through the yuletide period into the New Year has been bleak. I held onto my posts like leftover crackers, not wanting to be trite or uncaring.
Yet the truth of it is that terrible things really do happen everyday to good, ordinary people. There really are ''natural disasters''; the progression of technology is ultimately powerless against the might of the elements or the repeated lessons of human failing. If we have evolved as a species with our Googling of the best ''friendly bacteria'', we must accept that the tiniest, most insignificant-seeming microbe might grow and mutate and find alien ways to attack us.
Through it all, life remains essentially an unbidden gift and . Although I have my own boundaries, incidents and situations I would never make light of or joke about, I also respect the resilience of the smile. As I unashamedly believe in God, I believe that we can find the laughter of God everywhere; as often as we can invoke His tears.
We will all die: this is a certainty but no less distressing and even painful for that. Some of us will die young, some old. Some of us will die in planes, on the road, at the hands of another, in an anodyne hospital bed. The truest tragedy is not to have lived up to that moment; not to have said that ''hello'' as much as any goodbye. Not to have made that call, seen that sunset, painted that picture, held that person. Each time we witness the inevitability of our mortality or the indiscriminate lottery of fortune, surely we must find life all the more precious? Death is indeed inevitable but the giving and living of life are unconditionally wondrous, whatever church you will or won't subscribe along the way.
Many of the traditional excesses that found their way onto our Christmas dinner tables or hung around our bedraggled front rooms on New Year's Eve are rooted in the debauched and often cruel carnival that the Romans celebrated at Saturnalia. Depending on your viewpoint, Saturn was the resident god of seeds and harvest, liberation and wealth, waging war and death, Saturn's festival would run in the Julian calendar from around 17th December for more than a week. Animal and even human life was sacrificed, fires were lit, huge feasts consumed, lavish gifts and displays of affection and lust were exchanged. Within the continual partying, drunkenness, extravagant costumes, ribald humour and wild sex were to be expected. It was probably not unlike Brighton's West Street at dusk in the run-up to Christmas Eve.
At it's most innocuous, Saturnalia was also a festival of lights leading up to the winter solstice, with an abundance of candles lighting the quest for knowledge and truth. The advent of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman empire with the feast of the "Sol Invictus"; the Unconquerable Sun...
Our baubled Christmas trees and bumbled kisses under the mistletoe are steeped in Roman pagan beliefs. My own tree, Noel, now in his ninth year, is currently flickering outside my back door. His outdoor lights may be from B & Q, but his triangular shape and evergreen presence are rooted (sorry) in the conversion of pagan festivity to Christian celebration, with symbolism evolving to illustrate the holy trinity and eternal life.
I wondered where Christmas crackers originated from and was surprised to learn they only surfaced in 1840s Europe. One Tom Smith, a noted purveyor of confectionery, created larger "bon-bons", wrapped with a twist at the end. He inserted little love messages and tokens into the bon-bons; then small gifts, mottos and jokes. He latter added the banger mechanism to emulate the crackle and pop of  yuletide fires and fireworks. The revised name "cracker" is onomatopoeic. The inclusion of paper crowns takes us right back to Romans; even the servants would play at being kings for a few days.
Finding absurdity and joy in the nitty-gritty minutiae and harshest realities of life truly is as ancient as looking to the stars for miracles.
"Semper Saturnalia agunt. (They're always celebrating Saturnalia.)"
"Non semper Saturnalia erunt. (It won't always be Saturnalia-time.)"

"In Dulce Jubilo"  Mike Oldfield
(Photo: Gigi, album)
Noel the Christmas Tree; Comfort and Joy, from my home to yours x

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Hang Your Shining Star Upon The Highest Bough

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” 
(Roy L. Smith) 
“Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.”
(G.  K. Chesterton)

I hope this Christmastime, or "the holidays" if you prefer, has found (and left) you warm, safe and encouraged. I also hope you're still full of wonder! Christmas is traditionally a wondrous time, filled with tinsel and baubles and stars and lights and cake. I've never quite worked out where the fairy on top of the tree figures in the equation, even though I live in Brighton...
From childhood, Christmas is a time of stories: to cynicise over, to ponder, laugh at and maybe even to learn from. As usual, I'm full of my own stories, but then this is my blog. There is a tale behind my absence from this site, which happily culminates in a new laptop for Christmas. While I've been lost in cyberspace, someone has indeed carried on reading "The Water Is Wide"; who knows what he or she may have made of the stories suspended here?
I love a parable; I do believe that all stories are didactic, even if there's no such intention or design. The modern-day parables reproduced here aren't specifically Christmas tales, but if you look closely, I think you will find the baubles, lights and stars x   

Who Is The Rich Man?
One day, a wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country so he could see how the poor people lived. They spent a day and a night at the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip, the father asked his son:"How was the trip?"
"Very good, Dad!"
"Did you see how poor people can be?"
"Yes indeed."
"And what did you learn?"
The son answered, "I saw that we have a pedigree dog at home, and they have four stray dogs who choose to live with them. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden; they have a creek that has no end. We have expensive lamps in the house; they have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard; they look to the whole horizon."

When the little boy was finished, the father was speechless. His son added, "Thanks Dad, for showing me how rich poor people can be!"

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with 86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course! Each of us has such a bank. It's name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest in good purpose. Time carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. You cannot draw against your "tomorrow." You must live in the present on today's  account. You must invest it well so as to get from it the most of health and happiness. The clock is running. Make the most of today. To realise the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade. To realise the value of one hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realise the value of one minute, ask a person who missed that train. Treasure every second that you have. Remember that time waits for no one. Today is the gift. That's why it's called the present.

Donkey in the Well
One day a farmer's donkey fell down a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old, that the well needed to be covered anyway and that it just wasn't worth retrieving the donkey. So he invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realised what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quietened down. When the farmer could finally bear to look down the well, he was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing.  As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt down the well, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off! Life is always going to shovel dirt at you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and use it to take a step up.

(Adapted from:

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
(Dr Seuss: "The Grinch")

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"  Sam Smith (version)

Monday, 21 July 2014

Blogging: a pencil full of lead


"In the soul of every new-born baby,
words are waiting to be written."
(Toba Beta)

"Appearance blinds, whereas words reveal."
(Oscar Wilde) 

"Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall."
Jodi Picoult)
"A blog is only as interesting as the interest shown in others."
Lee Odden)

"Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule."  
(Stephen King)
   "Only on the Internet can a person be lonely and popular at the same time."
Allison Burnett)
 " In a sense, who you are has always been a story that you told to yourself. Now your self is a story that you tell to others."
Geoff Ryman)
"Pencil Full of Lead"  Paolo Nutini with The Vipers (acoustic)

Sunday, 13 July 2014


"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
(Nelson Mandela)
(Photos: Gigi, album)
"Hi Honey, I'm home!"
 Just when you thought it was safe to meander along Blogger again, something stirs down by the pier at Gigi-on-Sea. I haven't blogged for the longest time: not since late February; more like a writer's barricade than just a block.
I certainly hadn't intended to stop writing on "The Water is Wide". Having been quite ill at the beginning of the year, I was fortunate enough to be able to return to Australia for most of March, my birthday month. I knew I wouldn't be writing while I was away from home, but came back bristling with stories, songs and smiles. Sadly, my telecommunications back in Brighton were not bristling with anything much throughout April and May; a personal supply of BT engineers crawling around your living room looking for your WIFI hotspot really isn't as exciting as it might sound.
By June, I decided that maybe my little blog had retired into a natural decline and should be left to pass gently in it's sleep. While the blog slept deeper, this year has rushed ahead of many of us as we try to keep track of work, bills and other people. My sister has started her Christmas shopping for goodness' sake, although my brother-in-law would probably say that it takes her mind off real estate.
Since February, I've still not learnt to play my ukulele but have also acquired a bodhran. I've been adopted by a second seagull, introduced by Jonathan but clearly not schooled by him. Where Jonathan is large and a bit brash and bombastic, Junior is smaller, louder and possibly psychotic. Jonathan is a Frequent Flyer to Gigi-on-Sea; Junior more of a stalker, hanging on the garden fence from dawn till dusk and knocking on the window of any room he spies me in. Ginger the cat was already stressed by Jonathan but now looks as though he might just call The Cats' Protection League.
Ginger has been very poorly this month after lacerating his tongue probably eating out of a rusty tin-can somewhere. In true Drama Cat style, he reacted badly to being confined to convalesce indoors by jumping out of a first floor window. Having shocked the pair of us, he's made a rapid and even remarkable recovery, largely to stop me pureeing his food and Becoming Emotional with him.
In the past couple of months, I've realised that I've made a few false friends in Brighton and elsewhere. Yet I've also rediscovered friends from old long since, for all the good reasons that originally bound me to them. Since February, friends have married, separated, reproduced, found religion, discovered themselves (although one went to Birmingham to do this which sounds unlikely). One friend has landed a great position without looking or applying for it; a couple have lost steady jobs, their sense of humour or even the plot.
My effervescent friend Leigh sadly lost his long battle with the bottle but inspired half a town to turn out to walk behind his coffin.
In recent weeks, I've known people lose their partners and parents while yet another has given birth ten years after being told she would never conceive; similar to my mother's experience when I cam along. Apart from being a boy, obviously.
Then in March, I met Hollie, much loved baby born to Kelli, my much missed friend who returned to her Australian homeland a few years ago. I immediately felt like Hollie's long-lost Auntie G, and after some whooping and grinning at Brisbane airport it felt like I had just met up with Kel again after work for a jar.
The late poet and mystic John O'Donohue realised that the truest and most natural friendships are always an act of recognition, an ancient knowledge. I believe this most tangible form of deja vu, which soothes the heart and moves the spirit, applies to places and animals as well as people. Sometimes encountering strangers or travelling to new places feels less like a departure or discovery than an almost foetal homing. It's a feeling I experienced when I first set foot in Sydney many years ago, when I first came to view my little house in Brighton with it's dampness and dismal wallpaper; when I first created my template for "The Water is Wide".

There are stories everywhere. There is history and hope in every stone, twig and droplet. I believe that baby Hollie has been born with all the words she will ever need, waiting within. Her stories were already written when her mum met her dad. More than any photo albums, letters and mementos, my sister and I am what endures of my own mother and father; we carry their stories within our own. What is left up to us is the unfolding. It really is the way we tell 'em. I've often wondered if my parents would be reading this blog if they were alive. The truest answer is that they've helped to write it.
For someone seen as "the quiet one" in the family, I've always had much to say for myself, occasionally for others too. When I was about eight, my headmistress Sister Sebastian chastised me for attempting to read a more "adult" book in preference to Enid Blyton. The book was actually Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and I was a tiny convent schoolgirl, so I can fully appreciate her concerns.
"Why are you reading a different book to the one we've given you?"
"I know all the words in that book already Sister."
"Is that so? And why do you feel you need to know so many other words right now?"
"Then I can write my own book Sister."
"Is that so? Do you know the word precocious, Gisele?"
"Pre-what Sister?"
"It means The Little Girl Who Wants All The Words."
"Yes, that's me Sister!"
I soon realised this was the wrong answer.
My convent schooldays seem to play an increasing part in my stories, all these years later. I know my sister worries that my blog is a bit too Catholic, too wordy and quite eccentric. My brother-in-law worries that the blog is too personal and that identity fraud is rife. Would anyone want to steal a Catholic, socialist, vegetarian, sentimental, quizzical persona with a penchant for bright colours and dangly earrings? Good luck with that....
My friend Leigh was hugely supportive of me writing although he found my posts too long for his butterfly attention span; this from the man who's funeral cortege in May stretched the length of a high street.
Every story is a journey, no matter how short or long. A couple of weeks ago, I received an anonymous message on Blogger: "I came to look for Gigi-on-Sea and there was nobody home. Where did you go?" The wonders of Down Under aside, I never went away from my own story. I will probably never write that book and I may never feel I have all the words. But the little convent schoolgirl in me is delighted that if you Google "Gigi-on-Sea", this humble blog is currently the first hit that pops up. You probably weren't expecting that, Sister Sebastian...
It's good to be back x

"Obviously I faced the possibility of not returning when I first considered going."
(Amelia Earhart)

"One"  Ed Sheeran
"All my friends have gone to find
another place to let their hearts collide;
just promise me you'll always be
a friend;
because you are the only one"

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

To swell the buds within - February

"We are tired of our huts and the smoky smell of our clothing. 
We are sick with the desire for the sun
And the grass on the mountain."
 ("Late Winter Song", The Paiute People: the Great Basin, North America)

The American poet William Cullen Bryant said that sunshine in February "tints the buds and swells the leaves within." I have valiant little rosebuds starting to yawn in the back garden and some daffodils already sticking two fingers up through the frost, but the air is decidedly dank and any sunshine seems half-hearted. With more wet and windy weather forecast throughout February and well into March, the shortest month of the year may well seem like a long drag through the hedgerow.
Here in the northern hemisphere, February is seen as the third month of our meteorological winter. In fact January and February were the last two months to be added to the Roman lunar calendar: the Romans considered winter to be a dull, dormant and therefore month-less period! February remained the last month of the year until around 450 BC. The month was named after the Latin word "februum", meaning purification. The Roman festival of Februa was held mid-month and featured rituals of cleansing, deliverance and renewal. The word is also associated with fevers; February has always been a month of lingering chills and winter aches and pains.
The Old English name for February was "Solmonath" - literally "mud month". At least in Finland some of the stark, expectant beauty of winter is captured in their name of "Helmikuu"; "the month of the pearl", recalling the frozen droplets on leaves and branches. Aside from mud, the month has long been associated with violets and amethysts, symbolising purity and sincerity of feeling, humility and wisdom.
It's very much a time of renewal and affirmation in the natural world. Jokes and smiles from friends often pop through lack-lustre mornings and gloomy afternoons like spring shoots and I thought I wold share some of the more "cleansed" ones here; thanks mainly to JR. May the shortest month of the year be as long in memories and as full of laughter as the advent of another spring should be.


"Awake My Soul"  Mumford & Sons

"No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will."
("A Calendar of Sonnets: February", Helen Hunt Jackson)

"From December to March, there are for many of
us three gardens:
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind's eye."
(Katherine S. White)

"Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour."
( John Boswell)

"The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size."
(Gertrude S. Wister)

"Winter is Nature's way of saying Up Yours!"
(Robert Byrne)