"Above all, Mr. Gilbert White is a man of system. Naturalist, physico-theologist. He lives in inches and ounces and hours and degrees. Matter flows in upon him. New information crowds in every day. He examines the forest sand through a microscope--smooth from collision, a yellow color. Watches the weather glass closely. Supine is the man who fails to put out his thermometer.
Weather on March 20, 1780, the day I was first set loose in Selborne? Dark, moist, and mild. Fifty degrees. Southwest wind. Full moon. Crocuses in high bloom. A matter of record.
Mr. Gilbert White chronicles rain and snow and barometric pressure. As if they were baptisms and burials and marriage s in the parish register--the death of Anne Wheeler, age twenty-four, last year, or the union of William Trimming and Elizabeth Bartholomew. The burial, just a few days ago of Mary Burbey, age sixteen, of this parish, "by me, Gil White curate." Sixteen years and gone. A mayfly's life.
The human year 1751, Mr. Gilbert White records, 'was one of the wettest Years in the memory of Man.' He is able to report that the 24th of August, 1764 was 'the fourth most beautiful harvest-day that ever was seen.' Glass very high.
'Those that had the most patience will have by much the best corn,' he declares, like the parson he is.
He identifies four hundred and thirty-nine local plants. Traveler's joy, twayblade, eye-bright cow wheat, go-to-bed-at-noon. Knee-holly, or butcher's broom. Knows the common tongue for plants and the learned one too. Which birds possess a local name--the sit-ye-down. And which don't--Regulus non cristatus. " Verlyn Klinkenborg
Three large pink deer. Not seeing things - it was just the way the sunrise was hitting the ridge of the neighbor across the road...his orchard pink with blossom in front. They walked single file along the stone wall. We've seen them up there early mornings many times but this is the first time this spring.
Sonnet Written Walking Under the Mess Some Magnolia Made
By Jay Deshpande
Even with my nose up here at six foot something I know
The color brown is sweet: this putrescence
Embarrasses no one: the petals treacly vessels jangling
Overhead yesterday have taken a hint and gone down into
The real grit of things: where better than the sidewalk
To speak achingly: I could go on: I’d say love makes us
Amenable to certain minor probable disasters: but what
I mean by love is spring: overeager and almost enough
To make me wake up and like the insides of my mouth
A little more: the petals talking vivid now: they say
Finish your work and come back to us: we want to be
Nearest: we know which of our atoms were once in you: you
Who are a flower-machine: who are a blossom for meaning:
The scent of sweeter senders: the slobberiest part of the kiss:
The Green Wishes
"From now on, every sunny day is more than a break in the clouds that come swooping across the continent on winter schedule. Every day, of course, is another day toward spring: but when the sun shines it prompts greener thoughts than were possible a month ago. For one thing, it is a higher and warmer sun, but mostly it is the response of the human heart.
February zero is just as cold as zero in January, and February snow often is deeper than January snow. But the sight of the sun all through a steadily lengthening February day gives that day a dimension beyond mathematical calculation. You don't pay so much attention to the calendar or even the clock. You know the inner feeling of change, the sense of the seasons passing. - Hal Borland
For a truer Thanks-giving
dessert with Wendell Berry quoting William Carlos Williams...
"I mentioned earlier the politics, esthetics, and ethics of food. But to speak of the pleasure of eating is to go beyond those categories. Eating with the fullest pleasure -pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance - is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend. When I think of the meaning of food, I always remember these lines by the poet William Carlos Williams, which seem to me merely honest:
There is nothing to eat,
seek it where you will,
but the body of the Lord.
The Blessed plants
and the sea, yield it
to the imagination
by Helen Hunt Jackson
The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.
The gentian’s bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.
The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook.
From dewy lanes at morning
the grapes’ sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.
By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather,
And autumn’s best of cheer.
But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.
‘T is a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.
Three adult turkeys and six young crossed our yard. Where there used to be trees across the road, a developer denuded last spring. Are the turkeys just more visible now or are they feeling lost? Passing cars, even joggers along the sidewalk don't seem to notice, non-plussed. It is hard to know what to do about our planet's wounds. Fires of record-breaking magnitude have been burning in California this week. I come across the following:
" A wrong attitude toward nature implies, somewhere, a wrong attitude to God, and the consequence is an inevitable doom." T.S. Eliot
"God doesn't like a clearcut. It makes his heart turn cold, makes him wince and wonder what went wrong with creation, and sets him to thinking about what spoils the child.
You'd better be pretty sure that the cut is absolutely necessary and be at peace with it, so you can explain it to God, for it's fairly certain he's going to question your motives, want to know if your children are hungry and your oldest boy needs asthma medicine. -" Janisse Ray
Nothing the matter with this baby seal; he's just resting. There were three police officers making sure he had wide berth at North Hampton Beach early this morning. Swimming in the sea is hard work!
A wee explanation: this website was created as a way to amplify the daily surprise of seeing glory in one small life. The notebook entries represented here are all selected from things actually lived and noted on paper in an effort to live the full life British educator Charlotte Mason so ably championed.
Book Of Centuries
Book Of Firsts