Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Let's talk about love, shall we?

Just cos.

(Tenderness by Tala Beydoun)

Lo, I have opened unto you the
gates of my being,
And like a tide, you have flowed
into me.
The innermost recesses of my spirit
are full of you
And all the channels of my soul
are grown sweet with your presence
For you have brought me peace;
the peace of great tranquil waters,
And the quiet of the summer sea.
Your hands are filled with peace as
The noon-tide is filled with light;
about your head is bound the eternal
Quiet of the stars, and in your heart
dwells the calm miracle of twilight.

I am utterly content.

In all my being is no ripple of unrest
for I have opened unto you the
Wide gates of my being
and like a tide, you have flowed into me.

(Author unknown)

Monday, 30 May 2011

What I Did On My Holidays

Sometimes you need a good old fashioned melodrama told from a kid's perspective to see things as they really are.

Or aren't.

Anyways, hope you enjoy this as much as I did. The only way to start a Monday is with a laugh:

For my holiday this year we went to the town of Venice. There, many canals are to be found, together with a big square, and much ice-cream is to be had. But, there are no Dodgems. It is not as good as Woburn Alley.

Leaving home at 10 past 7 we arrived in the town of Venice later. Our taxi driver was Mr Briggs. He vouchsafed (I wish I was coming with you) to which my erstwhile Father reply, (You can take my place if you like). The meaning of this Mysterious Remark was to be revealed ere an enchanting holiday was over.

Arriving in the town of Venice, we had Veal and Beetroot Salad followed by Cake, also as much Coca-Cola was you wanted. This on the plane before we got there, it was the Concorde. Arriving at our destination we travelled by Water Taxi to Journey's End, from whence our weary footsteps took us to our hotel. (What a dump) cried My Father, upon espying the Imposing Pile. The Water Taxi is not like an ordinary Taxi, it like a Boat. (I thought we supposed to overlook a Canal) he added for good measure, (This remind me of a Doss-house in the Caledonian Road).

(You were the one who wanted to come to Venice so stop moaning) maintained My Mother sturdily, adding as an afterthought, (I would have been just as happy in Frinton, at least it not smell).

(If left to me I would have stayed at home and played Golf) snorted My Father by way of reply, adding with a Meaning Glance towards the Writer of this narrative, (And if he fall in Canal after all I have told him, I not fish him out). Thus the scene was set for a Holiday I shall never forget.

Came the Dawn. In the town of Venice, as I was to discover to my cost, they only have Bread for their breakfast, eggs and Bacon being unknown in this backward land. But, if you go to the Shops, they always give you Sweets, if, you are on Holiday and, you buy something. This because these primitive people do not have money. They, the Holidaymakers, have money, but They, the shopkeepers, do not. Therefore, when you buy something, they do not give you change, they give you Sweets. Some of the aforesaid Sweets are red, some are blue, and others are purple, they like bubble-gum. Thus, I was able with God's Grace to survive that Fateful morning.

Little was said about the Matter until, My Parents came into room, to see if I washed my hands before lunch. I had not, but, I did not tell them, rather the reverse. Espying the Things I had bought upon my Bed, That Worthy sneered, (What all this junk?) Upon hearing my calm explanation, that, they were Presents, the Latter bellowed in voice stentorian (How much money have you got left?) Upon hearing me boldly declare (Nothing) he go Purple. He same colour as my Sweets. (We been here only 10 mins and, he has got through 5000 lire, it supposed to last him fortnight!) exploded the comical figure. His face a mask of evil, he snarled (Look at all this rubbish, why he buy castanets? I suppose if we go to Spain next year he spend every penny on blessed toy gondolas!!!!)

(Leave boy alone, for goodness sake, you always picking on him, pick pick pick) My Mother quavered staunchly, the blood draining from her lips.

(I will pick on him all right, I will pick him up, and throw him out of the bedroom window before I finished) swore My Father. So saying, he led the way to, the restaurant where we were destined to have lunch, but, I not hungry.

(By all means leave your canelloni if it not to your taste, it only costing the best part of a day's earnings) observed my Relentless Father, whereupon he turned to His Spouse with the rejoinder (Or perhaps he'd prefer some spaghetti hoops) This proved to be a cruel jest. I was Fated to have nothing to break my fast but fizzy water, a Morsel of bread and Profiteroles, also a Peach.

After our frugal meal My Mother vouchsafed that she would like to sit on the Big Square and, listen to the Band, but, My Father would have none of it. (You do not catch me paying £1 for thimble of coffee) declared the Miserly Fellow. After much discussion a compromise was reached, and, we went to see the Doge's Palace, where, many interesting dungeons are to be found, as well as the Torture Chamber, also many big drawings. Descending the golden staircase I meekly ask My Father if, I could have a pizza for supper. At this he gave a Hollow Laugh and groan (That bloody fantastic. You cart him all this way, you plonk him down in most beautiful city on God's earth, and all he can think about is Stomach). (We can't all be intellectuals) interjected My Mother with Dry humour. But, this not enough to stem My Father's Fury. Baring his teeth, he continue (At least he could use his eyes. Whe he came along Grand Canal yesterday, he not even look up, he just slouch in Water Taxi poking his finger through a Knothole). At this My Mother volunteered that, her Feet had swollen, also, that she wanted to spend Penny, so, we went back to the Hotel to be received by our Genial Host. After simple repast, I had Diarrhoea. So ended another Memorable Day.

On Monday we went to an Island, to see, them Blowing Glass, it like balloons but it is not, it is glass. I burned my Hand on furnace and, it was bandaged by a Nun. On Tuesday, we went round many Churches, they have much painting, but not on the wall, it is on the ceiling. My Father keep saying (Look up, lad! Look up, lad!) Also (Is he mentally deficient?) On Wednesday My Mother had a Blister, we sat in the big square at her request, pigeons being seen in large numbers. She had a Red Drink, whilst I had a Coke, and My Father had Whiskey. He go white when he get bill. (This cannot be the total, it the date) ran his statement.

On Thursday we went to, the Sands. Many ignorant people do not know there are Sands in, the town of Venice, but, there are. It is called the Lido. The Lido is reached by boat, it pass an Island which is a Graveyard. In the town of Venice, when you are dead, the funeral is done by boats, strange to relate. Likewise, the fire brigade and, emptying the dustbins, but, we did not see any of this.

Our fruitful expendition to the Lido was uneventful, except, My Father offered me 1000 lire if, I could swim to Yugoslavia, but I did not, and also, My Mother turn Bright Red all over. (I told you not to overdo it First Day) My Father crowed with scant sympathy for the Former, (You look like Lobster). (Oh shut up Miseryguts) My Mother riposted. They did not Speak again until Dinnertime when, I had Melon, a Plate of Chips and Mela Stragata, together with eighteen grapes. There are Dodgems at the Lido, but, My Father would not let me go on them. (This the Byzantine jewel of the Adriatic, not Battersea Fun Fair) quoth he darkly, with little meaning to my Good Self.

On Saturday, after tasting the Many Delights of the town of Venice the previous day, I ill. My Mother gasp shrewdly (This not just Diarrhoea, this Dysentery). My Father retort (With muck he been shovelling down, I surprised it not Bubonic Plague. Anyway, you not Fit to look after him, you are like a Lobster and also you are peeling like an Old Door, stuff this game for candles, I am going to see if I can get on tomorrow flight for Heathrow). With which he turned on his heel and Stormed Out.

My Mother said I could play quietly in my Room but, I did not. I went for Walk. Suffice to say that, My Father found me in Railway Station at, 9 p.m. My Mother was also among those present, saying (He wet through, he will catch Pneumonia). His Temples throbbing, My Father said monosyllabically (He been in Canal, he probably got Every Disease Known To Man by now. We are going, to take the Next Train to Milan, and, we will take Pot Luck from there. If, there are only two cancellations on plane, we will leave him Behind.) Thus our idyllic Holiday came to an auspicious end, and we said farewell to the town of Venice.

(By Keith Waterhouse)

Sunday, 29 May 2011

May You Be Blessed

I find this video absolutely lovely and inspired. It never fails to lift me up. May it do the same for you. And yes, may you be blessed.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Music, When Soft Voices Die

I'm twirling by myself in the centre of a large white room. Once in a while someone comes into focus. Then it's all a blur. Dancing. Strobe lights. A strange and beautiful music.

Everyone twirls.

Then Tristan is beside me. I am stunned by his radiance. Was he always this beautiful? He smiles into my face. "Everyone is beautiful at the ballet. And hearts take wing..."

He looks deep into my eyes: "You're OK now sweetie. You always were."

I raise my glass and toast to cheap wine and prawn cocktails and cold winds and waves thundering on the shore at midnight and shared confidences and the warm arms of a friend.

And love. Always love.

He dances away and I watch him go without longing, without regret, without the need to hold him back. After all, the ones you love remain with you.


And the Lady comes into view. "Darling, there are poems in the folds of my skirts, stories in my hair." I reach out to touch her and butterflies rise from her skin and settle on my heart. Sweetly like a smile. Gently, like sleep.

"Even as the eyes are closing," she croons. "Do it with a heart wide open." I know I will write. The words are coursing through my veins. I let them course...

And she twirls away, stars gleaming in her backwash.

The light has turned pink. The air is perfumed. I take great gulps of it. It tastes like butter pecan with hot fudge. It tastes like midnight in Paris when Maya sat beside me under the cold sky and we shared a Coke, chicken sandwich and some fries.

And there he is. Maya. He takes my hand and twirls me around. Angels don't need to talk. He smiles. An imprint of warmth. Then he is gone. I take a deep breath and wave.

The joy expands. The love deepens.

The light has turned golden. It spills on the floor, turns everyone luminous. My heart is going to jump out of my chest. But this time, I will not turn back. Or turn away. I am no longer afraid of this beauty. I open my arms to embrace it, bring it closer, hug it to my chest.

And then I see Kat. "The beauty is there if you look hard enough. We got fooled by the disguise."

She smiles at me and I notice that her hair is shining. Then I realise it isn't her hair. It's her. She's glowing. The words curl softly in her tresses. She has been kissed by the Lady. And we're both awash in butterflies.

She winks: "It's our little secret". Hugs me and dances away.

The music changes. It's Beethoven's Ode to Joy. I think of Immortal Beloved and bless Nessa. And there she is in front of me. She looks like someone I've known for centuries. She feels like family. And she says:

My love is warmer than the warmest sunshine
softer than a sigh
My love is deeper than the deepest ocean
wider than the sky...

And then she's gone but there is a peculiar warmth in the air. Her warmth. And more butterflies.

I'm in a garden. The grass makes spring's freshest tints look like shadows. And there are flowers. More perfume. Sweetness. Light spilling from leaves. Bliss creeps in. And I wonder....

The trees here are old friends. I hug them and feel the sap rise in their steady hearts.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I love you.

Thank you.

Then I notice Mark sitting on the grass, strumming his guitar. I sit beside him and listen. I don't recognise the song but it sounds like he pulled it from one of my deepest and most joyful memories. I don't know it but I've loved it all my life. He takes his time imbuing every note with his own peculiar magic. Then he looks over to me, smiles and nods. I clap and bow my head in appreciation.

Thank you.

I love you.

And I walk away.

And my feet trip gaily of their own accord. I know not where they're going to take me, but the journey has been joyful, the people beautiful and I am filled with wonder.

There is beauty in transience.

When we demand Eternity from Love, all we get is Disappointment. But maybe if we take the moment for what it has to offer and demand nothing else besides, we get Eternity.

I got Eternity.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Thomas Kinkade's A Christmas Cottage

This movie was actually available in full online but when I checked to upload it, they'd taken it off. Well...I absolutely loved it (and not just cos of the Sam Winchester element!) and couldn't understand how they could be offering it for free.

If you get a chance, watch it. I have to warn you, though. It's full of the warm, fuzzy element, beautiful setting, inspirational speeches, the works. It's also very gentle. Sweet. If you like that sort of thing.

I do.

It's about Thomas Kinkade, the painter. He takes a job to paint a Christmas mural in his little hometown, a job he looks down on, because he's all Berkeley and this is so beneath him. It's sweet. It's twee. It's frigging sentimental. He's experimenting with "expressionistic" art.

But as he reminds himself, $500 is $500. Especially when you're about to lose the family home.

Then he discusses it with his mentor Glen Wesman.

Glen: Did you ever do a painting you didn't believe in?

Thomas: It's kind of funny you ask. Actually I just took on a job. Doing this ridiculous Chrimas mural of Placerville for $500.

Glen: Ridiculous?

Thomas: Yeah, I know.

Glen: A mural of Placerville? It's your chance to illuminate where you live; to inspire your neighbours. Do you think because they're not sophisticated, they don't deserve your best art? That mural can recall the people you love for posterity. It could change the way they see themselves. Art crosses all borders, surpasses all languages. It's a place where we are one family. And if you are willing, really to see with your eyes and your heart, one image can change lives. You can introduce men to their souls. You can bring that to this town. You have that power. Give your very best always. It's the only way an artist knows.

And in the final scene, Glen who has emerged from a deep depression and painted his last masterpiece tells Thomas: "It's the light, Tom. That's what lasts. The leaves are transient. They grow, turn green, turn red, then die. But behind them the light lasts forever. Paint the light.

"I had been trying to paint my sorrow. To show the bleakness of the world without Nicole. But then you came with a candle last night and I knew what Nicole's memorial should be. Not darkness but light. Sometimes, we can barely see beyond the forest to the sky. I was painting the leaves of the forest and never saw the light of the sky behind it. Now I see it. That's all I need to see now."

In the early scenes, Glen describes the masterpiece that he didn't know he would end up painting. He was recounting a picnic in Paris with his wife Nicole when they were both young. Nicole had since died and left him in a halfway house between remembrance and forgetting, life and death, evening and night.

"We were in Paris before the war. We would picnic along the Seine. A little wine, some bread by the water; she liked the simple things. I lay back on the grass and looked up. The light played through the trees and touched her. You must see the summer light in Paris. It surrounds the leaves, holds them somehow. If there were a God, that light would be like His hands holding the world together."

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Why I Love Tristan

I am surveying the wreck of my latest almost-relationship. There is my heart lying battered on the ground, smoke rising from the crevices. It feels strangely peaceful to have my heart outside my body for a while. It doesn't hurt so much.

Tristan appears behind me and looks over my shoulder.

"Another one Jenn? Boy, you sure know how to pick 'em."

"Sometimes, they pick me," I say, hiccuping between a chuckle and a sob.

"Yeah sweetie, but you can always say no."

He examines the grooves on my heart and shakes his head: "Addiction."

"Not love?"


"I thought for sure it was love this time."

I lift the messy organ off the ground and hand it to him: "Why don't you stomp it some more while you're at it?"

Tristan smiles, dusts off my heart gently and places it back in my chest cavity. "A sting, and then peace..."

I start to cry of course. It's all I ever seem to do at this stage and he holds my hand and just allows me to wail.

This is why I love Tristan. This is why I will always love Tristan.

When the sobs subside, he swings my hand in the air: "Let's run away."

"OK, where?"

"The beach?"


So we pack into his rattletrap of a car, stopping along the way for supplies. At the beach we unpack our cask wine, served up in jelly glasses and prawn cocktail, which we eat with our fingers. Somewhere at the back of my mind I am aware of the consequences. I know I am going to feel plenty sick tomorrow. But who cares?

Tomorrow is tomorrow. And it is still only today.

As we chug the cheap wine, we grow maudlin, sing songs, swap stories. I ask about boa constrictor girl, one of his girlfriends who insists on sleeping with her snake. And I don't mean that in a sexy way. Tristan shakes his head and sighs. She was interesting, but she is so over. I ask about the bliss-fairy and he perks up. Yes, they went out a couple of days ago. May be something there.

And he asks about Rumpelstiltskin, my latest disaster. And I tell him. Thus, we reduce our exes to some strange quirk or body part, draining them of humanity. They're easier to deal with like this. Not real people anymore. Just a collection of foibles.

And ANYONE can get over a collection of foibles.

Even me.

It's early and the sun is rising. Tristan gathers me close and I lay my head on his shoulder and shut my eyes. There is a hush in the air, and in that magical moment, the pain dissolves.

I open my eyes to find Tristan has vanished.

I feel sick from the cheap wine and cold prawns like I knew I would.

Tomorrow has come.

But I feel better all the same.

And this is why I love Tristan.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Taking the Zip out of Zippy

Is it just me or is the combination of Dave Barry and a story about dogs enough to have you walking around with a permanent grin all day long?





This adventure began when Zippy went through puberty, a biological process that a small dog goes through in less time than it takes you to throw away your Third Class mail. One minute Zippy was a cute little-boy puppy, scampering about the house playfully causing permanent damage to furniture that is not yet fully paid for, and the next minute he was: A Man. When the new, mature version of Zippy sauntered into a room, you could almost hear the great blues musician Muddy Waters in the background, growling:

I'm a MAN
(harmonica part)
Yes I AM
(harmonica part)

Of course in Zippy's case, "full-grown" means "the size of a Hostess Sno-Ball, yet somehow less impressive." But in his own mind, Zippy was a major stud muffin, a hunk of burnin' love, a small-caliber but high-velocity Projectile of Passion fired from the Saturday Night Special of Sex. And his target was: Earnest.

Earnest is my female dog, but she was not the ideal choice for Zippy because all of her remotely suspicious organs had been surgically removed several years ago. Since that time she has not appeared to be even dimly aware of sex, or much of anything else. Her lone hobby, besides eating, is barking violently at nothing. Also she is quite large; when she is standing up, Zippy can run directly under her with an easy six inches of clearance. So at first I was highly amused when he started putting The Moves on her. It was like watching Tommy Tadpole hit on the Queen Mary.

But shortly the novelty wore off and I started feeling sorry for Earnest, who spent the entire day staring glumly off into dog hyperspace while this tireless yarn-ball-sized Passion Machine kept leaping up on her, sometimes getting as high as mid-shin, and emitting these presumably seductive high-pitched yips. ("What's your sign? What's your sign?") So I decided it was time to have the veterinarian turn the volume knob of desire way down on the stereo system of Zippy's manhood. If you get my drift.

The next morning Earnest was limping, so I decided to take both dogs to the vet. They bounded enthusiastically into the car, of course; dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear. When I got to the veterinarian's office they realized they had been tricked and went into Full Reverse Thrust, but fortunately the floor material there is slippery enough to luge on. So when I last saw Zippy and Earnest that morning, they were being towed, all eight legs scrabbling in a wild, backward, futile blur into: the Back Room.

When I picked them up that night, they were a pair of hurtin' cowpokes. Earnest, who had a growth removed, was limping badly, plus we had to put a plastic bag on her leg so she wouldn't lick her stitches off. And Zippy, to keep him from getting at his stitches, was wearing a large and very comical round plastic collar that looked like a satellite dish with Zippy's head sticking out in the middle. He had a lot of trouble getting around because his collar kept hitting things, such as the ground.

For the next week, if you came to my front door, here's what happened: You heard the loud barking of two dogs going into Red Alert mode, but you did not see any immediate dogs. Instead, you heard a lot of bumping and clunking, which turned out to be the sound of a large dog limping frantically toward you but suffering a major traction loss on every fourth step because of a plastic bag, combined with the sound of a very small dog trying desperately to keep up but bonking his collar into furniture, doorways, etc. And then, finally, skidding around the corner, still barking, there appeared the dynamite duo: Bagfoot and Satellite Head.

During this week I was not the least bit worried about burglars because if anyone had tried to break into my house, I would have found him the next morning, lying on the floor. Dead from laughter.

Dave Barry (from Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul)

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Quieter Side

Sometimes happiness is all fireworks and starbursts. Sometimes it is gentler, like the singing brook, or the wind rustling through the leaves. Everyone says, we need to learn how to meditate to be truly present with our joy. If so, here's something to meditate on. It's called the metta prayer and I've taken it from Lama Surya Das's Awakening the Buddha Within:

May all beings be happy, content and fulfilled.
May all beings be healed and whole.
May all have whatever they want and need.
May all be protected from harm, and free from fear.
May all beings enjoy inner peace and ease.
May all be awakened, liberated and free.
May there be peace in this world, and throughout the entire universe.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Just Dance

I've loved this video ever since I first saw it way back when. So, whatever is out there, raging storms, conflagrations, political upheaval, hate crimes, you can always let loose and dance badly.

And as Matt Harding points out, the only way to dance badly badly is to dance well.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Talking 'bout Love Love Love

(The Fire Fairy by Hufreesh Dumasia)

The human spirit is not dead. It lives on in secret... Albert Schweitzer

I read once in a book, that when you're drowning in sorrow, look around and try to make someone else feel better. What goes around, comes around.

I was like any arrogant young person, secure in my imperturbability. I thought I could handle anything life threw at me, without breaking down, showing a reaction, acting like a girl. Then when the dark night of the soul showed up, it was like... a living darkness, I could not plumb its depths. It was like being thrown down and crushed upon the ground over and over again. Every time I picked yourself up and thought, OK that's it, I can begin to rebuild, the darkness would hit and there I would be, cracked glass shattering all over again.

You will never stop falling...

Of course, if you asked me then what the value of this experience was, I would have said, absolutely nothing at all. Suffering doesn't strengthen. It turns us into bloodless shadows. But when I came out on the other side, I found I suddenly had compassion. Gone was the youthful arrogance of: "Oh, get a grip."

I knew now that some pain went too deep for glib solutions. So many Eleanor Rigbys out there thinking, if I were to die, who would know, who would even care? A pine box, some earth, and it will be as if I never lived.

An old lady sat next to me on a park bench. She started by asking me about where I came from and went on to tell me the story of her life. I bought her a coffee and listened. It was like someone had unstoppered a dam. She couldn't wait to get the words out and I don't think I have ever met someone so lonely, hurt, abused and yet, innocent, childlike and trusting. I know if I had met her before, a part of me would have been scornful at her lack of self-control, her eager confidence in a complete stranger. Now, I saw only a deep pain and a loneliness so profound that it threw all natural caution to the winds.

All the lonely people, where do they all come from?

I don't know where they come from. I just know they're there. Broken people. Like us. We're broken too. You know what I mean...

And sometimes the misery slams you against a wall and you know you're gonna crack right open. But your skin holds together. That is the miracle of skin. It doesn't crack under pressure unless you help it to.

To be broken is to know that nothing is right and nothing will ever be right again. You know what I'm talking about. You know that you can look at a Van Gogh and just want to curl up into a ball on the floor and scream silently. You know that however much you cut yourself, you can't bleed it away. Or dull it with wine. Or sky-coloured pills.

And nobody understands. Nobody will EVER understand. Remember that. And just keep on shattering. When God arrives to sweep up the pieces maybe you can finally ask why.

But being broken ourselves, we do understand. Being, 'there, but for the grace of God, go I' we can help.

I came upon a doctor who appeared in quite poor health. I said: "There's nothing I can do for you that you can't do for yourself." He said: "Oh yes you can. Just hold my hand. I think that would help." So I sat with him a while then I asked him how he felt. He said: "I think I'm cured." Conor Oberst

It's called love. It goes a long way.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

I love children's books. Nothing fills me with quite as much joy as curling up with an old favourite, preferably with a mug of hot chocolate, wrapped snug in a duvet. I remember reading CS Lewis's biography, where he talked about how he came to love Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows as an adult rather than as a child. And how he always found it so comforting to peruse those much-thumbed pages.

Here is my favourite chapter of the book. It is a departure from the homey tale of animals and like "Out of the Blue" it ventures into the realm of the magical. Somehow, this year, there is a lot of magic in the air.

Can you feel it?

The Willow-Wren was piping his thin little song, hidden himself in the dark selvedge of the river bank. Though it was past ten o'clock at night, the sky still clung to and retained some lingering skirts of light from the departed day; and the sullen heats of the torrid afternoon broke up and rolled away at the dispersing touch of the cool fingers of the short midsummer night. Mole lay stretched on the bank, still panting from the stress of the fierce day that had been cloudless from dawn to late sunset, and waited for his friend to return. He had been on the river with some companions, leaving the Water Rat free to keep an engagement of long standing with Otter; and he had come back to find the house dark and deserted, and no sign of Rat, who was doubtless keeping it up late with his old comrade. It was still too hot to think of staying indoors, so he lay on some cool dock-leaves, and thought over the past day and its doings, and how very good they all had been.

The Rat's light footfall was presently heard approaching over the parched grass. "O, the blessed coolness!" he said, and sat down, gazing thoughtfully into the river, silent and pre-occupied.

"You stayed to supper, of course?" said the Mole presently.

"Simply had to," said the Rat. "They wouldn't hear of my going before. You know how kind they always are. And they made things as jolly for me as ever they could, right up to the moment I left. But I felt a brute all the time, as it was clear to me they were very unhappy, though they tried to hide it. Mole, I'm afraid they're in trouble. Little Portly is missing again; and you know what a lot his father thinks of him, though he never says much about it."

"What, that child?" said the Mole lightly. "Well, I suppose he is; why worry about it? He's always straying off and getting lost, and turning up again; he's so adventurous. But no harm ever happens to him. Everybody hereabouts knows him and likes him, just as they do old Otter, and you may be sure some animal or other will come across him and bring him back again all right. Why, we've found him ourselves, miles from home, and quite self-possessed and cheerful!"

"Yes; but this time it's more serious," said Rat gravely. "He's been missing for some days now, and the Otters have hunted everywhere, high and low, without finding the slightest trace. And they've asked every animal, too, for miles around, and no one knows anything about him. Otter's evidently more anxious than he'll admit. I got out of him that young Portly hasn't learnt to swim very well yet, and I can see he's thinking of the weir. There's a lot of water coming down still, considering the time of year, and the place always had a fascination for the child. And then there are - well, traps and things - you know. Otter's not the kind of fellow to be nervous about any son of his before it's time. And now he is nervous. When I left, he came out with me - said he wanted some air, and talked about stretching his legs. But I could see it wasn't that, so I drew him out and pumped him, and got it all from him at last. He was going to spend the night watching by the ford. You know the place where the old ford used to be, in bygone days before they built the bridge.

"I know it well," said the Mole. "But why should Otter choose to watch there?"

"Well, it seems that it was there he gave Portly his first swimming-lesson," continued the Rat. "From that shallow gravelly spit near the bank. And it was there he used to teach him fishing, and there young Portly caught his first fish, of which he was so very proud. The child loved the spot, and Otter thinks that if he came wandering back from wherever he is - if he is anywhere by this time, poor little chap - he might make for the ford he was so fond of; or if he came across it he'd remember it well, and stop there and play, perhaps. So Otter goes there every night and watches - on the chance, you know, just on the chance!"

They were silent for a time, both thinking of the same thing - the lonely, heart-sore animal, crouched by the ford, watching and waiting, the long night through - on the chance.

"Well, well," said the Rat presently. "I suppose we ought to be thinking about turning in." But he never offered to move.

"Rat," said the Mole. "I simply can't go and turn in, and go to sleep, and do nothing, even though there doesn't seem to be anything to be done. We'll get the boat out, and paddle upstream. The moon will be up in an hour or so, and then we will search as well as we can - anyhow, it will be better than going to bed and doing nothing.

"Just what I was thinking myself," said the Rat. "It's not the sort of night for bed anyhow; and daybreak is not so very far off, and then we may pick up some news of him from early risers as we go along."

They got the boat out, and the Rat took the sculls, paddling with caution. Out in midstream, there was a clear, narrow track that faintly reflected the sky; but wherever shadows fell on the water from the bank, bush or tree, they were as solid to all appearance as the banks themselves, and the Mole had to steer with judgment accordingly. Dark and deserted as it was, the night was full of small noises, song and chatter and rustling, telling of the busy little population who were up and about, plying their trades and vocations through the night till sunshine should fall on them at last and send them off to their well-earned repose. The water's own noises, too, were more apparent than by day its gurglings and "cloops" more unexpected and near at hand; and constantly they started at what seemed a sudden clear call from an actual articulate voice.

The line of the horizon was clear and hard against the sky, and in one particular quarter it showed black against a silvery climbing phosphorescence that grew and grew. At least, over the rim of the waiting earth the moon lifted with slow majesty till it swung clear of the horizon and rode off, free of moorings and once more they began to see surfaces - meadows widespread, and quiet gardens, and the river itself from bank to bank, all softly disclosed, all washed clean of mystery and terror, all radiant again as by day, but with a difference that was tremendous.

Their old haunts greeted them again in other raiment, as if they had slipped away and put on this pure new apparel and come quietly back, smiling as they shyly waited to see if they would be recognised again under it.

Fastening their boat to a willow, the friends landed in this silent, silver kingdom, and patiently explored the hedges, and hollow trees, the runnels and their little culverts, the ditches and dry waterways. Embarking again and crossing over, they worked their way up the stream in this manner, while the moon, serene and detached in a cloudless sky, did what she could, though so far off, to help them in their quest; till her hour came and she sank earthwards reluctantly, and left them, and mystery once more held field and river.

Then a change began slowly to declare itself. The horizon became clearer, field and tree came more into sight, and somehow with a different look; the mystery began to drop away from them. A bird piped suddenly, and was still; and a light breeze sprang up and set the reeds and bulrushes rustling. Rat, who was in the stern of the boat, while Mole sculled, sat up suddenly and listened with a passionate intentness. Mole, who with gentle strokes was just keeping the boat moving while he scanned the banks with care, looked at him with curiosity.

"It's gone!" sighed the Rat, sinking back in his seat again. "So beautiful and strange and new! Since it was to end so soon, I almost wish I had never heard it. For it has aroused a longing in me that is pain, and nothing seems worthwhile but just to hear that sound once more and go on listening to it forever. No! There it is again!" he cried, alert once more. Entranced, he was silent for a long space, spellbound.

"Now it passes on and I begin to lose it," he said presently. "O Mole! the beauty of it! The merry bubble and joy; the thin, clear, happy call of the distant piping! Such music I never dreamed of, and the call in it is stronger even that the music is sweet! Row on, Mole, row! For the music and the call must be for us."

The Mole, greatly wondering, obeyed. "I hear nothing myself," he said. "but the wind playing in the reeds and rushes and osiers."

The Rat never answered, if indeed he heard. Rapt, transported, trembling, he was possessed in all his senses by this new divine thing that caught up his helpless soul and swung and dandled it, a powerless but happy infant in a strong sustaining grasp.

In silence Mole rowed steadily, and soon they came to a point where the river divided, a long backwater branching off to one side. With a slight movement of his head Rat, who had long dropped the rudder-lines, directed the rower to take the backwater. The creeping tide of light gained and gained, and now they could see the colour of the flowers that gemmed the water's edge.

"Clearer and nearer still," cried the Rat joyously. "Now you must surely hear it! Ah - at last - I see you do!"

Breathless and transfixed the Mole stopped rowing as the liquid run of that glad piping broke on him like a wave, caught him up, and possessed him utterly. He saw the tears on his comrade's cheeks, and bowed his head and understood. For a space they hung there, brushed by the purple loosestrife that fringed the bank; then the clear imperious summons that marched hand-in-hand with the intoxicating melody imposed its will on Mole, and mechanically he bent to his oars again. And the light grew steadily stronger, but no birds sang as they were wont to do at the approach of dawn; and but for the heavenly music all was marvelously still.

On either side of them, as they glided onwards, the rich meadow-grass seemed that morning of a freshness and a greenness unsurpassable. Never had they noticed the roses so vivid, the willow-herb so riotous, the meadow-sweet so odorous and pervading. Then the murmur of the approaching weir began to hold the air, and they felt a consciousness that they were nearing the end, whatever it might be, that surely awaited their expedition.

A wide half-circle of foam and glinting lights and shining shoulders of green water, the great weir closed the backwater from bank to bank, troubled all the quiet surface with twirling eddies and floating foam-streaks, and deadened all other sounds with its solemn and soothing rumble. In midmost of the stream, embraced in the weir's shimmering armspread, a small island lay anchored, fringed close with willow and silver birch and alder. Reserved, shy, but full of significance, it hid whatever it might hold behind a veil, keeping it till the hour should come, and, with the hour, those who were called and chosen.

Slowly, but with no doubt or hesitation whatever, and in something of a solemn expectancy, the two animals passed through the broken tumultuous water and moored their boat at the flowery margin of the island. In silence they landed, and pushed through the blossom and scented herbage and undergrowth that led up to the level ground, till they stood on a little lawn of a marvelous green, set round with Nature's own orchard trees - crab-apple, wild cherry and sloe.

"This is the place of my song-dream, the place the music played to me," whispered the Rat, as if in a trance. "Here, in this holy place, here if anywhere, surely we shall find Him!"

Then suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror - indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy - but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august Presence was very, very near. With difficulty he turned to look for his friend, and saw him at his side cowed, stricken in the populous bird-haunted branches around them; and still the light grew and grew.

Perhaps he would never have dared to raise his eyes, but that, though the piping was now hushed, the call and the summons seemed still dominant and imperious. He might not refuse, were Death himself waiting to strike him instantly, once he had looked with mortal eye on things rightly kept hidden. Trembling, he obeyed, and raised his humble head; and then, in that utter clearness of imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fulness of incredible colour, seemed to hold her breath for the event, he looked into the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on them humorously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the rippling muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the pan-pipes only just fallen away from the parted lips; saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs disposed in majestic ease on the sward; saw, last of all, nestling between his very hooves, sleeping soundly in utter peace and contentment, the little, round, podgy, childish form of the baby otter. All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and as he lived, he wondered.

"Rat!" he found breath to whisper, shaking. "Are you afraid?"

"Afraid?" murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love. "Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never. And yet - and yet - O Mole, I am afraid!"

Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.

Sudden and magnificent, the sun's broad golden rim showed itself over the horizon facing them; and the first rays, shooting across level water-meadows, took the animals full in the eyes and dazzled them. When they were able to look once more, the Vision had vanished, and the air was full of the carol of birds that hailed the dawn.

As they stared blankly, in dumb misery deepening as they slowly realised all they had seen and all they had lost, a capricious little breeze, dancing up from the surface of the water, tossed the aspens, shook the dewy roses, and blew lightly and caressingly in their faces; and with its soft touch came instant oblivion. For this is the last, best gift that the kindly demigod is careful to bestow on those to whom he has revealed himself in their helping; the gift of forgetfulness. Lest the awful remembrance should remain and grow, and overshadow mirth and pleasure, and the great haunting memory should spoil all the afterlives of the little animals helped out of difficulties, in order that they should be happy and lighthearted as before.

Mole rubbed his eyes and stared at Rat, who was looking about him in a puzzled sort of way. "I beg your pardon; what did you say, Rat?" he asked.

"I think I was only remarking," said Rat slowly, "that this was the right sort of place, and that here, if anywhere, we should find him. And look! Why, there he is, the little fellow!"

But Mole stood still a moment, held in thought. As one wakened suddenly from a beautiful dream, who struggles to recall it, and can recapture nothing but a dim sense of the beauty of it, the beauty! Till that, too, fades away in its turn, and the dreamer bitterly accepts the hard, cold waking and all its penalties; so Mole, after struggling with his memory for a brief space, shook his head sadly, and followed the Rat.

Portly woke up with a joyous squeak, and wriggled with pleasure at the sight of his father's friends, who had played with him so often in past days. In a moment, however, his face grew blank, and he fell to hunting round in a circle with pleading whine. As a child that has fallen happily asleep in its nurse's arms, and wakes to find itself alone and laid in a strange place, and searches corners and cupboards, and runs from room to room, despair growing silently in its heart, even so Portly searched the island and searched, dogged and unwearying, till the last black moment came for giving it up, and sitting down and crying bitterly.

The Mole ran quickly to comfort the little animal; but Rat, lingering, looked long and doubtfully at certain hoof marks deep in the sward.

"Some - great - animal - has been here," he murmured slowly and thoughtfully; and stood musing, musing; his mind strangely stirred.

"Come along, Rat!" called the Mole. "Think of poor Otter, waiting up there by the ford!"

Portly had soon been comforted by the promise of a treat - a jaunt on the river in Mr. Rat's real boat; and the two animals conducted him to the water's side, placed him securely between them in the bottom of the boat, and paddled off down the backwater. The sun was fully up by now, and hot on them, birds sang lustily and without restraint, and flowers smiled and nodded from either bank, but somehow - so thought the animals - with less of richness and blaze of colour than they seemed to remember seeing quite recently somewhere - they wondered where.

The main river reached again, they turned the boat's head upstream, towards the point where they knew that their friend was keeping his lonely vigil. As they drew near the familiar ford, the Mole took the boat in to the bank, and they lifted Portly out and set him on his legs on the tow-path, gave him his marching orders and a friendly farewell pat on the back, and shoved out into midstream. They watched the little animal as he waddled along the path contentedly and with importance; watched him till they saw his muzzle suddenly lift and his waddle break into a clumsy amble as he quickened his pace with shrill whines and wriggles of recognition. Looking up the river, they could see Otter start up, tense and rigid, from out of the shallows where he crouched in dumb patience, and could hear his amazed and joyous bark as he bounded up through the osiers on to the path. Then the Mole, with a strong pull on one oar, swung the boat round and let the full stream bear them down again whither it would, their quest now happily ended.

"I feel strangely tired, Rat," said the Mole, leaning wearily over his oars as the boat drifted. "It's being up all night, you'll say, perhaps; but that's nothing. We do as much half the nights of the week, at this time of the year. No; I feel as if I had been through something very exciting and rather terrible, and it was just over; and yet nothing particular has happened."

"Or something very surprising and splendid and beautiful," murmured the Rat, leaning back and closing his eyes. "I feel just as you do, Mole; simply dead tired, though not body-tired. It's lucky we've got the stream with us, to take us home. Isn't it jolly to feel the sun again, soaking into one's bones! And hark to the wind playing in the reeds!"

"It's like music - faraway music," said the Mole, nodding drowsily.

"So I was thinking," murmured the Rat, dreamful and languid. "Dance music - the lilting sort that runs on without a stop - but with words in it, too - it passes into words and out of them again - I catch them at intervals - then it is dance music once more, and then nothing but the reeds' soft thin whispering."

"You hear better than I," said the Mole sadly, "I cannot catch the words."

"Let me try and give you them," said the Rat softly, his eyes still closed. "Now it is turning into words again - faint but clear - Lest the awe should dwell - And turn your frolic to fret - You shall look on my power in the helping hour - But then you shall forget! Now the reeds take it up - forget, forget, they sigh, and it dies away in a rustle and a whisper. Then the voice returns -

"Lest limbs be reddened and rent - I spring the trap that is set - as I loose the snare you may glimpse me there - For surely you shall forget! Row nearer. Mole, nearer to the reeds! It is hard to catch, and grows each minute fainter.

"Helper and healer, I cheer - Small waifs in the woodland wet - Strays I find in it, wounds I bind in it - Bidding them all forget! Nearer, Mole, nearer! No, it is no good; the song has died away into reed-talk."

"But what do the words mean?" asked the wondering Mole.

"That I do not know," said the Rat simply. "I passed them on to you as they reached me. Ah! Now they return again, and this time full and clear! This time, at last, it is the real, the unmistakable thing, simple - passionate - perfect---"

"Well, let's have it then," said the Mole, after he had waited patiently for a few minutes, half-dozing in the hot sun.

But no answer came. He looked, and understood the silence. With a smile of much happiness on his face, and something of a listening look still lingering there, the weary Rat was fast asleep.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Brownies, fairies, and other good things in life

There can be no bright side without chocolate. At least, no bright side in my world. Which is why, when Nits asked me if I had good brownie recipe, I thought, what better way to share it than through a blog dedicated to joy.

So here's hoping that you copy out this recipe, make up a batch, pass it around to the people you love.

Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew
Cover it with choc'late and a miracle or two
The Candy Man, oh the Candy Man can
The Candy Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.

Double Fudge Frosted Brownies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
5 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva dark chocolate (OK, if you're not insanely rich you can substitute this with Lindt or Cadbury - just remember, you need 213g of it)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bar (43g) Godiva dark chocolate (see above for substitutions)
1 bar (43g) Godiva milk chocolate (ditto)
1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (sifted)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish (optional)
1/4 cups chopped walnuts

Make the brownies
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 8-inch square baking pan with aluminium foil so that foil extends 2 inches beyond two opposite sides of pan. Lightly butter bottom and sides of foil-lined pan.

2.In medium saucepan, combine butter pieces, brown sugar and chocolate. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until butter and chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Transfer to medium bowl.

3. With wooden spoon, stir in granulated sugar. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until there is no trace of yolk. Add flour and salt and mix vigorously until mixture is shiny and smooth.

4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula. Bake brownies for 35-40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out slightly moist. Do not overbake.

5. Place pan on wire rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Using two ends of foil as handles, lift brownies out of pan. Invert onto cooling rack and peel off foil. Let cook completely. (Brownies are to be frosted on smooth side).

Make the frosting
1. Place butter and chocolate in medium saucepan. Heat over very low heat, stirring constantly, until butter and chocolate melt and mixture is smooth. Transfer to bowl of electric mixer.

2. On low speed, add half of confectioner's sugar, salt, then half of heavy cream. Blend in remaining confectioner's sugar and remaining heavy cream. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat frosting on medium speed for 30 seconds or until smooth and shiny.

Spread frosting over uncut brownies, making it as smooth as possible. Garnish top with chopped nuts, if desired. Cut into 9 squares and serve at room temperature. Can store covered, in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Out of the Blue

...delight comes into your life.

During my freshman year at Harvard, I ran for hours every day. I would set out for a run - six miles, ten miles, twenty - in howling blizzards in the middle of the night, sometimes with my backpack full of books still strapped to my shoulders. I ran because I needed to; it muted my anxieties and eased my loneliness. Running was the only thing I did that year that was not completely dominated by fear, or perhaps it was the only time I responded to my omnipresent fears in a way that felt like escape. I ran no matter what the weather, and the winter was terrible. There were times when the wind would blow be backwards or sideways in midstride. There were days when the tips of my toes froze black and I had to wrap pieces of plastic bags around my hands so that my fingers wouldn't do the same.

In March, as the temperature rose above freezing and the sun began to linger beyond midafternoon for the first time in months, running became an intoxicating pleasure. A Boston Marathoner told me that you could tell it was springtime in New England because the saps were beginning to run. He was right. The warmer weather brought hordes of joggers into my usual path along the Charles River, and I began to look for less crowded routes. That is why, one Sunday in early April, I found myself in the Boston Common, a wide, grassy park in the middle of the city. I had already run across Cambridge, over the long bridge by MIT, and through the seedy Boston neighbourhoods near Chinatown. The city was unusually empty that morning, very still in the warm dawn light.

I reached the Common at about 8am, and as I jogged onto the path beneath the yellow-green leaves of budding trees, I began to notice strange things. There were people in the park, but not the usual gangs of spiky-haired teenagers and scruffy homeless beggars. The people were in groups, all elaborately clothed; the men and boys in suits, the women and girls in dresses the colour of flowers. There was a kind of quiet decorum to the whole scene that was quite unlike anything I had seen in Boston. A woman in a lavender gown went past me, pushing a stroller. Tied to the stroller handle was one end of a braided leash. At the other end walked a small dog in a chequered vest and a tie. As they went by, I saw that the stroller contained not a baby but a large gray rabbit wearing a straw bonnet. I stopped dead in my tracks - something I never did during a run - and stared.

It was then that the sound began. I felt it before I heard it. The soft ground seemed to swell like something breathing, and through the soles of my feet, up my legs, and into my body rose a thrumming vibration that seemed to bond me into the heart. The exquisite sensation grew more and more intense for several seconds before I began to hear it. It was the clearest, purest tone I had ever heard. As it rose in pitch, I finally realized that it was the sound of a bell.

Boston's bell makers (like Paul Revere) were famous for good reason. I have heard many bells in my time, but the best of them sound like bashing cooking pots next to the bells I heard that morning. The first one, the deep and almost inaudible one, was joined within minutes by dozens of others, but I never heard anything that sounded like a clapper striking metal. Nor did the sounds seem to come from any particular direction. Instead, the air simply filled with sustained, meltingly sweet tones, like angels singing. The whole scene was so strange and beautiful that tears began to run down my cheeks, faster than I could stop them. I stood in the Common surrounded by this glorious sound, watching the strange loveliness of beribboned people and animals, and seriously debated whether or not I had been transported to some bizzare but benevolent alternate universe.

By the time I got back to my dorm and realized that it was Easter Sunday, the impression had already been made. Despite the perfectly rational, ordinary reasons for that moment in the Boston Common, I had stored it in my memory as a glimpse into a magical world, and that image would never quite go away.

Martha Beck, Expecting Adam

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Waterfall and Wine

A work of art is abundant, spills out, gets drunk, sits up with you all night and forgets to close the curtains, dries your tears, is your friend, offers you a disguise, a difference, a pose. Cut and cut it through and there is still a diamond at the core. Skim the top and it is rich. The inexhaustible energy of art is transfusion for a worn-out world. When I read Virginia Woolf, she is to my spirit, waterfall and wine.

Jeanette Winterson, A Gift of Wings (from Art Objects)

That would be a glorious life, to addict oneself to perfection; to follow the curve of the sentence wherever it might lead, into deserts, under drifts of sand, regardless of lures, of seductions; to be poor always and unkempt; to be ridiculous in Piccadilly.

Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


A prime example of a miracle worker is Pollyanna. The ego knows this, which is why she is constantly invalidated in this culture. She walked into a situation where everyone had been in a nasty mood for years. She chose not to see the nastiness. She had faith in what lay beyond it. She extended her perception beyond what her physical senses revealed to her, to what her heart knew to be true about every human being. It didn't matter how anyone behaved. Pollyanna had faith in the love she knew existed behind anyone's fear, and thus she invoked their love into expression. She exercised the power of forgiveness. Within a short time, everyone was nice and everyone was happy! Whenever someone says to me, "Marianne, you're being a Pollyanna," I think to myself, "If only I were that powerful."

Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

I just found this excerpt in a book I bought today.

The Real Story of Pollyanna

All my life, I've heard people say to me, "Oh you're just such a Pollyanna."

Pollyanna is thought of as some kind of positive ninny who naively tried to disregard "tough times".

The truth is, Pollyanna is the fictional story of a young girl whose parents had died, and she was sent to live with relatives she didn't know, in a small town.

She invented "the Glad Game" and relentlessly found something good in every situation, even though she was living through her own tough times. By doing this, she transformed the town.

Finding gifts and gladnesses in every situation does not mean disregarding pain, sorrow or suffering.

It means that you choose to see the gift in every situation, and believe it's always there.

And it's a joy to practice! If you choose to find and see "the bad", you will.

It really is THAT simple.

People practicing and sharing GLADNESS ARE GIFTS TO THE WORLD no matter what circumstances are happening.

I choose to live life as a "real" Pollyanna ad to share a life made of goodness and gladness.

I've been happily engaged in this all my life and it's

Sark, Glad No Matter What

Dance till the stars
come down with the rafters;
Dance, Dance,
Dance till you drop.

W. H. Auden

Monday, 16 May 2011

More Light

For some time now, I've been thinking of starting a blog that deals with the brighter side of life. So much of what I write is angst-ridden, which is strange, because so much of what I read, and what I'd like to share, is anything but.

So I decided. While my original blog remains the way it is, a way to unload when I feel like unloading, this blog will be my Pollyanna and my Buddy the Elf. I will share video clips, excerpts from books, poems, whatever lifts the spirit.

We could all use a little illumination.

For the first post, I am posting one of my favourite clips from Northern Exposure, which I think was a seriously underrated show. And it is entitled, rather aptly, More Light.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)