Be like a train; go in the rain,

go in the sun, go in the storm,

go in the dark tunnels!

Be like a train;

concentrate on your road

and go with no hesitation!
~Mehmet Murat ildan

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

***Unfold your own myth.***

I hope you will go out and let stories,

that is life, happen to you, and that

you will work with these stories . . .

water them with your blood &

tears & your laughter till they bloom,

till you yourself burst into bloom.

~Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Oxfordshire Spring

"And that sweet city with her dreaming spires,
She needs not June for beauty's heightening."
~ Matthew Arnold

As beautiful as the 'dreaming spires' of Oxford are, I often long for the countryside.

Eastern Washington skyline
A country girl at heart, I'm used to the wide open spaces and big sky of the American West, especially the skies of Eastern Washington where I've lived most of my adult life.

The foothills and valleys of Eastern Washington

Oxfordshire, May 2013
The wonderful thing, and it's saving grace for me, is that Oxford is surrounded by countryside and within a ten minute drive the sky starts to open up, green fields appear, and I feel as though I can breathe again.

Every two weeks or so, Stuart and I point the car west on the A40, so I can get my sky/green field fix.  He never complains though, especially since there's always scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam waiting for us wherever we end up.

The brook that gives Swinbrook it's name.
Last week we had German friends staying with us who come every year for two weeks, to walk in and around Oxford and the Cotswolds.  We invited them along for our fortnightly foray into the countryside and showed them what Stuart and I think is our perfect afternoon off. It began with afternoon tea and a wander around the Burford Garden Centre, followed by a walk from Swinbrook to St. Oswald's Church, and ended with a wonderful meal at the Maytime Pub in Asthall Leigh.

As we left Asthall Leigh, we stopped by the side of the road to say hello to some lambs. Lambs really do 'frolic', so we just had to stop and watch.  It was a magically quiet evening as we watched them hop and skip about, and all seemed well with the world, surrounded by a quiet, spring countryside.

Swinbrook, Oxfordshire, May 2013

The phone box in Swinbrook, enveloped in Queen Anne's Lace.

Lamp-post leading up to St. Mary's Church, Swinbrook,
although I think one day it may lead to Narnia (I'll keep checking).
"This is the land of Narnia, where we are now, and all that lies between
the lamp-postand the great castle of Cair Paravel on the Eastern Sea."
~Mr Tumnus, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Chapter Two

St. Mary's Church yard
"Each thing is of like form from everlasting
and comes round again in it's cycle."
~ Marcus Aurelius

The Maytime, Asthall Leigh

Sunday, 19 May 2013

An Oxford May Morning Walk

"What potent blood hath modest May."  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Holywell Cemetary, St. Cross Road, Oxford
"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."  ~Rainer Maria Rilke

English Bluebells
"I'll wait for you under the bluebells.  I'll be there always."
~ Kim Harrison

Oxford, May 2013
"Now every field is clothed with grass,
and every tree with leaves;
now the woods put forth their blossoms,
and the year assumes it's gay attire."

"And spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of it's wintry rest."
~Percy Bysshe Shelley -- Student at University College, Oxford, 1810

Queen Anne's Lace, Holywell Cemetary, Oxford, May 2013
"April showers bring forth May flowers. "  ~ English Proverb

"Each flower is a soul blossoming out to nature."  ~ Gerard de Neval

"Where flowers bloom so does hope."  ~ Lady Bird Johnson

Eastman House, Jowett Walk, Oxford, May 2013

" Now that the lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room."
~ T.S. Eliot -- Merton College, Oxford, 1914

St. Cross Road, Oxford, May 2013
"Wisteria is my favorite flowering vine.  Do you know why?'
I shook my head.  'No, ma'am'
'Because it's strong, just like me."
~ Beth Hoffman, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt