I am an utmost beginner. I walk around the new property – overgrown with years of neglect – and seek out the plants. They’re all in half stages of growth: much past their humble April beginnings and not nearly in their full on July-August glory yet. I walk around, plant to plant, wishing I could know them – not just to identify them, but to really know them – as Rosemary Gladstar does, Helen Ward, Susun Weed, Lora Kroll… just some of my teachers. I want to touch a plant and know it’s inherent qualities instead of ripping up these “weeds” blindly – unknown to the medicines and properties they contain – and then replacing them with herbs bought with my hard-earned cash; when I could be using these plants dubbed weeds all along. Making teas and tinctures, healing my ails – visible and invisible; helping my friends and family. This is how I’m feeling toward the “weeds”.
The only way to know is to learn and experience. Come along with me and learn too. Begin at the beginning. I will share what I learn as I learn it.
When I come across a poem I love, I will write it in my journal. “A Timbered Choir” by Wendell Berry is a poem I never want to forget. I think it is my all-time favorite poem if I had to chose one. Forgive my little scribbles and messy handwriting but I felt it more fun to share this way then to just type it out here. But if you really want to experience this poem, please scroll down to the link below to hear Berry read it for himself!
Wendell Berry himself reads his beautiful poem in the video made by Laura Dunn posted in the link below. The video is the trailer for the film “Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry”. The film itself is beautifully made and relaxing and an interesting portrait of the author and farmer’s life. Do have a listen to the trailer, you won’t regret it:
Look & See Trailer by Laura Dunn on Vimeo
After watching it, I am sure you understand why this poem has been echoing in my mind lately. The cadence of his voice and the powerful images in the video are captivating, important, real, and stopped me in my tracks. I’ve listened to his voice read “The Timbered Choir” over and over. I intend to read a lot more of Wendell Berry’s work.
Picking Blueberries, Austerlitz, New York,1957
Once, in summer,
in the blueberries,
I fell asleep, and woke
when a deer stumbled against me.
she was so busy with her own happiness
she had grown careless
and was just wandering along
to the wind as she leaned down
to lip up the sweetness.
So, there we were
with nothing between us
but a few leaves, and wind’s
backed away finally
and flung up her white tail
and went floating off toward the trees –
but the moment before she did that
was so wide and so deep
it has lasted to this day;
I have only to think of her –
the flower of her amazement
and the stalled breath of her curiosity,
and even the damp touch of her solicitude
before she took flight –
to be absent again from this world
and alive, again, in another
for thirty years
sleepy and amazed,
rising out of the rough weeds
listening and looking.
where are you?
New and Selected Poems
If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.
– Marc Chagall ❤️
Edmund Dulac, Illustrator
The Snow Queen and Other Stories from Hans Christian Andersen.
London: Hodder & Stoughton 1911.
Isn’t this illustration just marvelous! I’m so happy I saw it on This Ivy House this snowy and icy morning. It’s been a rough weekend and I haven’t felt well, but it’s amazing what a bit of inspiring art can do to lift the spirits. Edmund Dulac was a French born illustrator who, after giving up law school, lived and studied art in England for most of his life. His modern art nouveau illustrations beautifully bring to life various fairy tales and myths. Through the course of his career, Dulac also worked for magazines and newspapers, designed stamps, and even designed chocolate boxes. Here’s a compilation of his wonderful artwork on WikiArt. Scrolling through I am struck by the color palette he used, his strong attention to detail, and the whimsicality of his work. Looking through these images and learning about this talented artist was the perfect thing for this icy morning.
The Tower of Blue Horses
Long admired by myself, this painting is by one of my favorite artists, Franz Marc. I’ve always loved the sweeping movement in his paintings, the curves in the horses necks, and the geometry he used to render organic figures. Though this is not the actual painting, I like the muted version of The Tower of Blue Horses shown above. A more true to life version can be viewed here. Another rendering can be viewed here. I didn’t realize this, but in my research on this post I discovered that this painting has actually been missing since the end of World War II. Sadly, it fell victim to Nazi opinions on modern art and was removed from the National Gallery in Berlin in 1937. Later, Hitler personally ordered the painting be removed from a second art exhibit because he declared it to be “degenerate”. Subsequently, the painting was lost. I wonder if it is still out in the world somewhere? I do hope it was not destroyed completely.
Marc himself also fell victim to war. At age 36, he was killed in the Battle of Verdun in 1916.
What ravages war has brought.
View from the Studio in Eerbeek
This is how I felt on my walk today. It was a bit dreary. We are in the midst of the February doldrums. Despite the dreary vibe, this picture holds a certain beauty. I love the tones, and that background with the house sort of blurring into the trees. The bare branches of the tree and hedgerow. And the little flock of birds, reminding us to look around and notice things to be thankful for. I had to tell myself that today while I was out walking in fact. I was feeling a bit off and said in my head, “find something beautiful”. I looked up and noticed a stand of young birch trees. I focused on them and for a minute wasn’t focusing on my chilly ears, or tired body, or unsettled thoughts. It always helps to find and focus on the beauty. I found this painting on Pinterest a few weeks ago. It is a fitting image to share for Tuesday’s Inspiration.
Is it too early to be dreaming of spring? I don’t think so. The sun is around so much longer these days. It’s really just around the corner. I found this poem on one of my favorite websites (This Ivy House) this morning, and I love how spring is expressed in it. I wanted to share it with you, my faithful readers (all 2 of you! 🙂 haha). So here is an excerpt from To Jane: The Invitation by Percy Bysshe Shelley via the Poetry Foundation.
Bending from Heaven, in azure mirth,
It kissed the forehead of the Earth,
And smiled upon the silent sea,
And bade the frozen streams be free,
And waked to music all their fountains,
And breathed upon the frozen mountains,
And like a prophetess of May
Strewed flowers upon the barren way,
Making the wintry world appear
Like one on whom thou smilest, dear.
Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs—
To the silent wilderness
Where the soul need not repress
Its music lest it should not find
An echo in another’s mind.
While the touch of Nature’s art
Harmonizes heart to heart.
Audrey Hepburn, 1967. Photographed by Terry O’Neill.
I’m laid up on bed rest from a recent surgery and using my time to catch up on all the classic movies I’ve never seen. Film, Hollywood, movie stars, classics: none of it is my cup of tea. However, I have always wanted to see Audrey Hepburn movies, just to see what it’s all about. Yup, I can see why people love her. She’s a charming person to watch on the screen, and I love her vintage style. I watched Roman Holiday yesterday and I have My Fair Lady on the docket for today. In addition to Audrey Hepburn movies, I also have Casablanca, The Sound of Music, Citizen Cane, On Golden Pond, and Out of Africa.
What other classic movies would you recommend?