Up at 5.30 this morning, as Lissie had decided to rattle the door from the kitchen to my hall. I thought it was a case of "urgent necessity" - went down to let her out...she promptly climbed back up on her chair in the kitchen, curled up and went back to sleep!
The order of the day when this sort of thing happens is - cup of tea, and back to bed with a book and my journal! There is something very blissful about being able to go back to bed - something I don't often do, but just sometimes...aaaah! it is lovely!
The favourite book on my bedside table just now is "Soul Gardening", bought for 50 pence ($1.00) from "Sally Anne's" - the Salvation Army charity shop in Newbury last week, written by ex-priest now gardener and garden designer Terry Hershey. He tries a bit too hard to be clever with the words to begin
with, but once he settles down and just focuses on gardening, he becomes less self conscious and does express many sympathies that are so in tune with my own.
He has some interesting things to say about how he changed his mind on what can be described as "Everyday Sacred", a sentiment expressed and exemplified every day by my good friend Fran Redondowriter on her inspirational blog "Sacred Ordinary". And here he is describing a visit to an English cottage garden, where he had been absorbed for two hours "immersed ...into the mosaic of colour and the jumble of scents"..
"It's not easy, to just sit. I wanted to be productive in my sitting. I wanted to describe what I was seeing, what I was feeling. I wanted to find the right words or take a picture, wanting to find a container for this moment. Before long, the internal manic cadence begins to lose its steam. And your eyes begin to refocus. Off come the shoes and you settle in, to revel in the gift.
And on this afternoon, you pretend to be characters in some Victorian novel, enjoying tea under the pergola, served by butlers, no less, and serenaded with the continuous hum of bees busily absorbed in honeysuckle and delphinium. On this afternoon, you play guessing games with white cloud shapes and relish the buoyant blue sky and the lavish waste of time.
For there is something about the whole experience that provokes a replay of the lazy summer afternoons of childhood, laying belly-up under the apple tree, grass stem in mouth, a remembrance of the time when one unquestionably expected fantasies would come true and when ordinary wardrobes did indeed lead to the land of Narnia"
This passage rings so true with me, especially after yet another lovely autumn day today, the sort of day that I, like the author, have struggled to describe, to capture evocatively in my journal. The fleeting, ephemeral atmosphere is almost impossible to capture, which is perhaps what makes it so special, and why we should just enjoy it with abandon while we can.
Hershey mentions photography as one way of capturing the moment, and here is just such a moment in the photo below, captured over 100 years ago,from an old photograph album that I am currently scanning. Taken in the late Victorian/early Edwardian period, do you think that the people in the picture have also spent a lazy summer afternoon, listening to the bees and taking tea on the lawn. I rather think they may have done, don't you?
( Click on the image to enlarge it, so that you may enjoy looking at the fascinating detail at your leisure. Email me if you would like an even higher resolution image)