A cloud of interests


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There wasn’t
time enough for all the wonderful things
I could think of to do

in a single day. Patience
comes to the bones
before it takes root in the heart

as another good idea.
I say this
as I stand in the woods

and study the patterns
of the moon shadows,
or stroll down into the waters

that now, late summer, have also
caught the fever, and hardly move
from one eternity to another.

Mary Oliver
From ‘Patience’
New and Selected Poems
Volume Two

Happy September! I’m having a quiet evening and feeling peaceful and mellow.

I’ve been thinking, too, about my automatically generated ‘tag cloud’ here, and of how it gives a pretty good account of some of my chief interests … inner life, contemplation, Edinburgh, poetry …

Autumn and winter will be warmed by an array of interests and occupations like these.


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Alive with opportunities


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Too often, we move through the physical world as if it were a stage set, a mute backdrop for our daily activities. Yet in reality it is alive with opportunities for inspiration, wonder, and joy.

Ingrid Fetell Lee
Joyful: The surprising power of ordinary things to create extraordinary happiness

I’ve been quietly watching clouds set in a blue sky today, and poppies nodding in the breeze, and birds, and bees.

I’ve noticed the scent of the coffee and the granite counter cleaner in my kitchen, and taken time to prepare and trim the beans gifted to me across the garden fence by my neighbour.

I’ve swept the first of fallen autumn leaves, decided I must be patient and allow apples a little longer on the tree, enjoyed a productive hour with Duolingo in the sunshine, read a bit, walked a bit, eaten well, had a nap, and thought a lot about Ingrid Fetell Lee’s proposed opportunities.

I read and watch the News sometimes, of course, but I’m conscious of imbalance in the reporting. Apparently newsrooms, too busy with former presidents and future prime ministers (as though – dubiously – these were the most important ‘news’ in the world), don’t often have time (or perspective) to make decisions about apple trees, or singing, or sweeping up leaves. Never mind. I shall be (and you can be) happily responsible for these.

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The variety of life


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Sad though I am to be missing our second bothy weekend, I have to admit that temporary grounding in house and garden by Covid-19 is not without its joys.

Gardens, and nature generally, inspire my soul and enhance my perspective. I’m drawn to remember, and to reflect upon, the extraordinary diversity and variety in all things living – near and far, tiny and gigantic, colour, complexity, scent, size, shape, textures, life span and so on.

Peaceful today, and moved only a little by a mild breeze, beautiful life-forms in my garden appear simply to revel in their being-ness. As do the galaxies shown in glorious, mysterious technicolour by the world’s latest most advanced James Webb Space Telescope. I’m moved to be still for a while – to look at my own being-ness – in wonder.


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Extraordinary wonder

Photo by Hans Isaacson on Unsplash

Whether it’s the mind-stretching symmetry in the construction of individual snowflakes, or the paintings created everywhere in this season by fallen leaves, or sunlight on ocean waves, daffodils in Spring, sunrise, full moon, starry sky, or the colour and pattern in the iris of your eye – this world is an extraordinary creation! And all this came to mind in the course of my morning stretch and walk. Our minds, too, being nothing less than a wonder …

Interlude | just for the joy …

remembering summer days

‘Do you ever just close your eyes on winter evenings to remember summer?’ my friend asked me, earlier today, with a wistful look in her eyes. ‘On winter evenings, certainly,’ I replied, ‘and pretty much most mornings, too.’

Sure enough, I’m an advocate of living in the present, but part of the joy of living now is time found here to re-member the past, thereby inspired to breathe deep today, and begin to imagine and to shape the next second or two, as we do.

So here’s a little revisiting Summer ’16. You’re invited to stay here, now, for a little space, and – hopefully – some present grace …


I’ve tried to count
your petals but lose
track each time
around and recall
that numbers never
touched my senses
with clarity of cold
or warmth or taste or
touch or sight or
scent or sound and
after rain this late
summer morning

I note that tall
and elegant you’re
not much of an
accountant either
and for you too
life is celebrated
sometimes by each of
these but in the main
by radically returning
your searching face to
life-raising energy
in sunlight


Examine for a while

photo at pixabay

I have learned from long experience that there is nothing that is not marvellous and that the saying of Aristotle is true – that in every natural phenomenon there is something wonderful, nay, in truth, many wonders. We are born and placed among wonders and surrounded by them, so that to whatever object the eye first turns, the same is wonderful and full of wonders, if only we would examine it for a while.

John de Dondis, 14th century
quoted in J S Collis
The Worm Forgives The Plough, 1973, p170

Plenty of reason to have a good English moan about continuing rainfall today – or to sit down to a meditation session, having first noticed the magnificent, soaring canvas of clouds in every shade and hue of grey on high, and the all-the-more-glorious advent of sunlight from time to time, so that the potatoes in our kitchen garden are both moistened and warmed, beneath the chunter and fuss of thirty or so disgruntled sparrows who don’t appear to like rain much. Or meditation.

Open your eyes gently and focus upon just one wonder for a while, breathed the guide – in the fourteenth century. And I did – on this wet July day in the twenty-first. And as it turned out there was no moaning about the rain. Or anything else.




I brushed some snow from a garden bench this afternoon and my bare fingertips instantly felt the sharp bite of ice so that I was much less inclined to sweep it from the chairs! But as a thaw progresses and snowdrop shoots appear fresher, greener, stronger and taller than they did before, it occurs to me that the same snow that nipped my fingers has apparently blanketed and protected them.

Nature’s a never-ending source of wonder!