“Springtime’s comin,'” he said. “Cannot tha’ smell it?”

Here’s something to ponder: If my dad (who will turn 100 in a few months) had decided to start closing down shop and preparing for old age at 60 he would have missed out on 40% of his life.

Yeah. Cogitate THAT for awhile. 🙂

***

So you know how in the springtime you see birds winging through the air with bits of ribbon and grass and straw dangling from their beaks – foraging for materials to build their nests? That’s been me lately. I’ve been on a treasure hunt for scraps and bits of inspiration to build a cozy little mental nest for myself. I just finished my annual spring reading of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – a book that never fails to uplift me – and I’ve been turning to the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, too, for inspiration. Mr. Rogers has, once again, provided me with a role model – someone I can endeavor to emulate in my own life. And a lecture by Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche brought me a rush of sweet, healing tears.

Here’s some of what I’ve found for my nest –

“Springtime’s comin,'” he said. “Cannot tha’ smell it?”

Mary sniffed and thought she could. “I smell something nice and fresh and damp,” she said.

“That’s th’ good rich earth,” he answered, digging away. “It’s in a good humor makin’ ready to grow things. It’s glad when plantin’ time comes. It’s dull in th’ winter when it’s got nowt to do. In th’ flower gardens out there things will be stirrin’ down below in th’ dark. Th’ sun’s warmin’ ’em. You’ll see bits o’ green spikes stickin’ out o’ th’ black earth after a bit.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

orange pink tulips 2 this one.jpg

Tulips in Tulip Town 2017. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

“How could I have stayed abed! Th’ world’s all fair begun again this mornin’, it has. An’ it’s workin’ an’ hummin’ an’ scratchin’ an’ pipin’ an’ nest-buildin’ an’ breathin’ out scents, till you’ve got to be out on it ‘stead o’ lyin’ on your back.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up and working under the earth,” said Mary.
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?… To plant seeds in— to make things grow— to see them come alive,” Mary faltered.
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

entry to garden

Karen’s Secret Garden

“On that first morning when the sky was blue again Mary wakened very early. The sun was pouring in slanting rays through the blinds and there was something so joyous in the sight of it that she jumped out of bed and ran to the window. She drew up the blinds and opened the window itself and a great waft of fresh, scented air blew in upon her. The moor was blue and the whole world looked as if something Magic had happened to it. There were tender little fluting sounds here and there and everywhere, as if scores of birds were beginning to tune up for a concert. Mary put her hand out of the window and held it in the sun.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“She unchained and unbolted and unlocked and when the door was open she sprang across the step with one bound, and there she was standing on the grass, which seemed to have turned green, and with the sun pouring down on her and warm sweet wafts about her and the fluting and twittering and singing coming from every bush and tree. She clasped her hands for pure joy and looked up in the sky and it was so blue and pink and pearly and white and flooded with springtime light that she felt as if she must flute and sing aloud herself and knew that thrushes and robins and skylarks could not possibly help it.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“Just listen to them birds— th’ world seems full of ’em— all whistlin’ an’ pipin’,” he said. “Look at ’em dartin’ about, an’ hearken at ’em callin’ to each other. Come springtime seems like as if all th’ world’s callin’. The leaves is uncurlin’ so you can see ’em— an’, my word, th’ nice smells there is about!” sniffing with his happy turned-up nose. “An’ that poor lad lyin’ shut up an’ seein’ so little that he gets to thinkin’ o’ things as sets him screamin’. Eh! my! we mun get him out here— we mun get him watchin’ an listenin’ an’ sniffin’ up th’ air an’ get him just soaked through wi’ sunshine. An’ we munnot lose no time about it.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“Something seemed to have been unbound and released in him, very quietly. ‘What is it?’ he said, almost in a whisper…strange as it seemed to him, there were minutes— sometimes half-hours— when, without his knowing why, the black burden seemed to lift itself again and he knew he was a living man and not a dead one.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“Circumstances, however, were very kind to her, though she was not at all aware of it. They began to push her about for her own good. When her mind gradually filled itself with robins, and moorland cottages crowded with children, with queer crabbed old gardeners and common little Yorkshire housemaids, with springtime and with secret gardens coming alive day by day, and also with a moor boy and his ‘creatures,’ there was no room left for the disagreeable thoughts…”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“I’m well! I’m well!” said Colin again, and his face went quite red all over. He had known it before in a way, he had hoped it and felt it and thought about it, but just at that minute something had rushed all through him— a sort of rapturous belief and realization and it had been so strong that he could not help calling out. “I shall live forever and ever and ever!” he cried grandly. “I shall find out thousands and thousands of things. I shall find out about people and creatures and everything that grows— like Dickon— and I shall never stop making Magic. I’m well! I’m well! I feel— I feel as if I want to shout out something— something thankful, joyful!”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

healing

“The flowers are growing— the roots are stirring. That is the Magic. Being alive is the Magic— being strong is the Magic. The Magic is in me— the Magic is in me.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“The healing power is Truth and Love, and these do not fail in the greatest emergencies.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
“Innocence and Truth overcome guilt and error.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“A false sense of what constitutes happiness is more disastrous to human progress than all that an enemy or enmity can obtrude upon the mind…”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Humility is no busy body: it has no moments for trafficking in other people’s business, no place for envy, no time for idle words, vain amusements, and all the et cetera of the ways and means of personal sense.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
– Stephen Hawking

“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood won four Emmy awards, and Rogers himself was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1997 Daytime Emmys, as described by Esquire’s Tom Junod:

“Mister Rogers went onstage to accept the award—and there, in front of all the soap opera stars and talk show sinceratrons, in front of all the jutting man-tanned jaws and jutting saltwater bosoms, he made his small bow and said into the microphone, ‘All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Ten seconds of silence.’

“And then he lifted his wrist, looked at the audience, looked at his watch, and said, ‘I’ll watch the time.’ There was, at first, a small whoop from the crowd, a giddy, strangled hiccup of laughter, as people realized that he wasn’t kidding, that Mister Rogers was not some convenient eunuch, but rather a man, an authority figure who actually expected them to do what he asked. And so they did. One second, two seconds, three seconds—and now the jaws clenched, and the bosoms heaved, and the mascara ran, and the tears fell upon the beglittered gathering like rain leaking down a crystal chandelier. And Mister Rogers finally looked up from his watch and said softly, ‘May God be with you’ to all his vanquished children.”
– from Wikipedia’s page on Fred Rogers

“Love cannot create His children to inflict harm on one another – not by means of heredity, or contagion, hatred, fear, violence, abuse, any other contact… anger… no – there’s no God in that history. Our eternal link to one another is Love. Our present link to one another is Love. Our past link is Love. All God’s children, in reality, are only connected through love, by Love… I let go of hurts, anger, I let go of false beliefs about connections I had with people in my life. It was so purifying. It’s like I was given a clean white page. A whole new life.”
– Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche

“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun— which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in some one’s eyes.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

Flipped Reflection. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

“See here,” she said. “Don’t let us talk about dying; I don’t like it. Let us talk about living.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Robin Family

Mama Robin and babies on our porch. (Karen Molenaar Terrell)

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Quotes from the “Greatest Generation”

I’ve been watching The Right Stuff on television this rainy afternoon – and the men and women portrayed in that movie reminded me of the values, courage, and strength of my own parents – who were, like the astronauts and their wives, members of the “greatest generation.” My musings led me to dig up some quotes from my parents’ generation (and please feel free to add any quotes you find that you think would go well here)…

You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.
– Chuck Yeager (b. 1923)

My faith demands – this is not optional – my faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.
– Jimmy Carter (b. 1924)

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
– Nelson Mandela (b. 1918)
I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes,’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to somebody else.
– Mr. Rogers (b. 1928)

I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.
– Walter Cronkite (b. 1916)

You never get tired unless you stop and take time for it.
– Bob Hope (b. 1903)

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.
– Katherine Hepburn (b. 1907)

Tough times don’t last, tough people do, remember?
– Gregory Peck (b. 1916)

Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a Jimmy Stewart imitation myself. I’d like people to remember me as someone who was good at his job and seemed to mean what he said.
– Jimmy Stewart (b. 1908)

You’re blessed if you have the strength to work.
– Mahalia Jackson (b. 1911)

I believe in living each day as it comes, to the best of my ability. When it’s done, I put it away, remembering that there will be a tomorrow to take its place.
– Ginger Rogers (b. 

I love to laugh. It’s the only way to live. Enjoy each day – it’s not coming back again!
– Doris Day (b. 1922)

Getting old is not for sissies.
– Bette Davis (b. 1908)

People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.
– Sir Edmund Hillary (b. 1919)

Why shouldn’t I be polite to other people? It doesn’t cost me anything.
– Dee Molenaar (b. 1918)

Said to the bigot in the Sears store: That family has as much right to be here as you or me! 
– Colleen “Moz” Molenaar (b. 1927)

 

 

Summer Reading

“You thought you had failed, Captain Ban. But you did not fail. My mission was to save the cosmos, but I could not function until I found the focal point. And that focal point was in your strength, your human defiance of all destiny. It was your voice, crying, ‘I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!’ that guided me, brought me here. I go now, forever from your cosmos and your consciousness. But there is no need for me any longer. The Covenant is ended. I leave you with all you require to survive—your humanity, which is your strength.”
– Robert Bloch, from Isaac Asimov’s 15 Short Stories

I read some really awesome books during my summer vacation: Isaac Asimov’s 15 Short Stories, David Z. Hirsch’s Didn’t Get Frazzled, and Irene Pepperberg’s Alex and Me. Here are some quotes from these books that I thought my readers might enjoy:

“There was a moment beyond which there was no next second.”
– Murray Leinster, from Isaac Asimov’s 15 Short Stories

“The feeling was that the cosmos had turned askew, and the horizon had tilted so that what should have been the east was up, and what should have been the west was down—and he tended to fall toward it—and the beach was merely before him and the sky behind.”
– Murray Leinster, from Isaac Asimov’s 15 Short Stories

“They have attained to thermonuclear power, have they?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Well, that’s the criterion.” Naro chuckled, “And soon their ships will probe out and contact the Federation.”
“Actually, Great One,” said the messenger, reluctantly, “the Observers tell us they have not yet penetrated space.”
Naron was astonished. “Not at all? Not even a space station?”
“Not yet, sir.”
“But if they have thermonuclear power, where then do they conduct their tests and detonations?”
“On their own planet, sir.”
Naron rose to his full twenty feet of height and thundered, “On their own planet?”
“Yes, sir.”
Slowly, Naron drew out his stylus and passed a line through the latest addition in the smaller book. It was an unprecedented act, but, then, Naron was very wise and could see the inevitable as well as anyone in the Galaxy.
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“This thing was important. He didn’t know why it was, of course. Grand Masters rarely did. That’s what made them Grand Masters; the fact that they were beyond reason.”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“…always there was the driving effort on each side to break the stalemate, to develop a parry for every possible thrust, to develop a thrust that could not be parried in time—something that would make war possible again. And that was not because either side wanted war so desperately, but because both were afraid that the other side would make the crucial discovery first.”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“Each different squiggle stood for a different number. For ‘one’ you made a kind of mark, for ‘two’ you make another kind of mark, for ‘three’ another one and so on.”
“What for?”
“So you could compute.”
“What for ? You just tell the computer—”
“Jimmy,” cried Paul, his face twisting with anger, “can’t you get it through your head? These slide-rules and things didn’t talk.”
“Then how–”
“The answers showed up in squiggles and you had to know what the squiggles meant. Mr. Daughterty says that in the olden days, everybody learned how to make squiggles when they were kids and how to decode them, too. Making squiggles was called ‘writing’ and decoding them was ‘reading.’ He says there was a different kind of squiggle for every word and they used to write whole books in squiggles. He said they had some at the museum and I could look at them if I wanted to. He said if I was going to be a real computer and programmer I would have to know about the history of computing and that’s why he was showing me all these things.”
Niccolo frowned. He said, “You mean everybody had to figure out squiggles for every word and remember them? Is this all real or are you making it up?”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“Later on, I looked up how to spell Mesozoic, which is why I got it right, in case you’re wondering, and I found out that the Mesozoic Era is when all the dinosaurs were doing whatever dinosaurs do. But of course at the time this is just so much double-talk to me, and mostly I was thinking we had a lunatic talking to us. Joe claimed afterwards that he knew about this Mesozoic thing, but he’ll have to talk lots longer and louder before Ray and I believe him.”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“Take an individual cell out of your body, even a brain cell, and what is it by itself ? Nothing. A little blob of protoplasm with no more capacity for anything human than an amoeba. Less capacity, in fact, since it couldn’t live by itself. But put the cells together and you have something that could invent a spaceship, or write a symphony.”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“He focused on the other parts of the ship, marveling at the diversity of life. Each item, no matter how small, was sufficient to itself. He forced himself to contemplate this, until the unpleasantness of the thought grated on him and he longed for the normality of home.”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“It was a terribly unhappy and unnatural thing to be parted from all the rest of the unified organism, to be a life fragment oneself. How could these aliens stand being fragments?”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“I can’t find myself here, there are too many people.”
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled 

“Listen. Forget about rounds, forget about everything except this: the patient comes first. You do what you need to do, even if it turns out you’d been wrong, or you’d overreacted, or you’d pissed somebody off to get it done — it doesn’t matter. As long as you have the patient’s best interests at heart, no one is going to be that mad at you, okay?” ​I nodded.
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled 

“On my way back up here — and I had a good ten minutes to think while waiting once more for the two local elevators — questions racked my brain: Why had that been so difficult? Why do we have to fight the system to give our patients the care they need, the care that everyone here except me is paid to provide? And if nobody else cares, how long will it be until I break, too?”
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled 

“But it’s not how it should be. It’s not conducive to developing thoughtful doctors. If you put all the emphasis on the cutting and devalue interactions with people, of course the patients will be thought of as no more than a slab of meat.”
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled

“The intake paperwork identified him as Alexander Hamilton, but I had my doubts.”
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled 

“But the one thing the Biblical period contained that the modern era did not was people communicating with God. At least, I used to believe that until I met patient after patient who regaled me with their idiosyncratic scriptures. ​This led me to the obvious question: were the biblical prophets schizophrenic, or were we medicating our modern prophets?”
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled 

“Alex taught us that we are a part of nature, not apart from nature. The ‘separateness’ notion was a dangerous illusion that gave us permission to exploit every aspect of the natural world—animal, plant, mineral—without consequences. We are now facing those consequences: poverty, starvation, and climate change, for example.”
– Irene Pepperberg, Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence–and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process  

“Deb Rivel, a friend and The Alex Foundation board member, put it this way: ‘Alex taught me the meaning of oneness. What I learned from him also supported what I always have known to be true: that there is just one Creation, one Nature, one good, full, complete Idea, made up of individuals of all shapes and designs, all expressing their oneness with one God. We are not different because we look different, but we all reflect the eternal beauty and intelligence of one Creation in our own peculiar way. It’s what makes up the whole—this textured fabric of thought and existence—and knowing Alex has underscored to me how much the same we really are.’”
– Irene Pepperberg, Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence–and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process

But Wait! There’s More! :)

I had so much fun working on the project for the Reading Room (see last post) that I couldn’t stop. 🙂 Here are seven more photos for the display. Quotes by Mary Baker Eddy, photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell: