“Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty.” (James Norwood Pratt)
Hello Friends, Hello Brand New Year!
It’s nice to be back, breathe a sigh of relief, and settle into a winter of quiet contemplation after a busy holiday season.
I’m a hibernating homebody by nature, likely part-bear, so I thrive on days when it’s too cold to venture out. I’m perfectly content to cozy up with a good book (the towering TBR pile always in view), read, sip sip sip tea, write, and bake (one must always have homemade treats on hand in case Colin Firth or Aidan Turner drops by). 🙂
Two days before Christmas, a beautiful tropical bouquet arrived on our doorstep without a signed gift card. The very long flower box traveled all the way to Virginia from Hilo, Hawai’i, and contained orange and pink heliconia, red and pink anthurium, red ginger, white dendrobium orchids, orange protea, and hala, ti, and monstera leaves.
Who could have sent this little bit of paradise, this lovely reminder of both my mother’s and grandmother’s gardens? This “mystery sender” baffled us for the few days it took for the florist to return my email. Was it an old school friend, a long lost relative, a secret admirer? It was fun dreaming up all kinds of scenarios.
What a joyous surprise to discover it was my Aunty Esther, who used to bake those wonderful butter cookies so many Christmases ago. I’ve been blessed with many good aunts, and Esther was always one of the kindest and most thoughtful. Out of the blue, a generous gesture — making us, so far away, feel loved and remembered.
I’ve welcomed 2016 with this good feeling in my heart, and a renewed conviction to lead with love and kindness.
Nothing matters more in this world than how you treat other people.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see (Mark Twain).
One on one, up close, a smile, a small gesture, a random act of kindness — at home, at work, on the street, around the corner. The world’s gone mad and things feel out of control. But being kind is wholly within our control, as Michael Blumenthal so eloquently states in his wonderful poem.
by Michael Blumenthal
Not merely because Henry James said
there were but four rules of life—
be kind be kind be kind be kind— but
because it’s good for the soul, and,
what’s more, for others; it may be
that kindness is our best audition
for a worthier world, and, despite
the vagueness and uncertainty of
its recompense, a bird may yet wander
into a bush before our very houses,
gratitude may not manifest itself in deeds
entirely equal to our own, still there’s
weather arriving from every direction,
the feasts of famine and feasts of plenty
may yet prove to be one, so why not
allow the little sacrificial squinches and
squigulas to prevail? Why not inundate
the particular world with minute particulars?
Dust’s certainly all our fate, so why not
make it the happiest possible dust,
a detritus of blessedness? Surely
the hedgehog, furling and unfurling
into its spiked little ball, knows something
that, with gentle touch and unthreatening
tone, can inure to our benefit, surely the wicked
witches of our childhood have died and,
from where they are buried, a great kindness
has eclipsed their misdeeds. Yes, of course,
in the end so much comes down to privilege
and its various penumbras, but too much
of our unruly animus has already been
wasted on reprisals, too much of the
unblessed air is filled with smoke from
undignified fires. Oh friends, take
whatever kindness you can find
and be profligate in its expenditure:
It will not drain your limited resources,
I assure you, it will not leave you vulnerable
and unfurled, with only your sweet little claws
to defend yourselves, and your wet little noses,
and your eyes to the ground, and your little feet.
~ from No Hurry: Poems 2000 – 2012, copyright © 2012 Etruscan Press.
I hope 2016 will be kind to you, and that it will be a year of good health, new adventures, inspired writing, successful endeavors, happy times with friends and family, creating and cultivating beauty, and many, many delicious meals.
Please join us for a nosh or nibble whenever you can. As always, we’ve set a special place at our table just for you (and I’m always happy to be your tea pusher!). 😀
As Mr. Carson of Downton Abbey said, “The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end that’s all there is.”
So, here’s to making some good memories this year!
The lovely and talented Tabatha is hosting the Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference. Take her a handful of M&Ms and check out the full menu of poetic goodness on this week’s menu. Happy January!
“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.