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Archive for January, 2012

“Good prose is like a window pane.” (George Orwell)

University classes began this week.  That means for now, not much else will occur.  ;^)  And that’s fine.  I know it’s a season.  Diving into and digging out from under homework will be about all I do.  Good thing I love it.  So, today’s reading of “Why I Write,” by Mr. Orwell, provided some inspiration for a moment of fun.  The phrase turned over and over in my mind.  I thought about why I write and for whom.  I thought about a window pane.  What does it do?  And why is it like good prose?  Well, glass is usually clear, so maybe it helps make ideas clear.  It focuses, frames, and helps you see inside.  It enables visibility.  Glass protects from outside elements, while allowing light to filter in.  Therefore, it dispels darkness.

I like that.

So, I ambled outdoors on this unseasonably warm Oklahoma day and located a spare window pane.  ;^)  (One of the many perks of having a handy-dandy artistic daughter in residence.)  ;^)  She brought her camera out and I brought mine.  We perched the window up in the tree and started shooting.  This photo is hers, but she insisted it was a collaborative effort.  ;^)  Now that is art.  Clear, focused writing — light shining, illuminated darkness.  Looking up into a place of beauty.  Nice.  ;^)

 

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Sometimes the simple things bring the most joy.  This is what I have in mind, while bringing a new feature to my blog.  As you may guess, I have quite a gathering of teacups and teapots at my house.  And the tea is always overflowing.  ;^D

So, I thought that featuring a teacup of the month might be fun.  I’ll also showcase one of my favorite teas at the same time.

I had such a good time creating this still life photo.  I selected a new cup that I received for Christmas and took it to my mother’s to photograph it with some of her cardinal collection.  (If you think my teacup collection is large, you should see her cardinal collection.  Vast does not begin to describe it.)

So ~~ here you see a vintage photo of cardinals and some of the other fun items with my “I ♥ Grandma” cup that my grand-daughter, Annabelle, gave me for Christmas.  Annabelle is eight years old and she selected this cup at her school’s Christmas store.  She’s so thoughtful and sweet.  I love that she thought of me and chose this gift by herself.  She even wrapped it and was so excited to give it to me that she couldn’t wait until Christmas for me to open it.  ;^)

I   ♥  you, too, Annabelle.   ;^)   (She and her brother and sister are my sweeties.) ♥ ♥ ♥

I also thought this would be a fun theme for the first “Teacup of the Month,” because the predominant color is red, which reminds me of garnet, which is the birthstone of January, which is my mother’s birth month.   ;^)  (Whew!)  (Sometimes my mind really does take the rabbit trails — or in this case, the cardinal trails.)  ;^)

I found this description on the American Gem Society website:

Garnet

“Garnet, the birthstone for January,  signifies eternal friendship and trust and is the perfect gift for a friend.  Garnet, derived from the word granatum, means seed, and is called so because of the gemstone’s resemblance to a pomegranate seed.  References to the gemstone dates back to 3100 B.C., when the Egyptians used garnets as inlays jewelry.  Garnet is the name of a group of minerals that comes in a rainbow of colors, from the deep red of the pyrope garnet to the vibrant green of tsavorites.”

Well — that is just perfect.   ;^)  Sowing seeds of friendship ~~ that just makes me happy.  ;^)

The tea in the cup is almost garnet in color, too.  It is Celestial Seasoning’s Black Cherry Berry.  (I promise — they don’t pay me.)  (But they really should.)  ;^)  Black Cherry Berry is an herbal tea and one of Annabelle’s favorites when we have tea-parties.  (I like it when I want something a little sweet and fruity and need to avoid the temptation of sugar or other heavy sweets.  It’s a nice dessert.)   ;^)

There we have it.  Miss Cynthia’s Spot of TranquiliTEA’s first Teacup of the Month!  Happy Birthday, Mother, and to you, if you have a January birthday.  ;^D

May many seeds of friendship scatter your way.

Thank you very much for stopping by and sharing this cup of tea with me.  I can hardly wait to stage the February cup.  Hmmmm ….

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Settle back with a cup of your favorite hot tea and let’s chat about the year ahead.

I certainly could have posted a more beautiful photo to wish you well for the new year.  I’m just drifting a bit to the philosophical side of the path on this January One.  Yes, there is a great deal of brown in the picture and the trees are bare.  It’s not spectacular.  But there is a bridge — and we’re crossing over into the unknown.  And there is a curve on the path that leads to the unseen.  That’s what I’m thinking about as I wish all the best for your 2012.

I walked this exact path today.  It’s one of my favorites.  Yes, there is brown stretching as far as the eye can see.  But occasionally, there are great patches of blue.  The water laps a soothing rhythm at the edge of the lake shore and soon — I am surrounded by beauty.  That is what I hope for you — to be surrounded by moments of surprising splendor in the midst of the every day brown.

Oh, there have been days that I’ve walked this path and spied a rattlesnake sunning its coils about a foot from my ankle.  Oh, yes.  This is Oklahoma.  I’ve walked it with my daughter and heard a grrrrrrrr in the bushes that most definitely sounded like a bear.  Our pace to the car picked up considerably.  (We later decided it had to have been a wild boar.)  (Do they growl?)  I don’t know — bear — wild boar — none too great to meet up with in the back woods.

I’ve walked this path with a friend and listened to her ghost story and nearly jumped out of my skin when an armadillo rustled in the leaves.  I mock-punched her (my friend, not the armadillo) in the arm for scaring me out of my wits.  Then, we laughed all the way back to the car.

Two of my daughters walked this path and watched a cougar pass in front of them — not twenty feet, they say. (Well, one says bobcat, one says cougar.)  Once again — who cares which?  It was a bit too close for comfort.  But it was an amazing moment they will never forget.

So, why do we keep walking this path?

Well, it’s Oklahoma.  And this is where we live.  I can’t stay holed up forever.  Sometimes it’s a little wild out there.

There was also the day when a hawk “accompanied” me the entire 3 1/2 miles around.  It would fly and perch on a tree top.  I would walk.  It would fly and perch.  I would walk.  It would fly and perch.  I can’t explain why.  It really happened.  It was just there and it was peaceful.

I’ve seen a blue heron, Canadian geese, wild ducks, woodpeckers, cardinals, blue birds — all on the same day.  Chirping, warbling, whistling, honking songs created a bird symphony to accompany my steps, which lightened considerably.  Those are the spectacular times.

The spring puts on a wildflower show that you wouldn’t believe.  I’ve photographed pink wild roses, towering golden yucca, and masses of Indian Blankets and Indian Paintbrush.

I’ve learned to appreciate all of the seasons.  Each one holds unexpected bounty.  I’ve experienced the heady, summer fragrance of wild honeysuckle.  I’ve trudged up an incline in the snow, determined to get some exercise and chase off a touch of cabin fever.  I’ve even ran (okay half-jogged, walked, half-jogged some more, walked some more, crawled — just kidding) the entire route in the pouring rain.

Some days I’ve struggled to walk a mile, much less 3 1/2.  But there have been a few that I’ve mustered up enough energy to circle it twice.  Either one brews a certain sense of accomplishment.

The sunsets are amazing.  The water reflects amethyst, sapphire, and diamond flames.  Talk about rich — it’s like a private art-show in the sky.  Except it’s not exclusive.  All you have to do is look up.

So, there’s a trade-off.  I walk.  Nature puts on a show.  Sometimes it may seem a bit perilous.  Sometimes it’s breathtaking.   Mostly, it’s soothing … and always — the sun comes back up the next day and sets again that evening.  And I can participate in as many of those as I choose to.

That’s kind of how I see the new year.  I know right off the bat that it’s not going to be all sunsets and roses.  There may be some rattlesnake moments.  Maybe not.

But I’ll keep walking.

That’s what I wish for you.

One foot in front of the other.  I hope that this year soothes you, dazzles you, takes your breath away in beautiful moments and goes easy on you with the lions and rattlesnakes and bears.  Oh my.  And the wild boars.  And the armadillos.

Happy New Year from Miss Cynthia in Oklahoma.  I hope that you have many moments of TranquiliTEA to cherish.

(Take a moment to say, “Howdy,” and leave a comment below, okay?  I’d love to have more conversations with you this year.  Let me know you stopped in, won’t you, Friend?)  The tea is always on.

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