i thank You God for this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any- lifted from the no
of all nothing- human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

{e.e. cummings}
. . .

. . .


All the quick notes
Mozart didn't have time to use
before he entered the cloud-boat

are falling now from the beaks
of the finches
that have gathered from the joyous summer

into the hard winter
and, like Mozart, they speak of nothing
but light and delight,

though it is true, the heavy blades of the world
are still pounding underneath.
And this is what you can do too, maybe,

if you live simply and with a lyrical heart
in the cumbered neighborhoods or even,
as Mozart sometimes managed to, in a palace,

offering tune after tune,
making some hard-hearted prince
prudent and kind, just by being happy.

{Mary Oliver}

"True simplicity is not the rejection of beauty in our surroundings, but the refusal to allow concern for things to clutter our minds."

In my quest on how to live loudly but quietly, freely and yet simply in this cluttered world, I've stumbled upon a book that has truly inspired me. In this age of technological astuteness, accumulation of things and material affluence, of status and celebrity and relentless pursuit of personal security, I think-- and I'm just making a wild guess-- that perhaps the majority of us have forgotten to live for life's sake. Maybe? Quite often, at least? And with that I think we've nearly forgotten to find "joy from a sense of being, not on having," as quoted by Damaris Parker-Rhodes, in the book Plain Living, A Quaker Path to Simplicity, by Catherine Whitmire. Simplicity is a "protest [against extravagance] and must... be seen as a testimony against involvement with things which tend to dilute our energies and scatter our thoughts, reducing us to lives of triviality and mediocrity," observes Whitmire.

"We must set light to our possessions lest they come to possess us. Used as sales-talk in our glossy magazines, the phrase 'gracious living' has become a synonym for making a house an end in itself rather than a home to live in. Truly gracious living is a by-product of gracious thinking and doing, and in material things is expressed in 'what is simple and beautiful.' And true simplicity is not the rejection of beauty in our surroundings, but the refusal to allow concern for things to clutter our minds..." (Edgar Castle, 1961)

"Simplicity does not mean drabness or narrowness but is essentially positive, being the capacity for selectivity in one who holds attention on the goal. Thus simplicity is an appreciation of all that is helpful towards living as children of the living God." (Whitmire)

. . .


The other day my sister and I took a few hours to rummage through some nearby antique stores. I particularly was there on an errand, in search of a darling, blue, men's sailor jacket that my eleven year old brother and I had found a few weeks before. He had tried to convince me that it would fit him perfectly-- and that he'd wear it all the time. "All the time, everyday!" He said. It did fit him reasonably, and after all it was just for dress-up, just to play around in. (I love the fact that at almost twelve he and his brothers can be seen romping outside in their camo or their pioneer clothes or their self-styled ninja outfits almost daily. I love it!) We ended up leaving that day without it and he was very dismayed. But, my sister and I found the jacket, hanging on a rack next to a mink coat and a military jacket and I am sure my brother will be quite excited to unwrap it on Christmas, I am sure.

At that same store, I found a glass bowl filled with crystals or "prisms" that are usually found dangling on lamps. All I could think of was Pollyanna, where she strung them from her walls and windows and they created a mess of live looking, glittering rainbow reflections. "I wonder if I should buy a bunch of these crystals and string them across my bedroom window like in the movie Pollyanna?" I asked of the elderly woman behind the counter. She raised her eyebrows. "Oh, indeed," she said, "isn't that in a movie?" I nodded, "Yes, in the movie Pollyanna," I said. "Yep," she answered as she handed me the receipt for the jacket. I didn't end up buying any prisms. Maybe next time I'll convince myself to.