Monday, December 14, 2015

Crumpled paper treasure

As long as I can remember my mother loved words; novels, poems and quotes. She had beautiful handwriting; curved and friendly in appearance. She was a dab hand at calligraphy too. Notebooks were filled with quotes and poems cut from magazines or printed from the internet. All artfully arranged between vintage illustrations and images of nature.

Even her recipe books are dotted with inspirational quotes and snippets of wisdom. Mum read daily and must have surely devoured hundreds of books in her lifetime. Her love of Enid Blyton, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Beatrix Potter have been passed on to us girls. Collections of Ladybird books, and old gardening books still cram the shelves of home. Some books are there just for their beautiful spine and covers.
A posy by Mum
Mum could whip up hilarious poems to amuse us or tease her friends. She sent letters off to friends. I have more than a few shoe boxes of precious letters and cards I received. So it was a warm moment when some rumpled papers appeared as I rummaged in a drawer last time I was home.

Nestled in amongst the memorabilia, bits and bobs and random ornaments were two quotes. Printed on plain paper; words that must have once been significant enough for my dearest Mum to stash away. A lump formed in my throat as I read lines. Too beautiful to be a crumpled sheet hidden in a drawer.
Spring in Mum's garden

The first was from the blog Sarah-Jane down the Lane

       The wisteria was tumbling over itself in it's excess of life, it's prodigality of flowering; and where the pergola ended the sun blazed on scarlet geraniums, bushes of them, and nasturtiums in great heaps, and marigolds so brilliant that they seemed to be burning, and red and pink snapdragons, all outdoing each other in bright fierce colour. The ground behind these flaming things dropped away in terraces to the sea, each terrace a little orchard, where among the olives grew vines on trellises, and fig trees, and peach trees, and cherry trees.

     The cherry trees and peach trees were in blossom; lovely showers of white and deep rose colour among the trembling delicacy of the olives; the fig leaves were just big enough to smell of figs, the vine-buds were only just beginning to show. And beneath these trees were groups of blue and purple irises, and bushes of lavender, and grey, sharp cactuses, and the grass was thick with dandelions and daisies, and right down at the bottom was the sea.

    Colour seemed flung down anyhow, anywhere; every sort of colour, piled up in heaps, pouring along in rivers - the periwinkles looked exactly as if they were being poured down each side of the steps and flowers that grow only in borders in England, proud flowers keeping themselves together over there, such as the great blue irises and the lavender, were being jostled by small, shining common things like dandelions and daisies and the white bells of the wild onion, and they only seemed the better and the more exuberant for it. They stood looking at this crowd of loveliness, this happy jumble in silence.                                
                                                              excerpt from "Enchanted April" by Elizabeth Von Arnim

The second is a poem I believe is by David L. Weatherford

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask how are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time 
To call and say "Hi"
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day.
It is like an unopened gift...thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over

A reminder to be mindful and present, particularly as the festive season approaches. To notice the beauty of everyday and for me to keep working towards creating a riot of colour in the garden.


  1. How lovely, both pieces. I could just see that garden! It makes me hanker for summer. Your mum sounds lovely x

    1. My mum was super special. I really treasure my memories of her. x