Happy

The popular Pharrell Williams song, Happy, was apparently written with the idea of trying to capture what it felt like to be in a good mood. Many famous poets also captured the essence of happiness by reflecting on nature.

Nature always wears the colours of the spirit

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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After a day at school we arrive back home to this….and I am content and I am constantly amazed…

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… and I am so grateful for this garden…..

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… its surreal colours, its serene corners ….

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Autumn is a second spring
when every leaf is a flower
Albert Camnus

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and I am happy

It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break…

Read more: Pharrell Williams – Happy Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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What aspect of nature makes you happy?

The Lively Letter

I have to admit that I have struggled to begin writing my next post. An idea has been with me throughout the month of June. However, as all high school teachers know, June is the busiest and hardest month. With many exams to write, supervise and then mark, it can be a gruelling few weeks. Assessment needs to be finalised and often chased up together with the obligatory feedback. Reports then must be written or rather electronically generated, checked, corrected and finally posted.

Yes, I am making excuses! Writing for me, like cooking, is a form of relaxation. So why didn’t I make the time to develop this brewing idea? I guess it goes back to the difficulty that is writing, today.

Even ten years ago, the art of penmanship was common. More recently a dear friend took the time to write us a thank you note.

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It is still on the fridge nearly a year later. When I look at her letter, I see her familiar cursive script which I recognised immediately. The private, personal and intimate nature of the letter is less evident today.

Even our school reports, as I alluded to earlier, are merely signed, and sent on their way to letter boxes or worse still, Post Office boxes. So here then is the segue to my idea for this post – yes, the operative word then is “post”! This blog requires me to post my latest instalment but not to a letterbox. The virtual letterbox that is the World Wide Web is our new mail centre.

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Last month as we walked the Streets of Your Town, I became quite interested in the variety of letter boxes which adorned the houses and flats of the old town. I took some photos, hoping that the residents were not too bemused by this weird woman zooming in on their private mail boxes.

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City letter boxes are very different to country letterboxes. In the country these are often large, multi coloured, homemade edifices ready to receive large items, newspapers and even milk! They must be wind, rain and highway resistant. They can be constructed of recycled tyres, tin, wood, plastic, Ned Kelly icons and even animal shapes – I’ll show you some in a future post – there’s that word again!

However, the city letterbox must be steel. It must withstand the prying eyes of others. It should be lockable with the house number boldly exhibited! Many of the ones I photographed I remembered as a child walking up the hills to primary school and back.

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This door swung open as I took this shot – much to the bemusement of the young tenant!

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In our technology rich world, where our words can speed across continents in seconds; convey our fears, hopes and pleasures faster than a speeding bullet, who really needs a letterbox? I can’t help but think of the spectrum of letters which must have been received over time, by the variety of occupants of each of these residences. Letters announcing births, deaths, achievements, marriages, pen pal adventures and invitations. Then there were the stamp collectors eagerly awaiting that letter from aunty Mabel in Manchester or Zia Sofia in Sicily just to rip off that stamp!

Moreover, the hand written letter seems to be a thing of the past. But it can be resurrected. Just scan some of the interesting stationery boutiques around today. Surely, paper products are not on the decline.

If the letter is to be alive and aerodynamic it needs the letter box as its corporeal friend.

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I leave you with the thoughts of the American poet, W.H. Auden

And none will hear the postman’s knock
Without a quickening of the heart
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten.

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Do you miss running down to the letter box to check for that much awaited letter and not that bill?

A Special Christmas Wish

Recently I began reading Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence” again. You might remember the film vision directed by Martin Scorcese starring Daniel Day Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder. The novel gives an insight into the social mores of Old New York at the turn of the century – how wealthy socialites should behave and conduct themselves. This is of course punctuated by the main character Newland Archer’s infatuation with his bride’s divorced cousin, Madam Olenska. But it really is much more than this – it is about our wishes, our decisions, and the losses we have to endure.

“Archer did not accompany his son to Versailles. He preferred to spend the afternoon in solitary roamings through Paris. He had to deal all at once with the packed regrets and stifled memories of an inarticulate lifetime.”Excerpt From: Wharton, Edith. “The Age of Innocence.”

Sometimes the decisions we make can have far-reaching consequences. We can treat ourselves quite harshly over these decisions and our judgements of others. So, for anyone who has ever experienced difficult decisions or experienced heartbreak and sorrow

This Christmas

I wish for you greater tolerance of opinion
I wish for you greater acceptance of reason
I wish for you greater recognition of loss
I wish for you less consumerism
I wish for you less anxiety
I wish for you less anger
I wish for you less animosity
I wish for you more tolerance
I wish for you more understanding
I wish for you more connectedness
I wish for you more love

And in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut sorrow, I wish for us all to expand our hearts to the entire community and reach out in a collective embrace and in sympathy over this tragic event. May all the innocent angels, their teachers and their families find Peace.

And may your God’s gentle hand guide you on your path. May you live a life which can be expressed not through introspection but through understanding and giving to others.

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