Delights: January 28 to February 3

January 28: Jeremiah and I will settle in for evenings of Kurosawa, Renoir and Von Sternberg. We even watch the films again with expert voiceovers pointing out artistry of angle, lighting or pace.  Sophisticated, huh? 

Well, to tell you the truth, my favorite movie is still “You’ve Got Mail,” with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. I’m reminded of this today as I listen to The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett. Tom Hanks narrates the story with brilliant pacing, inflection and, when called for, incredulity and revery. I am awed by his work. Sure, when I hear his voice, I think of the big, bad Fox bookstore, but I’ll open his mail anytime!

My sister took this photo of their dog Hershey, tasting one snowflake in their 12″ blizzard this week.

January 29: New Zealand blogger Thistles & Kiwis delights me each week with photos of her summer garden. Today, before the showy dahlia and wild strawberry, she offered a juvenile sunflower, clothed entirely in green with collars and cuffs folded primly. 

This caused me to reflect: When I see a clutch of sunflowers, I throw my head back in exuberant echo. And until today I never thought about the moments before. T&K’s photo reveals the textures and possibilities of the bloom-to-be. And it prompted me to think about how rarely I herald the beauty of beauty’s “before.” 

Sinepuxent Bay, winter beauty before spring. Photo by Nate Ogle.

January 31: As I stooped to untie my shoes, I heard my yoga teacher rolling something toward our practice space. I looked up, right into the pelvis of a skeleton. “We’ve been focusing on the spine,” my teacher said, “so let’s take a closer look.”

As we centered, she urged us to breathe into the space between our ribs. With Skeleton standing at the front, I could easily envision it. Later, she invited us to become aware of the curve of our spines. Yes, I see it! And when we moved from plank to downward dog, I wondered vaguely whether Skeleton was doing it too. Rising from our forward fold, we raised our hands high and then lowered them to Mountain Pose, a place of stillness and strength. I opened my eyes and peeked at Skeleton. She was already there.

A perfect day for surfing! Photo by Nate Ogle

February 1: “Prince Phillip. He was very handsome.” So said my friend Jennifer. I nodded, having enjoyed The Crown and its attractive young actors. Then she told me that a family friend invited her to dine “informally” with Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip when they visited Newfoundland in 1948. “Just before they went to Kenya,” Jennifer said. (I knew all about that trip from The Crown.) 

Jennifer said an “informal” dinner entailed a floor-length dinner dress and long kid gloves — and just ten guests, including the royal couple and Jennifer. “Informal” also meant that Jennifer could initiate conversation with the Princess and Prince, without waiting to be addressed. Jennifer, at 18, was just four years younger than Elizabeth and remembered having a lovely time.

She also said they ate dinner wearing their kid gloves. She said they unbuttoned the tiny pearl buttons behind the wrists and, after slipping palm and fingers out of the glove, tucked the dangling part up the glove’s sleeve. “But I had very large hands, and my hand got stuck. That made Prince Phillip laugh.” Jennifer laughed too, happy with the memory.

Here they go! Ocean City, Maryland.

Bonus: Enjoy these adorable Year of the Tiger decorations mounted in Singapore and photographed by Ju-Lyn for her blog Touring My Backyard. Happy Lunar New Year, everyone!

February 2: Trucks in front and back protected three workers as they clustered around a hole in the road. One of them held a small perfect ball of flame clinging to a rod, like the ball on the newel post of a staircase. Or, actually, like a flaming marshmallow on a stick. I stopped to watch. The worker applied the flame to black pellets piled and spread in the road. Shovel, flame, tamp: a cozy campfire to fill a pothole. 

p.s. Even though the Groundhog saw his shadow, spring is now officially around the corner: today I saw a boy with a baseball glove and a coach with a bucket of balls, each ready to escort winter to the locker room. 

February 3: Along our walking path, I watched a mom sprint and pause, sprint and pause, in front of her baby’s stroller. I eventually caught up with her. I watched as she released the stroller with a push and then sprinted the few feet to catch it again. The baby smiled and waved as Mommy bounced back and forth. And Mommy smiled as she worked a few wind sprints into her walk.

Bonus: In her blog An Embarrassment of Riches, Slovenian-Italian blogger Manja Maksimovič compiles a lovely tribute to Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk who died last week. She excerpts his beautiful reflections on grief and death. And she also quotes him saying, “Every day we are engaged in a miracle we don’t even recognize.” I love the wonder embedded here, as well as its reminder to pay attention to the tiny miracles surrounding us all the time. 

This book changed my way of interacting with the world when I read it a decade ago. I wonder if it planted the seeds for this blog.

Readers, to receive notifications by email each time I make a post, just scroll all the way down this page (next to the “word cloud”), look to the left and click on the black button that says “Join Me!” And if you think a friend might enjoy these, please share the Delight!

If you’d like to browse my past essays, please consult the “word cloud” featured at the very bottom of this post. Find a theme or two that interests you and sift through the sands. Or learn a bit more about my Blog by visiting my Welcome page. You’ll also see links to my four published essays. I’m glad you’re here!

I love this image of glowing sanctuary from the storm. Photo by Nate Ogle.

18 thoughts on “Delights: January 28 to February 3

  1. What a beautiful post and many, many thanks for the mention. I am so glad my post brought some joy! The first sunflower is now in bloom. I like that quote too. All the best for the week ahead!

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    1. You are very welcome! I’m still thinking about the pre-bloom sunflower. Your photo will linger with me for some time. (And, of course, I am eager to see her grown up self!) I wish you a lovely week too.

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  2. Wonderful, or rather, delightful. 🙂 Thank you so much for linking to me and giving me the title of the book again. This time I tracked it down immediately and can’t wait to read it. The dog photo is brilliant! And the mommy running is sweet. Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Thanks for your note, Manja. And for your patience with me in finding the correct title of Thich Nhat Han’s book! I also agree with your review of the dog photo. It’s truly a lovely portrait. I find it so compelling. I’ll be sure to tell my sister.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love, love, love that dog photo. The dog looks very much like a Sheltie. Our own beloved Sheltie—Liam—has been gone for four years, and how we miss him. Grief, I have found, can be felt over the deaths of animals as well as humans. I have known both.

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    1. Thank you, Laurie, for celebrating my sister’s photo of her dog Hershey. I think he is indeed a Sheltie. We still think about the dogs in our lives. Funny stories, poignant memories, and so much gratitude for the joy they brought. I very much appreciate you sharing your experiences of grief with me.

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  4. Your Feb 3 entry brought me back decades as I recalled running with the babies then with a Baby Jogger (which we ordered online from the US and had a long-suffering friend check-in on the plane & carry back to Singapore). I only hope I laughed and smiled as much as the Mommy you encountered did, and brought some joy to those who saw me trundling down the pavements.

    P/S Thank you for sharing my post & the delight in my Chinatown run.

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    1. Thank you for sharing that memory. That was a true friend who brought it to Singapore for you! We (i.e., Kevin) had a Baby Jogger too. It was wonderful for all three of us: Kevin, Baby Nate and of course Mommy-Alone-At-Home. Kevin would even take our dog on lead. In winter!

      I was pleased to share your photos of the Year of the Tiger posters. Our blogs give us glimpses all over the world!

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      1. Another Baby Jogger Friend! And yes, he was a True Friend indeed – because he not only brought the first one, he brought a second one shortly after that for Child #2. Fortunately, we were able to pass them on to another Running Couple with twins, when our kiddies outgrew them.

        One of the best things about our WP spaces is that I can enjoy the freezing cold one minute, and be on a beach in another!

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  5. So many days of observational delights to choose from, I don’t know where to start my note. This week’s collection is so filled with “prompts.”
    The image of Hershey is so striking in that it captures a reflective curiosity. I wonder what Kurosawa flics you saw. Now I want to see the ones I have. I’m trying to imagine the “pre” sunflower. I’ve always thought Prince Philip was handsome and charming in a way that the Crown doesn’t quite capture. So nice that your friend could experience that. Your note referring to the blog on Thich Nhat Hahn’s death reminds me of when I saw him in the Warner Theater thanks to an invitation by a friend. I’m also trying to experience breathing between the ribs. Maybe I need a skeleton helper too.

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    1. Oh, Jini, thank you so much for your rich comment! I love that phrase “reflective curiosity.” I completely agree. I look at that photo again and again and find new things in it.

      Regarding Kurosawa: we have watched “Throne of Blood” (a samurai retelling of MacBeth), “Rashomon” and “Ugetsu.” I like Throne of Blood best. Jeremiah and I march around the house chanting “This is a testament to men’s folly,” with an accent on third-to-last syllable, from the movie.

      And how cool that you saw Thich Nhat Hanh! Good luck with your breathing work.

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      1. p.s. I forgot to mention that if you click on the Thistles & Kiwis link, you’ll see the juvenile sunflower photo!

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  6. He is a great poser.plus I love this story you share.

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    1. Hershey did indeed seem to know that the camera was on him! And kudos to my sister for being right there. Thank you for enjoying my stories and for dropping me a line! (And welcome back from Turks and Caicos!)

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  7. I am enjoying the photo of Hershey catching snowflakes with his tongue … something I imagine I would love to do if I ever were fortunate enough to be in the midst of falling snow.

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    1. Thanks for popping in, Ju-Lyn. It is a splendid photo! You are always welcomed to visit us near Washington, DC., although I can’t guarantee snow despite our surprising amount this year. Like you, I just enjoy the photos!

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      1. Ah! the thought of travel again … thank you for the invitation, Carol Ann – it will certainly give me fodder for dreaming up another trip.

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