Trees and Poems

Poems are made by fools like me, 
But only God can make a tree. 
-Joyce Kilmer, "Trees" 

The first poem I ever wrote was on trees. Figuratively and literally, now that I think about it... ('cause paper... made from wood... okay, I'm done.)

No, you don't get to read it, for two reasons:
1.) I was like, seven, when I wrote it and despite the fact that my grandparents ooh-ed and ahh-ed over it then, (as grandparents are required to do by the Universal Laws of Grandparentdom) I'd be mortified for anyone to see it now.
2.) I lost it somewhere over the course of the past 15 years.

I love trees in general, more than any other growing thing... This is probably a by-product of growing up on Anne of Green Gables. The first time we meet her she's contemplating the idea of spending the night in a cherry tree (which I think would be amazing were it comfortable...)
... but some some trees are just kindred spirits. Like this one:


 Isn't she beautiful?  Yes.

Happy Arbor Day!

-Sarah

P.S. Isn't it wonderful that Arbor Day and National Poetry Month both belong to April?
I love April.
P.P.S Read all of Joyce Kilmer's poem here --> "Trees"



Late Night Scribblings: Elevenses

I think that hobbits everywhere would agree with me in saying that elevenses are just as acceptable in the evening hours as they are in the morning.

That being said, I've been feeling rather hobbitish lately, so when First Brother Alex stood up and stretched--after our movie was over and the youngers had slipped off to bed--and announced that he could really go for some french toast or maybe just scrambled eggs, I looked up at him from Lucy Maud* and told him I'd make some.

Pre-Bryan Sarah would not have even thought of making french toast at 11 p.m., but I am no-longer that Sarah. Three years of last minute, just-before-curfew fast food runs, all-nighters spent with a bowl of ramen in the hall, and late-night soul talks over mac'n'cheese have taught me that late-night food will sometimes be the best you'll ever eat... through probably more for the events they accompany rather than the nourishment.

So, in my best burglar-hobbit manner, (I'll have you know, best beloved, that I'm an expert at quiet goings and doings) I gather frying pan, eggs, bread, and that serving platter with the lip that is just the right dimensions for not only beating eggs, but sopping bread. A splash of half-n-half, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and zero set-off fire alarms later, there's two golden stacks of french toast, one for each of us, which we proceeded to scarf down in contented silence.

Random fact you should know about me: Whenever I eat pancakes, waffles, or french toast--you know, those flat breakfast-y foods that are usually presented in a stacked manner--I always eat the bottom one first, kind of cutting out from underneath the top layers till its all gone, then I proceed with the next one up until I reach the top. I don't know why I do this or when I started, but for as long as I can remember, that's how it's been.

I've no grand French Toast Philosophy for you tonight; I feel that I've philosophized too much of late (even if I have kept most of it to myself). These are just the ordinary scribblings of a mad-woman ("We're all mad here...") who's up late, enjoying ordinary things like french toast, good music, the sound of a clacking keyboard, and the emptiness of a quiet house. I thrive in the wee sma's, when there's no-one but me and my imagination.

yours in late nights and elevenses,
-S

*My little blue armchair. Yes, she's named after L.M. Montgomery... yes, I named my armchair.

"Frankly, I'd read [his] grocery lists"

This week has been National Library Week, that one week in April that I look forward to year round, because it gives me an excuse to geek out about my future career even more than usual. It just so happens that today, "Support Teen Literature Day" has arrived with perfect timing, as it coincides with the solidifying of my recent musings on the subject of a favorite YA author, the wonderful John Green.

John Green, writer and youtuber, makes up half of the vlogbrothers (Hank Green, his brother, is the other half), hosts the Literature and History portions of the Crash Course education series, and is the author of Looking for AlaskaAn Abundance of KatherinesPaper Towns, and (most importantly, in my opinion!) The Fault in Our Stars.

I first became acquainted with John Green's writing Spring semester 2013, when I picked up TFiOS one weekend for some homework-break reading. The story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two cancer-survivors who meet in a support group, held me in thrall and was surprisingly not as predictable as you might expect a story about cancer patients to be. Aside from the story itself, (which left me with all sorts of Feels) I loved Mr. Green's style. The man just knows how to say things. The book is full of one-liners that have been the stuff of dreams for typographical artists on tumblr and pinterest (...one liners, which I just realized have not made it to my quote tree yet. That's being remedied tonight.)

After that first reading, I didn't pick up another John Green book until this winter, when I returned to TFiOS for a re-read, and decided that I should expand my Green experience. As of yesterday, I've read all four of the aforementioned books (in reverse order of printing date). TFiOS remains my top favorite, and I enjoyed PT, but AAoK and LfA didn't quite grab me in the same way. Despite my personal preferences, I could see what makes these books stand out from others as good Teen Lit. Green's characters all struggle with some sort of existential question, those questions of being that every person faces at some point in their life. Augustus fears oblivion and dying without having done anything meaningful in life; similarly, Colin (AAoK) wants to matter; Margo (PT) wants to be seen for who she is; and Alaska (LfA) questions the suffering and pain of life. There's some deeply philosophical stuff in these books that you just don't find very often in typical Teen Lit. I don't know exactly what Mr. Green's personal faith/worldview is, but reading his work from my Christian worldview has given me plenty of opportunities to look at the questions his characters asked in light of my own beliefs, and goodness knows, I like a book that makes me think.

Now, before I give my "go forth and read" I must say one thing more. As a librarian-in-training-meets-conservative-homeschooled-kid, I often struggle with the idea of censorship and what should/shouldn't be read. All of these books I've talked about have situations and language that I do not endorse, but as a discerning adult (Wait, did I really just say that? When did I become an adult?) I have been able to sift the chaff from the wheat, as it were. To concerned parents I say this: know your child. I wouldn't recommend these books to my 17 year-old brother, cause he wouldn't get the "why" of them, but every kid is different. To teens: Be discerning and engaged. Think.

Ok, now I can say it. Go forth and read!

your friendly neighborhood Teen Librarian-in-Training. (Gosh, I can't wait to drop the "in-training" bit.)

Sarah

P.S. The title of this post is a quote from TFiOS  from a scene where Hazel Grace writes her favorite author and tells him, "Frankly, I'd read your grocery lists" when asking him to write more. It sums up my feelings toward Mr. Green's writing very well, so I thought it appropriate.
-S



Late Night Scribblings: On Imagination, Hope and Waiting

Dearest Reader-mine, I suppose I should feel bad about inundating you with so many words so close together, as this makes four April posts within the first 10 days, (and I'm probably not done yet) but, I don't. Not really. When I have to write, I just have to write, and since this is the medium through which my thoughts flow best at this time in my life, here I am. 
-S

If my life were a BBC sci-fi drama (and yes, this is a thought I often have) I'd wake up tonight to pebbles hitting my window and a Tardis (plus operator, cause Tardises can't throw pebbles) in my front yard. Now, lest you think I've lost my mind completely to my fandom, allow me to explain. Here I am: a girl in her twenties, living a comfortably mundane existence; studying for exams and filling out job applications. I know there's more to life, somewhere beyond my little sphere; however, I just haven't quite reached the time in which it's right for me to step out, (nor have I found the way out for that matter; I'm working on that). But I know I'm almost there. I can feel it tonight. Yes, I'm on the cusp of an adventure I think; whether its an adventure that involves being a time-traveling companion, or just finally growing up I'll leave to your imagination.

So, I wait for the event that will set off the chain reaction that will send me on my way.  And in my waiting, there's hope. I've discovered lately, that where there's hope, there's imagination, and vice versa. The one feeds the other: hope perpetuates the imagining of splendid dreams, and those dreams in turn fan the sparks of hope that I hold in my chest, keeping them alive. Without one, I think the other might die.

And so, here I sit: twenty-two, flour on my face from late-night baking escapades, still wearing my apron, cup of tea beside me. Without the company of my dreams, I'd be quite lonely tonight. However, I've got them in my head, and hope in my heart--hope that soon I'll find the path to that great Somewhere I'm headed toward.

--The Girl Who Waits


I love...

-Earl grey tea in the morning, with the bosom buddy. Sometimes I choose my tea blend based on my health, or on what I'm eating with it, or on its smell; today I chose it because the tea-tag color matched my skirt. Yellow.
-The violets that are everywhere, just begging me to pick whole handfuls of them. Today, I want my bridal bouquet to be nothing but violets. Tomorrow, I'll probably change my mind back to lily-of-the-valley again.
-The extra springy-green of the leaf buds on the tips of the trees, as well as the white-green of the half-bloomed dogwoods, the brilliant fuchsia of the red-buds, and--oh my goodness!--that glorious growth of forsythia I passed on the side of route 68 on my drive home.
-A squelching tramp across a marshy field, and everything that resulted from it, including my sopping wet converse and socks.
-The fact that "April" is a much gentler and lovelier word than "March" is, and how their respective months follow suit.
-The heavy white paper and sharpie pen I used for my Monday letters this morning. The paper just sounds right when folded and unfolded, like a letter in a period drama, and the pen didn't smudge under my left hand as I wrote.
-The tree that sparks music in my head whenever I see it, cause its just that wonderful.
-John Piatt's English toffee lattes. I nearly cried from happiness/homesickness for Harmony House at just a whiff of its magical aroma as I cupped mine waiting for it to cool this afternoon.
-The joy of knowing that I'll be sleeping in my own bed tonight after a weekend away



The words I live by: “Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” ― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


P.S.  -Holst's Venus. Jupiter gets its fair share of well-deserved attention, but attend for a few moments, if you will, to the dreaminess of this piece. Its even better at night in a quiet car, but then, most music is. (My favorite part starts at 3:51,  and gets even better at 4:35)
 

Anne and Alice and Me: Window Reflections

I lay draped across my sister's bed by the window, just being, watching the heat lightening in the north-
eastern sky, and willing my aching body along in its slow recovery from the one-day plague that has been on its conquering journey through my family this week. Occasionally shifting my focus from the goings on outside the window to the window itself and the reflections within, I was reminded of Anne Shirley's reflection friend, Katie Maurice, who lived in the bookcase (which sadly housed no books, but china and jams instead) at the Thomas' house, and in my moment of Anne-ish-ness I suddenly saw my reflection as a complete stranger. I wondered if we'd be friends.

The window girl was sprawled across a bed of her own, studying me intently, so I studied her back. Her eyes were quietly serious, her mouth calm. These days my own eyes feel tight with worry, and more often than not my youngest sister asks if I'm angry, giving me reason to think that I scowl more that I might mean to. The window girl had grace for me however, as she held her gaze steady and didn't glance away from me, understanding all the stress and questions I'm sure she could see. She's the friend I'd like to be.
***
I looked past the window girl and into her life, at the warm pink glow of a flowered quilt on her bed, half obscured by clean laundry and half packed backpack, at the posters on the walls. Her existence seemed to be a colorful one. I wondered at what I might find beyond the open door of her bedroom, were I able to step through the glass. Would it be "all flowers and sunshine and fairies" like Anne imagined Katie Maurice's world to be? Or would it, like Alice's looking-glass world, be a confusing backwards place? My world resembles Alice's more often than not, though I'm not sure I would take the utopia that Anne dreamed of were I given the option. Though Jabberwocks exist in the looking-glass world we are told that they can be slain (oh, how I'd like to meet that darling "beamish boy", slayer of monsters), and because of this I take hope.
Now I'm quite certain of it; I wouldn't be content with the perfection of Katie Maurice's land. What are flowers without the dirt and weeds, or sunbeams without the storms, or fairies without the dragons? Quite dull, I suppose.


Who'd I like to be:
Alice, Anne or Me?
Reflection holds a separate world;
She's the same, yet a different girl.
Through the looking-glass.





***
Credit: poetic form is the invention of my pal, Jonathan. He blogs. check it out. => scarlequain


Words to the Unnamed...

Dear You,

It's nearly midnight as I sit here writing to you. I was studying biology just now and drinking coffee, just plugging away at my work, when all of a sudden I was hit with an inexplicable heaviness of spirit. You know, the kind that you feel in your heart that makes you want to burst into tears. I'm no more or less stressed than usual (not even by the biology materials that are dominating my workspace at the moment)... so, its not like I'm not okay... its more like I felt that somewhere out there, someone else is not okay. And that's not okay.

I don't know who you are, or if you're even reading this. I don't know if I even know you. I stopped to pray just now, whispering the name of every person who came to mind, but also keeping in mind the unnamed and unknown.

I don't know what you need, or what exactly you're feeling at the moment, but know this, best beloved, you're just that. You're loved. I love you in the small way of my human heart and, far better than that, my Father loves you in the greatness of His.

I hope that these words aren't mere platitudes, written only to ease my own heaviness of heart,  but instead an earnest prayer for the one who needs it tonight.

I pray that tonight you find rest and awake to joy tomorrow morning.
I pray that you know you're not alone.
Dear unnamed, unknown someone: be well.

--Sarah

***
From my mouth to God's ears...