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Thursday, June 29, 2017

The peace of wild things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry in Risking Everything

Peter's Pool - Franz Josef Glacier

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Responding to injustice and uncertainty

I very much appreciate the weekly Blog Brain Pickings.

"Maria Popova is a Bulgarian writer, blogger, and critic living in Brooklyn, New York. She is known for her blog BrainPickings.org, which features her writing on culture, books, and eclectic subjects off and on the Internet." Wikipedia

I sometimes find it hard to keep up with all the wonderful topics she writes about and the links she provides. It's no wonder she has been awarded a prize for Blogging!

In this week's Blog I highlighted two quotes, both of which seem very appropriate to the world we currently live in.

The first is from Albert Einstein speaking about how to respond to the enormous injustices that sometimes feel overwhelming:

"Einstein suggests that the power to speak out against injustice need not be reserved for those professionally devoted to human rights work, nor manifested in grand deeds of activism. He reflects on his own simple, steadfast commitment:
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
'In a long life I have devoted all my faculties to reach a somewhat deeper insight into the structure of physical reality. Never have I made any systematic effort to ameliorate the lot of men, to fight injustice and suppression, and to improve the traditional forms of human relations. The only thing I did was this: in long intervals I have expressed an opinion on public issues whenever they appeared to me so bad and unfortunate that silence would have made me feel guilty of complicity.' " (Underlining mine.)

The second quote from Brain Pickings relates to living with uncertainty:

Albert Camus (1913-1960)
"Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present,” Albert Camus wrote in his 1951 meditation on what it really means to be a rebel. At the heart of this sentiment are the two complementary forces of love and will, for a loving regard for the future requires a willful commitment to rising to the problems of the present and transcending its tumults — a dependency as true in our personal lives as it is in our political lives, and one which demands a capacity for withstanding uncertainty.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

"Heaven is under our feet...

...as well as over our heads." Henry David Thoreau Walden

I never tire of relishing the beauty of the simple, natural things I see every day:
 Little Violas bursting with seeds that might be missed if not for careful noticing -

Reflections on the lake - five minutes from home.

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. ... There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."
—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sydney "Vivid" Part 2

As well as the light displays at night we enjoyed several other local Sydney places.
The Botanic gardens, especially an area called The Calyx which showcased a garden wall:

On the only rather grey-sky day we walked across the Pyrmont Bridge to Madame Tussaud's and had great fun with some famous figures:

We also enjoyed the Chinese Garden of Friendship which was walking distance from our hotel.

It is a very tranquil place in the midst of high-rise buildings and all the commercialism of Darling Harbour with its many Hotels. We spent our final morning here before setting off back to NZ!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sydney "Vivid" 2017 - Part 1

Sydney puts on a festive display of lights for a few weeks in winter. We enjoyed five days to explore in the daytime and the nighttime. A few highlights...

Staying at the Ibis Hotel in Darling Harbour was a very convenient location:

 On the Pyrmont Bridge joining the harbour to the city. Hotel in background.
View from our room in the early morning sunshine...
...and at night when fireworks and other light displays were on show.
We made many trips on the ferry to Circular Quay ...
....and on another ferry to Manly for a walk and...

Innocently named a summer salad, we ordered one each. We ate one between us and took the other home for our dinner :-)

Sydney Harbour Bridge by day and night.

The constantly changing patterns on the Opera House were the most spectacular highlight:

The patterns on the Opera House were not static but constantly moving and merging.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Personal Portrait of Brother David Steindl-Rast

Brother David is one of my sages, mentors... I think I've said before that I had the delight of meeting him personally a few years ago at a Spiritual Directors International conference. If you want an inspiring 45 minutes, make a cuppa and enjoy this documentary.

"This (2016) documentary, produced by Robert Neumüller for Austrian ORF television, takes Brother David Steindl-Rast back many generations to his ancestor’s castle and to the pilgrimage town of Maria Rast (Ruše, Slovenia), to which the family owes its name. Full of humor and openness, Br. David also goes back through many stories of his own life, and helps us to see why gratitude has been accompanying him for a lifetime."