Monthly Archives: April 2015

Special Veterans/Families Salute Video: “Surprise Return at School”

Hi All:

I had planned to feature a story/poem saluting our Military, and, today, while I was researching something else, I just happened to find this video.
This was quite a news story back during the Christmas holidays a couple of years ago.

A US Army soldier, expected by his family to be serving overseas during the Holidays, returns home … Watch as he visits his young daughter’s school, to surprise her during class …

Continue to pray for our troops … and the families (with us all) waiting for their safe return …

Treasures: Hope, Promise, William Wordsworth, and “Daffodils”

“To look ahead … is to look back …
At those things we treasure most …
In the hope to see them again …”
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Wow! That’s a good one!
Perhaps at no time is this more true than at this period of transition, which we call Spring.
Perhaps there is no time of year, except, perhaps, at a special holiday or gathering, at which these words are more true.

What is lovelier than a field of daffodils? Or … just a few?
As the stems push upward through the earth, doesn’t just the sight of their potential flowering push our spirits upward … When I think back to when I was growing up, it was always the daffodils which were the official “trumpets” of Springs arrival … which makes their “trumpet-looking” flower even more of a symbol, a herald, of things to come.

In the South, and other parts of the country, these beautiful arrivals are also called “Jonquils.”
I just learned, from asking around the web, that jonquils are a type of daffodil, so it is ok to call them by either name. I always, always have associated jonquils/daffodils with Easter, as I can never remember a time, growing up and later living in the South, when daffodils were not in bloom at Easter.

Of course, that has changed upon moving up North, and, especially this year. Among the coldest Winters on record (this is shared by a lot of places), coupled with an early Easter, there aren’t many flowers … ok … any flowers, in bloom here … In fact, everything that was visible yesterday (our yards, driveways, the roads) are now covered in snow, with more to come … but … the promise remains … the real, true hope remains … that, soon, the daffodils will arrive … and so will the rest of what they “usher in.”

Thank you, Jesus!

Right now, I’d like to “never mind!” that Easter has now passed, we are in the middle of a snowstorm, with more snow expected tonight … I saw several Robins in the yard this morning … I can at least see the top of the big rose bush in the back yard .. and … all over … here and there … daffodils are waiting … with patience I wish we had … to Spring forth and announce that our hope has been well founded …

One of the most famous poems about “Daffodils” was by William Wordsworth. What a great name! Here’s a brief biography of William Wordsworth … you will see again, how the greatest of writers have experienced the greatest of pain … and then, we’ll share the poem:

William Wordsworth

On April 7 (Wow! As of this writing, that is tomorrow), 1770, William Wordsworth was born in England. Wordsworth’s mother died when he was only eight years old—this experience would shape much of his later work. Wordsworth attended Hawkshead Grammar School, where his love of poetry was firmly established and, it is believed, he made his first attempts at verse. While he was at Hawkshead, Wordsworth’s father died, leaving him and his four siblings orphans.

After Hawkshead, Wordsworth studied at St. John’s College in Cambridge, and before his final semester, he set out on a walking tour of Europe, an experience that influenced both his poetry and his political sensibilities. While touring Europe, Wordsworth came into contact with the French Revolution. This experience, as well as a subsequent period living in France, brought about Wordsworth’s interest and sympathy for the life, troubles, and speech of the “common man.”

These issues proved to be of the utmost importance to Wordsworth’s work. William Wordsworth’s earliest poetry was published in 1793 in the collections An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches. In 1802, he returned to France, where he married Mary Hutchinson, a childhood friend, and they had five children together. In 1812, while living in Grasmere, two of their children—Catherine and John—died.

Wordsworth’s most famous work, The Prelude (1850), is considered by many to be the crowning achievement of English romanticism. The poem, revised numerous times, chronicles the spiritual life of the poet and marks the birth of a new genre of poetry. Although Wordsworth worked on The Prelude throughout his life, the poem was published posthumously.

William Wordsworth spent his final years settled at Rydal Mount in England, traveling and continuing his outdoor excursions. Devastated by the death of his daughter, Dora, in 1847, Wordsworth seemingly lost his will to compose poems. William Wordsworth died at Rydal Mount on April 23, 1850, leaving his wife Mary to publish The Prelude three months later.

The Daffodils
William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

62 Degrees and Sunny: What Does This Mean?

I have written often of how “different” the weather is up here in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire. I still get that “I just can’t believe it” insinuations when I am trying to describe our weather to friends across the ‘states (especially Southern) and the Globe.

Mark Twain said about the weather in New England, “If you don’t like the weather, give it ten minutes. It’ll change.” Mark Twain was right, you know. Of course, I try to use a Mark Twain quote whenever I can, especially after visiting his home in Hartford (I actually hosted a series of meetings there), and saw his beautiful billiard table … in the room where he did so much of his writing, scattering the pages across the table … Proving that to be a great American writer … you need a billiard table … Carol is close to accepting this, and I don’t miss an opportunity to use this example …

Anyway, Mark Twain was as right about his thoughts on the weather in New England, as he was about his choice of furnishings…

On Thursday morning (and Wednesday), it was 12 degrees up here. This morning … Friday morning … this Good Friday before Easter Sunday … it was 50 degrees … I’m sorry, but, when I saw the temperature this morning, the first thought I had was, “You know what that means. A snow storm is coming.”

Well, when I got home from School this afternoon … I was late because I had to pick up some wood heat pellets for our pellet shove … After using 7 (seven) tons of pellets so far … we ran out of our supply, so we are doing the annual “12 bags at a time until June thing” … it was 62 degrees on the front porch. And … And … And … It was sunny!!!
Guess what that means?
I bet Mark Twain was a great pool player…

That’s right … let’s look at the forecast for this, what is considered to be the first real weekend of Spring:
This is a real “copy and paste” from the Weather Channel’s Online Forecast:

Rain/Snow Late
Partly cloudy skies this evening will give way to cloudy skies with a mixture of rain and
snow developing overnight. Low 37F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precip 100%.

How about tomorrow, Saturday, April 4 … I mean … after the sun comes up:

100% 1-3 in
Cloudy with rain and snow in the morning. Snow showers in the afternoon. Morning high of
38F with temps falling to near freezing. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precip 100%.
1 to 3 inches of snow expected.

OK … just one more peek ahead … How about Saturday night: I mean, the NCAAs are on… I mean … the Masters start the practice rounds on Monday … I think baseball season (remember that?) starts on Sunday….

A few clouds. Flurries or snow showers possible late. Low 18F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.

Hey-Great! I was wondering when the high winds would start!

Anyway … just to get that “so, we don’t have it as bad as a lot of other people” feeling, I decided to check on the weather in Minneapolis, MN … that should get me to feeling better …
“Mostly sunny and 56 degrees” tomorrow …

OK … one more … Guess what? We will be traveling to Connecticut and then Rhode Island tomorrow, so we won’t be here!!! Yes … this is always dependent upon if we can actually
make it out of here …

Allow me to mention an Easter Sunday a few years ago, when we went the same route, down to Connecticut… When we left on Saturday morning … it was snowing here … but, not too bad … as we got through one of the “notches” enroute to the Interstate, we ran into a full-scale blizzard … the visibility was near zero … the roads weren’t plowed, and, this is for real … we didn’t know if we’d be able to make it through the snow … it was a terrible situation to be caught in …
As we left Franconia Notch, heading South, the sun seemed to just “come out.” To appear.
The farther South, the less snow … By the time we reached Massachusetts, there was hardly any snow on the sides of the road at all.

That Sunday, Easter Sunday, we were at a family gathering … a cookout … around the backyard pool. It was in the Mid-70’s, and everyone was wearing shorts, or something similar to go into the pool swimming. I swear I remember someone starting up the lawn mower and, taking their shirt off because of the heat, to finish mowing the lawn. Keep in mind, this was only 245 miles south of here … We came through a blizzard just hours before … it really was like being in the tropics! Except all we had to wear was
flannel and heavy coats…

So, when I joke around about how “different” the weather is up here in the North Country, I guess I’m really not joking … nor am I complaining … that’s just the way it is…

And, I can tell you this for certain: There may be spots with better weather … But, I don’t think they enjoy days like today as much as we did. We really do appreciate the good weather.

I’ll close with this: I was loading the bags of pellets in the truck, when I, very jokingly, said, “It’s too hot!” The man helping me told me that, believe it or not … a customer, today, already complained about how warm it was…

So, I’ll close for me, believe it or not, our pellet stove (our heat) has been off since about 12:45 today, and it’s still off … I need to clean the pellet stove before the next Storm … in a few hours…

Not to worry … We are leaving for Connecticut in the morning. I just checked, and in Hartford, CT, where Mark Twain’s billiard table is located (I bet he loved that billiard table!), the weather is supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny … even better on Sunday in
Rhode Island…

… If we can make it out of here…