by Wendell Berry
At the start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter’s accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put in it
the contents of the outhouse
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck,
have listened to too much noise,
have been inattentive to wonders,
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes the new.
By Carl Sandburg
I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along the DesPlaines River
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with their women and children and a keg of beer and an accordion.
Source; Flickr Commons, Center for Jewish History, 1947
Happy Chanukkah to all my readers, who celebrate.
The image above is a still from a film called Tomorrow’s a Wonderful Day. I have to hunt down the DVD.
Written by Miek Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well technically isn’t a Christmas book, but the concept of hygge, (pronounced hue-guh) roughly means coziness in Danish, has a chapter on Christmas and tells us that Christmas is the epitome of hygge. The book consists of several short chapters that explain all the facets of hygge including candles, comfy clothes, hot drinks, baked goods, handmade crafts, and natural settings, essentially all things comforting.
The book is fun to read and the concept is easy to put into practice. As I write now, we’ve got the fire going in the fireplace, a couple candles, poinsettias and a tree (waiting to be decorated) in the corners. Mulled wine rather than red wine would complete the hygge, but I’m American, not Danish so give me time.
It’s easy to see how Christmas promotes hygge, especially if your family adheres to the hygge principle of not discussing intense topics.
I first got the audio book, with the author reading it, which is great, but I wanted to get the recipes and spelling of the names of people mentioned like Poul Henningson, so I checked out the book from the library. I enthusiastically recommend both.