Borrowed Words (2)

In Japanese landscape gardening the word shakkei means “borrowed view.” The designer “borrows,” or incorporates, any view beyond property borders, thereby visually enlarging his own property and landscape. 

This winter in Northampton has meant enclosure in the house, trapped by unrelenting cold and snow, and enclosure in the car on the rare occasions when the roads were clear and we could venture out. As a devout claustrophobic, this has truly been the winter of my discontent. There’s only one thing I’ve found so far that the snow is good for:

Beer in the Snow

I’ve also run out of any innate wisdom I might have had on how to deal with it. So I’m taking this leaf from the Japanese, and borrowing the wisdom I need. Today the words I’m borrowing were written by George Santayana, philosopher, essayist, and all-around “man of letters.”

My day has been a very mixed bag so far. Some excellent things happened: the sun shone, the thermometer struggled above freezing to rise triumphantly into the low 40s (F.) by this afternoon. A visitor came this morning whom I’d never met before, and she proved to be a truly kindred soul. I love when that happens! However today also brought a leak in the den from the ice dam weighing on the roof above, and it brought a finding from the Hub’s recent scan of “something” where there had been nothing. Like I said, mixed.

So imagine how serendipitous it was to discover this quote on my daily planner:

“The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.”

I’ll carry these words, especially the last phrases, as a watchword with me into tomorrow!

How do you bloom? Timidly? Boldly? Are you up there already in the light? Or does it take a struggle?

This entry was posted in Japan, Quotes, winter, Wisdom, Writers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Borrowed Words (2)

  1. 2e0mca says:

    Snow is good for 2 things… Chilled Beer and Photography 😉 Early is never a struggle for me – it’s a habit born out of 40 years of starting work at 8:00am in the morning! Staying up late is more of an issue though. I guess there’s a downside to everything… But for every down, there must also be an up for, as Isaac Newton postulated, their forces must be equal and opposite 🙂

    I hope the weather lets you out again soon Judith.


  2. Lucid Gypsy says:

    It can’t be much longer, hang in there for April!


  3. Mabel Kwong says:

    Very interesting shot. Hopefully the temperature continues to rise where you are. Feel enclosed even on those days you go out a bit in the car, that sounds really bad 😦 But good to hear you find the positives to your day. Usually I take each day as they come. Bad or good, I’m thankful for what I have 🙂


  4. Jen Payne says:

    How true that quote! I suppose it is the “mortal, tormented, confused, deluded” part of this world, of this daily living, that makes the borrowed views all the more sweet. Spring comes, my friend, spring comes! xoxo


  5. Barb says:

    I love the shot, it’s as good a use for snow as I’ve ever seen!
    If I remember rightly, it’s Spring now in the UK, so the snow should be gone soon and the spring bulbs should be showing their colourful faces to you. They always used to lift my spirits after a bad winter.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      It was the first time I smiled at the snow!
      Yes, spring bulbs always lift my spirits too. In the UK spring comes pretty early and is daffodils and tulips and gorgeous stuff like that. Here in the US, in New England, spring if we’re lucky starts in April and mostly means — mud season! But we’re hardly there yet. (Thanks for the reminder that there ARE daffodils somewhere under the white blanket.)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. yprior1 says:

    that is a cool quote – very cool – and the snow cooler – cool too? ha! have a nice day – and spring is coming….


  7. Madhu says:

    I wilt mostly!! 🙂 Love the open air bottle cooler and the beautiful, hopeful borrowed words.Judith. Wishing you carefree,sunny days ahead….take care 🙂


  8. Patti Kuche says:

    Underneath all that snow I hear corn and asparagus burrowing to bloom for the summer. In the meantime, as your photo shows, best ale cooler! Best wishes to you Judith for the oncoming days of warmth! xx


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Amazing what a difference a few days of sunshine can make. All our personal snow is gone; the gigantic mound at the supermarket parking lot may take till August! I do wish I’d had your ears as March dragged to its weary end — I thought nothing would ever grow again.


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