"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In praise of solid people

In Praise of Solid People
 ~C.S. Lewis, Spirits in Bondage

Thank God that there are solid folk
Who water flowers and roll the lawn,
And sit and sew and talk and smoke,
And snore all through the summer dawn.

Who pass untroubled nights and days
Full-fed and sleepily content,
Rejoicing in each other’s praise,
Respectable and innocent.

Who feel the things that all men feel,
And think in well-worn grooves of thought,
Whose honest spirits never reel
Before man’s mystery, overwrought.

Yet not unfaithful nor unkind,
With work-day virtues surely staid,
Theirs is the sane and humble mind,
And dull affections undismayed.

O happy people! I have seen
No verse yet written in your praise,
And, truth to tell, the time has been
I would have scorned your easy ways.

But now thro’ weariness and strife
I learn your worthiness indeed,
The world is better for such life
As stout suburban people lead.

Too often have I sat alone
When the wet night falls heavily,
And fretting winds around me moan,
And homeless longing vexes me

For lore that I shall never know,
And visions none can hope to see,
Till brooding works upon me so
A childish fear steals over me.

I look around the empty room,
The clock still ticking in its place,
And all else silent as the tomb,
Till suddenly, I think, a face

Grows from the darkness just beside.
I turn, and lo! it fades away,
And soon another phantom tide
Of shifting dreams begins to play,

And dusky galleys past me sail,
Full freighted on a faerie sea;
I hear the silken merchants hail
Across the ringing waves to me

—Then suddenly, again, the room,
Familiar books about me piled,
And I alone amid the gloom,
By one more mocking dream beguiled.

And still no nearer to the Light,
And still no further from myself,
Alone and lost in clinging night
—(The clock’s still ticking on the shelf).

Then do I envy solid folk
Who sit of evenings by the fire,
After their work and doze and smoke,
And are not fretted by desire.

Monday, August 20, 2012

6-week trip in 6 Facebook albums: Quotes and pictures from my summer adventure

I'd read books, solved riddles, attempted Suduku, stopped Suduku (after I realized I didn't know the rules), watched four movies in a row, dozed, drank tea, burned my tongue on the tea, prayed, played mind-benders, practiced raising my right eyebrow, tried to determine if my fellow passengers were right or left handed, doodled something that looked like a phoenix flying out of a supernova into a giant moldy sunflower, talked to random people, worked on developing a photographic memory, practiced reading lips, journaled in my notebook, looked through airplane shopping magazines (and puzzled over advertisements promising I could "millionize my lashes," which sounded dangerous), watched a lady paint her fingernails burgundy, and picked split ends off my hair. I had been traveling for 24 hours and was almost home.

And finally, I was. I returned to Minnesota four days ago and have finally adjusted back to central standard time (after four days of waking up at 3 a.m.). My room has been deemed a disaster area, I've spread gifts across the entire kitchen table, and I've downloaded all my photographs onto my external hard drives. It's good to be back.

The plethora of people to talk to on the train to the Munich Airport was overwhelming.

As each blog post only gets a few pictures on it, I imagine you'll want to see more. Therefore, I've put up some pictures from each country in a public Facebook album, so even if we're not friends on Facebook, you should be able to see them. These are only a few of the best pictures -- I took about 8,000, but there are only two people in the world I currently know of who want to see every single one, and those are my parents. Therefore, what's on Facebook is incredibly stripped down -- if there is any particular place you want to see more pictures of, just ask. Believe me, there are more.

Have fun!

Castles, kissing, and unicorns: Quotes from our summer adventure
Israel. The land of rocks. 
Austria (best mountains, best food, best everything ;) )
Going to Spain and falling in love (with horses) 
Paris, Calais, and je ne parle pas francais... 
England: "This must be what heaven looks like." 
Scotland and flowers and fields and future home