During my last year of college I started keeping a little notebook of quotes I liked from books I read. Thankfully I managed to hold onto that little notebook through countless moves, and I’ve found myself flipping through it these days. I called it my quote book, but I recently learned it could be considered a “commonplace book,” a scrapbook of ideas, quotes, recipes and references.
Last month I started another commonplace book for inspiring quotes and ideas. But it’s not the same. I’m noticing a lack of depth and timelessness(?) in my current book compared to my old quote book from ten years ago. Which makes sense, since my commonplace book simply reflects what I’ve been consuming: a lot of Instagram hand lettering quotes and pithy Tweets. I’m seeing how nutritionally deficient my reading diet has been lately. Too many bite-sized candies and not enough hearty meals. So that’s something to work on this month.
Today I wanted to share the first entries from my old quote book. They are bits from the book The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden by Stanley Kunitz. All these years later, I remember the warm and nourishing feeling this book gave me as I read it. I would recommend it to all, but especially to my blogger friends who love to garden. I’ve added some photos from my recent trail walks.
The universe is a continuous web. Touch it any point and the whole web quivers.
One of the greatest satisfactions of the human spirit is to feel that one’s family extends across the borders of species and belongs to everything that lives.The Wild Braid, 54
The antiquity of a tree is a concentration of cosmic energyThe Wild Braid, 61
We are all candidates for composting. So we cannot approach the compost heap without a feeling of connection.The Wild Braid, 65 (This one always makes me chuckle.)
How could you be an artist if you didn’t explore your own inner life?The Wild Braid, 101
And finally, one of my favorite poems. Despite these uncertain times, I hope it provides a little hope for the new day ahead.
Light splashed this morning
on the shell-pink anemones
swaying on their tall stems;
down blue-spiked veronica
light flowed in rivulets
over the humps of the honeybees;
this morning I saw light kiss
the silk of the roses
in their second flowering,
my late bloomers
flushed with their brandy.
A curious gladness shook me.
So I have shut the doors of my house,
so I have trudged downstairs to my cell,
so I am sitting in semi-dark
hunched over my desk
with nothing for a view
to tempt me
but a bloated compost heap,
steamy old stinkpile,
under my window;
and I pick my notebook up
and I start to read aloud
the still-wet words I scribbled
on the blotted page:
“Light splashed . . .”
I can scarcely wait till tomorrowThe Round by Stanley Kunitz
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.