Gifts of an Unexpected Nature …

I’ve spent a lovely time over the last while catching up with family and friends.

A very good thing, that reminds one on so many levels of precisely how rich life is, and how many blessings there are to count. Daily.

In all that running-around-hanging-out-gatherings-feasts-grabbing-a-coffee-because-its-been-too long .. there has been such joy and laughter and simple pleasure, in amongst the (sometimes) madness of the season.

And there have been some unexpected gifts, which are always the best kind to receive; they make one think the most, over the long run …

To wit:

A lovely person that I have only had the pleasure of getting to know over the last few months gave me a most delightful and intriguing gift:

Beauty and simplicity (and those of you who sew will get the pun!)
Beauty and simplicity (and those of you who sew will get the pun!)


This was a lovely thing in and of itself – I hadn’t in the least expected it – but double the delight once this mysterious package was opened:


… what better, than an old and well thumbed book of poetry??


And the magic grew, as the cover was opened:

... someone (several someones, actually) had responded to the poems in a variety of ways!
… someone (several someones, actually) had responded to the poems in a variety of ways!

The wonderful experience of uncovering and discovering the marginalia in this book is a gift many times over, in itself a series of delights and mysteries.

Thoughts. Questions. Analysis. Little windows ...
Thoughts. Questions. Analysis. Little windows …


I was particularly struck by the headings added to several of the pages; an apparent correlation between the written word – the poems – and particular Hollywood stars from another era:

… there’s also: Basil Rathbone, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Cary Grant, Fibber McGee, George Burns, John Wayne, Shirley Temple, Jane Wyman, Ava Gardner, Barbara Stanwyck, Carol Lombard (“later” – this a particular shade of definition added for her only) … and many others …

I will be the first to admit I have yet to spend a great deal of time poring over these thoroughly intriguing notes and associations. But perhaps that isn’t the point, entirely.

On considering this lovely little volume and its contents, and its coming into my world, I am struck most by the potential it contains. Just now at least, I am most entranced by the layers of understanding in these pages, the different rhythms of reading and understanding that so many people have brought to these words over so many years. And it strikes me that I don’t need to know all of it – I will likely pore through this volume over the coming months, and read every passage and every note taken and added there – but that will only satisfy part of my curiosity. And  this process will only uncover (or recover) part of what is really there.

The real beauty in this gift lies in what I cannot ever know – about who read and who wrote and why – and in what struck the person who gave this gift to me at the moment they found it: what told them that I was the person who was to be the next custodian of these words and ideas, compiled from so many sources?

What a delightful and thoughtful thing: to give a gift that shows in its being such complete mystery.

So like this time of year as a whole, this little book shows me yet again – regardless of one’s affiliation, practice, understanding, or belief – perceivable reality is stunning all on its own. That moment of really seeing is precious.

We have passed the shortest day of the year, the light is returning, and while we wait for the thaw and the next cycle of growth, many things of import are going on, in many worlds simultaneously. Not the least of which is the perfect glint of brilliant winter sun on drifts, the scrunch of  snow under boots, the welcome of a sparking fire and a big mug of tea, the moment when someone smiles from beneath layers of clothing. And the passing on of old books with notes penned in the margins.

Best of the Coming Year to you All.




8 thoughts on “Gifts of an Unexpected Nature …

    • Thanks Cath – Best of the New Year to you as well! It’s a lovely thing, I agree. Looking forward to your blog this year!

  1. What a marvelous gift! I love that the book was obviously so well loved. Like peeking into a private correspondance! Happy 2013 Sydney!

    • It is, isn’t it? Pages of mystery and thought, from so many sources … I haven’t tried to figure out how many people commented in this volume (yet) – would be an interesting bit of detective work, to try to extrapolate the point of view – or at least the approach taken – by each reader. I see projects coming from this magical little book!

      Best of the coming Year to you too Linda!

    • I think it will be a delightful mystery-puzzle-inspiration for the coming year. Writing – poetry especially – is another great love of mine … I’m wondering if there isn’t a whole series of erasure poems in there, based on the marginalia alone?
      Best of the coming Year to you too Karen!

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