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“I make no resolutions for the New Year.  The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.”  ~Anaïs Nin

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  Quotation by Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

A yearly tradition, I pull Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” from my bookshelf just before Christmas.  If I am in a foul mood from fighting for parking spaces in the local mall, I remember what is real and important each time I read this wonderful story.  Here is a portion:

“A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window.  She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched.  Her face is remarkable – not unlike Lincoln’s, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid.  “Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather.”  The person to whom she is speaking is myself.  I am seven; she is sixty-something.  We are cousins, very distant ones, and we have lived together – well as long as I can remember.  Other people inhabit the house, relatives and though they have power over us, and frequently make us cry, we are not, on the whole, too much aware of them.  We are each other’s best friend….”

Copyright 1956 by Truman Capote, published by Random House

“A billion stars go spinning through the night,
Blazing high above your head,
But in you is the presence that will be,
When all the stars are dead.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Christmas Trees
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Robert Frost (1920)
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(A Christmas Circular Letter)

The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said,
“There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”
“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

Lyrics written by Christina Rossetti; music arrangement by Gustav Holst

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  • Jim Rohn
    "It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go."
December 2009
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"Featherheart"
was chosen as
the name for
this blog
because when
I remember
to keep my
heart light as
a feather,
life is much
easier.

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Censorship

Jimmy Margulies
The Record
Jan 7, 2011
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