Preface: Thursday November 28th
We are entering a wonderful time of the year. Special days galore surround us: New Year, Christmas, Hanukkah, plus endless family celebrations will be the norm.
In the midst of this happy milieu we all struggle to handle our ongoing daily commitments. I have a writing due for my creative writing class on each of three closely grouped days – November 28th, December 4th, and December 18th. Necessity provides the incentive to create a “do-able” solution. I have decided to present three loosely related vignettes, one on each of the dates mentioned. The first one is today. A cautionary note: the dictionary defines a vignette as “A short, graceful, literary sketch.” I can guarantee only the short part. The other three elements may, or may not, be achieved!
On The Sunny Side Of The Street
Age is interesting. There are few “How to Navigate” or “How to Understand” instructions for this very special portion of life. Each day brings surprises. Some are not welcome, some even very difficult, but many are delightful.
Musing about this, on one morning walk, I marvelled at the beauty of the sky. Clouds battled with sunshine, creating a checkered pattern from horizon to horizon. My sense of pleasure was intense. A complete stranger stopped and pointed out to me a flock of crows, engaged in a real battle over one small chunk of bread. We watched, laughed, visited, and then moved on.
The ache in my legs turned me back to my home in the Manor, with a feeling hard to describe. A sense of well-being and contentment flooded over me, and I said out loud, “What a wonderful day.” With some amusement I recognized my contradictory feelings. Limping into my suite, I sank into my easy chair and tried to reconcile my conflicting thoughts.
Rubbing my legs to ease the pain, I was aware of a phrase racing around in my head: “God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world!” Legs forgotten I felt like jumping with joy. “That’s it! That is how I felt when I came in. Despite all life’s difficulties, sometime things do balance out, and then that’s how I feel. What is that poem – wonder if I can find it?”
It took some hunting, but I found it. In 1841 Robert Browning wrote a verse drama, titled “Pippa Passes.” It is long, complicated and not to my liking, but in it is a wonderful piece that has a life of its own. It presents a young woman, perhaps an indentured servant, off on her one free day a year. Despite her extremely difficult life, she revels in the joy of being free, in the beauty of God’s world, and in the hope which keeps her going. For all of us, she is a cheerleader from the past.
“The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven –
All’s right with the world!”