These woods are lovely dark and deep,
But I have played all day and now it’s time to sleep.
I pray thee Lord my soul to keep,
As angels watch me through the night,
And keep me safe till morning light.
When it’s time to play again.
There is much wisdom books, but wisdom, by this I mean true wisdom, wisdom which we apply and use, is not found it is learned.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
[Shipwrecked on a desert isle]
SEPTEMBER 30, 1659. – I, poor miserable Robinson Crusoe, being shipwrecked during a dreadful storm in the offing, came on shore on this dismal, unfortunate island, which I called “The Island of Despair”; all the rest of the ship’s company being drowned, and myself almost dead.
[By the end of the second year]
From this moment I began to conclude in my mind that it was possible for me to be more happy in this forsaken, solitary condition than it was probable I should ever have been in any other particular state in the world; and with this thought I was going to give thanks to God for bringing me to this place…
[In the fifth year wherein he makes a great discovery]
In the first place, I was removed from all the wickedness of the world here. I had neither the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of life. I had nothing to covet, for I had all that I was now capable of enjoying. I was lord of the whole manor; or if I pleased, I might call myself king or emperor over the whole country which I had possession of. There were no rivals: I had no competitor, none to dispute sovereignty or command with me. I might have raised shiploadings of corn, but I had no use of it; so I let as little grow as I thought enough for my occasion. I had tortoise or turtles enough, but now and then one was as much as I could put to any use. I had timber enough to have built a fleet of ships. I had grapes enough to have made wine, or to have cured into raisins, to have loaded that fleet when they had been built.
[Finding a footprint in the sand]
How strange a chequer-work of Providence is the life of man! and by what secret different springs are the affections hurried about, as different circumstances present! To-day we love what to-morrow we hate; to-day we seek what to-morrow we shun; to-day we desire what to-morrow we fear, nay, even tremble at the apprehensions of. This was exemplified in me, at this time, in the most lively manner imaginable; for I, whose only affliction was that I seemed banished from human society, that I was alone, circumscribed by the boundless ocean, cut off from mankind, and condemned to what I call silent life; that I was as one whom Heaven thought not worthy to be numbered among the living, or to appear among the rest of His creatures; that to have seen one of my own species would have seemed to me a raising me from death to life, and the greatest blessing that Heaven itself, next to the supreme blessing of salvation, could bestow; I say, that I should now tremble at the very apprehensions of seeing a man, and was ready to sink into the ground at but the shadow or silent appearance of a man having set his foot in the island.
[His return to England]
When I took leave of this island, I carried on board, for relics, the great goat-skin cap I had made, my umbrella, and one of my parrots; also, I forgot not to take the money I formerly mentioned, which had lain by me so long useless that it was grown rusty or tarnished, and could hardly pass for silver till it had been a little rubbed and handled, as also the money I found in the wreck of the Spanish ship. And thus I left the island, the 19th of December, as I found by the ship’s account, in the year 1686, after I had been upon it eight-and-twenty years, two months, and nineteen days; being delivered from this second captivity the same day of the month that I first made my escape in the long-boat from among the Moors of Sallee. In this vessel, after a long voyage, I arrived in England the 11th of June, in the year 1687, having been thirty-five years absent.
“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
Most people think the line is a joke, but Robert Frost meant it seriously as a line in his poem Death of the Hired Man. The poem takes place on a Vermont farm. Mary, the farmer’s wife, sits at the kitchen table musing on the lamp-flame, waiting for her husband Warren to tell him the news, “Silas is back.”
And discuss what to do?
Robert Frost is always worth reading. Always familiar, like a Stressless recliner that fits comfortably each time you sit down and stretch. Always stirring a few thoughts, some original some not.
It is true, women want what they can’t have – a home in the country, a three-car garage, 2.2 children, and a husband who takes out the garbage.
Home, I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.
Once you grow up and leave home, you learn the world is big and wide, and finding your way home is no easy thing.
The best part of traveling is losing yourself and then finding yourself.
Not all who wander are lost.
Home is not so much a place as a state of mind.
You can’t go home again, but you can visit.
You don’t need to know where you are going or where you are to be where you need to be.
There are challenges in life and crossroads, and when I come to them I have always followed Yogi Berra’s advice, when you see a fork in the road, take it.
There are two directions in life, home and away from home.
I am not from West Virginia, but every time I hear John Denver sing his song Country Roads, I want to be.
A chair is to most of us, home for most of the time, so why not make it Stressless.
I have traveled a bit in my lifetime and I have never been so fond of home as when I am away from it.
Göreme, Turkey is home to 2,000 souls. It is a town that is famous for its rock formations in ancient Cappadocia, central Turkey and part of Anatolia. Settlements in Göreme go back 3,000 years to the era of the Hittites. During the conflict between the Persians and the Greeks, the inhabitants tunneled into the rock to escape the fighting.
It appears that there are not regular streets or addresses so how in the world does the postman deliver a letter? The image is from Pixabay.
Advice freely given and freely taken is most often ignored. It should be.
“Advice,” I say to my children, “should be ignored.”
On this they always agree.
Lawyers have a saying, its worth what one pays for it. Saying this, they hope to get paid for it even if the advice is bad. Once in a blue moon it is worth all the tea in China. Beware of mixed metaphors and cliches, my English teacher advised, they are just words strung together, hot air that doesn’t fit the bill.
How about this – two thirsty men are stranded in the Mojave desert with a canteen half full. Would they rather have a map to the next water hole or a map to buried treasure? Or suppose you slip and fall from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Would you rather have a bar of gold or a parachute?
Value comes from the use we make of a thing.
Come to think of it, gold is just a rock, of no value until you get rid of it. And kindly word can be a powerful and valuable thing. A nothing thing really, but then only words can motivate us, enlighten us, and give us hope.
When I was a child of twelve, my dad gave me advice, lots of it, which I didn’t pay much attention to.
His advice included:
My dad liked peanuts, wine, and checkers. I could beat him in chess, but not checkers. Go figure. Once, when I was a mere child of eight at a cub scout party, my dad and I entered a three legged race. Each of us had to share one leg in a potato sack and run a distance of 100 yards over a rolling field. Other sons and dads could not get the hang of it and fell down hilariously to the crowd’s amusement. We won the race by working together, running stride for stride. Not a word was said, but the point was made, and maybe that was the best advice he gave me.
The other day, I came across this old Scottish saying, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” What I really heard was dad’s advice, get out there and work hard, it will pay off in the end.
In a way, it is funny and sad, to wait so long to hear one’s dad.
Archimedes said, ‘Give me a place to stand and I can move the earth.’ – I say, ‘Give me a chair, let me sit, and go to a place where time and the earth stands still.’
I love to travel, but hate to fly.
Traveling puts me on a plane, where if I am lucky, I get an aisle seat in an emergency row, but, if not, I am sandwiched in a middle seat between two large passengers who either talk too much or snore. “Peanuts or cookies?” the stewardess asks. An upgrade to First Class where the champagne flows, I want to reply.
Born free, and yet everywhere on this plane one is shackled by the reminder to keep seat belts attached at all times. What would Rousseau think?
If one believes in the philosophy of yin and yang, then the unpleasant experience of flying on a Boeing 777 is complementary, interconnected, and interdependent with the experience of traveling to the natural world. One necessarily gives rise to the other.
In this natural setting far away from the familiar world, I find a seat, confining as the one left behind, but a seat that takes me where I want to go, to a place where I move and time and the earth stands still.
Alas, it is a universal truth that good and evil co-exist, but the natural world, though pushed aside and often forgotten in a rush to get ahead, has its place and waits for us to come.
In a way, going to Norway every summer was like going home.
From Boy, by Roald Dahl. “The summer holidays! Those magic words! The mere mention of them used to send shivers of joy rippling over my skin.”
If you are just now reading this, then it is too late, you already missed it. Wait, wait, you must wait another 360 days until the next summer solstice and a festival called Slinningsbålet.
No, it is not a dance, but a bonfire that marks the time in the year when the days again grow short and the sun begins to retreat in the sky. Long days make for good hikes in the Sunnmøre Alps.
To celebrate into the night, Norwegians create the world’s largest bonfire turning night into day, and the land of the midnight sun into one of perpetual sunshine. In Norway, it is always bright and happy, unless it it winter, then it is mighty dark and nice to stay at home with a good book, a glass of wine and a Stressless recliner.
Norway’s largest and best celebration of Slinningsbålet takes place on June the 24th in Ålesund in the county of Møre og Romsdal, on the western coastline of Norway. In 2010, the townsfolk on the sea built a massive tower of shipping crates, a record-setting 132.71 feet tall.
Though you missed it, you can connect via Facebook.
Or, if you prefer follow on Twitter.
Did I mention that Stressless recliners and office chairs are designed and made in Ikornnes, a village along the Sykkylvsfjorden, in Møre og Romsdal county. Though you missed this year’s Slinningsbålet, you can still relax in your favorite Stressless recliner and enjoy the summer weather long into the night.
Stressless recliners are carried by many fine retailers including:
Not all stories in this blog are about furniture, but someway I find a connection.
There I was at the movies with my wife, drinking water because we are trying to be good, eating popcorn because we aren’t that good.
The movie, The Lost City of Z, based on a true story, one about British explorer Lieutenant Colonel Percival Harrison Fawcett, DSO, (played by Charlie Hunnam), who journeys into the Amazon at the turn of the 20th century and discovers an unknown, advanced civilization of Indians. No not Machu Picchu, which is mentioned to give the movie an air of verisimilitude.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie and 88% rating. My wife agreed, I took exception to the broad time scope of the movie (from the Boer War through World War I and the Roaring Twenties), but liked the performances, especially Hunnam as the indefatigable Fawcett.
Every good movie has a foil, a spoiler who messes things up, and gives us a role model for what not to be. This time the role went to Angus Macfadyen, who played James Murray, second fiddle on the Shackleford Expedition, and stick in the mud on Fawcett’s quest for the lost city of Z.
Names have a tendency to stick in my mind, like gum on the bottom of my shoe. And so it was with the reference to the Shackleford Expedition. Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, CVO, OBE, and FRGS, was a polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. The Discovery Expedition of 1901–03 was famously unsuccessful with Shackleford’s ship becoming ice bound, the crew abandoning the ship, and heroically marching across the barren ice bound landscape to rescue. Shackleford would return to his quest, heading to the South Pole, and achieve some success.
Back to the Lost City of Z.
Fawcett’s foil, James Murray, was, according to the movie, second in command on one of Shackleton’s ventures. This, and his money, gave Murray the gravitas to both finance and join in a second attempt to find Z. This attempt was a flop due to Murray, and a third attempt was necessary, resulting in the movie’s last few scenes. Fawcett is joined by his son and they go off in what appears to be a quixotic search.
I like adventures. I like true stories. I liked Shackleford’s.
I loved Percy and his story, part Horatio Alger, part Captain Ahab, part David Copperfield and a few other Charles Dickens characters.
I mention all this because of the Studio by Stickley dining table and sideboard below, which are part of the Shackleford collection.
Both pieces have that weathered distressed look that reminds one of the furniture one would find on a trawler plying the South seas, and I can picture Percy Fawcett and his son heading south to Amazonia on their final quest to find the Lost City of Z.
The city is there, I am as sure of it as Percy. And we should go look for it.
“Ah, but…” as Robert Browning said, “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”
It was Saturday morning and the first day of spring. The weather was cloudy and cool.Because I thought it might rain, I was wearing a short light grey trench coat, the kind Audrey Hepburn wore in Charade. But maybe, I was just trying to be incognito.
Five minutes before, I had just arrived after an 8-hour, sleepless flight from Heathrow to Dulles. The Metro was due to arrive in two minutes. Then my baby called, saying she had missed her connection in Atlanta. Next flight noon.
There it was, a Stressless recliner in the middle of the plaza.
That is strange, but stranger still is the fact that it was empty. No one, not a soul, seemed to see it. And baby, it was calling my name.
I felt relieved as I sat down. I stretched out my arms and back, and felt the chair magically adjust. I closed my eyes and began to sing, “Ain’t got time to take a fast train…”
And soon I was asleep.
Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
Wayne Carson wrote and composed “The Letter” after his father suggested an opening line, “Give me a ticket for an aeroplane.” The track was recorded in Memphis with a local five-man group in a session produced by Dan Penn. The band members were Alex Chilton on vocals, Danny Smythe on drums, Russ Caccamisi on bass, John Evans on keyboards, and Richard Malone on guitar. The session took over 30 takes to get it right, with Penn suggesting to Chilton he pronounce the title “aer-o-plane”. After the session, Penn added the sound of an airplane take-off.
The song took off and reached #1 position for a total of four weeks, Billboard ranked the record as the No. 2 song for 1967.
In yoga, touching together the tips of index finger with that of the thumb gives peace of mind and wisdom. This mudra or hand gesture is called Gyan, and it is said to boost enthusiasm and enhance curiosity. Sitting in a Stressless recliner gives peace of mind and body. It is said to be the most relaxing recliner in the Milky Way.
Like yoga, sitting in a Stressless recliner can be practiced anytime.
Yes, we live in the Milky Way Galaxy, which measures some 100,000–120,000 light-years in diameter and is about 1,000 light-years thick. Imagine a long playing vinyl record. It is about 1.9 millimeters wide. The width of the Milky Way would then be about six records wide. If one is counting the days and years, it takes the Milky Way 230 million light years to make a complete revolution.
Now, hold on to your hat. Even sitting still in one’s Stressless recliner, the sun is moving though the universe at an astounding 483,000 miles per hour, and it is but one of over 200 billion stars.
As John Rhys-Davies (British actor of The Lord of the Rings fame) said, “If we named every star in the Milky Way and put them in the Hollywood telephone directory and stacked those telephone directories up, we’d have a pile of telephone directories 70 miles high.” Can you imagine calling up every star just to say hello?
Every time we gaze at the clear night sky we are looking at the Milky Way Galaxy. And where in the Milky Way are we?
Why, right here, of course, trying to stay out of the way.
Why do they not teach you that time is a finger snap and an eye blink, and that you should not allow a moment to pass you by without taking joyous, ecstatic note of it, not wasting a single moment of its swift, breakneck circuit?
My Losing Season by Pat Conroy
I have concluded that life’s best teacher is losing.
In winning, we celebrate, but in losing we learn the hard lessons of life and so become better. Perhaps in that sense, we should celebrate the losses and strive to take on more and more challenges in the hope that we will lose and by losing become our very best.
Life is full of contradictions, isn’t it?
I am always reluctant to read books that do not have a happy ending in the strange and bizarre belief that we become what we read. I make an exception with Pat Conroy whose books often deal with dysfunctional family relationships.
If you are not a Pat Conroy fan, become one.
My Losing Season is Conroy’s story of the losing basketball season in his last year as a cadet at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He is an unshakeable though small and modestly talented point guard for his team. His father is a hard-core marine colonel. His capricious coach heaps withering scorn on his players.
Somewhere in all the pain and humiliation, Conroy is able to find resolution, strength, love and healing.
Don’t hurry this book. It is meant to be read leisurely. Read a bit then get up and go for a walk. Healing takes time and learning to love those who have been a little tough on us takes a lifetime.
It only takes a moment to enjoy to relax in a Stressless recliner.