Saturday, September 11, 2010

Things That Fill Me With Happiness (A List)

  • A good book
  • Cottages in the forest
  • Crochet sweaters
  • Empty journals waiting to be filled
  • Enchanted princes
  • European villages
  • Flowers painted on the inside of teacups
  • Hot chocolate
  • Letters tied with ribbon
  • Miyazaki movies
  • Pearls
  • Pintucks, lace, and ruffles
  • Portrait miniatures
  • Red-striped 18th century dresses
  • Sunlight dappling on grass
  • Taking pictures
  • The spots on a fawn's back
  • Unexpectedly finding some wonderful, longed-for item
  • Waking up to snow

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Sunday, July 4, 2010


...I am remembering. Lying on the trampoline on summer nights and squinting up at a trillion grains of light. Setting up little fairy-sized towns with plastic pools and fuzzy grass, cut through by miniature train tracks. Mists of woodsmoke on overcast afternoons, with the smell curling through the trees. The ache of a thousand castle stairs burning in my legs. Falling asleep to the careful rocking of the water, a floating cradle in the darkness with the clank of the sails for my lullaby.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Tale from Cair Paravel: The Selkie

I have only seen a Selkie once.

I was seventeen, walking alone along the quiet, rock-strewn beach of a sleepy little English town. He was shirtless, sitting chest-deep in the water with his face to the sea, his hair black and ragged around his shoulders. Something about him, his stillness, his bareness even though the water was cold and the wind was blowing, the way he sat almost silhouetted against the coast and the rocks, caught my attention. I slowed to a stop, and putting aside my usual caution, slipped my camera from my coat pocket to snap a picture of him.

With the click of the camera he spun around to face me. I had taken him for a villager or tourist, or one of those wandering students who always seem to be backpacking around Europe like gypsies and camping under the stars. But I saw his face, saw his hipbones naked over the the top of the rock he clung to, saw the fierceness in the set of his shoulders and the wildness in his eyes and instantly I knew he was none of those things.

His gaze swept over me like a wave and then darted away to settle on the silvery-wet seal skill that lay on the rocks just a few feet away from me. I gazed at it almost stupidly, breathless, so numb with little-girl excitement that I could barely think. Then suddenly his eyes were boring into me, dark and wary and afraid. He stood frozen over the rock, motionless save for the damp swinging of his hair in the wind, and neither of us breathed.

I cannot say that for a moment I didn't consider stealing his skin. The thought of whisking him away with me to be my beautiful, sea-born husband was rather delightful. But I was not even old enough to leave home, and had little money. There was no way on earth I could ever support him, and even if I could, my home was far away, and mired between endless miles of land, without even the taste of ocean-water in the air. What kind of life would that be, I thought, trapped so far from the sea, so far from his home? And I knew then that to take his seal-skin would be to kill his spirit, and I knew I could never be so cruel

So I smiled instead, and took a few steps back. Immediately his face softened, his eyes bright with understanding, and at last we both let go of the breath we'd been holding. A wonderful grin of relief came over his face, and my heart skipped a beat. Then he turned away, sliding back into the sea until the waves came up over his arms. I turned away then, too, and moved down along the beach the way I had come. When I glanced back again a few minutes later he was gone, with nothing but fading ripples to show he had been there at all.

It was hours before I could bear to look at the photo I'd taken. I was filled with horrible dread, certain I would turn on my camera and find nothing but ocean, or at best a grainy Bigfoot-blur. But when at last I was brave enough to look, I found him just as he had been at that moment; twisting round to look at me, shoulders tensed, his face lost in the windy sweep of his hair.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

AquarionFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

Aquarion by sweetdemoiselle featuring Paul Smith jewelry

Rediscovered Polyvore today, and inspired by the song "Omna Magni" from Sousei No Aquarion, came up with this piece.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

April Showers Bring

Lately it's been as gray and wet and stormy as Misselthwaite Manor here. It's getting very dreary, but against all the gray everything looks so lush and green I almost don't mind. I think the volcano in Iceland is to blame... just like the Year Without a Summer.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I am shipwrecked...

In the middle of the ocean I am alone, clinging to a piece of driftwood. All my paddling, all my energy and direction is fruitless. For every inch of headway I make, another great wave comes along and sweeps me back to square one again. My fate is not my own, my destiny lies somewhere in the currents and the waves, and I do not know where they will take me. I may wash up on a friendly shore, or smash to pieces on the breakers, or perhaps I will just float and float here until I cease to be. On the sea a compass is just a pretty bauble, and courage is something to leech the strength from your bones. On the water you cannot hope, you cannot think, you can only drift, aimless on the tide, and pray.


"[The child] does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: the reading makes all real woods a little enchanted."

- C. S. Lewis

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

To Become Part of It

"We do not want merely to see beauty... We want something else which can hardly be put into words-- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled the air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves."

- C. S. Lewis

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sabrina Fair

by John Milton

Sabrina fair
Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassie, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of Lillies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair,
Listen for dear honour's sake,
Goddess of the silver lake,
Listen and save.


Rise, rise, and heave thy rosie head
From thy coral-pav'n bed,
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answered have.
Listen and save.

Photo by Courtney Hood

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Forest

When I was little, barely more than a baby, we lived in a house in the woods. It is the first house I actually remember, and just the slightest scent of woodsmoke takes me back there. I can recall the first time I saw it, the way the trees blurred along the roadside as we drove, noticing the flowers and the manzanita trees and the wooden sign painted with rabbits.

I remember the days spent making mud pies while my parents cleared the land for our yard, cutting out weeds and bushes and emptying the litter that had been dumped there, and later, after the clearing was done, our morning walks down the lane, or into the woods, where a little pond hid behind the trees and we found the doors of a rabbit's house.

I wonder if it was that experience that left me so fascinated by forests, why they figure so heavilly in my stories and the landscape of my mind, why I cannot follow the paths in the grass, or watch the sunlight dancing over the bark and leaves, or stare down a dark corridor of trees and not feel that something is waiting there, that at any moment something utterly unearthly might pass across my sight.

Or maybe it was the books I read as a child. So many of the old stories, Greek, Scandinavian, English, Native American, all teem with images of the forest, of ancient trees and lost children, secret paths and woodland spirits. Or maybe it is neither of these, but some near-forgotten primeval memory carried in my blood.

Ancestors of mine came from all over Europe, and all had their tales of the woods. My French trapper great-grandfather lived and hunted in the deepest forests of North America, and the Souix Indians from whom I am descended believed one of the most beautiful sights in the world was the sun coming through the trees.

Or perhaps it is older even than that. Perhaps all humans hold this inborn sense of awe, this communal knowledge, an awareness deeper than instinct, that somewhere in that darkness, beneath those arching branches, there is something alive, some ancient eye watching, some great heart beating, some hidden hand shrouding its secrets behind the mist and dappled sunlight.

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Once upon a time...

As a child Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite movies. I watched it a thousand times or more.

The West Wing was one of those scenes that, young as I was, seared itself into my heart. Even before I could truly understand its depth, or what it was about it that moved me so much, I was fascinated.

Even now I cannot watch it without trembling inside.


It has come to my attention that I now have 12 followers. As a way of saying "thank you", I've decided to post 12 of my favorite black and white photographs! Some are famous, some are relatively obsure, but they're all fantastically beautiful.

The ever-beautiful Mary Pickford.

The Cottingley Fairy Photographs.

Some gorgeous portraits by Cecil Beaton. I love how he makes alumium foil and cellophane look so soft and magical.

The Romanov girls. There isn't a single portrait of them I don't love.

Lovely Lillian Gish.
Marie of Romania. There are so many beautiful portraits of her as a girl and a teenager, but I couldn't find many online.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I took the stars from my eyes and made a map...

I am so desperately in love with this song right now.