Monday, February 15, 2016

Civil Society

Recently when I visited a blog friend and read her latest post, a non-controversial post, I was appalled to read a comment someone left her. My jaw dropped open as she left line after line about what she did not like about the blog.


In what way was this necessary?

I wished that I could magically have the commenter spend some time with Alexander McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie. 

But it was so easy, thought Isabel. It was so easy dealing with people who were well-mannered...They knew how to exchange those courtesies which made life go smoothly, which was what manners were all about.....

Good manners depended on paying moral attention to others; it required one to treat them with complete moral seriousness, to understand their feelings and their needs. Some people, the selfish, had no inclination to do this, and it always showed. They were impatient with those they thought did not count...manners were the basic building block of civil society.
                                                           Alexander McCall Smith
                                                           The Lost Art of Gratitude

If you've never read the very pleasant McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie novels set in modern day Edinburgh, you're in for a treat. 

Isabel's very handsome boyfriend Jamie, many years her junior, becomes her husband by the time you get to later books in the series.

And that is sometimes the reward for a well-mannered brilliant lady such as Isabel!

Go, Isabel!

What's a post without a picture, so here is what I think Isabel might look like if you updated the woman in this portrait by Holman Hunt for today's woman...

Jamie--her Jamie--said this about Isabel in The Lost Art of Gratitude:

"Holman Hunt might have painted you."

Doesn't she look kind? Well-mannered?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pure Bliss

I can't remember  when I finally grew into that snowsuit,
but I do remember that snow was always pure bliss.

You might have noticed that it is always snowing
in the banner picture at Dewena's Window.

And it will remain snowing,
even in the dog days of summer.

The frontispiece in Faith Baldwin's book 
is more than a picture to me,
it is a recognition of having reached a stage in life
where this is pure bliss--
to stay home and view life through my own window.

I have grown to enjoy a bad day, even with thick snow and zero temperatures,
if I am indoors.

It is satisfying to sit by a window, nursing a cup of tea,
hearing the fire snap on the hearth,
and watching the wild-white world outside,
kept at bay by good walls and insulation...

The winter weather is conducive to hard work;
I don't want to go anywhere,
and seldom can.

The cupboard is stocked, and the freezer.

So I stay home and work.

Faith Baldwin

I hope February days have held pure bliss for you. If you're hankering for Spring, I promise you that it will come. Next July when it's 100 degrees in the shade, you can always come look through Dewena's Window and see a blanket of snow.