The Mind

by Edgar Guest

The mind is that mysterious thing
which makes the toiler and the king.
It is the realm of thought where dwells
the nursery rhymes the father tells.
It is the source of all that gives
high color to the life he lives.
It starts the smile or shapes the frown,
it lifts man up or holds him down.
It marks the happy singing lad,
it marks the neighbor kind and glad,
and world wide over this we find —
a man is fashioned by his mind.

How strange it is that what we see
and seem to cherish tenderly
is not the outward garb of clay,
for all are formed the self-same way.
Not in the hands and legs and cheeks,
not in the common voice which speaks,
lies man’s identity on earth—
all these come with the gift of birth.
But love and friendship and delight
lie in a world that’s hid from sight.
The mind of all is master still
to fashion them for good or ill.

So men and women here are wrought
by this strange hidden power of thought
and each becomes in life the thing
the mind has long been fashioning.
Man’s body moves and eats and drinks
and but reflects the thoughts he thinks.
His every action leaves behind
merely the prompting of his mind.
Bad men have arms and legs and eyes.
That which we cherish or despise
and shapes each individual soul
is wholly in the mind’s control.

From the Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

A Story in Slivers

Yesterday we attended an all-day writing workshop in the city, put on by a national Christian writing group based more-or-less in Alberta. We heard half a dozen different speakers, mostly motivational. A lot of thoughts on the need to write, and why we need to write.

A few minor things stuck in my mind, one of them being a comment one of our speakers made to an attender who’d just finished publishing his parents’ life story. Sheila Webster, the speaker, congratulated him, then reminded him & told us all about the nudge she’d given him when he wasn’t finding the time to write this. They’d done a quick calculation and figured that if he’d only write 47 words a day he could get the memoir done in such-and-such a time.

I’m not certain of the exact numbers, but the point was clear. A writer may wish for hours to write, with thousands of words whacked out every day. However, even writing in silvers — 10-15 minutes a day — you can actually get a book finished and edited. I don’t know about you, but if I have my scene thought out and sit down to write, I can easily do 500 words in 15 minutes.

This reminds me of another done-in-slivers project I heard about one day. An older woman who sews all her own dresses was advising some younger ones, busy moms, who claimed they couldn’t find time to sew. “If you sew just one seam every day, you can get a new dress made for yourself in a month.”

Marla Cilley has made her fortune as the FlyLady, telling people the same thing about house-cleaning. In her book, Sink Reflections, she writes that no matter how disabled or how depressed a person is, almost everyone can work at a task for 10-15 minutes.

Facing the immense task of rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem after it had been destroyed by the marauding army, the prophet Zechariah says, “For who hath despised the day of small things?” Zech 4:10 A plan was made and the work was organized, each family given responsibility for a part of the wall.

Both Marla & Sheila do stress one point:
YOU NEED TO HAVE SOME SYSTEM. A ROUTINE IS YOUR FRIEND.

That’s what I need to work on. 🙂

Royal Wedding Discovery

Squirreled away under our flooring: A Royal Wedding

Back when we lived in Ontario we bought a home in the small village of Fullarton. This house was old, lived in by an old couple before us, and nothing had been done to repair it for years. We got it cheap and did a lot of renovations over the years.

The flooring, for example. In the small dining room and kitchen we had that old “battleship green linoleum” which was cracked in places — and there was one odd rectangular lump in the dining room. We assumed someone had tried to patch a hole with a thin board or something of that nature, but we soon got tired of walking over it and bumping the table casters over it.

One tribute I could pay to that linoleum: it was tough. It never cracked around that lump, though you’d think in time it would have. Nevertheless, the flooring was in pretty sad shape by the time we decided to replace it. Bob bought tiles one day and we started slicing and rolling up that old flooring. Good riddance!

And we finally found out what that lump was.

We found an old Star Weekly magazine, a souvenir issue with Queen Elizabeth II’s upcoming wedding details. There were pictures of the Bride-to-be and her Groom, all their attendants and a brief write-up about each one. There were also pictures and details of her dress, a write-up about the celebrant, Archbishop ? and photos of the cathedral, etc. A real treasure! Why on earth would someone stick it under the flooring about a metre in from the wall?

The magazine was fairly large, maybe 12″ x 18″ and half an inch thick — but for some reason whoever put it there folded it in half. Which would have originally made quite a lump! It wasn’t covering any hole, just stuck there for anyhow, as near as we could figure. Another of our house’s mysteries! I still have that magazine; it’s in fairly good shape for all that.

Cats And Their People

Verses Only A Cat-Lover Will Understand

winter morning
the cat curled up
in my office chair

our cats dwell above
our comfort zone
in the softest seats

we once had two cats
now we have our soft chairs
ah, spring!

I have a nice, comfortable office chair beside my desk, just the right height for me. Trouble is, it’s often occupied by one of our two cats. Yes, common sense would say, “Evict it,” but they look so comfortable curled up in a ball and I’m a softie. Also, if I do remove them, they persist in returning and I have to evict them every time I come back to my chair from doing some errand. So I keep a folding chair standing beside the computer to open quickly if I don’t want to work for long and don’t feel like evicting the cat.

When I came to the computer one morning, Pookie was occupying my comfortable office chair and I didn’t push him off. I took the folding chair, then when I got myself a mug of coffee fifteen minutes later, Pookie wandered out to the kitchen, too. I hurried back to the office in time to see our other cat, Angus, jump up and settle comfortably into the chair Pookie had just vacated. So I took the folding chair again. When I got up later to refill my mug, I returned to find Angus in my office chair and Pookie on the folding chair!

Many times Bob and I come into the office to find Angus in his chair and Pookie in mine. Usually both are evicted. There are limits, after all.

Pet owners will know that cats have a certain sense of entitlement built into their nature. They may claim you as their people, but they make it clear who comes first in the grand scheme of things. Whose comfort is of greater importance, whose not so much. When we had three cats, our aged Panda claimed the most comfortable recliner as her throne and would not be ousted.

Nowadays when I’m in the living room settling into the recliner Angus snuggles down in the other recliner and Pookie gets the sofa. Or vice versa. Often one’s in my lap. However, Pookie has discovered a spot under our bed right over a floor heat “warm spot” and often stretches out there on cold days.

Generally a house cat will want to be near their people. That is, if they feel like it — or if something interesting is transpiring. I had a cat years back that always came to watch me re-pot my houseplants. She’d have her nose right in the pot to get a close look as I scooped in the dirt and packed it down. She was Siamese, with a uniquely curious personality.

But now that it’s spring and the mice in the woods beside us are active again, we get our chairs back. A cat’s a cat for a’ that and a’ that.