Poetry Friday: God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins

I recently discovered Gerard Manley Hopkins and… dang.  His poems are sometimes difficult to understand, but such a pleasure to read aloud.  I love the sounds and interplay between words–they fill my mouth like rich food and I slowly chew the sounds, savoring each bite.  I find certain lines getting caught in my head and, as the day goes on, I repeat them to myself over and over again.
Here is one of my favorites:

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Over the Sea to Skye

Scotland, you have stolen my heart once again.  My past three days have been spent exploring the Highlands and Island of Skye.

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Being a single explorer with a desire to explore the vast wilderness of Scotland, I decided that the best way to taste my fill of nature was by taking a bus tour.  The thing about but tours is that they’re expensive, but they provide all kinds of facts I never would have known on my own.  Instead of fretting over catching busses and figuring out train times, I sat back, relaxed, and absorbed thrilling tales of faeries and Jacobite rebellions.

Two of the days were spent traveling across the Highlands, with one full day on Skye.  We spent the night in the adorable coastal town of Portree.  Although known for its rain, the first two days of the trip were sunny and gorgeous.  The visibility on the island was incredible!  At points, we could see all the way to the outer Hebrides–a rare feat.

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I saw a lot during my trip… attempting to go into everything would suck up time that I don’t have.  So, here are some photos from the Isle of Skye.  I’ll post more from the Highlands later.

In the meantime, I’m in Edinburgh for a few days and look forward to exploring the capital of Scotland.

Divinity School, Oxford

We have come, last and best,

From the wide zone through dizzying circles hurled,

To that still centre where the spinning world
Sleeps on its axis, to the heart of rest.
Dorothy Sayers

Some friends and I spent the day in Oxford and I finally fulfilled my dream of touring the Bodlein Library. Maybe I’ll write more about my day sometime soon, but until then, enjoy this photo I took of the absolutely stunning Divinity School.

 

Atop Loughrigg

I recently took a trip to the Lakes District in Northern England with some friends.  I’m hoping to write about our adventures soon, but in the meantime, here is a dramatic shot of me atop one of the mountains we climbed and a quote by T.S. Eliot, whom I have been reading lately.

“Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow”

T.S. Eliot

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Atop a mountain in the Lakes District.

All Hail Queen Brandi

You know those summer nights that have you grinning from ear to ear?  That was me last night.

The thing about Brandi Carlile is that she’s got a voice that reaches into your soul.  She digs into your roots, unearthing all insecurities and nostalgia and takes you back to a place you thought no longer existed.  She finds beauty in simplicity.  Her music is raw cuts to the bone.

As a graduation gift my older brother took me to see her at The Cabooze in Minneapolis.  It was an outdoor show and couldn’t be more perfect.  The openers were Anderson East and Iron & Wine.  I had high hopes for the later, but they were just too mellow for an outdoor show.

Brandi was such a treat.  Most of her songs center on the themes of home, innocence, and change.  I’m a pretty nostalgic person and her music hit me dead center.  I’ve been to several concerts over the past year, but this was definitely a favorite.  I’d see her again in a heartbeat.

Photo courtesy of my older brother.  Edited by me using the VSCOcam app.
At one point during the show, she strayed from the set list, pulled an eleven year old boy on stage to sing her song “Keep Your Heart Young”.  It was one of the night’s highlights.  Photo courtesy of my older brother. Edited by me using the VSCOcam app.

It’s been a great year for concerts.  My next one is The Oh Hellos in October with a college friend.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?  Tell me about it in the comments!

River Haze

This past weekend to celebrate my mother’s birthday (which just-so-happens to be on the 4th of July), my family took a boat cruise on the St. Croix River.  Although we live five minutes from the launching point in Taylors Falls and know the owners of the company, I hadn’t been on one of the ferry boats since I was a little girl.

Due to wildfires in the Western U.S. and Canada, the air has been incredibly hazy over the past week.  For days the sky was stained white from the smoke that’s drifted across the continent.  At one point, we could even smell the smoke.It’s amazing how events have a way of effecting everyone–even people hundreds of miles away.

The haze made for some beautiful photos.  I’m no photographer, but I like to dabble with my iPhone every now and then.  Here’s a shot of the Taylors Falls Princess, one of the oldest ferry boats in the country.  Or, as my best friend and I used to say when we spotted it on the river from our school bus, it’s the “Fairy with No Wand”.

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Mornings

Today marked the busiest day of the year at my family’s strawberry patch.  Within ten minutes, at least thirty cars of people were piling up to pick and we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to accommodate them.  I enjoy the bustle, but part of me lives for the few moments of silence just before the gate opens.

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Taken on my iPhone.  Edited with the VSCO Cam app.