Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Quote of the Day -- Will Schwalbe

Books remain one of the strongest bulwarks we have against tyranny -- but only as long as people are free to read all different kinds of books, and only as long as they actually do so. The right to read whatever you want whenever you want is one of the fundamental rights that helps preserve all the other rights. It's a right we need to guard with unwavering diligence. But it's also a right we can guard with pleasure.  Reading isn't just a strike against narrowness, mind control, and domination: It's one of the world's greatest joys.
-- Will Schwalbe, from Books for Living

Sunday, March 12, 2017

YOLO -- You Only Live Once

A friend recently posted a lovely tribute on Facebook to a much-loved aunt who died at an advanced age after living a full life. She fondly remembers that her aunt often told her "Dawn honey, do things and go places while you can - there's plenty of time at the end to sit and remember, give yourself something to remember."

We've tried to live by that advice, even before we retired and definitely since. Jim's health scares have certainly contributed to our "don't wait until it's too late" philosophy of seeing the world. But even before that... 

25+ years ago when Christie was in preschool, the father of one of her teachers died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack. He had retired just a few years before, and her parents were looking forward to seeing the world together. Suddenly her mom was faced with the prospect of seeing the world without him or giving up her dreams of travel. That made an impression.

Closer to home, when my dad was 73, he suffered a grand mal seizure for unknown reasons. It fried enough of his brain cells to permanently alter his capabilities and my parents' lifestyle. Yet another reminder of "don't wait until it's too late."

Just this week-end, we celebrated my brother's birthday with a lovely relaxed meal and conversation. In the course of the conversation, he discovered we have never been to Ireland and was appalled. It is, of course, someplace that we want to see, but his comment made me think about our priorities. We've worked our way through most of a traditional bucket list of places (Great Wall, Stonehenge, Taj Mahal, Paris, London, Rome...), but that only adds to our list of places to see.

For now, we're mostly choosing the more exotic places or the places that require exceedingly long flights (like our upcoming trip to New Zealand and Australia). We have yet to see "the Stans," Namibia, Indonesia, Patagonia, or even Japan, to name just a few. Ireland might just have to wait while we work our way through the more challenging destinations.


Quote of the Day -- Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
-- Emily Dickinson