Friday, December 12, 2008

These Things Are Pleasant in Winter

I fell asleep last night reading an old favorite, The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon. When I woke up, I lingered in bed and jotted this in my notebook. Because I'm pretentious like that.

These Things Are Pleasant in Winter
  • An unexpected lick of warm air from an open door, as one passes by on the frozen sidewalk.

  • The hollow of a man's neck hidden and revealed by the curves of a beautiful scarf.

  • A knife's blade of sunlight slicing the clouds.

  • Stepping from a strong wind into the shelter of one's own doorway.

  • Enough snow to erase the scars from the landscape, but not so much that a pleasant stroll is impossible.

  • The luxury of too many blankets, especially as one wakes beneath them in the morning.

  • The approach of a distant storm, contemplated from a favorite chair while wrapped in a shawl.

  • Streaks of blue water between sheets of white ice on the lake.

  • Rough weather that prevents one from attending a dull party, and gives the gift of many hours to knit without interruption.
Happiness

66 comments:

Anonymous said...

sounds like Dolores hasn't made it home yet.

Thanks for the insights into the northern winters. As an Aussie I love to hear about blue water through the ice, snow covered scars and other things I have never experienced.
Sal

Laiane said...

Simply lovely -- the sentiments and the drawing both. I enjoyed Sei Shonagon many years ago; you may inspire me to read it again.

Have you seen "The Pillow of Sei Shonagon" pattern page on Ravelry?

Lynn said...

Oooooh...that last is the best!

Rudee said...

A near perfect list. Complete perfection would be the sounds and sights of my fireplace with a huge wood fire burning.

Kristen said...

Oh do I love that drawing! And I'm totally with you on that second bullet point. {sigh} Some people are convinced I must have been a vampire in the past life the way I enjoy a well shaped neck.

kt said...

Oh, lovliness in words and drawing. Knit/Draw/Muse/Write on, dear Sir!

(vord verification: anablums. good name for a shop or a band.)

Anonymous said...

Lovely! I will go back to this post often during the holidays when the important things get lost in the shuffle.

Konchog said...

Noting that it will be about -20F here in Mongolia tonight, and seeing the street cat I rescued happily snoozing on the warm sofa.

The graphic is fabulous.

anne marie in philly said...

quite simply...a peaceful post.

word is "fludd" - any relation to elmer?

Puss-in-Boots said...

Oh, what a lovely peaceful musing post. Especially at this time of the year when the Silly Season is in full swing and here (Australia) everyone is hot and sweaty and grumpy battling the crowds in the shopping malls.

I felt quite refreshed after reading your musings.

marylee said...

a most tender, serene drawing.

debd94 said...

Beautiful post. Now you can add "poet" to your many accomplishments.

Caroline said...

This was just lovely. <3

d said...

yay! I lovr, love, love the pillow book of sei shonagon, so insightful yet so bitchy!

melissaknits said...

mmmmm.
I am going to go knit my man a scarf now.
And pray for snow.

CityMinx said...

Franklin.... You rock

:)

Angie said...

You've just put the most beautiful pictures in my head. I can actually feel what you wrote. Thank you for the warm fuzzies!

Syd said...

What a delightful way to start a day, for us as well as you! Thank you.

Darci said...

Will add a book to my wish list, thank you very much. I am loving that sketch...it is perfect.

kmkat said...

I love your list. I would add, "The cold breath of refreshment that comes through the opened door to the outside elements when you are in an overheated room listening to a dull boss/co-worker/neighbor/child/parent.

Plum Texan said...

Beautiful. We don't get much in the way of winter down Houston way, so the snow we saw on Wednesday made us feel a little bit like this!

Saw the little book for the first time in B-rders last night. Did not pick it up yet because I will be buying from an LYS. :)

mamagotcha said...

Lovely, thank you. The tags made me crack up so hard I broke a DPN, but fortunately it's a Brittany and they'll replace it.

Googling the Pillow Book now...

Anonymous said...

Special, my favorite post so far. Tranquility for the holidays.

Marea

holli said...

I must totally agree with the fireplace. May I also add: good tea, warm toast, and your post. Peace and contentment this season of insanity to you.

Tsarina of Tsocks said...

Double Happiness, indeed.

OTOH... #6? yeah, you don't get hot flashes, do you.

(BTW the word verification for this comment is "honsuc.")

Lester's Mama said...

Connected to your blog about a year ago from the Harlot's blog. Enjoy your writing very much.

Terribly envious of the cross atlantic voyage. It's near the top of my To-Do-Before-I-Die list - just after Take the Orient Express.

Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with us.

woolthing said...

Ahhhh, yes.

Nigel Pottle said...

The picture is perfect. I love the image of the "monk" knitting. How more zen could one get?

Helen said...

Well, I'm glad you're pretentious like that. Makes life a bit better for the rest of us.

Laura said...

The only thing I'd add to the list would be a purring cat on my knee, ignoring my knitting in front of the lovely fire.

Winter can be so beautiful. Thank you for reminding me that it's not always just cold, wet, and inconvenient.

FiberQat said...

Thank you for the moments. I can add the rumble of the furnace that's just been fixed after hours of cold.

Blogger's getting fey with their word verifications. Mine's polyso

Lindy in Australia said...

Wow, what a lovely cozy picture you paint. Another Aussie here, wishing we had just a little bit of your wintriness to ease the sweltering irritation of a tropical summer.(And to kill all the flies and mosquitoes too).

Svati said...

OK. Maybe I'll stop whinging about the cold for a bit and start looking for such things.

Did you see Peter Greenaway's Pillow Book? I must admit I had an intense desire to find someone who'd write calligraphy on me after seeing it! Do you think such a person would complain if I insisted on knitting while they worked?

Anne O'Nymous said...

Lovely writing and drawing. May you (plural) have the double happiness of the Chinese calligraphy.

Emily said...

Our cat, Wilbur, definitely agrees with you about the blankets. This time of year I often find him tucked between the layers of comforter/quilt/sheets/blanket--I have to be careful when stripping the bed for laundry.

Knitting Painter Woman said...

Did you read about the Max Planck physics journal that wanted something "chinese for the cover".. their own pretensions, I think... and ended up putting a very attractive Chinese calligraphic advertisement for a BROTHEL on the cover?
http://www(dot)boingboing(dot).net/2008/12/09/chinese-poem-on-the.html
May your yarn never steep until cold.

mary said...

And perhaps a Spreader of Love Award might be a Pleasant Thing in Winter as well. Hope so since you are one of my six nominees on my blog.

Terri said...

Love your list, and the last one seems particularly pleasant...

Roadchick said...

I love that book too - there's something very calming about the lists.

Anonymous said...

This post made an unhappy moment suddenly become...serene.
Thanks Franklin.

DutchJan said...

That was wonderfull to read on a cold sundaymorning here in Holland.
Thanks for this lovely monent

soxanne said...

How wonderful.

Thanks for describing winter so poetically.

LittleWit said...

That's a great list and a wonderful book.

Karin said...

hehe. love the "labels".
Lose the bullets and it's a list poem.

Oh and that drawing!if it's ever for sale...

Quasipsyco said...

I would add:
Wrapping chilled hands around a warm cup of tea/hot cocoa.

(the word verification for this comment was inatesti though whether the spaces should be placed thus: in a test i; or like so: in a testi; is yet to be decided.)

Dr. Cynthia said...

would you consider offering this print for sale? it is wonderful.....

mad angel said...

I love that beautiful drawing, Franklin! Any possibility of making it available as a print, for sale? It would add a very nice sot of karma to my knitting room/office, because every time I looked at it, I would remember the thing that is really important on life: creating moments of peace. I like the way that's depicted in this drawing, with knitting. I've always thought that knitting is a sort of meditation. I know I always feel more peaceful when I'm knitting.

Even if you don't ever intend to sell this as a print, I'm glad I got to see it here. :-)

Rose said...

Hi, Which translation are you reading? Thanks

rams said...

Nice channeling -- the tone feels just right.

Anonymous said...

My day was perfect like that too. Wishing you more. C

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I re-read this book every few years.

I love the list of "Squalid Things" which includes the inside of a cat's ear and the back of a piece of embroidery.

Anonymous said...

Franklin I don't know whether you will consider this a compliment or not (suppose that depends on what your view of him is) but you do have a sense of observation that reminds me of Thoreau. I mean how many Chicagoans just grumble we have 2 seasons warm and cold while avoiding ice on the sidewalks from perpetual snow followed by ice? krmchicago@hotmail.com

rogueknits said...

Been reading your blog faithfully for over a year now, and linking to it as often as possible on my own. I live in Rural TN and may I add the following to your list?

The smell of hot coffee on a cold morning.
The feeling of a roaring fire in the wood-stove.
Knitting in a rocking chair near said roaring fire.
The sight of ones knitting being put to good use on a day of cold, hard labor (such as splitting firewood).
Baking something warm and cinnamony as a treat to those you love, who work very hard, during cold winter months.

Also, I agree that you should put that drawing as a print (or perhaps on your cafepress, on a knitting bag?). The idea of a monk knitting is too precious, and captures the feelings behind it perfectly.

JellyDonut said...

I agree with Lynn--the last item on your list is the best, especially this time of year.

Thank you for such lovely thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Lovely.

dale-harriet said...

Oh, thank you! I'm a closet Winter-Lover (we're outnumbered by Overt Complainers) and especially like watching the snowfall as seen over the edge of a cup of cocoa...with knitting and cat in lap, of course, and delicious book nearby. Also, add me to the list of thousands who would SO order a print of your little monk. I want it for my Writing Room, but think it should adorn every waiting room, classroom, shop and home in the country!

KnitNana said...

Ah...little moments of bliss!
Thank you...
(I love the drawing, too)
(((hugs)))

Miss T said...

Lovely. Particularly that last one.

5elementknitr said...

That happiness sketch - MUST HAVE! Would love it on a T-shirt!

yarnlot said...

The lingering you mentioned and the chinese style drawing made me think of one of the poems of the 9th century Chinese poet Po Chü-i:
RISING LATE AND PLAYING WITH
A-TS'UI, AGED TWO

Written in 831

All the morning I have lain perversely in bed;

Now at dusk I rise with many yawns.

My warm stove is quick to get ablaze;

At the cold mirror I am slow in doing my hair.

With melted snow I boil fragrant tea;

Seasoned with curds I cook a milk-pudding.

At my sloth and greed there is no one but me to laugh ;

My cheerful vigour none but myself knows.

The taste of my wine is mild and works no poison;

The notes of my harp are soft and bring no sadness;

To the Three Joys in the book of Mencius '

I have added the fourth of playing with my baby-boy.

Laura Sue said...

You know, I rarely read tags--but the tags are almost funnier than the post. I saved the drawing for my own enjoyment and to see it drift across my screen on occasion like snow drifts on a whisper of wind. Cherry blossoms and memories of spring. Ahem. Crappy attempts at poetry indeed.

quinn said...

love your labels :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, wanted to know what the Red print say's in that cute cartoon...(Is it...Let it snow?)
Love to read your blog, and all your wisdom of life..(& your knitting) Happy Holidays, & wish you a safe trip to Billings in January.

la Güera said...

I love your art in this post and second (third) the request to be able to make it a part of our personal collections! I saw it when you first posted and haven't stopped thinking about it since.

Thanks for sharing it here!

Anonymous said...

it's a lovely picture, but a suggestion - you may want to change the character to the japanese kanji "raku" 楽 or chinese character "le" 乐 instead.

the red double happiness symbol is usually used for weddings. ^^

judi bola said...

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