Solitude

Whitefish, Montana City Lake
Whitefish, Montana City Lake

Ode on Solitude

By Alexander Pope

Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,

Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

Blest, who can unconcernedly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mixed; sweet recreation;
And innocence, most does please,
With meditation.

Let me live, unseen, unknown;
Unlamented let me die;
Alone

And not a stone
Tell where I lie.

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In the middle of a billion stars

Happy the woman
Who dreams and dares

Unseen, unknown, and quite alone
In the middle of a billion stars

Who finds a bit of piece of mind
Quoting verse
In her corner of the universe
All the while

In peaceful meditation
Chanting sweet incantations
In a Stressless chair

 

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After the rain

Thy fate is the common fate of all, into each life some rain must fall.
Henry Wordsworth Longfellow

For life, it is very, very bad to be sensitive, for a writer it is very good.
Karl Ove Knausgård

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Møre og Romsdal

Where in the world is Møre og Romsdal?

The answer, perhaps, I say, is not where but what. It is not so much a place, but a state of mind, a place of peace and tranquility, watered by rain, nourished by sun, far, far away from the troubles of urban life.

South of Trondheim, north of Bergen, in the northern part of Western Norway lies the county of Møre og Romsdal. The Old Norse form of the name was Raumsdalr, after the Rauma River and valley it forms (Raums plus dalr or dair, dale meaning valley). Møre og Romsdal consists of three regions: Nordmøre, Romsdal and Sunnmøre.

Geographically, the county consists of many islands, towering mountains, waterfalls, and deep fjords of clear blue water, including the stunning Sykkylvsfjorden (where Stressless recliners are made), a branch off the equally beautiful 68-mile-long Storfjorden in Sunnmøre.

The name Møre is from Old Norse: Mœrr, from the word marr, meaning “sea” (akin to the Latin word mare). Several distinct dialects are spoken, no doubt due to the existence of so many islands and deep fjords.

As its coat of arms, the county chose the symbol of three Viking ships in yellow on a pale blue background (the masts and the yards create three crosses), a reference to the Viking fore-bearers of today’s Norwegians, who during the late 8th to late 11th centuries sailed their long boats across the European continent, raiding and pillaging.

Because of its location on the Norwegian Sea, the weather is often cloudy and raining. That is very, very bad for nature lovers, but very good for writers like Karl Ove Knausgård.

Check out, Some Rain Must Fall, Book 5 in his series My Struggle.

But the rain does not fall forever; and after the rain, the skies are clear and the air is fresh, the birds sing, the fish swim, and the Norwegians go outdoors and enjoy life, and so do I.

Stressless recliners

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Ain’t got time for a fast train

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A Stressless short story

It was Saturday morning and the first day of spring. The weather was cloudy and cool.Because I thought it might rain, I was wearing a short light grey trench coat, the kind Audrey Hepburn wore in Charade. But maybe, I was just trying to be incognito.

I am not really kidding you am I? Incognito? I was as inconspicuous as Peter Sellers playing Inspector Clouseau minus the drop brim fedora and mustache.
Five minutes before, I had just arrived after an 8-hour, sleepless flight from Heathrow to Dulles. The Metro was due to arrive in two minutes. Then my baby called, saying she had missed her connection in Atlanta. Next flight noon.

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Stranger things have happened

There it was, a Stressless recliner in the middle of the plaza.
That is strange, but stranger still is the fact that it was empty. No one, not a soul, seemed to see it. And baby, it was calling my name.

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The ultimate comfort

I felt relieved as I sat down. I stretched out my arms and back, and felt the chair magically adjust. I closed my eyes and began to sing, “Ain’t got time to take a fast train…”

And soon I was asleep.

Aer-o-planes and fast trains

I dreamed of my baby comin’ home to me.

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Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home

Wayne Carson wrote and composed “The Letter” after his father suggested an opening line, “Give me a ticket for an aeroplane.” The track was recorded in Memphis with a local five-man group in a session produced by Dan Penn. The band members were Alex Chilton on vocals, Danny Smythe on drums, Russ Caccamisi on bass, John Evans on keyboards, and Richard Malone on guitar. The session took over 30 takes to get it right, with Penn suggesting to Chilton he pronounce the title “aer-o-plane”. After the session, Penn added the sound of an airplane take-off.
The song took off and reached #1 position for a total of four weeks, Billboard ranked the record as the No. 2 song for 1967.

Peace of mind and body

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In yoga, touching together the tips of index finger with that of the thumb gives peace of mind and wisdom. This mudra or hand gesture is said to boost enthusiasm and enhance curiosity. Sitting in a Stressless recliner gives peace of mind and body.

Like yoga, sitting in a Stressless recliner can be practiced anytime.

 

Work, play, rest

Work hard, play harder and rest when you can, is advice that would have made Ben Franklin healthy, wealthy, and wise.

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Maybe Ovid, the Roman poet, said it best, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” Einstein thought best while walking or playing the violin and Sherlock Holmes likewise liked to think and play his violin. Rip Van Winkle slept a bit too much. Sir Isaac Newton dozed and when an apple struck him on the head, he composed the three laws of physics. Hamlet, when perplexed sought to sleep, and perchance to dream. Leonardo da Vinci observed, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.”

Halloween night back then

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Back when I was young, there were no Halloween costumes for which to shop. No superstores, no online shopping.

Halloween was then, quite quaint.

We made our own costumes, or more truthfully, mom did. A ghoulie was dressed in tattered old clothes, with white flour caked on the face, a ghost was an old white sheet with holes cut out to see. A witch was a black dress and cape, a straggly wig, and a broom. A pirate was a pair of cut-off khaki pants, a torn plaid shirt, a bandana, and an eye patch.

Back then you’d find a cowboy or Indian, not now.

Houses were closer together back then. Mr. Levitt designed them like that, for convenience I imagine. There were rows of houses and scores of kids who poured outat dusk, when the shadows lengthened. Kids gathering in groups of six to ten, and swarming like a flock of swallows, or worse, like a biblical plague, lighting for a moment at one door then the next.

Your favorite candy was always a Hershey or a Mars bar and if you were lucky, you got the really big bar, not the pop-in-your-mouth kind they sell at stores by the bag full. Stories spread quickly of who had the best and likewise who had the worst. Steer clear of the penny candy and the mean guy who flicked his finger with a snap in the paper bag we carried, he pretending he was giving when really he wasn’t.

And who doesn’t remember the brown bag, loaded with loot, ripping and tearing, candy showering all over the lawn? The mad dash of dirty dogs to grab what they could.

Back then, Halloween lasted for days.

Back then, when I was young, we played pranks. No, not the overturned outhouse that our parents claimed they did. Our trick was the tiny brown bag with a fresh dog turd, lit on fire, left at the door step, set aflame, door bell rung, and, quick, flee into the dark. Did we really do this or was it all a big dream.

Back then, Halloween was just for kids. Parents stayed at home, tending the fire in the hearth, stirring the chili in the pot, and listening from a tune from Fantasia, no doubt Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain; praying and hoping their neighbor’s trees would be draped in toilet paper come All Saints Day morn.

Not their own.

And we kids, when we were done, took our loot to our rooms and our beds, separating our candy, gloating with brothers and sisters over who had the best and who had the worst. Tired as we were, we stayed up late in the night, until dad thundered, enough fun, lights out!

Under the covers, head on the pillow, before we slipped into slumber, we uttered one final prayer:

 

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

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Serenity of mind

There is certainly something in angling … that tends to produce a gentleness of spirit, and a serenity of the mind.
Washington Irving

 

 

The thought is from Irving’s Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.. In a short story titled The Angler he is commenting upon Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler. The story teller is “taking a morning’s stroll along the banks of the Alun, a beautiful little stream which flows down from the Welsh hills and throws itself into the Dee” when he comes upon a veteran angler and two friends…

 

 

The Sketch Book, as it is popularly called, also contains Irving’s beloved tales of Rip Van Winkle and the scary ride of Ichabod Crane.

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Fishing at Lake Cazenovia (Lake Kaz)

 

And when I am done, I will come home to my Stressless Opal recliner. I will sit and relax and relive the fading moments of the glorious day with Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler.

 

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Stressless Opal recliner

 

Irving’s The Sketch Book online.