A Good Home, Nature, The Seasons

! — Oh, Joy!

Did you know?

Our exclamation mark (!) is believed to come from the medieval Latin exclamation of joy: “io”.  

Some clever scribe reportedly put the ‘i’ above the ‘o’!  It became an exclamation sign to denote ‘admiration’, ‘wonderment’ or ‘joy’.  An ancient ’emoji’ icon. ♥♥

Did you also know? The exclamation mark didn’t have its own dedicated key on standard manual typewriters before the 1970s. Instead, one typed a period, then backspaced, then typed an apostrophe above it. 

Joy and Other Words For It in Italian and English

la gioia: Joy, delight, enjoyment, rejoicing, glee, mirth

il gaudio: Happiness, joy

la delizia : Delight, joy

la felicità:  Felicity, joyousness

la letizia: Joy, happiness

il giubilo: Jubilation, joy, glee

la contentezza: Contentment, gladness, joy, cheerfulness

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As you can tell — I’ve been thinking about joy.

The absence of it – a thing to be dreaded, as I well know – but mostly the heart-filling presence of it.  Joy.

Blog Photo - Autumn Leaves Early

Blame it on the first days of Autumn, a season which — at least in its early appearances — brings me a bitter-sweet feeling of happy anticipation and hovering loss.  

Winter has its joys.  Quiet joys, like a walk in a wintry forest. 

Blog Photo - Cardinal in Snow

Or Advent, the 24-day period of anticipation before Christmas.

Blog Photo - Christmas -Advent Calendar

Advent summons a slow and certain joy, a reflective joy, one that grows as it approaches its destination — the big, jubilant joys of Christmas.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village church

Spring makes me want to jump for joy.  The giddy celebration of Winter’s end; the sight of new shoots and flowers, the urge to thrust hands into the earth. It’s a barely-restrained joy, a can’t- wait-to-see-what-will-pop-up-from-the-earth-next kind of joy.

Blog Photo - Crocus in Spring

For some, Summer’s joy is the thing.  Outdoor activities like walking, swimming, paddling; visiting with friends.  The delight of being on holidays.  Sitting outdoors in a garden, perhaps reading a book  — or not.  

Blog Photo - garden Sept 2018 chairs and pool

One feels no guilt at being idle. La dolce far niente, as the Italians say. Sweet Idleness. Or: “La gioia di non fare nulla”. The joy of doing nothing. 

But Autumn: Autumn is in a class all its own. 

Blog Photo - Autumn Leaves CU

That awe-struck joy I feel when I stand in the woods, looking at the sky through a curtain of red, gold, and orange leaves.

Blog Photo - Autumn Trees 2

When I look down at the same colours on the forest floor… interrupted only by the grey-brown of tree trunks, or a rock, or a squirrel. Or me, kicking my foot through a pile of leaves and watching them fly. 

Indoors, we pull out the old Hudson’s Bay blanket.

Blog Photo - Old Blanket

We light the first fire.

Blog Photo - Christmas 2016 - Logs Burning

We make the first Autumn soup — butternut squash and apple — and the first pies.

Blog Photo - Kitchen Pies on Table

And then the first big family event of the fall: Thanksgiving dinner. The joy of extended family, together. 

Almost always, someone says: “Let’s take a drive to see the colours!” We pile into cars, happy and excited as small children on a Sunday afternoon drive.

Blog Photo - Autumn trees and Driveway

Joy.  That thing that fills the heart to bursting, the thing that makes me pinch myself in wonder.

Wonder, astonishment, and gratitude, at the familiarity and newness of it all. That the earth can be so beautiful, so glorious, and that I am so fortunate to live on this planet, in this place, at this time.

!

Photos by Hamlin Grange

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A Good Home, Autumn, Garden Humour, Spring, The Seasons

Autumn Here, Spring There

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It’s Springtime now Down Under

While we here are right in the Fall

Hard to believe it’s the same Earth

It barely makes sense at all.

blog-photo-gallivanta-spring-table-with-daffodils
Photo Credit:  silkannthreades.wordpress.com

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I wonder how folks in the old days

Reacted to this bit of news

That Christmas could be in the summer

Did they think it was some kind of ruse?

blog-photo-christmas-2012

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Oh – look what I wrote up above there!

A captive of my point of view

Though for folks in the lands Down Under

This cannot be anything new.

Blog Photo - White garden Solomons seal

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So let’s start this poem all over

Let’s turn it upside on its head

And now, it is Fall Over Yonder

But here it’s the time to plant beds.