Beauty all around me

Someone described my breakfast nook as “Corinne’s grotto”.  That hits the mark.  Each morning I take my breakfast there.  The trinkets around me perfectly embody my life and character.  The nook has served several purposes over the last 22 years:  family breakfast spot, computer room, Corinne’s office, and now a place for coffee, writing, phone conversation, and the ever-present NPR on the little radio.

When I step on the porch, beauty surrounds me in the form of flowers, wood, and air laden with the fragrances of the season.  Here in the breakfast nook, the beauty takes on a more personal form.  My angels twinkle at me from one wall. My mother’s odd collection of Haviland and Limoge and my own little grouping of china soup cups share two wooden shelves on the wall opposite the angels.  A favorite framed work by my son rests under a calligraphied rendition of “Warning” by Jenny Joseph.

Ms. Joseph’s words aptly describe my current state of life.  I re-read them as I sip my coffee.  Glancing around me, I know that here, surrounded by these lovely souvenirs of a rich life, I could not possibly think of voicing a single complaint.  Such ugliness would shatter the fragile calm which I feel here, now, surrounded by these pleasant momentos.  I simply smile and contemplate the day ahead.  I find myself, as always, gravitating towards a state of grace and thankfulness.

“Warning”, by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph


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