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Beyond the Lone Islands

http://dawntreader-island2.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Birds

Watery Wednesday

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On a cold winter day, the river might look  deceitfully peaceful.

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Beware though… If you get close to the water, and start fiddling with the zipper on your bag, the hungry ducks are expecting something a lot more appetizing than a camera to appear!

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Help… I’d better get away from here before I find myself in a scenario resembling The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock… Some of the ducks actually flew up at me; and at the same time doves were beginning to move in from above… I fled!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Quotation of the Week (48/2010)

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If the world is cold, make it your business to build fires.
~ Horace Traubel ~

Sunday, 28 November 2010

1st Advent Weekend

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So what’s going on in the town square on a very cold Saturday afternoon in November?

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It’s the first Advent Weekend. Traditionally in Sweden we have a special Advent candle holder with four candles, lighting one for each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. The churches in our town unite in upholding this tradition by also lighting giant candles in the town square on each preceding Saturday afternoon, with a choir singing some of the traditional Advent hymns.

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This year we had an unusually cold start to Advent. They actually had difficulties lighting the candles because it was too cold!

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It was also very cold to just stand still and listen, so I took the camera as an excuse to wander around a bit and get pictures from different perspectives.

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The lights are up in the giant Christmas tree as well.

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SantaLand is  also back, with Lapp cot tent and fires and whatnot.

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You can also have a peek into Santa’s workshop. Santa himself seems to be either exhausted already, or just taking things easy, with five weeks to go to Christmas… He’s fast asleep in the window!

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(I should really have put the camera on video for this because his tummy is  actually moving up and down…!)

PS. I bought myself an early Christmas present: An electric blanket to keep me warm in front of the TV in the winter afternoons and evenings…

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Getting Ready…

 

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It’s the 1st Advent Sunday this weekend.
The town is getting prepared, and so am I. At least trying to.

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It was snowing Monday through Thursday this week, and then the temperature dropped even more to around -8°C (17°F). Forecasts say it’s going to remain cold. This means really early winter for south-west Sweden. Most of the years I’ve lived in this town (25 in January) we have not had snow for Christmas. Last year snow came to stay around Mid December. This year the first snowfall was 22 October, and it’s been more or less continuously frosty/snowy since early November. It’s going to be a very long winter! I’m not a fan of long winters. But there’s really nothing I can do to escape. Even the indoors temperature is lower than it was last winter. I feel like I suddenly have to bundle up like the Michelin man even indoors.

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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thankful For Books

I've been taking part in the Booking Through Thursdays for quite a while now, usually from this blog. With every week I'm getting increasingly aware that whatever the questions, there are certain authors and books that come more frequently to mind than others. Nothing really strange in that, I suppose. Just goes to show that those authors and books have made a special impact on me. This week's Booking Through Thursday question was: "What authors and books are you most thankful for?" Once again I found my thoughts wandering first of all to J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis. If you want to know why, go to my Harry Potter blog: Through My Spectrespecs. I decided to put my answer there this week.

Of course I could list lots of other books and authors I'm thankful for as well.
But I'll save those for some other time!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Blowing A Fuse

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“Sometimes, a series of temporary overages can weaken the fuse's filament, which means you could still blow a fuse without exceeding the amperage rating. Some fuses are designed to withstand a number of brief overloads before blowing, but others snap quickly after one sustained power surge. When you blow a fuse, it is important to unplug all of the appliances and devices from that circuit before installing a new fuse. The energy required to restart those devices may cause yet another blown fuse.”

I blew a fuse the other day, turning on the microwave in the kitchen. At first I thought it was a general power-cut but then I noticed the light was still on in another room. So I had to check the fuses. That, my friends, is easier said than done. WHY do they put the fuses UP THERE?! I have a step-ladder with a handle to hold on to, but I still don’t like getting up on top of it. And even doing so, I had a hard time seeing which fuse was broken, or what the little notes said. I’ve never had reason to look before because this is the first time it ever happened while I’ve lived in this flat.

The idea of using the camera, unfortunately, did not come to me until afterwards. (As a blogger, I’m rather ashamed to admit it. I don’t even have a picture of the blown fuse.) Of course the first fuse I took down turned out not to be broken, and having nothing to do with the kitchen. It just meant I had to go through the process of resetting the VCR and the DVD player afterwards…

Well, I got it sorted out eventually. Fortunately I did have some extra fuses. And I even knew where. I am that kind of person. (I.e. I usually do not wait until I’m completely out of something before I buy the next package – whatever it may be.)

However, I am NOT really fit for jobs of this kind – the kind that literally have to be done “over my head”. Fixing that electric fuse meant that my body kind of blew one instead. With loud complaints from my bad neck-shoulder-arm.

So I’ve had to cut down a bit on computer time (among other things). Shouldn’t really be doing this post either, I suppose... But I was checking the internet trying to figure out what made that fuse pop in the first place, because I really hadn’t been doing anything unusual at all in the kitchen. And then I found the text above: “Some fuses are designed to withstand a number of brief overloads before blowing…” I guess that might be it.

And then it struck me that the same is true about people, physically as well as mentally. Well, some of us, anyway. We might be able to deal with “a number of brief overloads”. But then… out of the blue, as it might seem… we reach a limit, and something snaps…

I doubt I’ll manage to completely unplug myself, but I’ll try to stay off overloading for a while.

Quotation of the Week (47/2010)

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“Something that has always puzzled me all my life is why, when I am in special need of help, the good deed is usually done by somebody on whom I have no claim.”

~ William Feather ~

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Same Window, Different View

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I’m glad I got the outdoor Christmas lights up on my balcony earlier this week (on a dry day), because now we have snow again.

Yesterday, I also changed the curtains in my kitchen, as the first step towards indoors Advent decorations. This is very common in Sweden – to change curtains for winter or Christmas. Especially in the kitchen. Mine are not too Christmassy, and I usually put them up from mid November and then let them stay up until the end of February/beginning of March. My kitchen in itself is very neutral. This makes it easy to shift the mood with decorations according to season. If one wants to.

… Here I spent an awfully long time searching through my photos for a summer view from the same window. I found it, and as a result this whole post is taking a different turn than I was planning. I had in mind a post with focus on decorations. But instead it will focus on the view that I see through the window.

Because the photo below does not only show you how the window looks with different curtains; it also shows you how the view itself changes with the seasons. In the summer I see trees. This is from late in May, 2009. The flowering trees outside are Lilacs, Rowan and Whitebeam. In the summer, I only see glimpses of far-away rooftops beyond the trees. But when the leaves fall off, the view changes, and I can see a lot more of the buildings some distance away, and even a bit of the road in between. The winter view actually has its own charm. In the summer I like the “all green” view, but in the winter it is quite nice to see a bit more of the town.

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The view from the kitchen window was actually one of the things I fell for with this flat, when I first came to have a look at it.

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This is from my very first visit to look at the flat. (So that lace curtain is not mine, nor are those plants.) This was towards the end of April. The trees had only just begun to turn green. I had no idea yet whether I had any real chance of getting the flat. But my heart said: Go for it, if it turns out you can!

PS. I can’t see the river, even in the winter. But it runs between those red buildings I see through the window. I know it’s there.

PPS. So much happened between starting this post and finishing it that I forgot that I originally intended to link it to What Karen Sees, and to Ginny at Let Your Light Shine. But their posts are about fall decorations and I’m way past fall and into winter now…

Friday, 19 November 2010

Lights In The Dark

I have to try out if I can share this music track from Facebook, it’s a new song by Paul Simon. "Getting Ready For Christmas Day" from the forthcoming album "So Beautiful Or So What" out Spring 2011.
 







 
In town on Tuesday, I took some photos of these shop windows filled with Christmas window decorations. In Sweden, in December, you will find almost every window decorated with Advent stars and/or electric candles in various kinds of holders. It gets dark very early in the afternoons now. (And up North, where they have the Midnight Sun in the summer, there is Polar Night in the winter.) So we take delight in all kinds of extra light that we can find…
 
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Photos by DawnTreader © 2010.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Borrowing

http://btt2.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/borrowing/

Deb's question this week:
Who would you rather borrow from? Your library? Or a Friend?

(Or don’t your friends trust you to return their books?)
And, DO you return books you borrow?

I usually borrow books from the library, or buy them. I live quite close to the library, whereas I don't have any book-loving friend living close now. If do I borrow a book from someone it's usually because they suggest it. I don't borrow from friends unless I think I'll be reading the book fairly soon, or they say it doesn't matter if I keep it for a while. I don't think I'm guilty of not having returned borrowed books.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Going For A Swim On A Foggy Morning

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I had another Watery Wednesday post planned from my Picture Book blog today, but for some reason I’m having trouble posting that one. So I thought I’d put in another watery picture here and see if that helps me figure out where the problem is.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Out Of The Fog, Into The Light

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Woke up to a foggy morning today! I live in the background of this picture somewhere (all hidden in the fog).

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Down by the riverside – more fog.

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You could be fooled to think that this was a  Photoshop job of some kind but it’s not. The fog is responsible for the effect.

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The Christmas tree is up in the town square.

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The Christmas lights have been put up over the streets.

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Some of the trees in the town park are all prepared, too.

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And as from today, my outdoor lights on the balcony are up as well. It is a bit early (1½ week to go until 1st Advent), but I got inspired from my walk in town and it was a good day to get it done (sunny when the fog had lifted). Who knows when the next snowfall may be (or rainstorm). Much easier to do it in still and dry weather…

Monday, 15 November 2010

Quotation of the Week (46/2010)

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I love borders. August is the border between summer and autumn; it is the most beautiful month I know. Twilight is the border between day and night, and the shore is the border between sea and land. The border is longing: when both have fallen in love but still haven't said anything. The border is to be on the way. It is the way that is the most important thing.

- Tove Jansson -

Sunday, 14 November 2010

When You’re Weary…

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See more photos of the bridge in my Picture Book

Bridge Over Troubled Water. One of my all-time favourite songs, since 40 years. I wonder how many times I’ve listened to it, and been comforted by it? Still sailing on…

 

 

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Reading Exercise

Earlier today I sent off an email to a friend, and rereading the copy afterwards I noticed that I had managed to overlook several typing mistakes. Something that always bugs me - when the mistakes are mine, not so much when other people make them!  But today it reminded me of something I read the other day... In Swedish, but I was sure there must be an English version of it somewhere on the web, and I was right - it was not too difficult to find. Here it is. If you haven't already seen it, I think you're in for a surprise:

Can you read this paragraph?

I cnduo't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.

If you had any problems understanding, follow this link to Learn English,

Friday, 12 November 2010

Advice, Please!

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From my living room window: A deep and dark November evening. Only a couple of weeks to go now until it’s time to put up the first Advent decorations…

Checking my Picasa Web Album, it says I’ve used up more than 75% of my storage space. I’m trying to think ahead a bit, not to be overcome by surprise the day it suddenly says it’s full…

Here’s what I’ve been thinking:

I don’t want to pay for more storage space.

I don’t want to erase my old posts. I want to be able to go back to them myself, and I also might want to be able to link back to some.

Moving one of the blogs to another account would mean messing up already existing links.

It also does not seem practical to have separate accounts for each blog since that would mean a lot of confusing logging in and out.

So I guess the best thing would be to leave the blogs as they are, and just continue with “part 2” on a new account. I guess that means losing a certain number of followers – but hopefully the ones who are really following will make note of the change and adjust to it. I know I have done so with other bloggers myself.

I have already started making preparations (setting up a new Blogger account). But I’d really appreciate advice and points of view from others, before I go ahead. Maybe there are aspects of it I have not thought about?

I suppose after New Year might be a good time to make a change. (It will then be two years since I started this blog.)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

BTT: War Stories

http://btt2.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/war-stories/

Deb @ 1:36 am: It is November 11th, known here in the U.S. as Veteran’s Day, formerly Armistice Day to remember the end of WWI but expanded to honor all veterans who have fought for their country, so … Do you read war stories? Fictional ones? Histories? 

I live in a country (Sweden) that has not been at war since 1814, so we of course do not have this special holiday. My first thought was actually to skip this question, but then I started thinking... ;)

I was born in 1955, i.e. ten years after then end of WWII. But even though Sweden was not directly "involved" in the war, there were still a lot of references to it in my early childhood; especially when visiting the grandparents.

At my paternal grandparents' house, for example, they still kept an old wallet filled with food ration coupons from the The War. I used to play with that. Grandma was also in the habit of saving things like used pieces of  wrapping paper and string... Out of habit from The War, when things were hard to come by. I suspect that's also where my own father's habit of collecting everything, and throwing away nothing, came from. He was born in 1931, so grew up in the shadow of The War. Even if Sweden was not "in" the war, it was all around our country, and everyone and everything was affected by it. That much I think I always understood.

Among dad's few childhood books were some about Biggles - First World War pilot. I read those several times over when staying in that house. At my other grandparents' house there were books aimed at Young Girls; books which had belonged to my mother and my aunt. Those were often about young women who went off to work at some farm, or possibly as nurses, while the men went off to war... Yes. I dare say the War (one War or another!) was there in the background in a lot of books I grew up with; and in later reading too. Just think about it. Many a great love story has been set against the backgrond of a war. Gone With the Wind... The Sound of Music... In addition to Swedish, English and American literature I've also read quite a few French and Russian classics. Besides being in WW I and II those countries also had their own Revolutions. A few years ago, I read Tolstoy's War and Peace.

I mentioned The Diary of Anne Frank in connection with some other BTT question quite recently. One of my early favourites; many times read. Her diary is about being in hiding, while the war goes on outside. We know she later died in concentration camp. I've also read quite a few survivor's stories from the Jewish ghettos and concentration camps. And then of course there are countless fictional stories involving spies, and prison camp escapes, and rescue operations etc. I think the kinds of war stories I've been most interested in are "ordinary people" struggling to survive, though, rather than actual stories from "the front" and involving military strategy etc.

Then there is the Bible. It's full of accounts of war. And then there is the world of Fantasy... War against Evil, in endless varieties: The Lord of the Rings... The Chronicles of Narnia... Harry Potter...

So yes, I do read war stories. Fictional and historical. Not as particulary interested in warfare as such; but because war is part of human history and reality.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

An Ordinary Day

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Above and below: Traffic pictures from the local newspaper.

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Yesterday we had a snowstorm again. I did not have any plans to go out anyway, so I just stayed in, and wasn’t really much bothered. I was rather surprised to learn in the afternoon that it had been so bad that it brought a total stop to all the bus traffic in town! It did not look all that bad from my windows. I could see there was a strong wind, but the layer of snow was not very thick. But apparently the roads were really icy, and lots of road accidents were reported from all over the area. And in town, the busses were standing still, and people had to walk, or call for taxis, or stay where they were.

Today I had a lunch date planned with a friend. Doesn’t happen too often and I was looking forward to it. The storm has passed, and the snow was thawing again this morning. I was all set on going out for lunch. But it was not to be. My friend woke up with a cold and called to cancel. So I guess I’m in for a less exciting and much more ordinary lunch today: Soup from a can…

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Better get used to it, I suppose. All of it: Snowstorms, colds, cancelled plans, and canned soup… It’s winter.

 

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Quotation of the Week 45/2010

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"Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!"

~ J.R.R. Tolkien ~

(PS. As for the picture… Use your imagination!)

Monday, 8 November 2010

The Magic Number 9999

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This is the 9999th photo taken with my Nikon Coolpix 4600. It happened yesterday morning, while waiting for the bus to take me out of town for a visit to The House. (See yesterday’s post.)

I had no idea what number the camera was on until I transferred the photos to the computer and noticed that the count had started over from 0001 again.

I bought the camera at the end of April, 2006. Below is the second picture I took with it. Spring flowers on my balcony (different place from where I live now)

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Over the next three years, I took on average 400 photos per year. But from July 2009 (six months after I started blogging) my use of the camera took a sudden “jump”, and since then I’ve been taking on average 550 photos per month. In spite of not having travelled anywhere.

No wonder that since then I’ve found it hard to catch up with my own filing and sorting of the photos taken (and all the edited copies and collages on top)…

Below is the new # 0002, taken as I got off the bus out in the countryside. I shall have to explain its message to my English-speaking followers, though: The name on this sign is “Intet”, which means “Nowhere” or “Nothing”. It’s kind of fun getting off the bus here, just to be able to say that one did…

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Sunday, 7 November 2010

Lost And Found: One Hour

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I’d been waiting for a morning like this for weeks. I.e. a morning when I’d wake up to a sunny day, feeling like I might just possibly have the energy within me to go out to the House; which stands empty since Dad moved to an assisted living group home two months ago.

An increased incentive for going dropped in through the mailbox on Friday. Authorities wanted me to put a sticker with a barcode on the wheelie bin. This, they claimed, will give us better service and be much safer. Hm. (I wonder how long before we’ll have to put a sticker on every garbage bag?)

Had the wheelie bin been in my own garden, this would have been a two-minutes-job at the most, no big deal. However, when the wheelie bin is in the garden of an empty house out in the countryside, and it takes me an hour or more to get there (by bus), and even longer to get back… For me, it’s a full day’s work.

However, the sticky little job solved one dilemma for me: Whether to pay a visit to the House, or to Dad, since the two are no longer in the same place. Sometimes “in my dreams” I manage both but the realistic me knows that without a private chauffeur I don’t. And sometimes I suspect myself of ending up not going anywhere as much from inability to choose as from other, more valid reasons.

So waking up this morning, feeling reasonably well rested, and seeing we had a sunny (and frosty) day coming, I decided to get the sticky job over and done with, and reassure myself that no big bad wolf had blown down the house since I was there last; and just  combine that with a bit of a photography walk, and no other overambitious plans.

I got off the bus a stop or two early and took a roundabout walk down by the lake. It really was a great day for photos…

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At the House, things appeared to be in the same order as when I last left the place. The roof was still on. (A few months ago some tiles were not, so that’s why I’ve been a bit worried during recent stormy nights.) After my initial round, I went into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea. I was surprised to find how quickly time had passed. 12.45 already? Oh well… I had been walking rather slowly, taking photos, not thinking much about the time on my way there… So I decided not to rush but stay an extra hour. (Busses go regularly once every hour on weekends.) Found a pie in the freezer and heated that in the microwave for lunch. And had my tea.

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The wheelie bin turned out to already have a sticker on it. In my eyes they looked exactly the same. I did not, however, compare the code bar by bar. I decided to just believe, for my own peace of mind, that they must have made some very important and life-saving (or at least money-saving) change there…

I also went through a few drawers in the bedroom and threw away some stuff no one is likely to miss (might as well make use of that carefully marked bin!).

Then I walked to the bus stop, and caught the bus back to town. Feeling that it had been a looong day, but that on the whole I had made good enough use of it...

Sitting on the bus, I glanced at my wrist watch. It showed 1.45 pm. Not 2.45 pm, as I had expected it to. At first I thought there was something wrong with the watch…

… But there wasn’t. While at the House, I had looked at the clock on the kitchen wall. Which was still showing summer time, since no one had put it back on winter time! Never occurred to me! And my “body clock” is still a little confused, as well…

So that’s how I lost an hour, and got it back again, in the same day. I was back home around the time I had originally planned. But somehow… I still feel as tired as if I had been away at least an hour longer…

I guess I’ll have to blame it on jet-lag!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

I Sit Beside The Fire And Think

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I sit beside the fire and think
~ by J.R.R. Tolkien ~

I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door

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