Saturday, May 24, 2008

Quote: Frances Hodgson Burnett

"And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles. In the robin's nest there were eggs and the robin's mate sat upon them, keeping them warm with her feathery little breast and careful wings. At first she was very nervous, and the robin himself was indignantly watchful. Even Dickon did not go near the close-grown corner in those days, but waited until by the quiet working of some mysterious spell he seemed to have conveyed to the soul of the little pair that in the garden there was nothing which was not quite like themselves -- nothing which did not understand the wonderfulness of what was happening to them -- the immense, tender, terrible, heart-breaking beauty and solemnity of Eggs. If there had been one person in that garden who had not known through all his or her innermost being that if an Egg were taken away or hurt the whole world would whirl round and crash through space and come to an end -- if there had been even one who did not feel it and act accordingly there could have been no happiness even in that golden springtime air. But they all knew it and felt it and the robin and his mate knew they knew it."

- Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

About two weeks ago, Nif and I discovered a pair of cardinals nesting right outside our house! The female cardinal would arrive from elsewhere, hop around the branches, alight on a small clump of brush, and then go absolutely still. It's been very exciting. Sometimes when she takes breaks, the male cardinal comes and sits on a wire or a tree nearby, or hops from branch to branch in the same tree, singing and "cheer"ing. And then in the past two days we've been able to see, when she's off the nest, a little tiny head and mouth waving around!

A note about the quotation: if you're wondering why the robin's mate isn't also a robin...she is. It's just that the male robin has been a particular character in the story thus far, and his mate is a relative newcomer to the scene.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Quote: Trenton Lee Stewart

    The children nodded uneasily. All this talk of danger and emergencies, without explanation, was beginning to wear on them.
    "I'm sorry to put you ill at ease," Mr. Benedict said. "And I haven't much to say to comfort you. I can finally offer some answers to your questions, however. Who wishes to begin? Yes, Constance?"
    To the great exasperation of the others, Constance demanded to know why they couldn't have candy for breakfast.
    Mr. Benedict smiled. "A fine question. The short answer is that there is no candy presently in the house. Beyond that, the explanation involves a consideration of candy's excellent flavor but low nutritional value--that is to say, why it makes a wonderful treat but a poor meal--though I suspect you aren't interested in explanations but simply wished to express your frustration. Is that correct?"
    "Maybe," Constance said with a shrug. But she seemed satisfied.
    "Other questions?" said Mr. Benedict.

- Trenton Lee Stewart, The Mysterious Benedict Society

Speaking of orphans (or virtual orphans) who end up going on dramatic adventures... They get to practice Morse code, too! And through the tests they pass to join the "Society" -- and through working together -- they come to appreciate the many different ways there are to be "gifted".
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