Saturday, May 2, 2009

"I hope your life will open into perpetual beauty and goodness" ~Abraham Lincoln

On November 18, 1863 President Lincoln arrived by train at Gettysburg, Pennsylania -- one day before he would deliver his address at the burial ground. Among the greeters at the station was a little girl who offered a bouquet of rosebuds, saying "Flowers for the President!" Touched by the gesture, the President bent down, kissed the child and said: "You're a sweet little rose-bud yourself. I hope your life will open into perpetual beauty and goodness."

Perfect words for the occasion -- Lincoln stayed in the moment. That sentiment -- of one's life opening into beauty and goodness -- is especially meaningful on a spring day, like today . . . to take a moment and enjoy the park, the garden, the patio, a newly-planted window box. More and more I find myself detaching from the endless (and predictably meaningless) media chatter of daily life, delivered via computers, cell phones, iPods and Blackberrys.

I've become highly selective about reading, listening, viewing. John Meyer on a Twitter feed? I love his music . . . but his Twittering self? No thanks. I'd rather practice the guitar. And then there's the Blackberry, aka the Crackberry . . . .a useful tool, except when it becomes a pulsating pocketbook fascist (that is, if we allow technology to boss us around).

Perhaps that's why we're drawn to stitching. The tools haven't changed in centuries -- linen, thread, needle, scissors. These tools are so honest -- they won't spam you, vibrate, ring or buzz. They won't freeze up or crash so that you lose all the work you've done for the past four hours. And you don't have to download a security patch to use the scissors you bought six months ago.

Sampler Update: This week I'll post a photo of the first 100 words of the sampler. Looks like I'll have to pull some all-nighters between now and July 4 -- eek! A number of you have asked about the historical sources I rely on. My main reference is David Herbert Donald's superb biography -- Lincoln.

Tomorrow is a day off from all work . . . Christopher and I will catch the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and then dinner at one of the excellent restaurants in Brooklyn we've yet to try (about 5,292 of them). Gosh, I really need to recharge my mental batteries by -- celebrating hanami, communing with nature, having a few Sour Apple Martinis . . . and then back to work on Monday.

Happy May weekend to all!


  1. I agree. Stitching is a wonderful meditation.

    Have you ever been to Gettysburg? It's beautiful in the Spring, or really at any time of year. Worth a trip.

  2. Lili, I visited Gettysburg as a teen, and a bit too distracted to appreciate the full historical significance of the site. You're right -- it would be wonderful to visit in the Spring. I imagine it would be gorgeous in the fall . . . good idea -- it's a must-see during this Bicentennial Year!