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  • Writer's pictureLeanne W. Smith

She walks in beauty

Blogging about unexpected roads traveled.

Seeking to keep my chin up, and to help lift yours.

She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that’s best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes...

So begins a famous poem by Lord Byron. I wanted to borrow his title, even though my point differs. He is saying that the object of his eye's affections is lovely. And I claim that I need beauty in my surroundings, to counter all that is currently not lovely in the world.

A park-like setting

Take a good look at the wildness of that yard in the picture above. Lord willing, in the weeks to come that yard will transform into what's commonly referred to in real estate ads as "a park-like setting."

I'm walking a tightly pulled rope here, seeking to balance my needs with an unknown future--my need to surround myself with lovely things against the unknown economic realities of a pandemic's ripple effects. Perhaps you find yourself paddling in a similar boat.

I read in a BBC article that gardening centers were not deemed as "essential businesses" by some in the UK. I beg to differ from my new office space on the back screened porch. I'm thankful, along with everyone else in my neighborhood whose yards look better than they have in years, that our local garden center, Moore & Moore, is allowing you to call in orders and bringing them out to your popped-open trunk. It is one of the things keeping my soul from the depths of despair.

Food, artfully arranged

Food is another. My briefer-than-expected time in Italy taught me a few things. One is that "even the eye deserves to be fed." (Thank you, Emily Woodroof!) This is why I sprinkled cinnamon (cannella in Italian; zimt in German) on my biscotti topped with almond butter. And it's why fresh blackberries and pecans were needed on the side. Health to the bones, passing first through my eye.

And how about that homemade margherita pizza? Did you know margherita pizza, named for Margherita, queen of Savoy, includes the colors of the Italian flag? Basil, mozzarella and tomatoes. And I, of course, added lots of garlic.

A tall stack of TBR

No soul-lifting arsenal would be complete without books. (TBR = to be read) When I made a "things Leanne needs to keep from drowning under the sea of bad news" list earlier this week, books were well-represented.

Scripture Picture books Cookbooks Fiction Non-fiction Books written by me, of course

I finished some needed edits on one of my WIPs (works in progress) this week, one currently being shopped to publishers in these "unprecedented" and uncertain times, one about a girl who suffers some hard realities of her own and has to figure out what her needs are. It begins this way:

The youngest of six children isn’t supposed to be left alone. I’d never had practice at that, you see…or doing hard things. When life handed me Hard and Alone, I kicked myself solid for not appreciating Easy. When gold has always littered the ground around your feet, you don’t even stop to admire it. But let a stranger steal it from you, and you mourn the loss of that easy gold every day for the rest of your life.

Before I learned what Hard and Alone meant, there was always a Buck to do the heavy lifting, a Sis to boss me around, an Evie to worry whether I was behaving well enough to make her look good, a Wayne to quietly pass me biscuits at the table without saying much else, and a Louis to be my best friend, my playmate, my confidante and other self.

Dales have been called reticent. I guess I helped earn that description. Not even my husband knows all of my story, but…when you get to be old you start looking over your shoulder at your life. You want someone to know what you went through.

The youngest of six children isn’t supposed to be left alone.

I guess there’s worse things could happen to a girl than what happened to me. But when I can’t get the images of Mama, Sis and Evie out of my head, I can’t think of any worse things.

I used to get plenty mad at God for letting all those images be burned in my head. Images like that don’t fade much over the years.

They hurt you less, but they don’t wash out.

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