Thursday, March 10, 2016

Gentle Friends

When I was a baby, my mother purchased a Lenox china 3-piece porcelain gift set that she saved and used as I grew a bit older and more capable of handling such wares.  The series was known as "Gentle Friends" and featured unique rhyming couplets on both the plate and bowl.  The plate reads, "Our world is full of sweet flowers blooming bright and gay!  We love the things that make life good and bring us happy days!"  The bowl, which I used more often, read, "I should never feel alone, wherever I may be. So many gentle friends are near whom one can scarcely see."

That last rhyme, the one on the bowl, resonated with me throughout my life.  I am definitely one who stops to smell the flowers.  In fact, when I was very young, about six years old, I'd often be late for school, despite leaving home in plenty of time, so that I could watch a cloud float by, say hello to a dog, chase a butterfly, or literally stop to bury my face in the neighbor's flowers.  I always found peace in nature and I never felt alone, even when I seemingly was. My childhood, while I was able to lose myself in Nature, was often met with great difficulty, obstacles, and sometimes immense sadness and fear, markedly different from the way an ordinary child's life usually is.

Well, I'm not sure what made me think of it- perhaps it was Facebook adding a new "bio" feature to tell the public something about oneself that made me think of that little rhyme, that it should be my motto. I wondered who wrote it. Did Lenox have poets on staff, ready to whip out timeless bits of lifetime wisdom back in 1976? So, I did a search and found a poem by American poet, Abbie Farwell Brown called, Friends, and when I read it, it made me cry happy tears.  It really does embody a huge part of my life's philosophy in a beautifully simple way. While even a small child can understand the words, sometimes the simplest words, no matter one's age or sophisticated wisdom, hold the truest, most profound meaning:

How good to lie a little while
And look up through the tree!
The Sky is like a kind big smile
Bent sweetly over me.

The Sunshine flickers through the lace
Of leaves above my head,
And kisses me upon the face
Like Mother, before bed.

The Wind comes stealing o'er the grass
To whisper pretty things;
And though I cannot see him pass,
I feel his careful wings.

So many gentle Friends are near
Whom one can scarcely see,
A child should never feel a fear,
Wherever he may be.


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