Our book club read the book last summer and just loved it. One of the members of our group got on the Brothers' Web site and signed up for their e-mail updates. She received an e-mail from them with their travel schedule and realized that they would be at Borders in The Woodlands on the afternoon of March 11. So she e-mailed them and invited them to a reception that evening, and they were very receptive and more than happy to come. Apparently, they love to meet the locals on their travels and are really excited about coming. Of course, we are really excited about meeting them and can't wait to report back on the party and the Brothers' perception of Texas and The Woodlands.
To comprehend yourself truly, which is also to comprehend the world truly, you needn't look any farther than at what abounds with life around you - the blossoming meadow, the untrodden woodlands. Without this as mankind's overriding objective, I don't foresee an age of actual enlightenment ever arriving.
October arrives in a swirl of fragrant blue leaf smoke, the sweetness of slightly frosted MacIntosh apples, and little hard acorns falling. We are in the midst of cool crisp days, purple mists, and Nature recklessly tossing her whole palette of dazzling tones through fields and woodlands.
The building has served us well and has become the tangible center of Jewish life in The Woodlands. Our congregation has seen steady growth for over 20 years. However, we must expand physical capacity and make necessary repairs in order to ensure stability, accomplish both our short-term and strategic goals, and be poised to attract and absorb an ever-growing local population.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough, And stands about the woodland ride Wearing white for Eastertide. Now, of my threescore years and ten, Twenty will not come again, And take from seventy springs a score, It only leaves me fifty more. And since to look at things in bloom Fifty springs are little room, About the woodlands I will go To see the cherry hung with snow.
A. E. Housman
Yet in the blood of man there is a tide, an old sea-current, rather, that is somehow akin to the twilight, which brings him rumours of beauty from however far away, as drift-wood is found at sea from islands not yet discovered; and this spring-tide or current that visits the blood of man comes from the fabulous quarter of his lineage, from the legendary, of old; it takes him out to the woodlands, out to the hills; he listens to ancient song.
Narrative should flow as flows the brook down through the hills and the leafy woodlands...a brook that never goes straight for a minute, but goes and goes briskly, sometimes ungrammatically, and sometimes fetching a horseshoe of ¾ of a mile around and at the end of the circuit flowing within a yard of the path that it traversed an hour before; but always going and always following at least one law, always loyal to that law, the law of narrative, which has no law. Nothing to do but make the trip; the how of it is not important, so that the trip is made.
Flow gently, sweet Afton, amang thy green braes, Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise; My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream. Thou stock dove whose echo resounds thro' the glen, Ye wild whistly blackbirds in yon thorny den, Thou green crested lapwing thy screaming forbear, I charge you, disturb not my slumbering fair. How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighboring hills, Far mark'd with the courses of clear winding rills; There daily I wander as noon rises high, My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye. How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below, Where, wild in the woodlands, the primroses blow; There oft, as mild evening weeps over the lea, The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me. Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides, And winds by the cot where my Mary resides; How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave, As, gathering sweet flowerets, she stems thy clear wave. Flow gently, sweet Afton, amang thy green braes, Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays; My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dreams.
In a city it's impossible to forget we live in places raised and built over time itself. The past is underneath our feet. Every day when I leave the house , I may walk over a place where a king killed a wolf in the Royal Forest of Stocket, one of the medieval hunting forests , where alder and birch , oak and hazel, willow, cherry and aspen grew. The living trees were cut down , their wood used to fuel the city's growth , it's trade, it's life.The ancient wood , preserved in peat, was found underneath the city(The site of the killing is fairly well buried -the wolf and the king had their encounter some time around the early years of the eleventh century)It's the same as in any other city, built up and over and round , ancient woodlands cut down , bogs drained , watercourses altered, a landscape rendered almost untraceable, vanished.Here, there's a history of 8, 000 years of habitation , the evidence in excavated fish hooks and fish bone reliquaries, in Bronze Age grave-goods of arrowheads and beakers, what's still under the surface, in revenants and ghosts of gardens , of doo'cots and orchards, of middens and piggeries, plague remains and witch-hunts, of Franciscans and Carmelites, their friaries buried , over-taken by time and stone.This is a stonemasons' city , a city of weavers and gardeners and shipwrights and where I walk , there was once a Maison Dieu, a leper house; there was song schools and sewing schools, correction houses and tollboths, hidden under layers of time, still there
No settled family or community has ever called its home place an 'environment.' None has ever called its feeling for its home place 'biocentric' or 'anthropocentric.' None has ever thought of its connection to its home place as 'ecological, ' deep or shallow. The concepts and insights of the ecologists are of great usefulness in our predicament, and we can hardly escape the need to speak of 'ecology' and 'ecosystems.' But the terms themselves are culturally sterile. They come from the juiceless, abstract intellectuality of the universities which was invented to disconnect, displace, and disembody the mind. The real names of the environment are the names of rivers and river valleys; creeks, ridges, and mountains; towns and cities; lakes, woodlands, lanes roads, creatures, and people. And the real name of our connection to this everywhere different and differently named earth is 'work.' We are connected by work even to the places where we don't work, for all places are connected; it is clear by now that we cannot exempt one place from our ruin of another. The name of our proper connection to the earth is 'good work, ' for good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; it honors the place where it is done; it honors the art by which it is done; it honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing. Good work is always modestly scaled, for it cannot ignore either the nature of individual places or the differences between places, and it always involves a sort of religious humility, for not everything is known. Good work can be defined only in particularity, for it must be defined a little differently for every one of the places and every one of the workers on the earth. The name of our present society's connection to the earth is 'bad work' - work that is only generally and crudely defined, that enacts a dependence that is ill understood, that enacts no affection and gives no honor. Every one of us is to some extent guilty of this bad work. This guilt does not mean that we must indulge in a lot of breast-beating and confession; it means only that there is much good work to be done by every one of us and that we must begin to do it.