Monday, August 27, 2012

the bees were plundering the jessamine

 I own beautiful vases,

but my go-to container for flowers is pitchers.

 I gathered an armload of late-summer flowers and spread them thoughout the house.
The kitchen table.

Mantle

 Entry table

 Kitchen window sill over the sink. 
(Vases are nice too. My father gave me this one.)

A bit of hydrangea in the powder room.

I found a battered old copy of Les Miserables at the recycling center and decided to recycle it, which felt kind of sacrilegious, but it's unlikely someone would read it in the state it was in.

But as I deconstructed it, I found the most amazing quote:

The whole of the day seemed to be composed of dawn: all nature seemed to be having a holiday, and laughing. The pastures of St. Cloud exhaled perfume; the breeze from the Seine vaguely stirred the leaves; the branches gesticulated in the wind; the bees were plundering the jessamine; a madcap swarm of butterflies settled down on the ragwort, the clover, and the wild oats; there was in the august park of the King of France a pack of vagabonds, the birds.

I read that and wonder how I ever thought I could write about nature. And then I read it again. Plus he's a master of punctuation.



It's that Monday we all look forward to--Jane's Flowers in the House
My kitten is more low-maintenance than hers.
But hers are so clever she's got them writing her blog posts when she's busy!

Jen

25 comments:

  1. Do I see sweet peas on the windowsill in that sweet little vase?

    Isn't your house a happier place to be now that you have such loveliness spread about?

    You can and do write beautifully about nature...but that is one hell of a quote.

    xo Jane

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    1. They are miniature snapdragons. I planted them this year, no knowing they were miniature--but love them. Flowers in a room really do bring it to life.

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  2. I like to put flowers in jugs/pitchers too. I have lots of them in all shapes and sizes and think they are more interesting than vases.

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    1. Something about their shape always works!

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  3. I was intrigued by your comment on Hugo's descriptive writing, so I decided to compare the original version. The translation is very close. Hugo wrote that long sentence using one grammatical tense showing indefinite duration, thereby casting a spell of calm and beauty. The semi-colons are not only grammatically necessary, they slow down the reading of the sentence, adding to the dream-like languor of the scene.

    Here is the original passage:
    Cette journée-là était d'un bout à l'autre faite d'aurore. Toute la
    nature semblait avoir congé, et rire. Les parterres de Saint-Cloud
    embaumaient; le souffle de la Seine remuait vaguement les feuilles;
    les branches gesticulaient dans le vent; les abeilles mettaient les
    jasmins au pillage; toute une bohème de papillons s'ébattait dans les
    achillées, les trèfles et les folles avoines; il y avait dans l'auguste parc du roi de France un tas de vagabonds, les oiseaux.

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    1. Thank you for your beautiful description of the sentence, and why it casts "a spell of calm and beauty." Now I have to see if my college French is up to the original. (This translation was done by Lascelles Wraxall.)

      Now I am feeling a little guilty about using this book...If it had been in better condition I would have kept it or put it for sale in my Etsy store. My hope is that bringing it to light in a different form (such as here, and in the collage) will bring more attention to Hugo/Les Miserables/beautiful writing, than a tattered book at the recycling center.

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  4. What a lovely quote! Your home radiates a calmness and beauty, I envy.

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    1. Thank you. Calm because my children are (almost) grown. :)

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  5. Hi Jen,

    Like you I have a thing for pitchers too. Flowers look just beautiful inside!

    What a pretty book and quote!!!

    Have a lovely day,

    Madelief x

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    1. I could learn some photography tips from you. You always have the most beautiful pictures of flowers!

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  6. I have to be stopped when it comes to vases too, and I do agree with you about pitchers they just work beautifully. Your house looks so cheerful with lovely flowers in every room. That is a wondrous quote, and so fitting!

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  7. you write beautifully. don't let Mr Hugo scare you away....
    xxx

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    1. Good to know you've got my back!

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  8. While I am a huge fan of Balzac, I never have read Victor Hugo. How ashamed I am! That paragraph is exquisite. I am missing from Flowers in the House today. Your selections are lovely.

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    1. I had a roommate once who was so devoted to Balzac--a real love affair!

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  9. Your kitchen looks bright with penetrable light and flowers.
    I do not remember the part of the excerpt of "Les Miserables", but I remember that I devoted to read the tremendous story.
    Thank you for your gentle and thoughtful post as usal, Jen.

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  10. You're the vase queen! That's quite a collection and I'll bet there's a lot more.

    That quote is really beautiful. And I really like these constructions you're making.

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  11. :) to the whole of the day, the dawn, and your rudbeckia in pitchers..

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  12. I never read those miserable people, either. That was a beautiful quote. Maybe you should treat the book as some do the Bible; open it to a new page each day; drop your finger on a passage and read a line or two. Or are all the pages now collaged?

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    1. Love that idea...
      There are almost 1000 pages, so I still have a few...

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  13. Lovely, Jen! It makes such a huge difference having flowers in the house - even if they are tiny! It is probably because they are alive and not like any dead article. - I hope you understand what I want to say... I was happy to hear of you and will now browse through your post I have missed! Christa

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  14. You do have beautiful vases Jen
    and your pitchers are wonderful too.

    I love your gorgeous flowers in the house
    and that hydrangea is just so so pretty ♥♥

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