October 27, 2012

 I decided it would be fun today to link to one of my favorite blogs, Claudia's Mockingbird Hill Cottage (http://mockingbirdhillcottage.com/).  Her Saturday post gives other bloggers a chance to feature some of their very Favorite Things, something I certainly don't have a shortage of!  So today I'm sharing with you a favorite spot from my childhood in Indiana.  My grandparents and my aunt and uncle had farms about five miles apart and my favorite way of getting from one place to the other was via a gravel back road that had a small bridge and a stream tucked away among the trees and cornfields.  I always loved the way the little stream looked--mysterious and private.  Here is what it looked like this summer, when I was back for my uncle's birthday celebration. When I stand on the bridge and look out at the water, I feel like whispering...there is something remote and removed from the hustle and bustle of every day life.

"No haunts of earth so fair I deem..."

When I went to college I was fortunate to be close enough to Kansas City for weekend trips to the beautiful Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where I spent hours wandering through rooms of breath-taking art.  My favorite painter has always been Claude Monet--the way he captures light on canvas fascinates me.  So you can imagine my delight when I came face to face with his lovely painting, Sunrise on the Seine near Giverny.  The painting immediately reminded me of 'my' stream (or 'crick' if you are from Indiana!)--the evocative, other-world effects of light on water draw you into the picture.
Claude Monet, "Arm of the Seine Near Giverny"

My stream and the Seine River may be half way around the world from each other, but both have the ability to soothe my soul and lift my spirits.  And that makes them a favorite thing today!  And to finish today's post, here is a lovely poem by Isaac McLellan, which captures some of the beauty and mysteriousness of  the pictures above.

              Forest and Stream
Wide and far the woods extend,
Leaf-laden branches graceful bend;
The old oaks, like great tents, outspread
Their verdant canopies o'erhead;
The fir, the hemlock, and the pine
Their interlacing shoots entwine;
The cypress of the swampy glade
Enweaves a dark impervious shade;

The slender willows stoop to lave
Their tassels in the rushing wave;
The chestnuts cast their treasures down,
Their opening burrs, their nuts of brown;
And thick the clusters of the grape
With purple wealth the alders drape,
And on the forest kings unfold
Their draperies of green and gold.

Each river, each transparent stream,
Amid the woodland vistas gleam;
They toss with foam where rocks impede
The arrowy swiftness of their speed;
They glide with smooth, unruffled sweep
Where flow their currents dusk and deep,
And fathomless abysses hide
The sand and shells that pave the tide. 

Forest and Stream! I love to trace
Your inmost depths, your watery race;
I love your dense, primeval shade,
O forest monarch! to invade.
I love, O grand, majestic Stream!
To wander where your ripples gleam,
To plunge beneath your ice-cold breast;
To seek the wild-fowl that infest
Your wooded shores; to spread the sail
In gusty breeze or howling gale;
To take the springing trout that skim
Your face, or in abysses swim;
In storm, in calm, in shade, in shine,
My heart, my steps to thee incline.
No haunts of earth so fair I deem
As Forest-side and banks of Stream!


  1. Thanks so much for joining in! I love hearing about your stream - how beautiful it is. My grandmother always said 'crick' and that brings a smile to my face.


    1. Hi, Claudia,
      Where I came from it was 'crick', 'warshington, dc' and 'hot the pot' (when you needed to warm up the coffee!

  2. Both pictures are very pretty!

    1. Thank you, Diane! I am glad you enjoyed them.

  3. I can sure see why your "crick" reminds you of that beautiful Monet painting. :) What a beautiful spot.


    1. Thank you, Liz. It is like my own liquid 'Secret Garden'!

  4. I love your favorite place!!
    What a fun place to kayak!!

    1. Thanks so much, Suzan! I am glad you liked the picture. It would be too chilly to kayak this morning--I looked outside and saw the first frost on the ground! Brr!

  5. I am from Western PA...just south of Pittsburgh.. AND WE SAY CRICK too :)

    I love your stream...that photo is magical / linking it with that painting is more magical yet :)

    1. Debra, thank you so very much! My husband is from Pittsburgh, so we have seen a lot of cricks during our marriage!!

  6. The photo of your favorite stream from your childhood is just so beautiful, Martha. I can see how a little girl would love to stand there and dream. And you're right, it's so much like the Monet painting! Thank you for posting them both, and for the beautiful McLellan poem. Take care.