Words of Wisdom that Carried Me Through Other Dark Times: Desiderata


Thomas Moran’s Apocalyptic Art of America’s Storied West

In the late 1960s and 1970s, this wisdom, –ostensibly found on a church wall – but I always felt it too modern for that claim–, pulled me through the darkest times of my life.

I send this as my post today, because we are living in tumult that, to me, exceeds the terrors of World War II.  At least, during WWII, the actions of tyrants were not aimed at our sacred planet itself.

My own mood is more akin to “…the center does not hold…     slouching toward Bethlehem to be born…”

But I cannot let myself fall into any slough of despond.  Never had LIGHT been more important in our world.

May these lines flow in and around you like grace, like honey itself, –shot through with light, bringing comfort and healing.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others,
even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is.

Many persons strive for high ideals
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be not cynical about love,
for, in the face of all aridity and disappointment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars.
You have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive God to be,

and whatever your labours and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham and drudgery and broken dreams
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


Max Ehrman, 1927.

Found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, U.S.A. Dated 1692

From the Alt.Usage.English FAQ: “Desiderata” was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). In 1956, the rector of St. Paul’s Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of mimeographed inspirational material for his congregation. Someone who subsequently printed it asserted that it was found in Old St. Paul’s Church, dated 1692. The year 1692 was the founding date of the church and has nothing to do with the poem. See Fred D. Cavinder, “Desiderata”, TWA Ambassador, Aug. 1973, pp. 14-15.




Essence of Chincoteague – Maritime Museum Part I

Fresnel Light from Assateague at Chincoteague Museum

Fresnel Lens from Assateague’s Light — Absolute Beauty and Lifesaving Usefulness


Fire Bell Chincoteague Museum

Volunteer Fire Company Bell of Yesteryear



Vintage Fire Equipment Chincoteague Museum

Historic Artifacts — Chincoteague Pony Swim Funds Fire Company


Chincoteague Masterpiece Maritime Museum

Chincoteague Masterpiece — Oyster Schooners under Sail


I'll Take One of Each Chincoteague MuseumI’ll Take One of Each…


Kind Sign Chincoteague Museum

Chincoteague Casts its Spell


Wild Ponies Tapestry Chincoteague Museum

Wild Pony Tapestry, Chincoteague Maritime Museum


Chincoteague Storm Damage Museum

Apocalyptic Storm – Superb Video of Local Heroism


Decoy Early Chincoteague MuseumPrimitive Decoy


Misty, Stormy Chincoteague MuseumMisty, Stormy


Sea's Bounty Chincoteague Museumjpg

Gifts From the Sea


Phragmities Assateague Light Event Building Chincoteague MuseumFrieze of Phragmites, Events Pavilion, Chincoteague Museum,

Assateague Light in Distance


Thomas Paine from Internet [5].pn

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”  But, no, this line was not penned nor typed nor tweeted in the 21st Century.  It is one of the slogans that made the American Revolution possible.  That generated and strengthened bonds among “we few, we band of brothers”, striking tyranny from our land in the 1700’s.

thomas paine sign re Common Sense from Internet

The eloquent and heroic Thomas Paine went on to declare,  The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”  George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were known to credit the Spirit of ’76 [which barely existed in that era of barefoot soldiers, yet steadily grew], to the words of this writer. 

Strategic Retreat

The Legendary Crossing, which may never have happened without Paine’s heroic urgings

Nearby Bordentown is the only place where Paine ever owned a home.  A slight, compelling statue recreates the man without whose pamphlets we might not have a nation.


Paine’s  courage was by no means limited to 1776 — for he would also pen the stirring phrase, “Government without a Constitution is power without a right.”

We the People from Internet orig




13 Star Flag Chestnut Neck Revolutionary War Monument Winter 2017

Thirteen-Star Flag in Winter, Chestnut Neck, NJ, Battleground —

British Won This One


I am steeping myself in history books, of the time of TR, FDR, ER and always Churchill; alternating with our own American Revolution, because I am starved for excellence.

Right now, David Hackett Fischer’s stunning account, “Washington’s Crossing” “hath me in thrall.”  I am particularly moved, proud of our state as I am, to read, “Ordinary people in New Jersey came together to do something about their lost liberty.”  This wise author describes our ‘rag, tag and bobtail’ soldiers as “an army of optimistic fatalists.”  Writing of the Crossing of the Delaware, Colonel Henry Knox declared, “Perseverance accomplished what at first seemed impossible.” 

We are a country that first seemed impossible.  Our neighbors sacrificed everything — there is an entire chapter on the Hessian’s near-total looting of New Jersey homes and of course farms and farmlands.

George Washington penned a note to himself on the Pennsylvania side before the crossing, “VICTORY OR DEATH.”  Our challenge was that simple, that austere.

One of the miracles was that “in the end, not a man was lost to the river,” despite towering, occluding ice floes, ice in the Durham boats, a sleet-laden nor’easter that struck as the men boarded their crafts at McConkey’s Ferry.

Surely, all this did not happen to have it tweeted away in the 21st Century!

Let Tom Paine have the last word: “Some evils in the world are worse than war.  And one of them is tyranny.”

Protest every way you know how!

Crossing the Delaware in Quest of Antidotes to 21st-Century Reality

general-george-washington--delaware-river-on-the-eve- from Internet


Your NJWILDBEAUTY blogger spent ‘the shank of the day’ in bucolic, historic Bucks County.  Yes, yet again.  Alongside our timeless river, The River of Independence.  This waterways shad, John McPhee insists, saved Washington’s army at Valley Forge.  We wandered alongside the model of Washington’s Durham Boats for the Crossing, then the strangely romantic group sculpture at Washington’s Crossing State Park.

As we cross her shimmering. expanse, I try to keep her serenity alive in my own being.

Strategic Retreat


A friend and I breakfasted sumptuously, alongside that river, in a structure a couple of hundred years old: The Lumberville General Store.  It is allied with the Black Bass Inn, which predates the Revolution – 1745 as I recall.  Both in and ‘Store’ are lovingly restored by the legendary Laura Thompson of Thompson Toyota in Doylestown.  She had been my neighbor at Village II in New Hope, where I lived (and fought to save the Delaware River from the Pump) from 1981 into 1987.

After hiking the footbridge over to Bull’s Island, my yesterday-friend and I drove through ageless burgeoning croplands, first in Pennsylvania, then in our New Jersey.   We punctuated our ramblings with a stop at a tiny farmstand off Route 31, stocking up on peaches and tomatoes from our Garden State.

All the while, fleeing this vile century.  All the while, seeking America.  OUR America!

View from Bridge South and Bulls Island July 2017


Only to arrive back here with a thud.

First projects upon return, as always, are signing petitions, to counter the Purloiner of the White House.  Save the Arctic.  Stop All Fracking.  Prevent oil drilling off any coasts.  One “SIGN HERE/SUBMIT”  laments and tries to counter the loss of bees.

I don’t know about the rest of NJWILDBEAUTY readers.  I have to confess, my trusty antidotes to harsh realities are seeming too little, too late, and frankly frail!

My Illinois sister sends me this wise quote from Patrick Henry.  Prescient.  A patriot when that word meant heroism, courage and magnificent leadership.

My sister empathizes with my condition these days, having suffered in her own state from narcissistic tyranny in the name of a governor.  As for the national situation, Marilyn echoes my own despair.  The concept of our vaunted liberty, –let alone citizens’ rights–, seems rare and imperiled as the bees.


Readying Riverton July 2017

Although I posted this the day after the so-called ‘election’ of 2016, I return to Yeats — ever the prophet…

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government, lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
Patrick Henry

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)



Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
  Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Riverton, New Jersey, Decorates for the Fourth!

Riverton Yacht Club July 2017

I feel most fortunate to live in New Jersey when I ride our brilliant light rail, The River Line, especially with people who’ve never been on it before.    We board this snazzy Swiss-built conveyance at bucolic Bordentown,   The station offers views of ‘my’ river, along with free, safe parking, and interesting sculptures having to do with our often undervalued state.


Burlington July 2017 023

TRENTON MAKES / WORLD TAKES    Sculpture @ Bordentown River Line Station


Within soundless seconds, we are wrapped in marsh landscapes, heading south through storied Roebling; brick-sidewalked Burlington (proud to have a London neighborhood founded in 1656), and on to explore and feast in idyllic Riverton.

Riverton Scenes July 2017 002


The River Line could solve so many problems in our land, in our world.  Gliding along rails used for freight at night, the glistening two-headed train has become a traveling village.  Conviviality rules the ride, especially surprising New Yorkers, now key members of the Princeton Photography Club, on a day-long time-travel excursion.


Riverton Scenes July 2017 012


People walk around in Riverton.  They’re lively and open, eager to talk to strangers.  Parents hold children by the hand; and children hold books, coursing toward this town’s charming little library.  A Councilman asks us why we are photographing, tells us how Riverton came to be (summer homes for Philadelphians in 1800’s), and exchanges cards with the real photographers.


Riverton Bunting


This amateur is in heaven in Riverton, because ‘her’ river, the Delaware, is so near, so alive, shimmering with history and promise.  The Delaware’s signature, –almost a perfume–, is that zingy breeze that starts to riffle hair, even on a steamy July day.


Riverton Delaware River Scene at Yacht Club


Riverton Fourth 2017


The town is gearing up for its hundred-year-old Fourth of July Parade.  Homes of other era are as spiffy as when they’d been built; each yard individually planted and tended and decorated for our first day of Independence.  One man invited us INTO his home to meet the cats.


Riverton Scenes July 2017 009


Another neighbor explained that the arresting black and blue and white flag on one balcony honors policemen, EMT people, First Responders.

First Responder Flag Riverton Fourth of July 2017


The colors of our day, however, were red, white and blue.  No town is more celebratory about the efforts of those founding fathers, –so near, across our pivotal river–, without whose vision and heroism, we would not have a country.


River Wind in Riverton Flag July 2017




Lawrenceville Fire Company, Perennial Gift to the Community

As NJWILDBEAUTY readers know, I have recently moved to Lawrenceville, to a peaceful community called Society Hill, tucked up and away from the tiny town, and named for the Society of Friends.  As in Quakers, who filled this region and served it well, back even before our Revolution.

On voting days, I can walk to our polls, in the Lawrenceville Fire Company’s building .  Station 23 it is, and 23 is the number of my house.  Good omen.  203 was my number at Canal Pointe, and 2003 all my high school years on Northwood Boulevard in Royal Oak Michigan.

It’s always festive when I vote in my new place, because it takes place among these true friends, those who protect our community by day and by night, who polish up their phenomenal trucks and other vehicles, and stand them, gleaming, outside as we arrive to cast our ballots.

I wasn’t even well on the most recent voting day.  I thought I might not even be able to utilize that phenomenal rite, for which our Founding Fathers, often deliberating here and near here, pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

Feeble as I felt, mid-morning I asked myself, for some reason, “well who are you, what defines you?”

One answer turned out to be that I write a blog about New Jersey and nature.  So I did that, that morning.

And what else am I, who else am I?

An American who votes.

So I went down to The Lawrenceville Fire Company and chose, among others, Bonnie Watson Coleman, whose splendid brother, Jay, is our vice president at D&R Greenway Land Trust, saving nature in New Jersey.

Who else am I?

A photographer.

So while I was down at the fire station, I took pictures.  Below is the Fire Company’s own picture.  I urge you to think of them now, at Christmastime.  Think how they leap into the fray, whenever flames appear — and how they advise us about such things as fire extinguishers and generously watering the Christmas tree. Think and get out your checkbook, and write them a thank you check.

Meanwhile, I think their vehicles look like Christmas.  Enjoy!

Lawrenceville Antique Fire EngineLawrenceville Fire Company
Mercer County Station 23
Address: 64 Phillips Ave, 08648
Phone: (609) 896-0972
“Protecting the North Since 1915”

Welcoming Doorway, Lawrenceville Fire Company

Welcoming Doorway, Lawrenceville Fire Company

A safe and honorable place to bring tattered flags

A safe and honorable place to bring tattered flags

We've come a long way with firefighting equipment

We’ve come a long way with firefighting equipment

Water rescue equipment

Water rescue equipment

Insignia of Honor

Insignia of Honor

Brush 23

Brush 23

The latest and the greatest...

The latest and the greatest…

How It Used To Be

How It Used To Be

Honorable Uniform, Ever at the Ready

Honorable Uniform, Ever at the Ready

Lawrencevillie Station 23

Lawrencevillie Station 23

Pride and Joy of the Crew

Pride and Joy of the Crew

Ready for Anything

Ready for Anything



Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

Badge of Heroism

Badge of Heroism  re 9/11

The Power and The Glory

The Power and The Glory

God is in the Details

God is in the Details

This Simple Plaque Tells Their Story

Lawrenceville Fire Department 010

The first time I voted here, the department was called to a fire.  Here we all were, voting away, and there came the men, calmly hurrying, dashing into those uniforms we came to revere over and over during 9/11, climbing on to the polished trucks that had been all out on the sidewalk for us to admire.  Silently, surely, they whooshed away.

I asked, “Do you do this every time we vote?”

Smiles all around.

That day and this healing day, of capturing their luminous equipment, I felt so very proud to be American.