Thanks to a reader's comment, I learned just now that Tasha Tudor, one of my favorite children's authors and an inspiration in many ways, died on June 20th at the age of 92.
I suspect the charm of goldfinches that flew up before me on Friday and followed me from tree to tree down the driveway, chirping like mad, were honoring Tasha. That's just the sort of thing she would notice and love.
Tasha lived simply but surrounded by the richness of her gardens, her animal family, nature, and the many gifts she brought to the world via her books, paintings, and her living example of the very best way to spend a day.
In honor of Tasha, I'm reprising a post I wrote here on 27 April, 2007. As you will read below, Tasha advocates choosing Joy.
Thank you, Tasha. Go well.
"Just for fun, my family invented a religion like the Shakers we called Stillwater. I'm eldress, and we have a big celebration on Midsummer's Eve. It's really a state of mind. Stillwater connotes something very peaceful, you see, life without stress. Nowadays, people are so jeezled up. If they took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening listening to the song of the hermit thrush, they might enjoy life more.
Stillwater believers are very hedonistic. Life is to be enjoyed, not saddled with. Do you know that lovely quotation from Fra Giovanni? He was an old monk from away back who wrote to his patron, 'The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy.' That's the first commandment of the Stillwater religion. Joy is there for the taking."
-Tasha Tudor, from The Private World of Tasha Tudor
*** I discovered Tasha Tudor when we got the corgyn - she has written and illustrated several children's books featuring the corgi. As I looked for more of her wonderful books, I came across her cookbook, which I love, and the above book, which is a favorite, full of her ramblings and the most marvelous photos of Tasha in the Vermont cottage built by her son.