Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stillwater - A Reprise

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.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Tasha Tudor sounds like a joyful woman who lived an extraordinary life on her own terms. It's always sad to hear of the passing of someone like this.

billie said...

I keep several of her books on the special "within arms' reach" shelf by my writing chair. I've been paging through them just now, enjoying especially the photo of Tasha in her long red wool cape, walking with her Corgyn through the snow.

She really will be missed, but she leaves such a wonderful message behind.

Victoria Cummings said...

I love Tasha Tudor too - I'm sad to learn that she has passed away, but I'm sure that she did it gracefully and she certainly lived a happy, full and artistic life. The quote about Stillwater is wonderful. Thanks!

billie said...

She has said a number of times that she felt she lived in the 1800s in a previous life, and would return to that era as soon as she left this one.

We will be making some of her summer favorite "receipts" as she calls them over the next few weeks. Her Corgi Cottage soup is a favorite in winter!

Janet Roper said...

I'm so sorry to hear of her passing. She had a wonderful way in connecting with people. She leaves behind a great legacy.

Rising Rainbow said...

One of my favorite children's authors as well. She will be missed.

billie said...

I am hoping there might be another book or two that she left behind, ready for publication.

We were absolutely charmed the first time we saw Corgiville.

Victoria Cummings said...

Billie- there's an award waiting for you over at my blog.

billie said...

Thank you, Victoria - I just saw it and so appreciate it. The award itself is a work of art!