By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.
There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.
We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.
The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.
Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.
These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.
And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o'er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—
So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O'er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
Remember how I said we had snow forecast for Sunday? Guess what we didn't get, not a single flake? And we'd canceled our plans to go to Mount Vernon to celebrate George Washington's birthday with hoecakes! Once we realized that we weren't going to be snowed in or even troubled driving in bad weather, we decided to go to Brookside Gardens in Wheaton Regional Park, which has a spring display in the conservatory. There were lots of beautiful, colorful camellias, orchids, and other flowers indoors, but what really surprised us were that outside not only crocuses and snowdrops but dozens of daffodils were already blooming:
Evening TV started with Once Upon a Time, which I found quite disappointing on a whole bunch of levels, particularly that the modern town has the same Fallen Woman standards as many people in Downton Abbey, whose second season finale we watched right afterward (the Christmas episode). I enjoyed the latter very much -- I thought it was better paced than a lot of the season, and though I was very bummed not to see Sybil, I thought Mary, Matthew, and Robert all more than made up for things that had frustrated me about them in earlier episodes. Downton's folk (upstairs and down) could teach the people of Storybrooke a few things, especially when it comes to blaming women for the social standards of men.