Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gifts from the Sea

Whenever I need a lift, I find that I often reach for my old copy of “Gifts from the Sea,” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It was written in the early 1950s while she was on vacation on Florida's Captiva Island. She presents essays about shells she picks up on the beach and uses for inspiration. She shares meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh (née Anne Spencer Morrow, 1906 – 2001) was an American author, aviator, and the spouse of fellow aviator Charles Lindbergh. She was an acclaimed author whose books and articles spanned the genres of poetry to non-fiction, including the role of women in the 20th Century.

I first read the book in the 1970s and have picked it up again and again over the years.
Here are some Lindbergh quotes that I particularly like (not all of them from the book mentioned above):

After all, I don't see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood.

America, which has the most glorious present still existing in the world today, hardly stops to enjoy it, in her insatiable appetite for the future.
Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day.
By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.
Don't wish me happiness - I don't expect to be happy it's gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor - I will need them all.
For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.
For sleep, one needs endless depths of blackness to sink into; daylight is too shallow, it will not cover one.
Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.
Grief can't be shared. Everyone carries it alone. His own burden in his own way.

I believe that what woman resents is not so much giving herself in pieces as giving herself purposelessly.

When I cannot write a poem, I bake biscuits and feel just as pleased.

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day- like writing a poem or saying a prayer.
I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable.

 Thanks, Mrs. Lindbergh, I needed that today.


  1. What a complex woman- thanks for introducing me to her writing.

  2. A 'Sense of Peace' is one of my favourite small poems by AML I found it in a book of Flower poems given to me by my hb.
    It brings a sense of peace to me just as she wrote.

    I knew very little of her thank you for the information.

    I enjoy learning & sharing interesting items in blogland. Ida

  3. Thank you for these quotes. I needed them too : )!

  4. Great reading for a Sat night after an exhausting day. I'm behind on my reading but catching up tonight.


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