Wednesday, 29 July 2009

INSPIRATION. From the source...

I have long been an admirer of Richard Burton (no, not that one!) - Sir Richard Burton, who for most of his life struggled to find the source of the river Nile - and did eventually reach Lake Tanganyika.
You may wonder what this has to do with today's meme. Well, I looked up "inspiration" in the dictionary - "someone, or something that inspires" OR "drawing breath into the lungs." In other words, I see it as someone who influences one so much that one breathes in that influence and makes it almost part of oneself.
Then I began listing my passions and where I got the inspiration from. I have always loved Geography and travel -Freya Stark and Wilfred Thesiger fuelled that line of thinking. Then there is nature and wildlife. Right back from the days of Romany on the BBC Home Service Childrens' Hour, through Keble Martin's wonderful Concise British Flora in Colour (what a life's work!) I have been constantly inspired. Ronald Blythe's books still give me that inspiration to keep exploring that interest. Gardening used to be a passion before I got too decrepit to do the heavy work. Vita Sackville West (Her Garden Book) was the gardener I aspired to be like.
Then I took up Textile Art and gobbled up the books of Valerie Campbell-Harding, Maggie Grey and the like. Oh how I would love to create pieces like theirs.
I am never bored and I always have a mental list of things i want to look into, or create, or read, or play on the piano. And this is where Sir Richard Burton comes in.
I wondered why I have always had such an inquiring mind, why I have always wanted to find out things. And then it came to me in a flash. Go back to the SOURCE!
So here is my nomination for Inspiration. His name was John Henry Smithson. He was born in 1891 and died in 1972.


"Jack", as he was always called, obtained a Scholarship to attend Grammar School at the age of 11 but his parents were too poor to allow him to go. So he left school at 14 and worked for 50 years in the machine shop on a lathe at Ruston and Hornsby in Lincoln. But that sort of setback does not stop the intelligent enquiring mind.
He always had an Atlas to hand and if anywhere was mentioned on the news or in the papers, out would come the Atlas and together we would look for the place. Or sometimes we would plan a journey round the world. I would make a notebook and we would plot the places we would call at. I would do a bit of research in one of his encyclopaedias and we would complete the journey in our minds.
Every Summer we would walk the lanes looking for wildflowers which I could put into my wild flower notebook with a little drawing for reference. Or we would search the banks and hedgerows for birds' nests - he was fantastic at finding them and peeping in without disturbing anything.
It was he who gave me my first little plot of land to grow radishes, lettuce, marigolds, candytuft
and encouraged me to keep a garden diary.
Then in the winter's evenings we would play "pencil and paper" games. Who can list the most wild flowers beginning with D? Who can find a river somewhere in the world beginning with each letter of the alphabet?
Poetry was his passion - he had a shelf of poetry books and he knew many of the poems off my heart and would quote little snippets to fit the situation. Tennyson was a favourite, and WH Davies - but he knew them all. His poetry books were really an extension of his right arm.
And so you see, dear readers, there was finally no contest.
I nominate as my life time's Inspiration my father John Henry, who's influence is with me every single day of my life.

39 comments:

acornmoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
acornmoon said...

Sorry I messed up my first comment!

That is a lovely tribute to a wonderful father. My own dad introduced me to wild flowers and nature, for which I shall be forever grateful.

jinksy said...

You're lucky to have a Dad on hand to do all that... Mine was in the Royal Navy for 22 years, threfore almost a stranger!

Rachel Fox said...

Oh Weaver - you moved me to tears!
Perfect.
x

Titus said...

I can only echo Rachel. What a wonderful post, what a marvellous, patient, intelligent father. Would that he were an inspiration to many more! Thank you.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

My first read of the morning, as it should be, and what a wonderful way to begin today's journey. You were obviously blessed to have such a Dad.

gleaner said...

Beautiful tribute Weaver. Capturing a child's sense of wonder about the world, truly beautiful. I too have very fond early memories of sitting with my father and reading the atlas. Also, the spinning globe of earth from Readers Digest, with fascinating faraway places.

Coastcard said...

What an inspirational post and what an inspiring man your father must have been. I find myself echoing much of what you say - the wildflower walks, the poetry, the interest in how things work...

How inspired we will all be by the end of the day! You have certainly given me a lift after a horrid filling at the dentist...

Elizabeth said...

Yes, you can see exactly how your father's lively mind is echoed in yours.
A beautiful essay and a super tribute to a terrific person: a great traveller in the worlds of imagination and love.
So glad he like the incomperable WH Davies.

Eryl Shields said...

Now, this is an inspiring story, thank you.

Linda said...

This is a remarkable tribute to your father who obviously challenged you to inherit his quizzical mind.I love that he made learning into games and that he was such a positive role model. My father was only around for my young life and he had a fondness for automobiles and rollercoasters. He was a positive role model too. If I inquired about fish, he would take me out in a boat. I really enjoyed reading your post, Weaver!

steven said...

hi weaver, a beautiful posting. you are so fortunate to have had such a person in the formative years of your life!!! it's magic being a dad, and its obvious that your dad made the most of his blessings!! have a lovely day and thanks for hosting this inspirational idea! steven

Kayla coo said...

Hello,
My Dad also played much the same games as yours.
We would go on long walks and he would award us points to find wild flowers and spot different birds.
Sadly his father died when he was only two so he wanted to give us the childhood he had wished for.
I loved reading about your inspiration.x

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I too am moved to tears reading this, Weaver! And thankful to your dad for being your source of all these wonderful attributes and influencing you to be the person you are.

It also makes me appreciate how much my own dad imparted my love of nature, art, books and music and how he fostered creativity and imagination.

Heather said...

A wonderful post Weaver, as we have come to expect. Your father sounds like the sort of father every child should have - he must have been a lovely man.

Jenn Jilks said...

That was inspiring, Weaver. Great idea for a meme.

Here is my inspiration.

Margaret Gosden said...

I found that many people, events, and much art have inspired me throughout life. I was moved by your tribute and by the way you have arranged your header photographs. For me that is an inspirational lead into your theme. Once I needed to find out how inspiration works and that lead me to what I do today - blog! Thank you for Inspiration Wednesday!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Great tribute,Weaver he must have been a lovely man.

MrCachet said...

I should have left a comment when I was here during Seth's Buried Treasure Hunt - but didn't. I read your post, and I do remember a bit of it - let me explain. I married a farmer's daughter. I worked on their ranch/farm while I was going to college - and we were married by then. My wife's grandparents homesteaded here in Montana. My wife had a Great-Uncle she called Uncle Roy - who was a bachelor and remained on. I don't remember him being lonely - he'd been in WWI, and when I met him in 1970, he could still (and did) wear his uniform. Oh yes - he was English, and kept his accent.

Your story did not inspire me, but it caused me to remember Uncle Roy, for even I called him that. He came to mind because I had just purchased my first piece of English paper, and although I knew what I was going to put on it, the photographs that I need haven't been taken yet.

For you, I just have to thank you for the memories.

Golden West said...

That your father gave you a love of learning and exploration is a wonderful gift indeed. You've done him proud, as you've used that gift to inspire others.

BT said...

Oh how wonderful. What a fabulous tribute to your dear father, it made me quite tearful in a happy way. Beautifully written Weaver. xx

willow said...

Beautiful tribute, Weaver. You are lucky to have had such a man for a father. Sounds like is was a lovely man.

Dianne said...

I came upon this meme at Elizabeth's About New York

I love the definition of inspire - it fits so perfectly with what I wrote about today - and I swear I didn't read this first :)

appreciating nature is such a wonderful gift to pass on down the line

if you have a moment please do visit me at
www.hihidi.blogspot.com

thank you for inspiring today's post :)

C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson said...

As a new visitor, I am very impressed with you and your blog. How delightful it is and thought provoking as well.

Pondside said...

What an inheiritance you have from your father.....beautiful post.

A Fart in the Cosmic Wind said...

Thank you for your post and this wonderfully positive idea for a meme.

Jane Moxey said...

What a wonderful post, as usual. And what a fantastic meme theme this is! I have enjoyed visiting the bloggers who participated. I have a feeling I'll be back later to check out some more from your list. Thank you so much for organizing this.

Leenie said...

How blessed you are to have such a father and such memories. Parents should be the first and best educators and inspirers(is that a word?). Your dad truly enriched your world. It is always a pleasure to read your fine posts.

Sara said...

Thank you for Inspiration Wednesday. I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part. Your own tribute to your father was very moving. I could feel the warmth of that special relationship with him in your words. What lovely gifts he passed on to you.

n2theblue said...

beautiful.
thank you for sharing your wonderful dad with us.

Heather said...

You have really started something Weaver. If you manage to read all our 'Inspirations' you will be exhausted, but it has been a delightful exercise and reading other people's has been very enjoyable - sometimes very moving. Thankyou for making us stop and think, and give thanks.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a lovely tribute, a great inspiration....

Kim said...

Just catching up Pat, and it's my first read of the day too! Wonderful post and tribute to someone who was obviously a wonderful influence and inspiration to you, your father. I must say this post bears similarities in my own childhood and I would credit my father as an influence of epic proportions too. Hours spent together turning into a love of gardening, poetry and literature and an appreciation for my own country that I have never encountered quite the same way from anyone else. Bravo to all those special Dads!

Cathy said...

This post is just so sweet and beautiful. Thank you!

Cloudia said...

What a lovely tribute to a unique gentleman. I feel privleged to make his aquaintance. His questing intellegence and heart clearly animate this favourite blog.
Aloha and salutes!

Comfort Spiral

deb said...

inspiration is exactly right, what a fabulous story... thank you for sharing it

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to you all. See my next blog for more comments.

A Cuban In London said...

Aha! So, this is where it all started. I have followed the trail left by your magnificent, inspiring post about inspiration and I have been regaled with wonderful tales by both known and unknown bloggers. Many thanks, it was a pleasure to read.

Greetings from London.

ArtPropelled said...

Lovely post Weaver and a great tribute to your dear dad.