“Let us not dwell on the end of the journey”: A belated happy birthday to Virginia Woolf

“Every season is likeable, and wet days and fine, red wine and white, company and solitude. Even sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life, can be full of dreams; and the most common actions—a walk, a talk, solitude in one’s own orchard—can be enhanced and lit up by the association of the mind. Beauty is everywhere, and beauty is only two finger’s-breadth from goodness. So, in the name of health and sanity, let us not dwell on the end of the journey…It is life that matters.” 

~Virginia Woolf, excerpt from “Montaigne”, The Common Reader (1925)


A belated happy birthday to Virginia Woolf, who was born January 25, 1882.

In the essay “Montaigne”, Woolf has wise words for anyone to heed on their birthday: to enjoy the simple pleasures of life–sleep and dream, walk and talk, solitude and companionship, and a glass of wine. It’s almost a primer in mindfulness.

Woolf dedicated the essay to fellow writer and beloved friend Lytton Strachey (also her fiancé for one day). And it’s Woolf and Strachey we see skating together in this lovely illustration by artist Dora Carrington.

There is so much joy in the simple act of skating with someone you love.

The image is from the book Virginia Woolf and her world (1975) by John Lehmann:

Scan 130260008

Read “Montaigne”, from The Common Reader–First Series (1925), at the Gutenberg project: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0300031h.html#C05

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