Our stay at the Ace Hotel in Portland was outstanding – made better by the owl mural and Thoreau quote that graced our room. (Not to mention our One-Day Workshop at The Cleaners, catered by Clyde Common.)

My daughter Maggie has an affinity for owls. As a tiny baby, she was heard murmuring to an owl outside her bedroom window as she slept.  Inspired by our time in Room 206, I have decided to embrace a different type of DIY this week and paint the wall of Maggie’s bedroom with a quote.

I just have to settle on the perfect paint and quote.  Any ideas?

“I rejoice that there are owls. Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men. It is a sound admirably suited to swamps and twilight woods which no day illustrates, suggesting a vast and underdeveloped nature which men have not recognized. They represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have.”
-Henry David Thoreau


7 comments on “PAINT + A QUOTE

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  1. Sarah

    Either part or all of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost… its probably been done before, but its an inspiring, thoughtful and lovely poem…

    The Road Not Taken

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I marked the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

    1. Jett

      I have long loved Max Ehrmann’s ‘Desiderata of Happiness’. I think the first stanza would be amazing on a child’s wall:

      “Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others….they too have their story.”

      ….and also the last line of the seventh stanza:

      “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.”

      It just makes me all grinny every time I read it. You can find the whole text (and some lovely background information!) here:

    2. savo

      Hi, the idea in painting an owl scene on the bedrooms wall sounds good. But a quote should be short:

      another example:
      “The Bat that flits at close of Eve
      Has left the Brain that won’t believe.
      The Owl that calls upon the Night
      Speaks the Unbeliever’s fright.” William Blake

      good luck! cheers from Germany

  2. virginia

    You could also paint her wall with blackboard paint, and change the quote as she grows older. I like this passage from Robert Persig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, but perhaps for another room:

    “The allegory of a physical mountain for the spiritual one that stands between each soul and its goal is an easy and natural one to make. Like those in the valley behind us, most people stand in sight of the spiritual mountains all their lives and never enter them, being content to listen to others who have been there and thus avoid the hardships. Some travel into the mountains accompanied by experienced guides who know the destination. Still others, inexperienced and untrusting, attempt to make their own routes. Few of these are successful but occasionally some, by sheer will and luck and grace, do make it. Once there they become more aware than any of the others that there’s no single or fixed number of routes. There are as many routes as there are individual souls.”

    1. Emily Twaddell

      Here’s a little poem I found:

      There Was An Owl

      There was an owl
      who lived in an oak.
      The more he heard,
      the less he spoke;
      the less he spoke,
      the more he heard-
      We all should be
      like that wise old bird.