AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

17 June 2018

Happy Father's Day, Pop!


Happy Father's Day to the best dad I could ever hope to have.  Love, wisdom, guidance, and infinite patience still mercifully abound.

Pictured (l-r): Uncle Fred, RCF, Sarge (Higgins Lake perch frying in cast iron on the Weber, foreground), c. 1971.

16 June 2018

Another.

Shishkin, The Forest of Countess Mordvinova, 1891


From the vast, invisible ocean of moonlight overhead fell, here and here, a slender, broken stream that seemed to plash against the intercepting branches and trickle to earth, forming small white pools among the clumps of laurel. But these leaks were few and served only to accentuate the blackness of his environment, which his imagination found it easy to people with all manner of unfamiliar shapes, menacing, uncanny, or merely grotesque.

He to whom the portentous conspiracy of night and solitude and silence in the heart of a great forest is not an unknown experience needs not to be told what another world it all is - how even the most commonplace and familiar objects take on another character. The trees group themselves differently; they draw closer together, as if in fear. The very silence has another quality than the silence of the day. And it is full of half-heard whispers, whispers that startle - ghosts of sounds long dead. There are living sounds, too, such as are never heard under other conditions: notes of strange night birds, the cries of small animals in sudden encounters with stealthy foes, or in their dreams, a rustling in the dead leaves - it may be the leap of a wood rat, it may be the footstep of a panther. What caused the breaking of that twig? What the low, alarmed twittering in that bushful of birds? There are sounds without a name, forms without substance, translations in space of objects which have not been seen to move, movements wherein nothing is observed to change its place. Ah, children of the sunlight and the gaslight, how little you know of the world in which you live!

Ambrose Bierce

Life.

Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life in Art ...

Van Morrison, "Take Me Back"

Twined.


All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretense
Our wanderings to guide.

Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour,
Beneath such dreamy weather,
To beg a tale of breath too weak
To stir the tiniest feather!
Yet what can one poor voice avail
Against three tongues together?

Imperious Prima flashes forth
Her edict to "begin it"--
In gentler tones Secunda hopes
"There will be nonsense in it"--
While Tertia interrupts the tale
Not more than once a minute.

Anon, to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast--
And half believe it true.

And ever, as the story drained
The wells of fancy dry,
And faintly strove that weary one
To put the subject by,
"The rest next time"--"It is next time!"
The happy voices cry.

Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out--
And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.

Alice! a childish story take,
And with a gentle hand
Lay it where Childhood's dreams are twined
In Memory's mystic band,
Like pilgrim's withered wreath of flowers
Plucked in a far-off land.

Lewis Carroll

Michael Martin Murphey, "Geronimo's Cadillac"



It's sandwich time.

Happy birthday, Geronimo.


Geronimo was born on this day in 1829.

I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.

Geronimo

15 June 2018

Quality.


We do not live merely to "do something" –- no matter what. Activity is just one of the normal expressions of life, and the life it expresses is all the more perfect when it sustains itself with an ordered economy of action. This order demands a wise alternation of activity and rest. We do not live more fully merely by doing more, seeing more, tasting more, and experiencing more than we ever have before. On the contrary, some of us need to discover that we will not begin to live more fully until we have the courage to do and see and taste and experience much less than usual.

Our being is not to be enriched merely by activity or experience as such. Everything depends on the *quality* of our acts and our experiences. A multitude of badly performed actions and of experiences only half lived exhausts and depletes our being. By doing things badly we make ourselves less real. This growing unreality cannot help but make us unhappy and fill us with a sense of guilt. But the purity of our conscience has a natural proportion with the depth of our being and the quality of our acts: and when our activity is habitually disordered, our malformed conscience can think of nothing better to tell us than to multiply the *quantity* of our acts, without perfecting their quality. And so we go from bad to worse, exhaust ourselves, empty our whole life of all content, and fall into despair.

There are times then when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing. And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform: and often it is quite beyond his power.

We must first recover the possession of our own being before we can act wisely or taste any experience in its human reality.

Thomas Merton

Merle Haggard, "Take Me Back to Tulsa"

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Unfinished.

Chatham, Spring Creek, 1995


These days between late spring
and early summer are like paintings
already hanging but not yet finished
[…] still waiting for their final touches
and smelling of linseed and turpentine:
everything fresh, the paint still wet,
the taut sky primed with a wash of blue.
The Siberian irises, not yet
unfurling, their buds still tight,
look like paintbrushes saturated
with ultramarine; buttercups
spatter the meadow with yellow.
From an arbor of scribbled vines,
blossom-clusters of wisteria
dangle, glistening with last night’s rain.
A wood thrush calls in liquid trills
from deep within the background’s
mass of pale, soft greens. The air
chills while the sun warms the scene.
May these days remain unfinished
a while longer, with no artist
jostling his way in
to apply some final flourish
or a coat of varnish that will
only darken. Let the bumblebee
fumble among the blossoms.

Jeffrey Harrison

14 June 2018

R.E.M., "Fireplace"

Crazy crazy world crazy crazy times
Crazy crazy world crazy crazy times
Hang up your chairs to better sweep
Clear the floor to dance
Shake the rug into the fireplace


Crazy crazy world crazy crazy times
Crazy crazy world crazy crazy times
Hang up your chairs to better sweep
Clear the floor to dance
Sweep the floor into the fireplace


Hang up your chairs to better sweep
Clear the floor to dance
Throw the chairs into the fireplace


Hang up your chairs to better sweep
Clear the floor to dance
Throw the walls into the fireplace

Mukwa

Beard, The Bear Dance, 1870


The gypsies believe the bear to be a brother to man because he has the same body beneath his hide, because he drinks beer, because he enjoys music and because he likes to dance.

Ernest Hemingway

Mukwa ... bear medicine.

Mozart, Violin Concerto No.5 in A major, K.219

Isaac Stern performs with the Radio France Chamber Orchestra, Alexander Schneider conducting ...



It's sandwich time.

Carry.


Come, let me sing into your ear;
Those dancing days are gone,
All that silk and satin gear;
Crouch upon a stone,
Wrapping that foul body up
In as foul a rag:
I carry the sun in a golden cup.
The moon in a silver bag.

Curse as you may I sing it through;
What matter if the knave
That the most could pleasure you,
The children that he gave,
Are somewhere sleeping like a top
Under a marble flag?
I carry the sun in a golden cup.
The moon in a silver bag.

I thought it out this very day.
Noon upon the clock,
A man may put pretence away
Who leans upon a stick,
May sing, and sing until he drop,
Whether to maid or hag:
I carry the sun in a golden cup,
The moon in a silver bag.

W.B. Yeats

Hang.


GRATITUDE to the UNKNOWN INSTRUCTORS

What they undertook to do
They brought to pass;
All things hang like a drop of dew
Upon a blade of grass.

W.B. Yeats

Bach, Violin Partita No.3 in E major, BWV 1006

Itzak Perlman performs ...

Unconfin'd.


On with the dance! let joy be unconfin’d;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing Hours with flying feet—

Lord Byron, from "Eve of Quatre Bras"

Keith.


Keith Richards and some other guy at the Beggars Banquet photoshoot on June 14, 1968.

Civilization.

13 June 2018

Manners.

Grabill, Lakota Camp, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, 1891


I have attended dinners among white people. Their ways are not our ways. We eat in silence, quietly smoke a pipe and depart. Thus is our host honored. This is not the way of the white man. After his food has been eaten, one is expected to say foolish things. Then the host feels honored.

Four Guns

XTC, "Yacht Dance"

Happy birthday, Yeats.


The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart longs for, and have no fear. Hammer your thoughts into unity.

W.B. Yeats

12 June 2018

Arise.


The CLOUD


I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 'tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning my pilot sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardours of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aëry nest,
As still as a brooding dove.

That orbèd maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till calm the rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.

I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,
And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-coloured bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,
While the moist Earth was laughing below.

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

Percy Bysshe Shelley