AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

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

30 September 2010

"Frenchman For The Night"

"He Went To Paris" and played last Friday night.

Take a look ...

Neil Young, "Walk With Me"

One of my roommates in college, Tom Earls, taught me about Neil Young ... "He can't sing. He can't play. He's great."

Daniel Lanois makes it all work.

Support Family Farms.

Saturday.

1 p.m.

Pull yer kickers on and tune in to "Willie's Place," Sirius XM channel 64.

Willie, Neil, & Jamey.

Poetry.

It's Thursday night.

The grading is done.

The charcoal is turning gray.

The woodland creatures around my open windows are learning some new songs.

Here's one ... now, where's that corkscrew?

Visions, that that keep stirring soul
Visions, that will never grow old
Sweet baby, I had some visions of you
If I can't have it all, just a taste will do

Go ahead and live all your fantasies
(Don't you ever think about the other side?)
Helps you get from where you are
To where you want to be
(You and me oughta be taking a ride)
You do the best you can
And you make your mistakes
(If you don't like it, you can say that you tried)
'Cause all I have to give is whatever it takes

Play on, El Chingadero, play on
Play on, El Chingadero

Dance, angel, dance 'til you wear out your blues
(Only thing that's gonna save you now)
Take another chance, you got nothing to lose
(The boy didn't love you anyhow)
Girl, you drive me wild when you do what you do
(Something makes me want to take you down)
If I can't have it all, just a taste will do
Just a taste of you

- Felder/Henley

Powerful.

Mozart conducted the premiere of his opera, "The Magic Flute," on this date in 1791.
How powerful is your magic sound!
When you are played
Even the wild animals feel joy!
- Tamino, The Magic Flute

29 September 2010

Happy Birthday Cervantes.

One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this.
- Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote

28 September 2010

Realize.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Reflection Seascape (Lake George), 1922
Now and then when I get an idea for a picture, I think, how ordinary. Why paint that old rock? Why not go for a walk instead? But then I realize that to someone else it may not seem so ordinary.
- Georgia O'Keeffe

New.

Thank you, Keri Smith.

27 September 2010

K.B.O.

By constant dripping, water hollows stone,
A signet-ring from use alone grows thin,
And the curved plowshare by soft earth is worn.
- Ovid

Chatham.

The artist's site is posting work in progress.

Flow.

From a 2003 interview Russell Chatham did with The Bloomsbury Review ...

Russell Chatham: ... develop your brain as much as possible. It broadens and deepens everything. All art comes first from the heart, the brain is the train that delivers it to the station.

The Bloomsbury Review: There's a metaphor that the mind is like a muscle, so it's important to keep it engaged.

RC: Everyone has seen examples of a state of mind, positive or negative, affecting physical health. People have been diagnosed with terminal cancer, said no i don't think so, and gone on to live when medical science they shouldn't have.

TBR: Georgia O'Keeffe must've been nearly 100, legally blind, yet still working with clay, staying engaged with the universe, and keeping herself young at heart. She kept the child alive, that innocent, sweet part of us I think is so essential to the creative process.

RC: Very important. Without vulnerability and innocence, things become cynical and hard, which ultimately disallows any kind of translation I look for in art, and that I hope to deliver. You can't afford to become bitter in any way, or else the world will no longer be able to flow through you.

26 September 2010

Billy Joe Shaver, "I'm Just An Old Chunk O' Coal"

Zeal.

He taught the emerging cynics that eighth graders so often are, that it was okay to be excited and passionate about a subject like history. While other teachers copied out lessons on the blackboard, Stevens expected you to be taking notes while he spoke. Where other teachers might use the overhead projector to show a formula or detail, Stevens would draw the battle situation out from memory on the chalkboard or note the location on one of his maps. He would show the troop movements as he explained what happened. He brought the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to life for us.

Cultural Offering remembers a great man.

Gather ... more.


There's a limit to one's resourcefulness, but how do you know the limit? You have to push out and and not do anything you've ever done before. It comes to that.

Habit is what destroys art. I've always been struck by those Cheyenne who did everything backwards when they were bored. There's a longing, a craving to know more than we get to know, sort of a Faustian notion that you want a lot of interesting things to occur before you die; and it strikes you that rather than wait around for them to occur, you're going to have to arrange most of them.

- Jim Harrison

Jordi Savall

Sawing out an old fiddle tune ...

Intention.


Viktoria Mullova was recently interviewed on her latest collection of authentically-performed Beethoven violin sonatas ...

"We have so many recordings these days of the Beethoven sonatas I don't think it's interesting anymore to hear another one, they are all played more or less in the same way," she said, with a noticeable accent perhaps betraying that Mullova, although she defected in 1983 and lives in London, remains faithful to the "Russian soul."

"I didn't record it because I wanted to be different, but because I wanted to go to the actual composition, how it was intended to be ...

Read the rest here.

The sonatas are here.

Trust.

You have to trust the truth of your heart's affections and the imagination.
- Jim Harrison

Gather.


Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.

This is going in my tool belt.

Thanks, yet again, Cultural Offering.

Well ... C'MON!

Palestrina, "Gloria"

Performed by The Sixteen.

Calm.

Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.
- Martin Luther

From a BBC documentary, Sacred Music: Bach and the Lutheran Legacy ...
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

25 September 2010

Simplicity.

Albrecht Durer, The Large Turf
As I grew older, I realized that it was much better to insist on the genuine forms of nature, for simplicity is the greatest adornment of art.
- Albrecht Durer

"Tomorrow the sky ..."


The track “Harm’s Swift Way” exists today only because it was one of the final tunes to escape from the brain of its writer, Townes Van Zandt, and onto tape in the days that immediately preceded his death on New Year’s Day in 1997. Van Zandt’s widow, Jeanene, was so moved in 2008 by Plant’s live take on the song “Nothin’” that she gave him a copy of Townes’ uncirculated demo of “Harm’s Swift Way,” with its dark lyrics centering on the meaning of life and the great beyond. That made it to Plant’s live set, but one song that didn’t is the one he uses to close his album, “Even This Shall Pass Away,” based on the words of a poem from 1866 that reflect on a wise Persian king’s observation that you can’t take it with you when you go.

Read the rest here.

Behold ...
Harm's Swift Way

There is a home out of harms swift way
I set myself to find
I swore to my love I would
Bring her there
Then I left my love behind
The desert was long
The mountain high
The road ran steep and winding
The promises so easily made
Unbearable, yet binding
Oh me, oh my
Who's gonna count my time

Time will go, it never stays
Memory locked in her passing
Try, oh try to cling to her
Until she becomes everlasting
The world's still blue
My word's still true
I feel I'm turning hollow
She does as she please
If ever she leaves
I'll strangle upon the sorrow
Oh me, oh my
Who's gonna mark my time

The road is past, tomorrow the sky
Between sometimes is blinding
Someday soon when I turn to cloud
I will fly on her wings somehow
Wrapped in the road and filled with above
The ground seems to fade away
Hold to the earth like a new born child
Pray she returns someday
Oh me, oh my
Who's gonna mark my time

- Townes Van Zandt

Harmony.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Black and Purple Petunias
It is to live with a refined attention to detail -- the flowers of the season, the sound of water poured onto stone, the time at which evening turns to dusk -- not because these things will enlarge the self, but because they bring our lives into harmony with that which transcends self.
- Okakura, The Book of Tea

Happiness.


Happiness is an angel with a serious face.
- Amedeo Modigliani

Ideal.

Sandro Botticelli, Portrait of a Woman
The human soul has still greater need of the ideal than of the real. It is by the real that we exist; it is by the ideal that we live.
-Victor Hugo

Quality.

Learn how to practice. It's not about the time you spend with your instrument, but about the quality of your practice.
- Viktoria Mullova

Technique.

Technique is the proof of your seriousness.
- Wallace Stevens

Partake.

Cultural Offering has begun the inspirational ritual of a season's change. Reflecting on Irving's masterpiece, I was reminded of his praise of rural life which, above any other time of year, is most appropriate now ...

It is in the country that the Englishman gives scope to his natural feelings. He breaks loose gladly from the cold formalities and negative civilities of town; throws off his habits of shy reserve, and becomes joyous and free-hearted. He manages to collect round him all the conveniences and elegancies of polite life, and to banish its restraints. His country-seat abounds with every requisite, either for studious retirement, tasteful gratification, or rural exercise. Books, paintings, music, horses, dogs, and sporting implements of all kinds, are at hand. He puts no constraint, either upon his guests or himself, but, in the true spirit of hospitality, provides the means of enjoyment, and leaves every one to partake according to his inclination.

Read the rest here.

I spent quite a bit of time in the bleak and blustery (and heat and humidity!) of fall's first Friday. I wandered ... looking skyward, amazed by the swiftly traveling "heavy horses" above.
A song of pride, appreciation, ... and change, penned by Ian Anderson, came to mind ...

Heavy Horses

Iron-clad feather-feet pounding the dust
An October's day, towards evening
Sweat embossed veins standing proud to the plough
Salt on a deep chest seasoning
Last of the line at an honest day's toil
Turning the deep sod under
Flint at the fetlock, chasing the bone
Flies at the nostrils plunder.

The Suffolk, the Clydesdale, the Percheron vie
with the Shire on his feathers floating
Hauling soft timber into the dusk
to bed on a warm straw coating.

Heavy Horses, move the land under me
Behind the plough gliding --- slipping and sliding free
Now you're down to the few
And there's no work to do
The tractor's on its way.

Let me find you a filly for your proud stallion seed
to keep the old line going.
And we'll stand you abreast at the back of the wood
behind the young trees growing
To hide you from eyes that mock at your girth,
and your eighteen hands at the shoulder
And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry
and the nights are seen to draw colder
They'll beg for your strength, your gentle power
your noble grace and your bearing
And you'll strain once again to the sound of the gulls
in the wake of the deep plough, sharing.

Standing like tanks on the brow of the hill
Up into the cold wind facing
In stiff battle harness, chained to the world
Against the low sun racing
Bring me a wheel of oaken wood
A rein of polished leather
A Heavy Horse and a tumbling sky
Brewing heavy weather.

Bring a song for the evening
Clean brass to flash the dawn
across these acres glistening
like dew on a carpet lawn
In these dark towns folk lie sleeping
as the heavy horses thunder by
to wake the dying city
with the living horseman's cry
At once the old hands quicken ---
bring pick and wisp and curry comb ---
thrill to the sound of all
the heavy horses coming home.

The horizon line of my rural home has become more expansive this week. Harvest has begun, and so the green and gold alleyways I travel have disappeared revealing ... space ... and distance. The few remaining cornfields offered the passerby an auditory treat ... their shocks rustling as they danced to the music of the whistling wind. Did you hear it?
The smells of season give the sights a run for their money. The warm grass, the rich earth offering forth its bounty. The delights of the autumnal kitchen ...

Ahhh ... 'tis autumn, indeed.

23 September 2010

Practice.

Practice what you know and it will help to make clear what you now do not know.
- Rembrandt

Amedeo Modigliani


The man that cannot leave behind everything that is old and rotten is not a man, but a bourgeois. You suffer, you are right, but can't suffering serve to find yourself and to make your dream stronger than your desire? Always let your aesthetic needs prevail over your social obligations.
- Amedeo Modigliani

Clapton.

Tuesday he releases his latest, which he calls, "An eclectic collection of songs that weren't really on the map."

Spend three minutes in the presence of greatness ...

Home.


On this day in 1806 Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and the rest of the Corps of Discovery completed their expedition to the Pacific as they safely docked in St. Louis. They were given a hero's welcome by most of the town's 1,000 inhabitants.


The best account is here.

Dreamlife.


The Bear

When my propane ran out
when I was gone and the food
thawed in the freezer I grieved
over the five pounds of melted squid,
but then a big gaunt bear arrived
and feasted on the garbage, a few tentacles
left in the grass, purplish white worms.
O bear, now that you've tasted the ocean
I hope your dreamlife contains the whales
I've seen, that the one in the Humboldt current
basking on the surface who seemed to watch
the seabirds wheeling around her head.

- Jim Harrison

Mystic splendor.

Alexander Volkov, Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon

It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
Of Nature have their image in the mind,
As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer's close,
Only the empty nests are left behind,
And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Gather ye harvest moon knowledge here.

22 September 2010

George Winston, "Woods"

Autumnal equinox.

Full moon ... Harvest moon.

'Tis Autumn ...

To Autumn

Alexander Volkov, Autumn Wind

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breat whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

- John Keats

Joy.


From The Fresh Aspect.

Thoughtful.

I am grateful for the generous giving of a thoughtful gift.

Thanks, Doug.

21 September 2010

Just happy.


Watched the Reds game with the kids tonight and we talked about our favorite players ...

Drew likes Drew Stubbs because, "He's so faaast ... and I like his batting stance."

Zuzu thought for a long time, and then after about 20 minutes just blurted out, "I like Scotty. He always tries hard and when he strikes out he doesn't argue or get mad. He's just happy he got to bat."

Thanks, sis.

Wideness and wonder.


I have picked flowers where I found them, have picked up sea shells and rocks and pieces of wood where there were sea shells and rocks and pieces of wood that I liked. When I found the beautiful white bones on the desert I picked them up and took them home too. I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.
- Georgia O'Keeffe

The details of her latest exhibition are here.

Head in the clouds

A golden morning ...

Happy Birthday Don Felder.

The man who replaced Bernie Leadon (ugh!) turns 63 today.

Boy goes to work with Walsh at the 4:24 mark ...

... as Henley carries on sooo intensely.

20 September 2010

Above.


I am the man in the moon
And I hope to shine upon you very soon
Waiting in the night
To bathe you all in moonlight
I am the man
I am the man in the moon

Silently
Revolving wandering through the heavens above
On my own

- Anderson & Squire

J.S. Bach, "Prelude from Suite for Lute No. 4 in E major"

John Williams plays the guitar ...

"Beingness."


In a life properly lived, you’re a river. You touch things lightly or deeply; you move along because life herself moves, and you can’t stop it; you can’t figure out a banal game plan applicable to all situations; you just have to go with the “beingness” of life, as Rilke would have it. In Sundog, Strang says a dam doesn’t stop a river, it just controls the flow. Technically speaking, you can’t stop one at all.
- JIm Harrison

Read the rest here.

Saudade.


I miss the U.P. terribly. It became a retreat for me from the real world. It was like, after a disgusting two weeks of movie meetings, and then a day later you’re at the Dunes Saloon in Grand Marais after taking a 4-hour walk with your dogs and never seeing anybody, because I’d say 99% of my hiking, I never saw another human being. Which is the way I liked it.

I know I’ve written about Michigan a lot lately, and I wonder if the origin isn’t homesickness. Which is a very deep feeling, what the Portuguese call saudade. It’s that longing for a place.

- Jim Harrison

Brown Dog Philosophy


Obsessions don't seem extraordinary if it's just the way you are.
- Brown Dog

Jupiter.


Tomorrow ... Earth passes between the sun and Jupiter, placing Jupiter opposite the sun in our sky. Astronomers call this event an opposition of Jupiter. The 2010 opposition is Jupiter’s closest since 1963. Plus, Jupiter is near tomorrow’s moon.

The giant planet is now lighting up the September night from dusk until dawn. It will remain close and bright throughout the second half of September. Although it’ll dim slightly by October, more people will notice Jupiter next month, because it will appear in the east already as the sun is setting in the west.


More here.

W.A. Mathieu, "Impromptu No.1"

Sounds like autumn ...

Work.


You can’t be proficient at some academic tasks without having certain knowledge be automatic — ‘automatic’ meaning that you don’t have to think about it, you just know what to do with it.” For knowledge that must be automatic, like multiplication tables, “you need something like drilling."

Balance is the key and learning should be engaging, but sometimes you just have to get after it ... and work.

Read the rest here.

19 September 2010

Simple ...

... feeling.

Thanks, Cultural Offering.

"If the past is a foreign country, this is your passport ..."

I love this site.


Don't miss this.

Head in the clouds

The last weekend of summer ended beautifully.

Two shots taken within five minutes of each other ... over Sunbury.

Thanks, Frazier.

Over Appleton.



Miracle.

The child must know that he is a miracle,

that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been,

and until the end of the world there will not be,

another child like him.
- Pablo Casals

Duomo

Before he died Michelangelo was asked where he wished to be buried. His last wish was that he be interred at the Church of Santa Croce, near the Florence Cathedral, so that, as his soul rose to heaven, his last image of earth would be Brunelleschi's Duomo.
- Michael Gelb, Discover Your Genius: How To Think Like History's Ten Most Revolutionary Minds

Brunelleschi's dome on the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence.

Challenge.


As for how beautiful the edifice is, it is its own witness ... it can be confidently asserted that the ancients never built to such a height or risked challenging the sky itself.

Brunelleschi's genius was so commanding that we can surely say that he was sent from heaven to renew the art of architecture.

- Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists