AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

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

31 March 2011

Happy Birthday, Haydn.

Franz Joseph Haydn was born on this date in 1732.



A song to learn and sing ...

Te Deum laudamus:
te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem
omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli;
tibi caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim
incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra
maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum
sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem,
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo,
aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni:
quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.

Salvum fac populum tuum,
Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies benedicimus te;
Et laudamus Nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri Domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua,
Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi:
non confundar in aeternum.

Softly.

Beckett, Evening Light, Beaumaris, 1925


Softly the evening came
The sun from the western horizon
Like a magician extended his golden want o'er the landscape
Trinkling vapors arose; and sky and water and forest 

Seemed all on fire at the touch, and melted and mingled together.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tim O'Brien & Sam Bush, "Soldier's Joy"

Opening.


For lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
the flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

- Song of Solomon, recited each inaugural spring training broadcast by long-time Tigers' play-by-play man, Ernie Harwell

I love baseball.

My Dad introduced me to the game and taught me to appreciate the poetry of the game. During the season, we threw every night. The poetry of persistence. That sound of the ball smacking the pocket of the glove. "Hit the belt." Organized or pick-up, I loved to play. Grass, dirt, chalk, fences, sky, wood, leather, and gum ... ingredients for true slendor.

Like hockey, nothing even comes close to being there ... unless you have a radio ... and work to do.

Growing up in central Michigan, some of my fondest memeories are of sunny Saturday afternoons, Dad's radio in the garage tuned to WJR (The Great Voice of The Great Lakes), and Ernie Harwell's magical voice doing the play-by-play. To this day Dad will mimmick Ernie's trademarks ...

... on a called strike three, "... and he stood like like a house by the side of the road," ...

... on the pitcher's delivery, "Fidrych kicks and deals,"

... or the random naming of the catcher of a foul ball, "... and a second grader from Saginaw caught that one."

Ed Werstein remembers Ernie ...

Ernie

Five minutes after tuning in late
you knew all the important stuff:

score, inning, situation, pitchers,
key plays, game summary,
(the Tiges [like tikes with a hard g]
scored first on Kaline’s
sacrifice fly in the third,
but the Bosox took the lead in
their half of the inning
with a two run blast by Malzone
after a one out walk to Runnels.)

If the Tigers were on the road,
you got some additional info.
Maybe a description of Comiskey Park,
right down to those beautiful arches,
or the dimensions of Fenway’s
green monster.

But the stats were just the stitching
in the patchwork of beautiful pictures
he pieced together.

Moms from Midland, lads from Lansing,
and those gentlemen from Ypsilanti
will still manage to snag foul balls.

Watching called third strikes sail by,
hitters will still just stand there
like the house by the side of the road.

Double plays will still be two for the price of one,
homers will still be loooong gone,
and fans will still be holding onto their beers
during those tense ninth innings.

But, like a ground-rule double
he hopped the fence and left the park.
Ernie Harwell is gone,
and no one will ever tell us that way again.


Today is Opening Day and my Tigers are in The Bronx, Justin Verlander taking the mound against the Yankees. Plug in the radio, tune in your team, and light the grill ... PLAY BALL!

The Bleacher Report "kicks and deals" here.

Don't miss Spitball, The Literary Baseball Magazine.

30 March 2011

Dream.


...that memory or dream thing I do that for me comes nearer reality than my objective kind of work. I see no reason for painting anything that can be put into any other form as well
- Georgia O'Keeffe

O'Keeffe, Untitled Drawing (study for Black Place), 1944


O'Keeffe, Black Place I, 1944


O'Keeffe, Black Place I, 1945


… the black hills—black and grey and silver with arroyos of white sand curving around them—pink and white strata running through them. They flow downward, one below the next. Incredible stillness!
- Georgia O’Keeffe

Snow.

Herbin, Roofs of Paris in the Snow, 1902

Good.


Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
- John Ruskin

Still.


A Psalm of Life, What the heart of the man said to the Psalmist

TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real ! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o'erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

- Longfellow

Happy Birthday, Clapton.

Eric Clapton was born on this date in 1945.

Here he is discussing Robert Johnson and playing "Stones In My Passway" ...



Robert Johnson's original ...



Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment ... full effort is full victory.
- Ghandi

Read.


We read deeply for varied reasons, most of them familiar: that we cannot know enough people profoundly enough; that we need to know ourselves better; that we require knowledge, not just of self and others, but of the way things are. Yet the strongest, most authentic motive for deep reading…is the search for a difficult pleasure. We read to find ourselves, more fully and more strangely than otherwise we could hope to find. We read frequently if unknowingly, in quest of a mind more original than our own.
- Harold Bloom, How To Read And Why



"The absence of answers or determinate meanings" is exactly the set of "qualities that make a passage or a work literary." Literary works have no single meaning, whatever the author intended. Indeed, Garber points out, "one of the key features of what might be called the literary unconscious is a tendency on the part of the text to outwit or to confound the activity of closing or ending."

This is not relativism. This is not deconstruction. People have been saying things like this about literature since Horace - and indeed, Horace's ancient dictum (that literature should both teach and delight) is, I believe, one of the underlying themes of Garber's book. It's just that what Garber thinks literature teaches is not a set of univocal moral truths but rather a habit of mind: a way of questioning the world, a way of understanding just how hard it is to make decisions, fall in love, express desire, worship, rule and serve.

We read books often to learn how others do these things - and often to learn how others failed to do them. We read books to be pleasured, too, into an admiration for a writer's choice of words or for an author's command of our emotions. One of the most vivid points that Garber makes is that "scenes of reading in literature are often sites of seduction."


Read the rest here.

Garber's site is here.

Cultural Offering adds value here.

Happy Birthday, van Gogh.

Vincent van Gogh was born on this date in 1853.

Below is a letter Vincent wrote to his friend, Paul Gauguin, on October 17 (my birthday!), 1888.


My dear Gauguin,

Thanks for your letter, and thanks most of all for your promise to come as early as the twentieth. Agreed, this reason that you give won’t help to make a pleasure trip of the train journey, and it’s only right that you should put off your journey until you can do it without it being a bloody nuisance. But that apart, I almost envy you this trip, which will show you, en passant, miles and miles of countryside of different kinds with autumn splendours.

I still have in my memory the feelings that the journey from Paris to Arles gave me this past winter. How I watched out to see ‘if it was like Japan yet’! Childish, isn’t it?

Look here, I wrote to you the other day that my vision was strangely tired.4 Well, I rested for two and a half days, and then I got back to work. But not yet daring to go outside, I did, for my decoration once again, a canvas of my bedroom with the whitewood furniture that you know. Ah, well, it amused me enormously doing this bare interior.

With a simplicity à la Seurat.

In flat tints, but coarsely brushed in full impasto, the walls pale lilac, the floor in a broken and faded red, the chairs and the bed chrome yellow, the pillows and the sheet very pale lemon green, the bedspread blood-red, the dressing-table orange, the washbasin blue, the window green. I had wished to express utter repose with all these very different tones, you see, among which the only white is the little note given by the mirror with a black frame (to cram in the fourth pair of complementaries as well).

Anyway, you’ll see it with the others, and we’ll talk about it. Because I often don’t know what I’m doing, working almost like a sleepwalker.

It’s beginning to get cold, especially on the days when the mistral blows.

I’ve had gas put in the studio, so that we’ll have good light in winter.

Perhaps you’ll be disillusioned with Arles if you come at a time when the mistral’s blowing, but wait... It’s in the long term that the poetry down here soaks in.

You won’t find the house as comfortable yet as we’ll gradually try to make it. There are so many expenses, and it can’t be done in one go. Anyway, I believe that once here, like me, you’ll be seized with a fury to paint the autumn effects, in between spells of the mistral. And that you’ll understand that I’ve insisted that you come now that there are some very beautiful days. Au revoir, then.

Ever yours,
Vincent


van Gogh, The Arles Bedchamber, 1889


Read more on The Arles Bedchamber here.


If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all. I don't know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream. I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?
- Vincent van Gogh

Seen.

Chatham, Mt. Tamalpais In The Fog, 2001


Piute Creek

One granite ridge
A tree, would be enough
Or even a rock, a small creek,
A bark shred in a pool.
Hill beyond hill, folded and twisted
Tough trees crammed
In thin stone fractures
A huge moon on it all, is too much.
The mind wanders. A million
Summers, night air still and the rocks
Warm. Sky over endless mountains.
All the junk that goes with being human
Drops away, hard rock wavers
Even the heavy present seems to fail
This bubble of a heart.
Words and books
Like a small creek off a high ledge
Gone in the dry air.
A clear, attentive mind
Has no meaning but that
Which sees is truly seen.
No one loves rock, yet we are here.
Night chills. A flick
In the moonlight
Slips into Juniper shadow:
Back there unseen
Cold proud eyes
Of Cougar or Coyote
Watch me rise and go.


- Gary Snyder

Moving.


Nordstrom had taken to dancing alone. He considered his sanity unblemished and his nightly dances an alternative to the torpor of calisthenics. He had chided himself of late for so perfectly living out all of his mediocre assumptions about life. The dancing was something new and owned an almost metaphysical edginess to it. At forty-three he was in fine but not spectacular shape, though of late he felt a certain softness, a blurring in the perimeters of his body. After cleaning up the dishes from a late dinner, he would dim the lights in the den and put an hour’s worth of music on the stereo though recently he often increased it to two hours: the selection was eclectic depending on his mood and might, on any evening, include music as varied as Merle Haggard, Joplin’s “Pearl”, The Beach Boys, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Otis Redding, and the Grateful Dead. The point was to keep moving, to work up a dense sweat and to feel the reluctant body become fluid and graceful. The fact of the matter is that Nordstrom wasn’t a very good dancer, but when you’re dancing alone, who cares?

Beginning with his childhood in Michigan he had been an excellent swimmer, a fair flycaster and bird hunter, and a fair basketball player, a fair linebacker, a fair golfer, and a fair tennis player. Only the swimming haunted his dreams, all other sports had been discarded. Perhaps swimming was dancing in the water, he thought. To swim under lily pads seeing their green slender stalks wavering as you passed, to swim under upraised logs, past schools of sunfish and bluegills, to swim through reed beds past wriggling water snakes and miniature turtles, to swim in small lakes, big lakes, Lake Michigan, to swim in small farm ponds, creeks, giant rivers where one was easily swept along easily by the current …


From Jim Harrison's novella, The Man Who Gave Up His Name

Boogie on the picnic table ...

29 March 2011

Molson.

My buddy, Molson, passed away a year ago today.


My favorite moment in life is when I give my dog a fresh bone.
- Jim Harrison

I miss you, buddy. I hope Sam has shown you where to find all the balls and carrots.

28 March 2011

Piazzoni.

Piazzoni, The Forest, 1945


The Monterey Museum of Art, La Mirada, will feature Russell Chatham's grandfather, Gottardo Piazzoni, in an exhibition entitled "From Dawn To Dusk."

More here.

Adams, Gottardo Piazzoni in his Studio, San Francisco, 1932


Piazzoni has frequently been labeled a mystic. He perceived nature and the landscape as the embodiment of God, and in his paintings he sought a communion with both, yet he was not religious in the doctrinaire sense. His family was Roman Catholic and he had attended church regularly when a boy in Switzerland, but later in life went to church only on Easter Sunday at the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo in Carmel. Piazzoni's religion was not to be found indoors, but in nature. "He appreciated everything about nature," his daughter recalled. For Piazzoni, nature, like his lapsed Catholicism, could be the source of powerful ritual. It is still something of a family legend that he knew and celebrated the exact moment of the full moon.

He knew exactly where the moon would be coming up, and we'd sit there and wait, and wait for the moon. And pretty soon you'd see the light. There was nothing to disturb this moon and the light would start coming up behind the hill...the more we could see the moon the more we'd yell and scream till the whole moon would show, and then we'd clap, and yell, and scream--hooray, hooray!


Boost your knowledge a little more here.

Billy Joe Shaver, "Live Forever"

Soothing.

Chatham, Spring Pond, 1997


Call it artistic ADD – Chatham had his hand in so many things that by the age of forty he felt his painting was suffering. He pulled back on the writing and faced his family’s legacy head on. During this period he polished his signature style -the deliberate brush strokes of muted color so superbly blended together as to create a sublime landscape even Mother Nature could celebrate. Many have called his work subtle or subdued, but he bristles at the description. “I’ve always thought of myself as a colorist,” he explains. “I’ve heard the comment that my work is subdued and I think it’s foolish. If you go back in time you find there are no great paintings in history with color. Everything is a matter of gray. It’s the relationship of one color to another that matters.” You have to look no further than Chatham’s studio to know he takes that philosophy to heart. He starts with primary colors, mixes his own hybrid hues, and then meticulously applies the paint one horizontal line at a time. Each inch he brings in just a dab more color – orange or red -depending on placement. His touch with color is so delicate that the changes are almost imperceptible. “I like the 30 feet, three feet, three inch rule. A painting should be interesting at all three distances,” he says. No question, Chatham’s paintings are indeed compelling at all three, but it’s up close and far away that they pack the most punch. At three inches, you can see every deliberate brush stroke and its relationship to the next. At thirty feet you can appreciate the whole – invariably a soothing sublime and always emotional experience.

Read the rest here.

Clearer.

Wyeth, Spring Beauty, 1943



This is important for the development of my way of seeing reality. Here is a time I used pencil and Higgins' in, too, to make the silver gray of the bark, for the texture of that bark was fascinating to me. Now this is far from the colorful "impressionism" of my earlier works. Here I'm slowly changing. I'm seeing things in a clearer way.
- Andrew Wyeth

Van Morrison, "Orangefield"

On a gold autumn day
You came my way in Orangefield
Saw you standing by the riverside in Orangefield
How I loved you then in Orangefield
Like I love you now in Orangefield

And the sun shone on your hair
When I saw you there in Orangefield
Saw you standing by the riverside in Orangefield
How I loved you then in Orangefield
Like I love you now in Orangefield

And the sun shone so bright
And it lit up all our days
You were the apple of my eye
Baby it's true

On a golden autumn day
All my dreams came true in Orangefield
On a throne of Ulster day
You came my way in Orangefield
How I loved you then in Orangefield
Like I love you now in Orangefield

And the sun shone so bright
And it lit up all our lives
And the apple of my eye
Baby was you

On a throne of Ulster day
You came my way in Orangefield
Saw you standing by the riverside in Orangefield
How I loved you then in Orangefield
Like I love you now in Orangefield
How I loved you then in Orangefield


On.


Should the king in exile pretend he is happy there?

Should he not seek his own country?

His miseries are his ally; they urge him on. Let them grow, if need be. But do not forsake the secret of life; do not despise those kingly desires. We abandon the most important journey of our lives when we abandon desire. We leave our hearts by the side of the road and head off in the direction of fitting in, getting by, being productive, what have you. Whatever we might gain – money, position, the approval of others, or just absence of the discontent self – it’s not worth it.

— John Eldredge

Van Morrison, "I'll Take Care Of You"

26 March 2011

Quack.

Chardin, A Green-Neck Duck with a Seville Orange, 1730


Jethro Tull, One White Duck



The best thing to do (to who?) to duck is to produce soup ... Can you do this one?

Wander.

The Acropolis.

Invaluable.

Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around.

You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more.

You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you.

When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement.

They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself.

Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful.

There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around.

You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are.

The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever.

Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again.

Colours seem brighter and more brilliant.

Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all.

A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face.

In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby.

Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you.

You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do.

Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon.

You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible.

You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you.

You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end.

Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile.

Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.


- Robert Nesta Marley


Bob & The Wailers, Wake Up & Live



Esperanza.

Classical.

Terry, Thenford Summerhouse, 1982


A popular misconception is that classical architecture is pastiche; it is often said that it is a simple matter of cribbing from the pattern books. I notice that many art historians are full of this and – like all people who are protected from reality – they will never learn until they start to practise. I believe there is something in the Gospels: 'If you know these things, happy are ye if ye do them'. It is only in the doing that we learn.
- Quinlan Terry

Read the rest here.

More here.

Karl Jenkins, Palladio, an homage to Il Maestro.

Autonomy.

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.
— William Blake

The.


Andrew Peterson, The Magic Hour

Come climb the hill with me
Come and be still with me
Come watch the sun sink away
If you will with me

Come watch the garden grow
Down by the gravel road
Come warm your hands in the gold
Of the afterglow

Into the peace of these wild things,
Into the wild of this grace,
Into the grace of this blessing,
Speak in the peace of this place

Come walk the cedar stand
Over the broken dam
Sit on the bench at the bend in the trail again

Look how the children laugh
Out in the tumble grass
Bright as a fire and as fine as a photograph

Here at the magic hour
Time and eternity
Mingle a moment in chorus
Here at the magic hour
Bright is the mystery
Plain is the beauty before us
Could this beauty be for us?

What is this voice that sings
Holy and hovering
Over this hill in the still of the evening?
(Son of God, speak)


25 March 2011

Order.


Nature goes her own way, and all that to us seems an exception is really according to order.
- Goethe

Revealing.

Sloane, Hoxie House at Sandwich, Massachusetts, 1971


The antique things and wooden oddities that give me such pleasure do open glorious doors to the past; yet, if I could only meet and speak with the men who made them, an important hunger would be satisfied. The living difference or lack of difference between us and our ancestors is a revealing thing; this, and not the change in our attic material, is the proof of progress. It is important to remember, when comparing the past with the present, not to allow modern wonders to awe one into believing that all changes are synonymous with progress.
- Eric Sloane

Read the rest here.

More here.

Jack Ingram doing Guy Clark poetry ... Stuff That Works

24 March 2011

Eagles, "How Long"

Then ...



... and now ...



Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear?
- Jack London

Need.


...beauty matters ... it is not just a subjective thing, but a universal need of human beings. If we ignore this need we find ourselves in a spiritual desert.
- Roger Scruton

I've posted Scruton's BBC series, Why Beauty Matters, in the past, but it's worth another look.

Noticed.

Bernini, Ponte Sant'Angelo Angel, 1670


Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference: beauty demands to be noticed; it speaks to us directly like the voice of an intimate friend. If there are people who are indifferent to beauty, then it is surely because they do not perceive it.
- Roger Scruton

23 March 2011

Metanoia.


I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that it is only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. One must completely abandon any attempt to make something of oneself, whether it be a saint, or a converted sinner, or a churchman, a righteous man or an unrighteous one, a sick man or a healthy one. By this worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously nor our own sufferings, but those of God in the world – watching with Christ in Gethsemane. That, I think, is faith; that is metanoia; and that is how one becomes a man and a Christian. How can success make us arrogant, or failure lead us astray, when we share in God’s suffering through a life of this kind?
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Henryk Górecki, Symphony No.3, Lento e Largo. Tranquillissimo

21 March 2011

Happy Birthday, Bach.

Bela Fleck, Praeludium to the Harp Partita, BWV 1006A

Idleness.


... The assumption of a deep and creative bond with nature and the elevation of the uniquely individual over the mechanized and standardized, made it hospitable to the deeper ethos of idleness. Which is to say: to the rhythms and expressions of life unfettered. Witness the poetry in England of Wordsworth, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats, or that of Friedrich Hölderlin and Novalis in Germany. Is there a purer, more lyrically nuanced expression of this languor of being than Keats’ “Ode to Autumn,” though here idleness has shifted from a state of possibility to one of almost dazed fulfillment? The poet invokes the season personified:

Who hath not seen thee oft amidst thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind ...


There is a long-standing connection, a harmony, between literary expressions of idleness and the invocation of the gods, and the lesser rural deities, such as populate the Eclogues. Milton’s “Lycidas” (1637), a pastoral elegy, draws directly on the Virgilian model. The poet’s lament for his deceased friend reimagines a former happy rural leisure—the shepherd in his idleness—complete with “oaten flute” and “rough satyrs” dancing, before the gods see fit to steal it away. We find a similar conflation of the bosky world of the pagan gods and the more leisurely disposition of impulses and affections in Shakespearean comedies, such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It, where customary strivings are overtaken by an almost antic lightness of being.

Read the rest here.

Eagles, Learn To Be Still

Happy Birthday, Dad.

In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Today is my Dad's birthday.


It's difficult to think of a way in which my Dad didn't influence me.


One of the most important lessons my Dad taught me was how to be a loving and compassionate father.


Happy birthday, Pop ... I love you.

19 March 2011

This.


Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of- something not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through; the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat's side? Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it- tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest- if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself- you would know it.

Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say, 'Here at last is the thing I was made for.' We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.

- C.S. Lewis

John Williams and Juliam Bream perform Debussy's Clair de Lune ...

Longing.


The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born.
- C.S.Lewis

Frank Sinatra, Moonlight Serenade

Alan Jackson, "Good Time"

A new favorite I sing with Drew & Zuzu.

Pancake flippin' music ...

Wander.

The Moon.

18 March 2011

Big.


The monthly full moon always looks like a big disk, but because its orbit is egg-shaped, there are times when the moon is at perigee—its shortest distance from Earth in the roughly monthlong lunar cycle—or at apogee, its farthest distance from Earth.

Likewise, because the size of the moon's orbit varies slightly, each perigee is not always the same distance away from Earth. Friday's supermoon will be just 221,566 miles (356,577 kilometers) away from Earth. The last time the full moon approached so close to Earth was in 1993, according to NASA.


Read the rest here.

More from Earth & Sky here.

17 March 2011

Light.

Lighting architect Rogier van der Heide offers a beautiful new way to look at the world -- by paying attention to light (and to darkness). Examples from classic buildings illustrate a deeply thought-out vision of the play of light around us.

Dancing.

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.



It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers
.


It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth
and of death, in ebb and in flow.



I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

- Rabindranath Tagore