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 May 2013

Paul Weller, "Light Nights"

Recall.


Most of us have had a case of "tip of the tongue" syndrome at some point. The phenomenon is so common it actually has a clinical shorthand, a "TOT state." It occurs when the left temporal and frontal areas of your brain temporarily fail to work together to retrieve words or names stored in your memory, or other information, like where you left your keys. Multitasking, fatigue and the natural aging process all contribute to your chances of having a TOT moment, but surprising new research claims a simple trick could help you better retain and recall memories, even under stress.

CONNECT

Van Morrison, "Summertime in England"

Happy birthday, Whitman.


Walt Whitman was born on this date in 1819.

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

- Walt Whitman

30 May 2013

The Police, "Bring On The Night"

Clear.

Today's trip to the zoo was a big hit with the fifth graders ...


Thanks, Karen.

Dream.


Thus shall you think of this fleeting world — 
a star at dawn, 
a bubble in a stream, 
a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, 
a flickering lamp, 
a phantom and a dream.

- Buddha

Paul Weller, "Sea Spray"

Doing.

van Gogh, Self portrait (detail), 1885


He is generally considered to be one of history’s greatest artists and had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. His artistic accomplishments are not an accident, not a result of some easily magic trick or secret, but a consequence of his nature to work persistently on his art every day. He revered “the doing” in art. He wrote about his hard work many times to his brother Theo. In a letter he sent Theo in 1885 he stated that one can only improve by working on your art, and many people are more remarkably clever and talented than him, but what use is it if they do not work at it.

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28 May 2013

Paul Weller, "As You Lean Into The Light"

Happy birthday, Gibby.

My all-time favorite Tiger, Kirk Gibson, was born on this date in 1957.

Curiosity.


Curiosity, which may or may not eventuate in something useful, is probably the outstanding characteristic of modern thinking. It is not new. It goes back to Galileo, Bacon, and to Sir Isaac Newton, and it must be absolutely unhampered. Institutions of learning should be devoted to the cultivation of curiosity and the less they are deflected by considerations of immediacy of application, the more likely they are to contribute not only to human welfare but to the equally important satisfaction of intellectual interest which may indeed be said to have become the ruling passion of intellectual life in modern times.

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Realized.


The lucid dreamer is essentially a fully awake human person who cannot be said to be hallucinating (because he knows what is real and unreal); and yet who observes a fully realized visual world replete with settings, environments, characters, movements, actions, storyline, plot and "atomsphere" just as occurs in the waking world. Indeed this dream world and the characters in it are so real that they can intensely affect the dreamer’s physiologic reactions even unto death.

So how are we to understand lucid dreaming?

CONNECT

Debussy, "Reflets dans l'eau"

Arturo Michelangeli performs ...

Rejoice.


It hain't no use to grumble and complane;
            It's jest as cheap and easy to rejoice.—
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain,
            W'y rain's my choice.

Men ginerly, to all intents—
            Although they're apt to grumble some—
Puts most theyr trust in Providence,
            And takes things as they come—
                        That is, the commonality
                        Of men that's lived as long as me
                        Has watched the world enugh to learn
                        They're not the boss of this concern.

With some, of course, it's different—
            I've saw young men that knowed it all,
And didn't like the way things went
            On this terrestchul ball;—
                        But all the same, the rain, some way,
                        Rained jest as hard on picnic day;
                        Er, when they railly wanted it,
                        It mayby wouldn't rain a bit!

In this existunce, dry and wet
            Will overtake the best of men—
Some little skift o' clouds'll shet
            The sun off now and then.—
                        And mayby, whilse you're wundern who
                        You've fool-like lent your umbrell' to,
                        And want it—out'll pop the sun,
                        And you'll be glad you hain't got none!

It aggervates the farmers, too—
            They's too much wet, er too much sun,
Er work, er waitin' round to do
            Before the plowin' 's done:
                        And mayby, like as not, the wheat,
                        Jest as it's lookin' hard to beat,
                        Will ketch the storm—and jest about
                        The time the corn's a-jintin' out.

These-here cy-clones a-foolin' round—
            And back'ard crops!—and wind and rain!—
And yit the corn that's wallerd down
            May elbow up again!—
                        They hain't no sense, as I can see,
                        Fer mortuls, sech as us, to be
                        A-faultin' Natchur's wise intents,
                        And lockin' horns with Providence!

It hain't no use to grumble and complane;
            It's jest as cheap and easy to rejoice.—
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain,
            W'y, rain's my choice.

- James Whitcomb Riley

Attentiveness.

Ten times a day something happens to me like this - 


 ... some strengthening throb of amazement - 


... some good sweet empathic ping and swell. 


This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: 


... that the soul exists ...


... and is built ...


... entirely out of attentiveness.

- Mary Oliver

Thank YOU, Jess.

Wildness.


I started writing poetry in my adolescence, to give voice to some powerful experiences that I had while doing snowpeak mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest. At first I wrote "directly as I felt." Then I discovered the work of Robinson Jeffers and D.H. Lawrence. Aha, I thought, there is more to poetry. I became aware of poetry as a craft—a matter of working with materials and tools—that has a history, with different applications and strategies all over the world over tens of thousands of years. I came to understand poetry as a furthering of language. (Language is not something you learn in school, it is a world you're born into. It is part of the wildness of Mind. You master your home tongue without conscious effort by the age of five. Language with its sinuous syntax is not unlike the thermal dynamics of weather systems, or energy exchanges in the food chain—completely natural and vital, part of what and who we are. Poetry is the leap off of [or into] that.)

- Gary Snyder

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25 May 2013

Paul Weller, "All On A Misty Morning"

Happy birthday, Weller.

Poet Paul Weller was born on this date in 1958.

Happy birthday, Emerson.


Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on this date in 1803.


Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good-frame,
Plans, credit and the Muse,—
Nothing refuse.

’T is a brave master;
Let it have scope:
Follow it utterly,
Hope beyond hope:
High and more high
It dives into noon,
With wing unspent,
Untold intent:
But it is a god,
Knows its own path
And the outlets of the sky.

It was never for the mean;
It requireth courage stout.
Souls above doubt,
Valor unbending,
It will reward,—
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending.

Leave all for love;
Yet, hear me, yet,
One word more thy heart behoved,
One pulse more of firm endeavor,—
Keep thee to-day,
To-morrow, forever,
Free as an Arab
Of thy beloved.

Cling with life to the maid;
But when the surprise,
First vague shadow of surmise
Flits across her bosom young,
Of a joy apart from thee,
Free be she, fancy-free;
Nor thou detain her vesture’s hem,
Nor the palest rose she flung
From her summer diadem.

Though thou loved her as thyself,
As a self of purer clay,
Though her parting dims the day,
Stealing grace from all alive;
Heartily know,
When half-gods go,   
The gods arrive.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fragments.

O'Keeffe, Oriental Poppies, 1928


I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could.

- Georgia O'Keeffe

24 May 2013

23 May 2013

Toumast, "Ikalane Walegh"

Van Morrison, "Ballerina/Move On Up"

Lucid.

As if the science of sleep and the emotional function of dreaming weren’t fascinating enough in and of themselves, things get even more bewildering when it comes to lucid dreaming — a dream state in which you’re able to manipulate the plot of the dream and your experience in it. 



CONNECT

Happy birthday, Linnaeus.


Carl Linnaeus was born on this date in 1707.
He grew quickly into a boy fascinated not just by flowers, and by the plants that produce them, but also by the names of those plants. He badgered his father to identify the local wildflowers that he collected. "But he was still only a child," according to one account, "and often forgot them." His father, reaching a point of impatience, scolded little Carl, "saying that he would not tell him any more names if he continued to forget them. After that, the boy gave his whole mind to remembering them, so that he might not be deprived of his greatest pleasure." This is the sort of detail, like Rosebud the sled, that seems too perfectly portentous for real history, as opposed to screen drama or hagiography. Still, it might just be true. Names and their storage in memory, along with the packets of information they reference, are abiding themes of his scientific maturity. But to understand the huge renown he enjoyed during his lifetime, and his lasting significance, you need to recognize that Carl Linnaeus wasn't simply a great botanist and a prolific deviser and memorizer of names.
He was something more modern: an information architect.

Through.


The world is the closed door. It is a barrier. And at the same time it is the way through.

Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but it is also their means of communication. … Every separation is a link.

― Simone Weil

Crucial.


A riddle: What is one of the most crucial commodities for creative people that’s also becoming increasingly difficult to obtain in the 21st century? The answer: ... 

Hacking.

When 13 year-old Logan LaPlante grows up, he wants to be happy and healthy. He discusses how hacking his education is helping him achieve this goal.


22 May 2013

Ends.

Lange, The Reading Tree, 1939


The man who has reverence will not think it his duty to "mold" the young. He feels in all that lives, but especially in human beings, and most of all in children, something sacred, indefinable, unlimited, something individual and strangely precious, the growing principle of life, an embodied fragment of the dumb striving of the world. All this gives him a longing to help the child in its own battle; he would equip and strengthen it, not for some outside end proposed by the State or by any other impersonal authority, but for the ends which the child's own spirit is obscurely seeking. The man who feels this can wield the authority of an educator without infringing the principle of liberty.

- Bertrand Russell

21 May 2013

smallchop.



Congratulations, Lorna!

Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen, "Old Crossroads"

Going.

Some keep the Sabbath going to the Church —
I keep it, staying at Home -



With a Bobolink for a Chorister —
And an Orchard, for a Dome --


Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice —
I just wear my Wings --



And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton — sings.



God preaches, a noted Clergyman —
And the sermon is never long,



So instead of getting to Heaven, at last —
I'm going, all along.


- Emily Dickinson

Thank you very much, Jess.

Ignorance.

Curtis, Mandan with Skull, 1909


One of the deepest and strangest of all human moods is the mood which will suddenly strike us perhaps in a garden at night, or deep in sloping meadows, the feeling that every flower and leaf has just uttered something stupendously direct and important, and that we have by a prodigy of imbecility not heard or understood it. There is a certain poetic value in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance.

- G.K. Chesterton

17 May 2013

Wonder.

Glover, Path, 2010


Ancient Highway

There's a small cafe on the outskirts of town
I'll be there when the sun goes down
Where the roadside bends
And it twists and turns
Every new generation
And I'll be praying to my higher self
Don't let me down, keep my feet on the ground

There's a roadside jam playin' on the edge of town
In a town called Paradise near the ancient highway
When the train whistle blows
All the sadness that Hank Williams knows
And the river flows
Call them pagan streams and it spins and turns
In a factory in a street called Bread in East Belfast
Where Georgie knows best
What it's like to be Daniel in the lion's den
Got so many friends only most of the time

When the grass is high and the rabbit runs
Though it's talkin' to you and I
And every new generation comes to pay
The dues of the organ grinder jam
And the grinder's switch of the sacrifice
Everybody made to be rational with understanding
And I'll be praying to my higher self
Oh, don't let me down, keep my feet on the ground

What about all the people living in the nightmare hurt
That won't go away no matter how hard they try
They've got to pay time and time again, time and time again
I'll be praying to my higher self
And I'll be standin' there, where the boats go by
When the sun is sinking way over the hill
On a Friday evening when the sun goes down
On the outskirts of town, I wanna slip away
I wanna slip away, got to get away
And I'll be praying to my higher self
Don't let me down, keep my feet on the ground, don't let me down

You'll be cryin' again, you'll be cryin' again, you'll be cryin' again
By the same wipe the teardrops from your eyes
Have to slip away in the evening when the sun goes down
Over the hill, with a sense of wonder
Everything gonna be right on a Friday evening
All the cars go by all along down
The ancient highway
And I'll be praying, I'll be praying to my higher self
Don't let me down, keep my feet, keep my feet on the ground
Keep my feet on the ground

Traveling like a stranger in the night, all along the ancient highway
Got you in my sights, got you on my mind
I'll be praying in the evening when the sun goes down
Over the mountain, got to get you right in my sight
As the beams on the cars from the overpass
On the ancient highway shine like diamonds in the night
Like diamonds in the night
I'll be praying to my higher self, to my higher self
Don't let me down, don't let me down

And you'll be standing there, while the boats go by
While the boats go by on a Friday evening
Shining your light, shining your light on a Friday evening
Got to slip away, got to slip away down that ancient highway
In a town called Paradise, in a town, in a town
All along, all along that road, all along that road,
All along that road with the trancelike vision

I'll be praying to my higher self, don't let me down, don't let me down
Keep my feet on the ground, keep my feet on the ground,
Keep my feet on the ground
Friday evening got to slip away
Watching the view from a car from the overpass
And we're driving down that ancient road
Shining like diamonds in the night, oh diamonds in the night
All along the ancient highway
Got you in my sight, got you in my mind
Got you in my arms and I'm praying, and I'm gonna pray
I'm gonna pray, to my higher self, ah don't let me down


- Van Morrison

15 May 2013

Chris Wall, "I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight"

Can.

Somewhere.

Karr, Untitled, 2013


A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

- Walt Whitman

Thanks, Jess.

Ray Wylie Hubbard, "The Messenger"

Internal.

Collins, Sky Study for Richard, 2011


Most sweet it is with unuplifted eyes
To pace the ground, if path be there or none,
While a fair region round the traveller lies
Which he forbears again to look upon;
Pleased rather with some soft ideal scene,
The work of Fancy, or some happy tone
Of meditation, slipping in between
The beauty coming and the beauty gone.
If Thought and Love desert us, from that day
Let us break off all commerce with the Muse:
With Thought and Love companions of our way,
Whate'er the senses take or may refuse,
The Mind's internal heaven shall shed her dews
Of inspiration on the humblest lay.

- William Wordsworth

14 May 2013

Florence + The Machine, "What the Water Gave Me"

Perfumes.

Webb, Door to Patio, O’Keeffe’s House, Abiqui, New Mexico, 1981


2
Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless,
It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

- Walt Whitman, from "Song of Myself"

Paradise.



There may be chaos still around the world,
This little world that in my thinking lies;
For mine own bosom is the paradise
Where all my life's fair visions are unfurled.
Within my nature's shell I slumber curled,
Unmindful of the changing outer skies,
Where now, perchance, some new-born Eros flies,
Or some old Cronos from his throne is hurled.
I heed them not; or if the subtle night
Haunt me with deities I never saw,
I soon mine eyelid's drowsy curtain draw
To hide their myriad faces from my sight.
They threat in vain; the whirlwind cannot awe
A happy snow-flake dancing in the flaw.

- George Santayana

12 May 2013

Enormous.

Science writer Richard Preston talks about some of the most enormous living beings on the planet, the giant trees of the US Pacific Northwest. Growing from a tiny seed, they support vast ecosystems -- and are still, largely, a mystery.


Richard Preston's site is here.

Thanks for showing all of this to me, Jess!

Within.

Mucha, Evening Star, 1902



Star Teachers

Even as a bird sprays many-coloured fires,

The plumes of paradise, the dying light

Rays through the fevered air in misty spires

That vanish in the height.



These myriad eyes that look on me are mine ;

Wandering beneath them I have found again

The ancient ample moment, the divine,

The God-root within men.



For this, for this the lights innumerable

As symbols shine that we the true light win:

For every star and every deep they fill

Are stars and deeps within.

- George William Russell

Jackson Browne, "Linda Paloma"

Kind.


A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.

- Washington Irving

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  I love you very much.