AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

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

28 February 2014

Kris Kristofferson, "Here Comes That Rainbow Again"

Whisper'd.

Carracci, Sleeping Venus, 1603


It is the hour when from the boughs
The nightingale's high note is heard;
It is the hour -- when lover's vows
Seem sweet in every whisper'd word;
And gentle winds and waters near,
Make music to the lonely ear.
Each flower the dews have lightly wet,
And in the sky the stars are met,
And on the wave is deeper blue,
And on the leaf a browner hue,
And in the Heaven that clear obscure
So softly dark, and darkly pure,
That follows the decline of day
As twilight melts beneath the moon away.

Lord Byron 

Exploring.


The free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.

John Steinbeck

Graphic.


Graphic compositions of fields, roads and meadows, lakes like puzzle cuts,  surprisingly symmetrical patterns on a frozen lake – these are Polish patterns.


Thanks, davidsketchbook.

27 February 2014

Feeling.

Wyeth, Dodges Ridge, 1947


Running like the wind across the springtime countryside and mountain fields. Because the plants, the flowers are sprouting, budding, the thin tips of twigs are inviting the season.  Feeling the breathing of storm, light, and clouds. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is resounding.

CONNECT

David Francey, "All Lights Burning Bright"

Craig Werth accompanies ...

Preparation.

You need to honor the highs and the peaks in the moments — you need to prepare your life for them — but recognize the fact that the preparation for those moments is your life and, in fact, that’s the richness of your life. The challenge that we set for each other, and the way that we shape ourselves to rise to that challenge, is life.



CONNECT

Read.


The ability to read brick tells us much about the buildings around us and the people who designed and built them. 

CONNECT

Happy birthday, Longfellow.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born on this date in 1807.

The Psalm of Life 

What The Heart Of The Young 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.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

26 February 2014

Become.

van Gogh, Boots with Laces, 1886

We are solitary. We can delude ourselves about this and act as if it were not true. That is all. But how much better it is to recognize that we are alone; yes, even to begin from this realization. It will, of course, make us dizzy; for all points that our eyes used to rest on are taken away from us, there is no longer anything near us, and everything far away is infinitely far. A man taken out of his room and, almost without preparation or transition, placed on the heights of a great mountain range, would feel something like that: an unequalled insecurity, an abandonment to the nameless, would almost annihilate him. He would feel he was falling or think he was being catapulted out into space or exploded into a thousand pieces: what a colossal lie his brain would have to invent in order to catch up with and explain the situation of his senses. That is how all distances, all measures, change for the person who becomes solitary; many of these changes occur suddenly and then, as with the man on the mountaintop, unusual fantasies and strange feelings arise, which seem to grow out beyond all that is bearable. But it is necessary for us to experience that too. We must accept our reality as vastly as we possibly can; everything, even the unprecedented, must be possible within it. 
This is in the end the only kind of courage that is required of us: the courage to face the strangest, most unusual, most inexplicable experiences that can meet us. The fact that people have in this sense been cowardly has done infinite harm to life; the experiences that are called ”apparitions,” the whole so-called “spirit world,” death, all these Things that are so closely related to us, have through our daily defensiveness been so entirely pushed out of life that the senses with which we might have been able to grasp them have atrophied. To say nothing of God. But the fear of the inexplicable has not only impoverished the reality of the individual; it has also narrowed the relationship between one human being and another, which has as it were been lifted out of the riverbed of infinite possibilities and set down in a fallow place on the bank, where nothing happens. For it is not only indolence that causes human relationships to be repeated from case to case with such unspeakable monotony and boredom; it is timidity before any new, inconceivable experience, which we don’t think we can deal with. but only someone who is ready for everything, who doesn’t exclude any experience, even the most incomprehensible, will live the relationship with another person as something alive and will himself sound the depths of his own being. for if we imagine this being of the individual as a larger or smaller room, it is obvious that most people come to know only one corner of their room, one spot near the window, one narrow strip on which they keep walking back and forth. In this way they have a certain security. And yet how much more human is the dangerous insecurity that drives those prisoners in Poe’s stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their cells. We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares have been set around us, and there is nothing that should frighten or upset us. We have been put into life as into the element we most accord with, and we have, moreover, through thousands of years of adaptation, come to resemble this life so greatly that when we hold still, through a fortunate mimicry we can hardly be differentiated from everything around us. We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Always.

Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Kinks, "Do It Again"

Gnarled.


Tim Fitzgerald has been creating fences, gates, arbors, garden art, trellises, and fine-art sculptures out of gnarled wood and found objects since 1992.


Thanks, Moldy Chum.

25 February 2014

Happy birthday, Renoir.

Renoir, Forest Path, 1875


Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born on this date in 1841.

They tell you that a tree is only a combination of chemical elements. I prefer to believe that God created it, and that it is inhabited by a nymph.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Chopin, Introduction and Rondo in E-flat major, Op.16

I can play like an angel but I am unapologetically of the devil's party.

Vladimir Horowitz

Watch this ...

Beautiful.

Every day in life is beautiful!

Alice Herz-Sommer

Behold, the power of music ...



Rest In Peace, Alice.

Aware.


Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high, then life seems almost enchanted, after all.

Vincent van Gogh

... stars on top of stars.

Thank You, Poetessa.

24 February 2014

Visée, Suite in A minor for theorbo

Jonas Nordberg performs the Prélude and Allemande ...

Together.


If I search among my memories for those whose taste is lasting, if I write the balance sheet of the moments that truly counted, I surely find those that no fortune could have bought me. You cannot buy the friendship of a companion bound to you forever by ordeals endured together.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Thank you, Poetessa.

Reality.

van Gogh, View of Arles with Irises, 1888


I treated Art as the supreme reality and life as a mere mode of fiction.

Oscar Wilde

Personalised.

Sir Ken Robinson addresses the fundamental economic, cultural, social and personal purposes of education. He argues that education should be personalised to every student's talent, passion, and learning styles, and that creativity should be embedded in the culture of every single school.



More on self-directed learning here.

Landscape.

Professor Emeritus James Cahill presents a series of lectures on early Chinese landscape painting ...



CONNECT

23 February 2014

Happy birthday, Witford.

Brad Whitford was born on this date in 1952.

Aerosmith, "Last Child" 

... Gotta get back to the real nitty gritty

Alive.

Bouguereau, Le ravissement de Psyche, 1895


i will wade out
                        till my thighs are steeped in burning flowers
I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
                                       Alive
                                                 with closed eyes
to dash against darkness
                                       in the sleeping curves of my body
Shall enter fingers of smooth mastery
with chasteness of sea-girls
                                            Will i complete the mystery
                                            of my flesh
I will rise
               After a thousand years
lipping
flowers
             And set my teeth in the silver of the moon

e.e. cummings

Happy birthday, Handel.

George Frideric Handel was born on this date in 1685.

Here's "The Many Rend the Sky with Loud Appalause," from Alexander Feast. Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts Concertus Musicus Wien and the Arnold Schoenberg Choir ... Luca Pianca is in there somewhere, playing the lute. Looks like fun!

22 February 2014

B E A U T Y

A path of sighs through the emotions of life.
A tribute to the art and her disarming beauty.




CONNECT

21 February 2014

Changed.

Jackson, The Red Maple, 1914


I was dead
I came alive
I was tears
I became laughter
all because of love
when it arrived
my temporal life
from then on
changed to eternal

love said to me
you are not
crazy enough
you don’t
fit this house

I went and
became crazy
crazy enough
to be in chains
love said
you are not
intoxicated enough
you don’t
fit the group

I went and
got drunk
drunk enough
to overflow
with light-headedness
love said
you are still
too clever
filled with
imagination and skepticism

I went and
became gullible
and in fright
pulled away
from it all
love said
you are a candle
attracting everyone
gathering every one
around you

I am no more
a candle spreading light
I gather no more crowds
and like smoke
I am all scattered now

love said
you are a teacher
you are a head
and for everyone
you are a leader
I am no more
not a teacher
not a leader
just a servant
to your wishes

love said
you already have
your own wings

I will not give you
more feathers
and then my heart
pulled itself apart
and filled to the brim
with a new light
overflowed with fresh life

now even the heavens
are thankful that
because of love
I have become
the giver of light


Rumi

Bruce Cockburn, "Use Me While You Can"

There's a black and white crow
on the back of a two-toned sheep
in a field of broken yellow stalks
below looming cliffs.

High above the plains
little grey houses blend
with giant jagged boulders
and pale weathered stumps.

Life in the ghost of the bush.

Wind whips the acacias and strange forked palms
That cluster around the water hole

Suddenly, out of the blowing sand
A milk-white camel appears.

Turbaned rider, blue robe billowing,
bounces with the shambling trot;
wears a sword and a rifle on his back,
and hanging from his neck, a transistor radio...

You blink and like ghosts, they're gone

Under the wan disc of sand-masked sun
A woman grins - spits expertly
Into the path of a struggling black beetle
Six feet away
Hoists her water bucket onto her head
And strides off up the trail...

Sun a steel ball glowing
Behind endless blowing sand
Sun a steel ball glowing
Dust of fallen empires slowly flowing through my hands
Use me while you can

Pearl held in black fingers
Is the moon behind dry trees
Pearl held in black fingers
Bird inside the rib cage is beating to be free
Use me while you can

I've had breakfast in New Orleans
Dinner in Timbuktu
I've lived as a stranger in my own house, too
Dark hand waves in lamplight
Cowrie shell patterns change
And nothing will be the same again

Bullet in a sandstorm
Looking for a place to land
Bullet in a sandstorm
Full heart beats an empty one
In the deck they dealt to man
Use me while you can


Symphonies.

Jackson, March Storm, Georgian Bay, 1920


When on the island I sometimes imagined an inverse world, in which concert halls would be turned over to the sounds of rain and the rustling of winds while in the treetops and on the weirs and behind the walls of factories, sonatas and symphonies would ring out; in a world such as this the damp on the plastering of walls would probably form coherent text while the pages of books would be covered with indistinct marks.

Michal Ajvaz

20 February 2014

Lose.

Doisneau, La Musique des Puces, 1944


... a parallel temporal world in which we are prone to lose ourselves, or at least to lose all semblance of objective time.

Jimmy Buffett, "Tides"

Poetry to learn, sing, and live ...

Every sailor’s son
Is taught when they are young
That the pull of the moon lingers on
Something we can’t escape
From Bimini ‘round the Cape
Mix in the wind and the sea and sing along
To whom it may concern
I’ve always tried to learn
That the good days need to last
Seasoned with a lot of laughter
Here and in the ever after
With poetry and painters from my past
So I follow the tides
On currents far and wide
Chalking up the stories and the miles
Yes I follow the tides
Big blue rides
And that’s the reason I will never lose my smile
Hoping to catch a wave
Looking to misbehave
As my lucky stars still shine above the sea
Watching the ships roll in
I’ll play that Otis song again
For the tourists and some mermaids by the sea
And I follow the tides
Down my songlines far and wide
The world to me should still be free and wild
Yes I follow the tides
Give me more big blue rides
And that’s the reason I will never lose my smile
Every sailor’s son
Is taught when they are young
That the pull of the moon lingers on
Something we can’t escape
Is it salt water or just fate
Mix in the wind and the sea and sing along
And we’ll follow the tides
Down our songlines far and wide
It seems to me my life’s still free and wild
Yes we’ll follow the tides
Give us more big blue rides
And that’s the reason I will never lose my smile
And that’s the reason you should never lose your smile

19 February 2014

Happy birthday, Boccherini.

Luigi Boccherini was born on this date in 1743.

Janos Starker plays the Adagio and Allegro from Boccherini's Sonata No. 6 in A Major ...



Music plays a considerable role in the one of my favorite series, the Aubrey and Maturin novels, by Patrick O'Brian.  Boccherini's music is given special attention in the closing scene of the movie adaptation of Master and Commander ...

La Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid, No. 6, Op. 30

18 February 2014

David Lindley, "Little Sadie"

J.S. Bach, Lute Suite in G minor, BWV 995, Sarabande

Xavier Díaz-Latorre performs ...

Wished.

van Gogh, Self-portrait with Felt Hat (detail), 1888


The instruction shows the way and the method. The vision is the work of one who has wished to see. 

Japanese proverb

Spirit.

Chatham, Pond in Fading Light, 1992


As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth ... the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and the wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.  

The trees we climb and the ground we walk on have given us five fingers and toes. The "place" (from the root plat, broad, spreading, flat) gave us far-seeing eyes, the streams and breezes gave us versatile tongues and whorly ears. The land gave us a stride, and the lake a dive. The amazement gave us our kind of mind. We should be thankful for that, and take nature's stricter lessons with some grace.

If you do know what is taught by plants and weather, you are in on the gossip and can feel truly at home. The sum of a field's forces become what we call very loosely the "spirit of the place." To know the spirit of a place is to realize that you are a part of a part and that the whole is made or parts, each of which in a whole. You start with the part you are whole in. 

Gary Snyder

17 February 2014

Queen, "Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)"

When I'm gone
Don't stop to wonder if I ever think of you
The same moon shines
The same wind blows
For both of us, and time is but a paper moon ... be not gone

Though I'm gone
It's just as though I hold the flower that touches you
A new life grows
The blossom knows
There's no one else could warm my heart as much as you ... be not gone

Let us cling together as the years go by
Oh my love, my love
In the quiet of the night
Let our candle always burn
Let us never lose the lessons we have learned

Teo Torriate konomama iko
Aisuruhito yo
Shizukana yoi ni
Hikario tomoshi
Itoshiki oshieo idaki

Hear my song
Still think of me the way you've come to think of me
The nights grow long
But dreams live on
Just close your pretty eyes and you can be with me ... dream on

When I'm gone
They'd say we're all fools and we don't understand
Oh, be strong
Don't turn your heart
You're all
We're all
For all
For always ...


Promise.


Every new book I read comes to be a part of that overall and unitary book that is the sum of my readings ... if you need little to set the imagination going, I require even less: the promise of reading is enough.

Italo Calvino

Remember.

Modigliani, Caryatid, 1911


What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.

Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Wondering.


When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world

Mary Oliver

Singular.

Rothko, Untitled, 1969


To be oneself, simply oneself, is so amazing and utterly unique an experience that it's hard to convince oneself so singular a thing happens to everybody.

Simone de Beauvoir

Again.

van Gogh, First Steps, 1890


Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

G.K. Chesterton

Jordi Savall, Music from the Borgia Dynasty

Jordi Savall performs and leads Hesperion XXI ...