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 April 2015

Clear.


Though the past winter was the hottest on record, it was chilly enough on the East Coast to send seasonal sheets of ice creeping across the Great Lakes. Now that that ice has cleared with spring, Lake Michigan is clear enough that shipwrecks lying on the lake bottom can be seen from the air.
  

Thank You, Jessica.

Again.


It is easy to go down into Hell;
Night and day, the gates of dark death stand wide;
But to climb back again, to retrace one’s steps to the upper air—
There’s the rub, the task.

Virgil

Sara Watkins, "Jefferson"

Purchase.


On this date in 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory for about four cents an acre.

CONNECT

29 April 2015

Frank Sinatra, "For You"

Far.

Dwyer, The Break at Low Tide, 2014


"Why have you let your mind get so entwined,”
my master said, “that you have slowed your walk?
Why should you care about what’s whispered here?
Come, follow me, and let these people talk:
stand like a sturdy tower that does not shake
its summit though the winds may blast; always
the man in whom thought thrusts ahead of thought
allows the goal he’s set to move far off—
the force of one thought saps the other’s force."


Dante

Pro.

Trust a pro ...

Confident.

Todd Snider, "I Can't Complain"

Retelling.


Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.

C.S. Lewis

Brahms, Ballade No. 4 in B major, Op.10

Emil Gilels performs ... 

Renewed.

Bernini, Apollo and Daphne (detail), 1625


As wave is driven by wave
And each, pursued, pursues the wave ahead,
So time flies on and follows, flies, and follows,
Always, for ever and new. What was before
Is left behind; what never was is now;
And every passing moment is renewed.

Ovid

Happy birthday, Ellington.


Duke Ellington was born on this date in 1899.

If it sounds good, it is good.

Duke Ellington

"Caravan," from 1952 ...

Jimmy Ibbotson, "Ripplin' Waters"

Typography.

28 April 2015

Michael Schenker Group, "Armed & Ready"

GAME ON! GO LMH!

Powers.

Pete(r) Rowan(s), "In The Pines"

With Jim Lauderdale and Chris Henry ...

Library.

Unknown, Butman-Fish Library, Saginaw Michigan, 1949


Where it all began for me.

Thanks, Mum.

On.


The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall; nations perish; civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead.

Clarence Shepard Day 

Betterment.


I believe that dreams-- daydreams, you know, with your eyes wide open and your brain machinery whizzing--are likely to lead to the betterment of the world.  The imaginative child will become the imaginative man or woman most apt to invent, and therefore to foster, civilization.

L. Frank Baum

Beethoven, Piano Sonata No 29 in B-flat major, Op. 06

Alfred Brendel, enthusiast ...

27 April 2015

Librarian.


I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.

Ray Bradbury

Different.

If you think of teaching as having people just sitting in rows all the time and talk to them, it's very hard to control them on that basis, but if you engage children's imaginations, their curiosity, you've got them working in teams, you've got them doing practical project work, it's a very different dynamic in schools.



CONNECT

Freedom.


I was born free, and that I might live in freedom I chose the solitude of the fields; in the trees of the mountains I find society, the clear waters of the brooks are my mirrors, and to the trees and waters I make known my thoughts and charms. I am a fire afar off, a sword laid aside. Those whom I have inspired with love by letting them see me, I have by words undeceived, and if their longings live on hope—and I have given none to Chrysostom or to any other—it cannot justly be said that the death of any is my doing, for it was rather his own obstinacy than my cruelty that killed him; and if it be made a charge against me that his wishes were honourable, and that therefore I was bound to yield to them, I answer that when on this very spot where now his grave is made he declared to me his purity of purpose, I told him that mine was to live in perpetual solitude, and that the earth alone should enjoy the fruits of my retirement and the spoils of my beauty; and if, after this open avowal, he chose to persist against hope and steer against the wind, what wonder is it that he should sink in the depths of his infatuation? If I had encouraged him, I should be false; if I had gratified him, I should have acted against my own better resolution and purpose. He was persistent in spite of warning, he despaired without being hated. Bethink you now if it be reasonable that his suffering should be laid to my charge. Let him who has been deceived complain, let him give way to despair whose encouraged hopes have proved vain, let him flatter himself whom I shall entice, let him boast whom I shall receive; but let not him call me cruel or homicide to whom I make no promise, upon whom I practise no deception, whom I neither entice nor receive. It has not been so far the will of Heaven that I should love by fate, and to expect me to love by choice is idle. Let this general declaration serve for each of my suitors on his own account, and let it be understood from this time forth that if anyone dies for me it is not of jealousy or misery he dies, for she who loves no one can give no cause for jealousy to any, and candour is not to be confounded with scorn. Let him who calls me wild beast and basilisk, leave me alone as something noxious and evil; let him who calls me ungrateful, withhold his service; who calls me wayward, seek not my acquaintance; who calls me cruel, pursue me not; for this wild beast, this basilisk, this ungrateful, cruel, wayward being has no kind of desire to seek, serve, know, or follow them. If Chrysostom's impatience and violent passion killed him, why should my modest behaviour and circumspection be blamed? If I preserve my purity in the society of the trees, why should he who would have me preserve it among men, seek to rob me of it? I have, as you know, wealth of my own, and I covet not that of others; my taste is for freedom, and I have no relish for constraint; I neither love nor hate anyone; I do not deceive this one or court that, or trifle with one or play with another. The modest converse of the shepherd girls of these hamlets and the care of my goats are my recreations; my desires are bounded by these mountains, and if they ever wander hence it is to contemplate the beauty of the heavens, steps by which the soul travels to its primeval abode.

Miguel Cervantes, from Don Quixote 

Happy birthday, Grant.

Unknown, Gen. U.S. Grant writing his memoirs, Mount McGregor, June 27th, 1885, 1885


Ulysses S. Grant was born on this date in 1822.

The right of revolution is an inherent one. When people are oppressed by their government, it is a natural right they enjoy to relieve themselves of the oppression, if they are strong enough, either by withdrawal from it, or by overthrowing it and substituting a government more acceptable. But any people or part of a people who resort to this remedy, stake their lives, their property, and every claim for protection given by citizenship — on the issue. Victory, or the conditions imposed by the conqueror — must be the result.

Ulysses S. Grant

Bruce Springsteen, "The Promised Land"

Guide.

Frank Lloyd Wright's manifesto, which was meant to guide his students ...

26 April 2015

Awakened.


Awakened at midnight
by the sound of the water jar
cracking from the ice

Basho

24 April 2015

The Mavericks, "All That Heaven Will Allow"

Happy Friday!

Virtue.

Bio Ritmo.

Development.


When we're infatuated with efficiency ... we let innovation die. By imprisoning ourselves in metrics, we don't value the less quantifiable, more long-term aspects of value creation, like exploration, empathy, contemplation, and stillness. Since we're conditioned to the thrills of fighting fires, firing off emails, and the validation that gives us, we feel starved of time. And our product development gets malnourished.

CONNECT

Rich.


We need to call time on the exam-factory model, ensure a broad and balanced curriculum in our schools, and focus on improving teaching rather than fruitlessly reforming school structures – not only because a childhood at school should be a rich, enjoyable and challenging time; but also because the coming economy demands exactly the kind of rigorous creativity and personal resilience that Robinson advocates.

Mozart, Quartet in G, K. 285

Bassoon get-it for the Friday morning fifth-grade hi-fi ...



Squibs love a bassoon.

Go.


The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.   
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?   
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?   
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,   
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?   
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do   
To you and me; so take the lively air,   
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.   
What falls away is always. And is near.   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I learn by going where I have to go.

Theodore Roethke

Grades.


Grades are a problem. On the most general level, they're an explicit acknowledgment that what you're doing is insufficiently interesting or rewarding for you to do it on your own. Nobody ever gave you a grade for learning how to play, how to ride a bicycle, or how to kiss. One of the best ways to destroy love for any of these activities would be through the use of grades, and the coercion and judgment they represent. Grades are a cudgel to bludgeon the unwilling into doing what they don't want to do, an important instrument in inculcating children into a lifelong subservience to whatever authority happens to be thrust over them.

Derrick Jensen

RAF

World War II Royal Air Force reconnaissance, logistics, and execution of a night bombing run over Berlin ...

Words.


Now, while I have you here before my platform, what words shall I whip forth painted in red letters ten feet tall?

Zeppelin.

22 April 2015

Typography.


Thank You, Jessica.

Imagination.


Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement. And it’s the one thing that I believe we are systematically jeopardizing in the way we educate our children and ourselves.

Sir Ken Robinson

Beyond.


An invisible bird flies over,
but casts a quick shadow.

What is the body?
That shadow of a shadow of your love
That somehow contains
the entire universe.

A man sleeps heavily,
though something blazes in him like the sun,
like a magnificent fringe sewn up under the hem.

He turns under the covers.
Any image is a lie:

A clear red stone tastes sweet.

You kiss a beautiful mouth,
and a key turns in the lock of your feet.

A spoken sentence sharpens to a fine edge.

A mother dove looks for her nest,
asking, 'Where, ku? Where, ku?'

Where the lion lies down.
Where any man or woman goes to cry.
Where the sick go when they hope to get well.
Where a wind lifts that helps with winnowing,
and, the same moment, sends a ship on its way.

Where anyone says,
'Only God Is Real. Ya Hu!'
Where beyond where.

A bright weaver's shuttle flashes back and forth,
east-west,
'Where-are-we?  Ma ku?  Maku'.
Like the sun saying, 'Where are we?'
as it weaves with the asking.

Rumi

The Kinks, "Misfits"

Compass.


If we use a map for long enough, we lose sight of the fact the entire journey was based on a plan someone else had for us. We stop questioning it at all. It’s safe, it’s secure, it’s easy, and guaranteed to get us where we’re going.

Trusting the compass is a habit, a practice, and a commitment. The first time you trust it and it leads you somewhere unexpected and amazing, you’ll find the courage to trust it again. You’ll let it carry you towards another edge worth exploring. The more you do it, the more it will become your new normal, and eventually you’ll trust the compass more than the map.

Perfect.



It was the forty-fathom slumber that clears the soul and eye and heart, and sends you to breakfast ravening. They emptied a big tin dish of juicy fragments of fish- the blood-ends the cook had collected overnight. They cleaned up the plates and pans of the elder mess, who were out fishing, sliced pork for the midday meal, swabbed down the foc'sle, filled the lamps, drew coal and water for the cook, an investigated the fore-hold, where the boat's stores were stacked. It was another perfect day - soft, mild and clear; and Harvey breathed to the very bottom of his lungs.

Rudyard Kipling, from Captains Courageous

21 April 2015

Zest.


True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Bach, Lute Suite in G minor, BWV 995

Xavier Díaz-Latorre plays the Sarabande on the 13-course lute ...

Masterpiece.

The dome that crowns Florence’s great cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore—the Duomo—is a towering masterpiece of Renaissance ingenuity and an enduring source of mystery. Still the largest masonry dome on earth after more than six centuries, it is taller than the Statue of Liberty and weighs as much as an average cruise ship. Historians and engineers have long debated how its secretive architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, managed to keep the dome perfectly aligned and symmetrical as the sides rose and converged toward the center, 40 stories above the cathedral floor. His laborers toiled without safety nets, applying novel, untried methods. Over 4 million bricks might collapse at any moment—and we still don’t understand how Brunelleschi prevented it. 


CONNECT

*** Rope lines (44:00)

Adventures.

Demont, Don Quixote, 1893


“Destiny guides our fortunes more favorably than we could have expected. Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and to kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is noble, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth.”

“What giants?” asked Sancho Panza. “The ones you can see over there,” answered his master, with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long.”

“Now look, your grace,” said Sancho, “what you see over there aren’t giants, but windmills, and what seem to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone."

“Obviously,” replied Don Quixote, “you don’t know much about adventures.”

Miguel Cervantes, from Don Quixote

Good.

van Gogh, Souvenir de Mauve, 1888


When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.

Ernest Hemingway

Silence.

Sargent, Reconnoitering, 1911


Of all the sounds that touch my soul these days, the most beautiful one of all is silence.

Guy de la Valdene

Jethro Tull, "Fat Man"

Steve Earle, "Mercenary Song"

Me and Bill there we both come from Georgia
Met Hank out in New Mexico
We're bound for Duranqo to join Pancho Villa
We hear that he's payin' in gold
I guess a man's got to do what he's best at
Ain't found nothin' better so far
Been called mercenaries and men with no country
Just soldiers in search of a war

And we're bound for the border
We're soldiers of fortune
And we'll fight for no country but we'll die for good pay
Under the flag of of the greenback dollar
Or the peso down Mexico way

When this war is over might go back to Georgia
And settle down quiet some where
I'll most likely pack up and head south for Chile
Heard tell there's some trouble down there

Yes.

Sly.

Happy birthday, Muir.


John Muir was born on this date in 1838.

Toward midday, after a long, tingling scramble through copses of hazel and ceanothus, I gained the summit of the highest ridge in the neighborhood; and then it occurred to me that it would be a fine thing to climb one of the trees to obtain a wider outlook and get my ear close to the Æolian music of its topmost needles. But under the circumstances the choice of a tree was a serious matter. One whose instep was not very strong seemed in danger of being blown down, or of being struck by others in case they should fall; another was branchless to a considerable height above the ground, and at the same time too large to be grasped with arms and legs in climbing; while others were not favorably situated for clear views. After cautiously casting about, I made choice of the tallest of a group of Douglas Spruces that were growing close together like a tuft of grass, no one of which seemed likely to fall unless all the rest fell with it. Though comparatively young, they were about 100 feet high, and their lithe, brushy tops were rocking and swirling in wild ecstasy. Being accustomed to climb trees in making botanical studies, I experienced no difficulty in reaching the top of this one, and never before did I enjoy so noble an exhilaration of motion. The slender tops fairly flapped and swished in the passionate torrent, bending and swirling backward and forward, round and round, tracing indescribable combinations of vertical and horizontal curves, while I clung with muscles firm braced, like a bobo-link on a reed.

In its widest sweeps my tree-top described an arc of from twenty to thirty degrees, but I felt sure of its elastic temper, having seen others of the same species still more severely tried--bent almost to the ground indeed, in heavy snows--without breaking a fiber. I was therefore safe, and free to take the wind into my pulses and enjoy the excited forest from my superb outlook. The view from here must be extremely beautiful in any weather. Now my eye roved over the piny hills and dales as over fields of waving grain, and felt the light running in ripples and broad swelling undulations across the valleys from ridge to ridge, as the shining foliage was stirred by corresponding waves of air. Oftentimes these waves of reflected light would break up suddenly into a kind of beaten foam, and again, after chasing one another in regular order, they would seem to bend forward in concentric curves, and disappear on some hillside, like sea-waves on a shelving shore. The quantity of light reflected from the bent needles was so great as to make whole groves appear as ifcovered with snow, while the black shadows beneath the trees greatly enhanced the effect of the silvery splendor.

Excepting only the shadows there was nothing somber in all this wild sea of pines. On the contrary, notwithstanding this was the winter season, the colors were remarkably beautiful. The shafts of the pine and libocedrus were brown and purple, and most of the foliage was well tinged with yellow; the laurel groves, with the pale undersides of their leaves turned upward, made masses of gray; and then there was many a dash of chocolate color from clumps of manzanita, and jet of vivid crimson from the bark of the madroños, while the ground on the hillsides, appearing here and there through openings between the groves, displayed masses of pale purple and brown.

The sounds of the storm corresponded gloriously with this wild exuberance of light and motion. The profound bass of the naked branches and boles booming like waterfalls; the quick, tense vibrations of the pine-needles, now rising to a shrill, whistling hiss, now falling to a silky murmur; the rustling of laurel groves in the dells, and the keen metallic click of leaf on leaf--all this was heard in easy analysis when the attention was calmly bent.

The varied gestures of the multitude were seen to fine advantage, so that one could recognize the different species at a distance of several miles by this means alone, as well as by their forms and colors, and the way they reflected the light. All seemed strong and comfortable, as if really enjoying the storm, while responding to its most enthusiastic greetings. We hear much nowadays concerning the universal struggle for existence, but no struggle in the common meaning of the word was manifest here; no recognition of danger by any tree; no deprecation; but rather an invincible gladness as remote from exultation as from fear.

I kept my lofty perch for hours, frequently closing my eyes to enjoy the music by itself, or to feast quietly on the delicious fragrance that was streaming past. The fragrance of the woods was less marked than that produced during warm rain, when so many balsamic buds and leaves are steeped like tea; but, from the chafing of resiny branches against each other, and the incessant attrition of myriads of needles, the gale was spiced to a very tonic degree. And besides the fragrance from these local sources there were traces of scents brought from afar. For this wind came first from the sea, rubbing against its fresh, briny waves, then distilled through the redwoods, threading rich ferny gulches, and spreading itself in broad undulating currents over many a flower-enameled ridge of the coast mountains, then across the golden plains, up the purple foot-hills, and into these piny woods with the varied incense gathered by the way.

John Muir, from "Wind-storm in the Forests"

20 April 2015

Mozart, Quintet for Horn, violin, 2 viola and cello, KV 407

Allegro



Andante



Rondo

Same.

"The word 'listen' contains the same letters as the word 'silent'." Alfred Brendel

Juice.


When I am working on a book or a story, I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.

Ernest Hemingway

More.


I'm a poet and we tend to err on the side that life is more than it appears rather than less.

Jim Harrison

Michael McCloud, "Treetop Flyer"

Stills poetry ...

Alway.

be-a-serial-killer:

dvnity:

▲ vintage

Vintage Paradise

Music 

Let me go where'er I will
I hear a skyborn music still:
It sounds from all things old,
It sounds from all things young,
From all that's fair, from all that's foul,
Peals out a cheerful song.
It is not only in the rose,
It is not only in the bird,
Not only where the rainbow glows,
Nor in the song of woman heard,
But in the darkest, meanest things
There alway, alway something sings.
'Tis not in the high stars alone,
Nor in the cup of budding flowers,
Nor in the red-breast's mellow tone,
Nor in the bow that smiles in showers.
But in the mud and scum of things
There alway, alway something sings.


Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Neil Young, "Pocahontas"

Sing.


Waking from Sleep

Inside the veins there are navies setting forth
Tiny explosions at the water lines
And seagulls weaving in the wind of the salty blood.

It is the morning. The country has slept the whole winter.
Window seats were covered with fur skins the yard was full
Of stiff dogs and hands that clumsily held heavy books.

Now we wake and rise from bed and eat breakfast!-
Shouts rise from the harbor of the blood
Mist and masts rising the knock of wooden tackle in the sunlight.

Now we sing and do tiny dances on the kitchen floor.
Our whole body is like a harbor at dawn;
We know that our master has left us for the day.

Robert Bly 

19 April 2015

The Babys, "If You've Got the Time"

Joyful.



Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry

Thank You, Jessica.