AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

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

20 October 2017

Merle Haggard, "Big City"

HAPPY FRIDAY, DAMN IT!

Work.

Jim Harrison's desk at he left it ...


Act without doing; work without effort.
Think of the small as large and the few as many.
Confront the difficult while it is still easy.
Accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.

Lao Tzu

Braking.

On.


The road in the end taking the path the sun had taken,
into the western sea, and the moon rising behind you
as you stood where ground turned to ocean: no way
to your future now but the way your shadow could take,
walking before you across water, going where shadows go,
no way to make sense of a world that wouldn’t let you pass
except to call an end to the way you had come,
to take out each frayed letter you brought
and light their illumined corners, and to read
them as they drifted through the western light;
to empty your bags; to sort this and to leave that;
to promise what you needed to promise all along,
and to abandon the shoes that had brought you here
right at the water’s edge, not because you had given up
but because now, you would find a different way to tread,
and because, through it all, part of you could still walk on,
no matter how, over the waves.

David Whyte

Neil Young, "Daddy Went Walkin'"

Corduroy pants and an old plaid shirt
Daddy went a walkin' just to feel the Earth
Got a little dirty but that's alright
Hey now, hey now

It's sandwich time ...

Morning.

Grimshaw, Old Hall, Cheshire, Early Morning, October, 1880

Happy birthday, Wren.

Wren, Dome, St. Paul's Cathedral, London, 1697



Sir Christopher Wren was born on this day in 1632.

Architecture has its political Use; publick Buildings being the Ornament of a Country; it establishes a Nation, draws People and Commerce; makes the People love their native Country, which Passion is the Original of all great Actions in a Common-wealth. Architecture aims at Eternity.

Sir Christopher Wren

Professor Simon Thurley presents Sir Christopher Wren: Buildings, Place and Genius ...

Haydn, Symphony No. 70 in D Major, Hob. I:70

Il Giardino Armonico performs, dodging the flailings of Giovanni Antonini ...



Beautiful.

Voice.

Accessible.


Thank you, Wrath of Gnon.

19 October 2017

Cobb.

Willie Nelson, "Little Old Fashioned Karma"

It really ain't hard to understand
If you're gonna dance you gotta pay the band

Silence.


On the fifth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.
The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
were silenced,
and the ones who worked for the bees.
Someone, from deep in the Badlands,
began posting facts.
The facts were told not to speak
and were taken away.
The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.
Now it was only the rivers
that spoke of the rivers,
and only the wind that spoke of its bees,
while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees
continued to move toward their fruit.
The silence spoke loudly of silence,
and the rivers kept speaking,
of rivers, of boulders and air.
Bound to gravity, earless and tongueless,
the untested rivers kept speaking.
Bus drivers, shelf stockers,
code writers, machinists, accountants,
lab techs, cellists kept speaking.
They spoke, the fifth day,
of silence.

Jane Hirschfield

Thanks for the flush, Tail Feathers.

Page.

Jethro Tull, "Dun Ringill'

We'll wait in stone circles
`Til the force comes through
Lines joint in faint discord
And the stormwatch brews
A concert of kings
As the white sea snaps
At the heels of a soft prayer
Whispered

The sun has set ...

Harmony.


The unlike is joined together, and from differences results the most beautiful harmony.

Heraclitus

Nobility.


In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;   
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,   
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!   
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.   
That place among the rocks—is it a cave,   
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,   
And in broad day the midnight come again!   
A man goes far to find out what he is—
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,   
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.   
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,   
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.   
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

Theodore Roethke

Determined.

Horowitz.

Today our Language Arts class worked on constructing analogies and listened to Vladimir Horowitz perform ...

True.


Sir Roger Scruton on fake culture and the culture of fakes ...

The life of the mind has its intrinsic methods and rewards. It is concerned with the true, the beautiful and the good, which between them define the scope of reasoning and the goals of serious inquiry. But each of those goals can be faked, and one of the most interesting developments in our educational and cultural institutions over the past half century is the extent to which fake culture and fake scholarship have driven out the true varieties. It is important to ask why.

CONNECT

Scruton's talk at the James Madison Program on American Ideals and Institutions ...

18 October 2017

More.


Suspect each moment, for it is a thief, tiptoeing away with more than it brings.

John Updike

Be.


ARS POETICA
A poem should be palpable and mute   
As a globed fruit,


Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,


Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—


A poem should be wordless   
As the flight of birds.


                     *               


A poem should be motionless in time   
As the moon climbs,


Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,


Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,   
Memory by memory the mind—


A poem should be motionless in time   
As the moon climbs.


                     *               


A poem should be equal to:
Not true.


For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.


For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—


A poem should not mean   
But be.

Archibald MacLeish

Within.


The student has his Rome, his whole glowing Italy, within the four walls of his library. He has in his books the ruins of an antique world and the glories of a modern one.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Happy birthday, Canaletto.

Canaletto, London, Seen Through an Arch of Westminster Bridge, 1747



Canaletto was born on this day in 1697.

Practice.


We sit to make life meaningful. The significance of our life is not experienced in striving to create some perfect thing. We must simply start with accepting ourselves. Sitting brings us back to actually who and where we are. This can be very painful. Self-acceptance is the hardest thing to do. If we can’t accept ourselves, we are living in ignorance, the darkest night. We may still be awake, but we don’t know where we are. We cannot see. The mind has no light. Practice is this candle in our very darkest room.

The more you sense the rareness and value of your own life, the more you realize that how you use it, how you manifest it, is all your responsibility. We face such a big task, so naturally we sit down for a while.

Kobun

16 October 2017

Feast.


The time of the falling leaves has come again. Once more in our morning walk we tread upon carpets of gold and crimson, of brown and bronze, woven by the winds or the rains out of these delicate textures while we slept.

How beautifully the leaves grow old! How full of light and color are their last days! There are exceptions, of course. The leaves of most of the fruit-trees fade and wither and fall ingloriously. They bequeath their heritage of color to their fruit. Upon it they lavish the hues which other trees lavish upon their leaves.

But in October what a feast to the eye our woods and groves present! The whole body of the air seems enriched by their calm, slow radiance. They are giving back the light they have been absorbing from the sun all summer.

John Burroughs

Excellent.

An excellent album was released today ...

The Pretenders, "Message of Love"

Happy birthday, Wilde.


Oscar Wilde was born on this day in 1854.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Oscar Wilde

Happy birthday, Weir.


Bob Weir was born on this day in 1947.

"Cassidy"



"Two Djinn"



"Only a River"


14 October 2017

Mist.

Forthwith.

Constable, Hampstead Heath with Bonfire, 1827


Native moments - when you come upon me - ah you are here now,
Give me now libidinous joys only,
Give me the drench of my passions, give me life coarse and rank,
To-day I go consort with Nature's darlings, to-night too,
I am for those who believe in loose delights, I share the midnight
orgies of young men,
I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers,
The echoes ring with our indecent calls, I pick out some low person
for my dearest friend,
He shall be lawless, rude, illiterate, he shall be one condemn'd by
others for deeds done,
I will play a part no longer, why should I exile myself from my
companions?
O you shunn'd persons, I at least do not shun you,
I come forthwith in your midst, I will be your poet,
I will be more to you than to any of the rest.

Walt Whitman

Unconsciously.

Wyeth (N.C.), Rip Van Winkle, 1921


In a long ramble of the kind, on a fine autumnal day, Rip had unconsciously scrambled to one of the highest parts of the Kaatskill mountains. He was after his favorite sport of squirrel–shooting, and the still solitudes had echoed and re–echoed with the reports of his gun. Panting and fatigued, he threw himself, late in the afternoon, on a green knoll, covered with mountain herbage, that crowned the brow of a precipice. From an opening between the trees, he could overlook all the lower country for many a mile of rich woodland. He saw at a distance the lordly Hudson, far, far below him, moving on its silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a purple cloud, or the sail of a lagging bark, here and there sleeping on its glassy bosom and at last losing itself in the blue highlands.

On the other side he looked down into a deep mountain glen, wild, lonely, and shagged, the bottom filled with fragments from the impending cliffs, and scarcely lighted by the reflected rays of the setting sun. For some time Rip lay musing on this scene; evening was gradually advancing; the mountains began to throw their long blue shadows over the valleys; he saw that it would be dark long before he could reach the village; and he heaved a heavy sigh when he thought of encountering the terrors of Dame Van Winkle.

As he was about to descend, he heard a voice from a distance hallooing: "Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!" He looked around, but could see nothing but a crow winging its solitary flight across the mountain. He thought his fancy must have deceived him, and turned again to descend, when he heard the same cry ring through the still evening air, "Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!"—at the same time Wolf bristled up his back, and giving a low growl, skulked to his master's side, looking fearfully down into the glen. Rip now felt a vague apprehension stealing over him; he looked anxiously in the same direction, and perceived a strange figure slowly toiling up the rocks, and bending under the weight of something he carried on his back. He was surprised to see any human being in this lonely and unfrequented place, but supposing it to be some one of the neighborhood in need of his assistance, he hastened down to yield it.

On nearer approach, he was still more surprised at the singularity of the stranger's appearance. He was a short, square–built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, and a grizzled beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion—a cloth jerkin strapped round the waist—several pairs of breeches, the outer one of ample volume, decorated with rows of buttons down the sides, and bunches at the knees. He bore on his shoulders a stout keg, that seemed full of liquor, and made signs for Rip to approach and assist him with the load. Though rather shy and distrustful of this new acquaintance, Rip complied with his usual alacrity; and mutually relieving each other, they clambered up a narrow gully, apparently the dry bed of a mountain torrent. As they ascended, Rip every now and then heard long rolling peals, like distant thunder, that seemed to issue out of a deep ravine, or rather cleft between lofty rocks, toward which their rugged path conducted. He paused for an instant, but supposing it to be the muttering of one of those transient thunder–showers which often take place in the mountain heights, he proceeded. Passing through the ravine, they came to a hollow, like a small amphitheatre, surrounded by perpendicular precipices, over the brinks of which impending trees shot their branches, so that you only caught glimpses of the azure sky, and the bright evening cloud. During the whole time Rip and his companion had labored on in silence; for though the former marvelled greatly what could be the object of carrying a keg of liquor up this wild mountain, yet there was something strange and incomprehensible about the unknown, that inspired awe, and checked familiarity.

On entering the amphitheatre, new objects of wonder presented themselves. On a level spot in the centre was a company of odd–looking personages playing at ninepins. They were dressed in quaint outlandish fashion; some wore short doublets, others jerkins, with long knives in their belts, and most of them had enormous breeches, of similar style with that of the guide's. Their visages, too, were peculiar; one had a large head, broad face, and small piggish eyes; the face of another seemed to consist entirely of nose, and was surmounted by a white sugar–loaf hat, set off with a little red cock's tail. They all had beards, of various shapes and colors. There was one who seemed to be the commander. He was a stout old gentleman, with a weather–beaten countenance; he wore a laced doublet, broad belt and hanger, high–crowned hat and feather, red stockings, and high–heeled shoes, with roses in them. The whole group reminded Rip of the figures in an old Flemish painting, in the parlor of Dominie Van Schaick, the village parson, and which had been brought over from Holland at the time of the settlement.

What seemed particularly odd to Rip was, that though these folks were evidently amusing themselves, yet they maintained the gravest faces, the most mysterious silence, and were, withal, the most melancholy party of pleasure he had ever witnessed. Nothing interrupted the stillness of the scene but the noise of the balls, which, whenever they were rolled, echoed along the mountains like rumbling peals of thunder.

As Rip and his companion approached them, they suddenly desisted from their play, and stared at him with such a fixed statue–like gaze, and such strange uncouth, lack–lustre countenances, that his heart turned within him, and his knees smote together. His companion now emptied the contents of the keg into large flagons, and made signs to him to wait upon the company. He obeyed with fear and trembling; they quaffed the liquor in profound silence, and then returned to their game.

By degrees, Rip's awe and apprehension subsided. He even ventured, when no eye was fixed upon him, to taste the beverage which he found had much of the flavor of excellent Hollands. He was naturally a thirsty soul, and was soon tempted to repeat the draught. One taste provoked another; and he reiterated his visits to the flagon so often, that at length his senses were overpowered, his eyes swam in his head, his head gradually declined, and he fell into a deep sleep.

Washington Irving, from "Rip Van Winkle"

CONNECT

13 October 2017

12 October 2017

Jackson Browne, "For a Dancer"

Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily, it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don't let the uncertainty turn you around
Go on and make a joyful sound

David Lindley, fiddle ...