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

21 September 2017


"What I would do for wisdom,"
I cried out as a young man.
Evidently not much. Or so it seems.
Even on walks I follow the dog.

Jim Harrison


Doisneau, Punished Pupil Waiting, 1956

It is not that I am mad, it is only that my head is different from yours.



The film is conceived as the portrait of an author who draws a region and vice versa. Simultaneously, in small touches through the landscapes and people met over time and the seasons, is portrayed a portrait of a man who constantly questions the meaning of things and disengages the face of a country, its great spaces, its myths and its roots.

The look illuminates the country and makes the "inventory of places."


Do not miss this documentary of a creature truly alive and thriving in its environment.

Entre chien et loup translated HERE.

Happy birthday, Holst.

Gustav Holst was born on this day in 1874.

Music, being identical with heaven, isn't a thing of momentary thrills, or even hourly ones. It's a condition of eternity.

Gustav Holst

Sir Charles Mackerras leads the BBC Philharmonic in "Neptune, The Mystic," from The Planets ...


Faber, View of Dresden, 1824

the shadows of September
among the gold glint of the grass

among shining
willow leaves the small birds moving

silent in the presence of a new season.

In the sunlight
human figures dark on the hill

a fur of gold
about their shoulders and heads,

a blur defining them.

Denise Levertov


The best way out is always through.

Robert Frost

Full sail. -Ed.


Wyeth, Benny's Scarecrow (Jim Loper's Coat), 1955

That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.

Ray Bradbury, from "The October Country"

20 September 2017


All of the hot-dog stands were boarded up with strips of golden planking, sealing in all the mustard, onion, meat odors of the long, joyful summer. It was like nailing summer into a series of coffins.

Ray Bradbury, from "The October Country"


When Siddhartha left the grove, where the Buddha, the perfected one, stayed behind, where Govinda stayed behind, then he felt that in this grove his past life also stayed behind and parted from him. He pondered about this sensation, which filled him completely, as he was slowly walking along. He pondered deeply, like diving into a deep water he let himself sink down to the ground of the sensation, down to the place where the causes lie, because to identify the causes, so it seemed to him, is the very essence of thinking, and by this alone sensations turn into realizations and are not lost, but become entities and start to emit like rays of light what is inside of them.

Slowly walking along, Siddhartha pondered. He realized that he was no youth any more, but had turned into a man. He realized that one thing had left him, as a snake is left by its old skin, that one thing no longer existed in him, which had accompanied him throughout his youth and used to be a part of him: the wish to have teachers and to listen to teachings. He had also left the last teacher who had appeared on his path, even him, the highest and wisest teacher, the most holy one, Buddha, he had left him, had to part with him, was not able to accept his teachings.

Slower, he walked along in his thoughts and asked himself: "But what is this, what you have sought to learn from teachings and from teachers, and what they, who have taught you much, were still unable to teach you?" And he found: "It was the self, the purpose and essence of which I sought to learn. It was the self, I wanted to free myself from, which I sought to overcome. But I was not able to overcome it, could only deceive it, could only flee from it, only hide from it. Truly, no thing in this world has kept my thoughts thus busy, as this my very own self, this mystery of me being alive, of me being one and being separated and isolated from all others, of me being Siddhartha! And there is no thing in this world I know less about than about me, about Siddhartha!"

Having been pondering while slowly walking along, he now stopped as these thoughts caught hold of him, and right away another thought sprang forth from these, a new thought, which was: "That I know nothing about myself, that Siddhartha has remained thus alien and unknown to me, stems from one cause, a single cause: I was afraid of myself, I was fleeing from myself! I searched Atman, I searched Brahman, I was willing to to dissect myself and peel off all of its layers, to find the core of all peels in its unknown interior, the Atman, life, the divine part, the ultimate part. But I have lost myself in the process."

Siddhartha opened his eyes and looked around, a smile filled his face and a feeling of awakening from long dreams flowed through him from his head down to his toes. And it was not long before he walked again, walked quickly like a man who knows what he has got to do.

Herman Hesse

Bonnie Raitt, "Angel from Montgomery"

Guy Clark, "Like a Coat from the Cold"


Wyeth, Jamie, Bale, 1972

We stopped at perfect days
and got out of the car.
The wind glanced at her hair.
It was as simple as that.
I turned to say something—

Richard Brautigan

James Taylor, "September Grass"



I leave behind even
my walking stick. My knife
is in my pocket, but that
I have forgot. I bring
no car, no cell phone,
no computer, no camera,
no CD player, no fax, no
TV, not even a book. I go
into the woods. I sit on
a log provided at no cost.
It is the earth I’ve come to,
the earth itself, sadly
abused by the stupidity
only humans are capable of
but, as ever, itself. Free.
A bargain! Get it while it lasts.

Wendell Berry

The Highwaymen, "Living Legend"

Kristofferson poetry ...

It was simple then,
Like the freedom when you fall.
And we were smaller then, you see,
But soon we gathered like a storm.
They don't understand
What that thunder meant at all.


That’s here.  That’s home.  That’s all of us that ever lived.

More wonder HERE.

Thank you, Kurt.

19 September 2017


Gauguin, Self-portrait with Portrait of Bernard, "Les Misérables," 1888

I have always [thought] that it was the duty of a painter never to answer criticisms, even hostile ones--especially hostile ones; nor flattering ones, either, because those are often dictated by friendship.

This time, without departing from my habitual reserve, I have an irresistible desire to write to you, a caprice if you will, and--like all emotional people--I am not good at resisting. Since this is merely a personal letter it is not a real answer but simply a chat on art; your article prompts and evokes it.

We painters, we who are condemned to penury, accept the material difficulties of life without complaining, but we suffer from them insofar as they constitute a hindrance to work. How much time we lose in seeking our daily bread! The most menial tasks, dilapidated studios, and a thousand other obstacles. All these create despondency, followed by impotence, rage, violence. Such things do not concern you at all, I mention them only to convince both of us that you have good reason to point out numerous defects, violence, monotony of tone, clashing colors, etc. Yes, all these probably exist, do exist. Sometimes however they are intentional. Are not these repetitions of tones, these monotonous color harmonies (in the musical sense) analogous to oriental chants sung in a shrill voice, to the accompaniment of pulsating notes which intensify them by contrast? Beethoven uses them frequently (as I understand it) in the "Sonata Pathetique," for example. Delacroix too with his repeated harmonies of brown and dull violet, a sombre cloak suggesting tragedy. You often go to the Louvre; with what I have said in mind, look closely at Cimabue. Think also of the musical role color will henceforth play in modern painting. Color, which is vibration just as music is, is able to attain what is most universal yet at the same time most elusive in nature: its inner force.

Here near my cabin, in complete silence, amid the intoxicating perfumes of nature, I dream of violent harmonies. A delight enhanced by I know not what sacred horror I divine in the infinite. An aroma of long-vanished joy that I breathe in the present. Animal figures rigid as statues, with something indescribably solemn and religious in the rhythm of their pose, in their strange immobility. In eyes that dream, the troubled surface of an unfathomable enigma.

Night is here. All is at rest. My eyes close in order to see without actually understanding the dream that flees before me in infinite space; and I experience the languorous sensation produced by the mournful procession of my hopes.

Paul Gauguin


If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?

Alexandr Solzenitsyn



Sam Bush, "Same Ol' River"

Bela Fleck, banjo ...


I have nothing positive to say about popular culture, and nothing positive to say about the cultural establishment. We have entered, as I see it, a spiritual limbo. Our educational institutions are no longer the bearers of high culture and public life has been deliberately moronised. But here and there, sheltered from the noise and glare of the media, the old spiritual forces are at work. Popular culture contains pockets of gentleness and melody. Architects, writers, and composers produce works which are neither kitsch nor “kitsch.” Prayer and penitence have been interrupted, but not forgotten. To those who wish for it, the ethical life may still be retrieved. Ours is a catacomb culture, a flame kept alive by undaunted monks. And what the monks of Europe achieved in a former dark age, they might achieve again.

Sir Roger Scruton

Thank you, Kurt.

Happy birthday, Lanois.

The Medicine Man, Daniel Lanois, was born on this day in 1951.

"The Maker"

Then ...

Now ...

Here Is What Is ...

Robert Plant, "Funny In My Mind (I Believe I'm Fixin' To Die)"

Beethoven, Piano Sonatas

Daniel Barenboim plays them all ...


Liberty, which means resisting all forms of cultural authoritarianism, be it from the right wing church, black ideologues, black nationalists, or mainstream white media. We have to accent liberty and freedom of expression and thought in all their forms.

Dr. Cornel West


Telemann, Oboe Concerto in F Major, TWV 51:f

Combattimento performs ...

Happy birthday, Golding.

Sir William Golding was born on this day in 1911.

Here at last was the imagined but never fully realized place leaping into real life.

Sir William Golding, from Lord of the Flies

18 September 2017


What today has come to be regarded as among the finest bodies of work in early-twentieth-century photography began as a teaching experiment. Karl Blossfeldt, a new lecturer at The Institute of the Royal Arts and Crafts Museum Berlin, was looking for a way to showcase examples of the forms and patterns he discovered in the natural world that he believed should inspire his students’ own work.

An excellent sculptor, he first created a large, finely modeled dragonfly’s wing, but this was dismissed as trivial by the school’s director.  Blossfeldt came up with an idea of making greatly enlarged photographs of the insect instead.  “This enlargement then proved to be most useful to me in my studies, and thus I hit upon the use of enlarged photographs of small plant forms to assist as yet unskilled students in their work,” Blossfeldt recalled in 1929. “It is due to this incident and this photograph that I am now publishing my enlarged plant photographs thirty years later.”


Cameron, Tennyson, 1874

Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control, these three alone lead life to sovereign power.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Lyle Lovett, "Bears"

Steven Fromholz poetry ...

Some folks say there ain't no bears in Arkansas
Some folks never seen a bear at all
Some folks say that bears go around eating babies raw
Some folks got a bear across the hall

Some folks say that bears go around smelling bad
Others say that a bear is honey sweet
Some folks say this bear's the best I ever had
Some folks got a bear beneath their feet

Some folks drive the bears out of the wilderness
Some to see a bear would pay a fee
Me I just bear up my bewildered best
And some folks even see the bear in me

Some folks drive the bears out of the wilderness
Some to see a bear would pay a fee
Me I just bear up my bewildered best
And some folks even see the bear in me

So meet a bear and take him out to lunch with you
And even though your friends may stop and stare
Just remember that's a bear there in the bunch with you
And they just don't come no better than a bear

So meet a bear and take him out to lunch with you
And even though your friends may stop and stare
Just remember that's a bear there in the bunch with you
And they just don't come no better than a bear

No they just don't come no better than a bear

Is this the perfect song?



Degas, Four Willow Sketches (detail), 1863

One key question that every reader of poetry or poet must face from time to time: Does the light, the poetic force without which no great poem could take shape, exist only in our imagination, in intense, blissful fantasies of inspiration, or does it have some counterpart in reality? Is it only a leap of imagination, a holiday from the ordinary, a festival of language, or does it uncover something that is usually concealed, but truly exists? Much depends on the answer to this question. If questioned, I myself would say, I have my doubts, I worry at times that this light is only Saint Elmo’s fire, glowing on the masts of our imagination. But ultimately, were I freed from my doubts, rooted in a pure and powerful place, I’d reply, what is most remarkable, wonderful (and rare) in poetry derives from reality, from a dimension that seldom reveals itself, from some radiant part of the planet.

Adam Zagajewski



Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen
to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,

how peeling potatoes can be a form of prayer. She took questions
on how not to feel lost in the dark.

After lunch she distributed worksheets
that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s

voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep
without feeling you had forgotten to do something else—

something important—and how to believe
the house you wake in is your home. This prompted

Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing
how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,

and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts
are all you hear; also, that you have enough.

The English lesson was that I am
is a complete sentence.

And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,

and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking
for whatever it was you lost, and one person

add up to something.

Brad Aaron Modlin

Happy birthday, Johnson

Reynolds, Blinking Sam, 1775

Samuel Johnson was born on this day in 1709.

I am far from any intention to limit curiosity, or confine the labours of learning to arts of immediate and necessary use. It is only from the various essays of experimental industry, and the vague excursions of mind set upon discovery, that any advancement of knowledge can be expected; and though many must be disappointed in their labours, yet they are not to be charged with having spent their time in vain; their example contributed to inspire emulation, and their miscarriage taught others the way to success.

The distant hope of being one day useful or eminent ought not to mislead us too far from that study which is equally requisite to the great and mean, to the celebrated and obscure; the art of moderating the desires, of repressing the appetites; and of conciliating or retaining the favour of mankind.

Samuel Johnson

The Kinks, ¨Do It Again¨

Professional Development today ...

16 September 2017



Swiftly walk o'er the western wave,
Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave,
Where, all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,
Which make thee terrible and dear,—
Swift be thy flight!

Wrap thy form in a mantle gray,
Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day;
Kiss her until she be wearied out,
Then wander o'er city, and sea, and land,
Touching all with thine opiate wand—
Come, long-sought!

When I arose and saw the dawn,
I sighed for thee;
When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
And the weary Day turned to his rest,
Lingering like an unloved guest.
I sighed for thee.

Thy brother Death came, and cried,
Wouldst thou me?
Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,
Murmured like a noontide bee,
Shall I nestle near thy side?
Wouldst thou me?—And I replied,
No, not thee!

Death will come when thou art dead,
Soon, too soon—
Sleep will come when thou art fled;
Of neither would I ask the boon
I ask of thee, belovèd Night—
Swift be thine approaching flight,
Come soon, soon!

Percy Bysshe Shelley