"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

31 January 2011


What is art anyway? When I think about how hopelessly unable I am to answer that question I cannot feeling like a farce - pretending to teach anybody anything about it.

I won't be able to keep at it long or I'll lose what little self respect I have unless I can in some way solve the problem a little, give myself some little answer to it. What are we trying to do, what is the excuse for it all? If you could sit down and do just exactly what you wanted to right now for a year, what in the dickens would you do? The things I've done that satisfy me most are charcoal landscapes and things - the colors I seem to want to use absolutely nauseate me.

I don't mean to complain; I am really quite enjoying the muddle and am wondering if I'll get anything out of it and if I do what it will be. I decided I wasn't going to cater to what anyone else might like, why should I, and when you leave that element out of your work there is nothing much left. I'm floundering as usual.

I'm glad I want everything in the world – good and bad – bitter and sweet – I want it all.

- Georgia O'Keeffe


Andrew Wyeth, Branch In The Snow, 1980

Art to me, is seeing. I think you have got to use your eyes, as well as your emotion, and one without the other just doesn't work. I love to study the many things that grow below the corn stalks and bring them back to the studio to study the color. If one could only catch that true color of nature – the very thought of it drives me mad. There's a quote from Hamlet that is my guide... He tells the players not to exaggerate but to hold a mirror up to nature. Don't overdo it, don't underdo it. Do it just on the line.
- Andrew Wyeth


Wyeth, Ice Pool, 1969

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.
- Andrew Wyeth

Beethoven, "Storm"

Music for an outdoor Happy Hour ... the Presto from Beethoven's String Quintet in C Major, Op. 29, "Storm"


The Secret

Since I am
Somebody’s dream,
I have a good life.

Sometimes I go away in my sailboat on a cloud
and take a quiet little trip.

I have a secret
which I have learned how to read inside myself;
if I told it to you,
it would make you laugh.

My heart is naked
and no one can put clothes on it,
and nothing can be put on
that will not immediately fall off.

My secret is ignorant,
it doesn’t sing songs,
no lie,
it has nothing to tell you.

My two eyes
are maps of the planet—
I see everything
and nothing upsets me.

Just now
I was in China
and saw there a great piece of happiness
that belonged to one man.

And I have been to the center of the earth,
where there is no suffering.

If on your loneliest nights,
I visit other planets
and the most secret stars of all,

besides being no one,
know that I am you
and everybody.

But if I go away
without giving you a name to remember me with,
how will I find
the right dream to return to?

You won’t have to mark down
on your calendar that I am coming back;
don’t bother to write me into your notebooks.
I will be around
when you aren’t thinking about me,

without hair or a neck,
without a nose and cheeks
no reputation—
there won’t be anything.

I am a bird
which God made.

- Thomas Merton


O'Keeffe,White Flower, 1926

Dear Mr.Miliken:

I have been hoping that you would forget that you asked me to write you of the White Flower, but I see that you do not.

It is easier for me to paint it than to write about it and I would so much rather people would look at it than read about it. I see no reason for painting anything that can be put into any other form as well.

At the time I made this painting - outside my door that opened on a wide stretch of desert these flowers bloomed all summer in the daytime.

The large White Flower with the golden heart is something I have to say about White - quite different from what White has been meaning to me. Whether the flower or the color is the focus I do not know. I do know that this flower is painted large to convey to you my experience of the flower and what is my experience of the flower if it is not color. I know I can not paint a flower. I can not paint the sun on the desert on a bright summer morning but maybe in terms of paint color I can convey to you my experience of the flower or the experience that makes the flower of significance to me at that particular time.

Color is one of the great things in the world that makes life worth living to me and as I have come to think of painting it is my efforts to create an equivalent with paint color for the world, life as I see it.

Yours very truly,
Georgia O'Keeffe

30 January 2011


Nine out of ten English chefs have their names on their chests. Who do they think they are? They're dreamers. They're jokes. Just ask yourself how many chefs in this country have Michelin stars and how many have their names on their jackets. We all wear blue aprons in my kitchen because we're all commis. We're all still learning.
- Marco Pierre White


Utrillo, Rue Custine a Montmartre, 1909

Late at night Modigliani could become melancholy, but at other times he clowned and laughed. Lately he had mentioned returning to Italy for some sunshine. He had one last glorious night out with Utrillo. Utrillo, who had just escaped from his gloomy room with its barred windows at the lunatic asylum, burst into Rosalie’s and the two men hugged each other. Modi cadged a free meal for Utrillo from his landlord and then brought Utrillo back to his studio. He had a plan. Maurice painted two street scenes of Montmartre from memory and Modigliani took them over to sell to Zborowski. With the money the two went on a last bid for freedom. What money they did not drink up was folded into paper airplanes and sent gliding into the trees along the Boulevard Raspail. They stomped the streets until they dropped with exhaustion.
- June Rose, Modigliani: The Pure Bohemian

Utrillo, Benches at Montmagny, 1906


Strength in Numbers (Meyer, Bush, O'Connor, and Douglas), One Winter's Night

Tonight, after sundown, sometime before 9:00, go outside and take a look to the west and ponder Jupiter. It is the brightest body in the night sky this time of year.

Look to the right or upper right of Jupiter to locate the four moderately bright stars that make up the Great Square of Pegasus. It’s difficult to convey the large size of this signpost star formation on the sky chart. These stars lodge far enough apart so that you can place your hand in between any two Great Square stars. Hold your hand at an arm length away.

Earth and Sky has more here.

Jupiter has a diameter of 142,984 km, while The Water Planet's is only 12,756 km.

Peter Rowan, "The Raven"

Happy Birthday Brautigan.

Author Richard Brautigan was born on this date in 1935.

A Brother Of The Rope talks tarpon ...

Brautigan, Harrison, and McGuane go fishing here while Buffett plays the music.

29 January 2011


Duérmete, niño, duerme,
Duerme, mi alma,
Duérmete, lucerito
De la mañana.
Nanita, nana,
Nanita, nana.
Duérmete, lucerito
De la mañana.



O'Keeffe, Sky Above Clouds IV, 1965

I recall an August afternoon in Chicago in 1973 when I took my daughter, then seven, to see what Georgia O’Keeffe had done with where she had been. One of the vast O’Keeffe ‘Sky Above Clouds’ canvases floated over the back stairs in the Chicago Art Institute that day, dominating what seemed to be several stories of empty light, and my daughter looked at it once, ran to the landing, and kept on looking. "Who drew it?" she whispered after a while. I told her. "I need to talk to her," she said finally.
— Joan Didion

O'Keeffe, Sky Above Clouds I, 1962

Head in the clouds.

... a Frazier's-eye view.

Nice one, Pops.


Culturing Offering is restored.



The search which we make for this quality, in our own lives, is the central search of any person, and the crux of any individual person’s story. It is the search for those moments and situations when we are most alive.

We know now what the quality without a name is like, in feeling and in character. But so far, concretely, we have not seen this quality in any system larger than a tree, a pond, a bench. Yet it can be in anything – in buildings, animals, plants, cities, streets, the wilderness – and in ourselves. We shall begin to understand it concretely, in all these larger pieces of the world, only when we first understand it in ourselves.

It is, for instance, the wild smile of the gypsies dancing in the road.

The broad brim of the big hat, like arms spread wide, open to the world, confident, huge, … the embrace of the child’s arms about the grass … it is the solid and entrenched repose of the old man lighting a cigarette: hands on his knees, solid, resting, waiting, listening.

In our lives, this quality without a name is the most precious thing we ever have.

And I am free to the extent I have this quality in me.

One man is free at that one instant when you see in him a certain smile and you know he is himself, and perfectly at home within himself. Imagine him especially, perhaps and for one instant utterly oblivious to everything but what is in him and around him at that second.

This wild freedom, this passion comes into our lives in the instant we let go.

It is when all our forces can move freely in us. In nature, this quality is almost automatic, because there are no images to interfere with natural processes of making things. But in all of our creations, the possibility occurs that images can interfere with the natural necessary order of a thing. And, most of all, this way that images distort the things we make, is familiar in ourselves. For we ourselves are, like our works, the products of our own creation. And we are only free, and have the quality without a name in us, when we give up the images which guide our lives.

Yet each of us faces the fear of letting go. The fear of being exactly what one is, of letting the forces flow freely; of letting the configuration of one’s person adjust truly to these forces.

Our letting go is stifled, all the time, so long as we have ideas and opinions of ourselves, which make us hug too tightly to our images of how to live, and bottle up these forces.

So long as we are still bottled up, like this, there is a tightness about the mouth, a nervous tension in the eyes, and stiffness and a brittleness in the way we walk, the way we move.

And yet, until one does let go, in is impossible to be alive. The stereotypes are restricted; there are very different configurations. The infinite variety of actual people, with their vastly and utterly different, require a huge creation, to find the resolution of the person; and in finding this resolution truly, one must above all be free of the stereotypes.

The great film, Ikiru – “to live” – describes it in the life of an old man.

“He has sat for thirty years behind a counter, preventing things from happening. And he finds out that he is to die of cancer of the stomach, in six months. He tries to live; he seeks enjoyment; it doesn’t amount to much. And finally, against all obstacles, he helps to make a park in a dirty slum of Tokyo. He has lost his fear, because he knows that he is going to die; he works and works and works, there is no stopping him, because he is no longer afraid of anyone, or anything. He has no longer anything to lose, and so in this short time gains everything; and then dies, in the snow, swinging on a child’s swing in the park which he has made, and singing.”

Each of us lives most fully “on the wire,” in the face of death, daring to do the very thing which fear prevents us from.

A few years ago a family of hire wire artists had a terrible fall from the high wire, in the middle of the performance. All of them were killed or maimed, except the father, who escaped with broken legs. But even after losing all his children in the fall, a few months later he was back to work, in the circus, on the wire again.

Someone asked him in an interview, how could he bring himself to do it, after such a terrible accident. He answered: “On the wire, that’s living … all the rest is waiting.”

Of course for most of us it is not quite so literal.

The fear which prevents us from being ourselves, from being that one person unique in all the world, from coming to life -- that may mean nothing greater than the fear of giving up the image of a certain job, an image of a certain kind of family life.

One man can be as free in lighting up a cigarette, as that old man dancing on the wire. Another travelling with the gypsies. A handkerchief around your head; a horsedrawn yellow caravan, pulled up in a field; a rabbit stew simmering and bubbling outside the caravan, licking and sucking your fingers as you eat spoonfuls of the stew.

It has above all to do with the elements.

The wind, the soft rain; sitting on the back of an old truck moving clothes and baskets of old possessions while the gentle rain is falling, laughing, crouching, under a shawl to keep from getting wet. Eating a loaf of bread, torn in pieces, hunks of cheese cut crudely with a hatchet which is lying in the corner; red flowers glistening in the rain alongside the road; banging on the window of the truck to shout some joke.

Nothing to keep. Nothing to lose. No possessions, no security, no concern about possessions, an no concern about security; in this mood it is possible to do exactly what makes sense, and nothing else: there are no hidden fears, no morals, no rules, no undercurrent of constraint, no subtle sense of concern for the form of what the people around you are doing, and above all no concern for what you are yourself, no subtle fear of other people’s ridicule, no subtle train of fears which can connect the smallest triviality with bankruptcy and loss of love and loss of friends and death, no ties, no suits, no outward elements of majesty at all. Only the laughter and the rain.

And it happens when our inner forces are resolved.

And when a person’s forces are resolved, it makers us feel at home, because we know by some sixth sense, that there are no other unexpected forces lurking underground. He acts according to the nature of the situations he is in, without distorting them. There are no guiding images in his behavior, no hidden forces; he is simply free. And so, we feel relaxed and peaceful in his company. Of course, in practice we often don’t know what our inner forces might be.

We live, for months, for years, acting in a certain way, not knowing whether we are free or not, doubting, not even sure when we are successfully resolved, and when we aren’t.

Yet still there are those special secret moments in our lives, when we smile unexpectedly – when all over forces are resolved.

A woman can often see these moments in us, better than a man, better than we ourselves even.

When we know these moments, when we smile, when we let go, when we are not on guard at all – these are the moments when our most important forces show themselves; whatever you are doing at such a moment, hold on to it, repeat it – for that certain smile is the best knowledge that we ever have of what our hidden forces are, and where they lie; and how they can be loosed.

We cannot be aware of these most precious moments when they are actually happening.

In fact, the conscious effort to attain this quality, or to be free, or to be anything, the glance which this creates, will always spoil it.

It is, instead, when we forget ourselves completely, playing the fool perhaps among a group of friends, our swimming out to sea, or walking simply, or trying to finish something later at night over a table with a group of friends, cigarette stuck in the lower lip, eyes tired, earnest concentration.

All these moments in my own life – I only know them now, in retrospect.

Yet each of us knows from experience the feeling which this quality creates in us.

It is the time when we are most right, most just, most sad, most hilarious.

- Christopher Alexander, The Timeless Way of Building

More here.

Sheila Chandra, "Ever So Lonely"


O'Keeffe, Black Petunia and White Morning Glory 2, 1926

… things I feel and want to say – but haven’t words for … make the unknown – known. By unknown I mean the thing that means so much to the person that he wants to put it down – clarify something he feels but does not clearly understand.
- Georgia O’Keeffe


Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More

Serve God, love me and mend
This is not the end
Lived unbruised, we are friends
And I'm sorry
I'm sorry

Sigh no more, no more
One foot in sea and one on shore
My heart was never pure
And you know me
You know me

But man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing

Love it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
There is a design, an alignment, a cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be

28 January 2011


Sargent, Repose, 1911


Ansel Adams, Redwoods, Bull Creek Flat, c. 1960

i thank God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees & for the blue dreams of sky & for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
- e.e. cummings


For what we need to know, of course, is not just that God exists. . . but that there is a God right here in the thick of our day-by-day lives who may not be writing messages about himself in the stars but who in way or another is trying to get messages through our blindness as we move around down here knee-deep in the fragrant muck and misery and marvel of the world. It is not objective proof of God's existence that we want but, whether we use religious language for it or not, the experience of God's presence. That is the miracle we are really after. And that is also, I think, the miracle that we really get.

I believe that we know much more about God than we admit that we know. God speaks to us, I would say, much more often than we realize or than we choose to realize. Before the sun sets every evening, he speaks to each of us in an intensely personal and unmistakable way. His message is not written out in starlight, which in the long run would make no difference; rather, it is written out for each of us in the humdrum, helter-skelter events of each day; it is a message that in the long run might just make all the difference.

Who knows what he will say to me today or to you today or into the midst of what kind of unlikely moment he will choose to say it. Not knowing is what makes today a holy mystery as every day is a holy mystery. But I believe that there are some things that by and large God is always saying to each of us. All of us, for instance, carry around inside ourselves, I believe, a certain emptiness- a sense that something is missing, a restlessness, the deep feeling that somehow all is not right inside our skin. Psychologists sometimes call it anxiety, theologians sometimes call it estrangement, but whatever you call it, I doubt there are many who do not recognize the experience itself, especially no one of our age, which has been variously termed the age of anxiety, the lost generation, the beat generation, the lonely crowd.

Part of the inner world of everyone is this sense of emptiness, unease, incompleteness, and I believe that this in itself is a word from God, that this is the sound that God's voice makes in a world that has explained him away. In such a world, I suspect that maybe God speaks to us most clearly through his silence, his absence, so that we may know him best through our missing him

- Frederick Buechner, Message In The Stars

27 January 2011

Happy Birthday Mozart.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on this day in 1756.

Joseph Lange, Mozart, 1790.

This portrait was considered, by Mozart's wife, Constanze, to be the best likeness of the composer.

Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.
- Mozart

From the opera, Don Giovanni ... "Deh, vieni alla finestra," from Act II, Scene III

"... sweetness itself."

Cultural Offering provides a fitting tribute here.

25 January 2011

Strauss, "Morgen!"

Anna Netrebko performing with Joshua Bell, violin.

Another translation ...
Tomorrow's sun will rise in glory beaming,
And in the pathway that my foot shall wander,
We'll meet, forget the earth, and lost in dreaming,
Let heav'n unite a love that earth no more shall sunder...
And towards that shore, its billows softly flowing,
Our hands entwined, our footsteps slowly wending,
Gaze in each other's eyes in love's soft splendour glowing,
Mute with tears of joy and bliss ne'er ending...

Rodney Crowell, "Still Learning How To Fly"

Luckily the iPod was cranked up and on shuffle this morning while I was in the shower ... this one came and I'm glad.

The hour is early
The whole world is quiet
A beautiful morning's about to ignite
I'm ready for danger
I'm ready for fire
I'm ready for something to lift me up higher

Life's been good, I guess
My ragged old heart's been blessed
With so much more than meets the eye
I've got a past I won't soon forget
You ain't seen nothing yet
I'm still learning how to fly

It's the dreams that die hard
With old habits to break
You can't let down your guard
When there's so much at stake
I'm halfway to heaven, halfway to hell
But I might roll a seven
You never can tell

Life's been good it's true
When I'm feeling just like new
The same old rules need not apply
I've got a past full of sticks and stones
And a good feeling in my bones
I'm still learning how to fly

I wanna go faster
I don't wanna slow down
I don't wanna get off of this merrygoround
I wanna be reckless
I wanna be vain
I wanna make love like a runaway train

Life's been good I said
I'm 10,000 miles ahead
The day I rest is the day I die
I've got a past like a broken wing
But you ain't seen anything
I'm still learning how to fly
I'm still learning how to fly


Caravaggio, Death Of The Virgin (detail), 1606

Biber, "Violin Sonata No. 1 in D"

Do yourself a favor ...

Happy Birthday, Woolf.

When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don't seem to matter very much, do they?
- Virginia Woolf

Led Zeppelin, "Kashmir"

Knebworth, 1979.

Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream ...


Amedeo Modigliani, Ritratto di Jeanne Hébuterne con braccio dietro la testa, 1919

Begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.
— Jon Krakauer

24 January 2011


I am in the same room with Tullos, looking at the cause of all the fuss. It is a painting of three women sitting in a meadow and, to an untrained eye, it looks genuine. Then he turns off the lights and shines a “black light” on it – an ultraviolet lamp used to analyze paintings. Under the black light, parts of the painting glow white and there are bright marks.

“See those orange spots? They might not even be oil paint. It might have been done with a paint pen,” says Tullos, “Look at the signature, you can see it is embossed as if it’s been done with pen rather than a brush, and there are scratches on the grass. He probably downloaded a digital image of the painting, glued it to this board, sanded it down and distressed it, and painted over the top.”

It quickly transpired that the Curran was not the only fake. After examining the painting, Penn looked on an online message board for museum registrars and found that “Father Arthur Scott” did not exist, and neither did his rich mother nor his sister Emily in Paris. They had just played host to Mark Augustus Landis, the man responsible for the longest, strangest forgery spree the American art world has known.

Read the rest here.

23 January 2011


It was in Ibach, in 1884, where Karl Elsener and his mother, Victoria, opened a cutlery cooperative that would soon produce the first knives sold to the Swiss Army. The original model, called the Soldier Knife, was made for troops who needed a foldable tool that could open canned food and aid in disassembling a rifle. The Soldier Knife included a blade, a reamer, a can opener, a screwdriver, and oak handles.

Read the rest here.

Cultural Offering has me thinking appreciatively about my Swiss Army knives. I'm proud to say that I have carried my oldest one (above) with me every day since I bought it 17 years ago. It has saved the day many times in the woods, on the road, in the kitchen, in the classroom. Handling the duties as a father of twins, it's indispensable.

I own a Sportsman, and a Champ, but my oldest and dearest is what appears to be a version of the current Explorer model. It has a saw, file, can opener, ... even a dumaflache. What I like best about this knife is that the boys at Victorinox put an implement in every possible place they could. There are tools hidden all over this thing. The handiest features include a magnifying glass, a handy needle that is hidden within the corkscrew recess, and an ingenious eyeglass screwdriver that screws into the corkscrew. I can't tell you how many times that little thing has saved me. You can get a handful of them for ten bucks. Highly recommended.

By the way, the author of Cultural Offering's "Essentials" article, Steve Rinella, has written a great book called The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine ... it's a must. The book describes the lengths to which the author went to personally procure and prepare the ingredients for a 45-course meal based on Escoffier's 1903 cookbook, Le Guide Culinaire. Jim Harrison's blurb on the back cover ("It's sure to repel a few professional food sissies but attract many more with its sheer in-your-face enery and fine storytelling") sold me and I wasn't disappointed.


Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any, also to strangers, and sometimes to others. If a person offends you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. That will be sufficient. If you shall find that he had not intended any offense, come out frankly and confess yourself in the wrong when you struck him; acknowledge it like a man and say you didn’t mean to. Yes, always avoid violence; in this age of charity and kindliness, the time has gone by for such things. Leave dynamite to the low and unrefined.

Read the rest of his essay, "Advice To Youth" here.


True happiness is to understand our duties toward God and man;

... to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence on the future;

... not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears, but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is abundantly sufficient.

The time will come when diligent research over periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden.

Our universe is a sorry little affair unless it has something for every age to investigate as nature does not reveal her mysteries once and for all.
- Seneca


Edouard Manet, Flowers In A Crystal Vase, 1882

It is not enough to know your craft - you have to have feeling. Science is all very well, but for us imagination is worth far more. You would hardly believe how difficult it is to place a figure alone on a canvas, and to concentrate all the interest on this single and universal figure and still keep it living and real.
- Edouard Manet


Vincent van Gogh's palette

My freshly arranged palette, brilliant with contrasting colors, is enough to fire my enthusiasm.
- Eugene Delacroix

Read the rest here.


Now and then when I get an idea for a picture, I think, how ordinary. Why paint that old rock? Why not go for a walk instead? But then I realize that to someone else it may not seem so ordinary.
- Georgia O'Keeffe


From Handel's opera, Serse, Cecilia Bartoli sings the aria "Ombra Mai Fu," accompanied by Il Giardino Armonico

Tender and beautiful fronds
of my beloved plane tree,
let Fate smile upon you.
May thunder, lightning, and storms
never bother your dear peace,
nor may you by blowing winds be profaned.

Never was a shade
of any plant,
dearer and more lovely,
or more sweet.

James Taylor, "Secret O'Life/Wandering"

Enjoying the passage of time ...


Jan van Eyck, Man with the Red Turban, 1433

Yes, 1433.

Happy Birthday, Reinhardt.

Django was born on this date in 1910.


Wandering through the magic hour ...

21 January 2011


Georgia O'Keeffe, Black Place III, 1944

My center does not come from my mind - it feels in me like a plot of warm, moist, well-tilled earth with the sun shining hot on it... It seems I would rather feel starkly empty than let any thing be planted that cannot be tended to the fullest possibility of its growth. Did you ever have something to say and feel as if the whole side of the wall wouldn't be big enough to say it on, and then sit down on the floor and try to get it onto a sheet of charcoal paper?
- Georgia O'Keeffe

Brandi Carlisle, "Have You Ever"

Have you ever wandered lonely through the woods?
And everything there feels just as it should
You're part of the life there
You're part of something good
If you've ever wandered lonely through the woods
if you've ever wandered lonlely through the woods

Have you ever stared into a starry sky?
Lying on your back you're asking why
What's the purpose I wonder who am I
If you've ever stared into a starry sky
Have you ever stared into a starry sky

Have you ever been out walking in the snow?
Tried to get back to where you were before
You always end up not knowing where to go
If you've ever been out walking in the snow
If you'd ever been out walking you would know


If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.
- Rachel Carson


A biography of a man who had my dream job is out.

Alan Lomax proved that the poorest places held some of the richest cultural treasures.

In his field-collecting, Lomax ignored the standard code of conduct, paying his "informants" or plying them with drink. He won their confidence by strumming a guitar and singing cowboy songs in his Texas drawl—really by any means necessary to get a performance on record, because for Lomax it was a race against time and the encroaching homogenization of modern culture. "An advance might be in order," he complained to his Library of Congress boss in 1938 from the woods of Upper Michigan, where he was recording lumberjacks. "I am not wastreling—but songs in Michigan absolutely require beer."

Read the rest here.

Lomax at work, interviewing blues man, Sam Chatmon. Love the beard ...



As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, ...

... the great door, that does not look like a door, ...

... opens.

- Stephen Graham, The Gentle Art of Tramping