"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 2015

Happy birthday, Merton.

Thomas Merton was born on this date in 1915.

Let us come alive to the splendor that is all around us, and see the beauty in ordinary things.

Thomas Merton

30 January 2015


Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness.

George MacDonald

29 January 2015


Steiger, USPRR San Luis Harbor, 2014

[William Steiger’s] most recent body of work, he transforms his collection of vintage lithographs by means of collage, altering the narrative of each image. The exhibition will include Silvercup (2014), the artist’s newest aquatint and soft ground edition. The print exemplifies Steiger’s interest in graphic qualities of familiar architectural structures in the modern landscape.

Steiger borrowed the abbreviated title, Explorations & Surveys, from the title of his source material, Reports of the Explorations and Surveys to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economic Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. These accounts were published by the Federal Government in the late 1850s to both document the western regions and to locate the best routes for the forthcoming Pacific Railroad. 


ParkeHarrison, Cloud Drift II,  2007

I do not read for I have renounced life, I read because one life is just not enough for me.

Abbas Al-Akkad


Mike Scott & Steve Wickham, "Still a Freak"


Fonts can play a powerful role in shaping the aesthetic identity of a city – and some places wishing to update their image turn to typeface design as a revitalising tool. 

Thanks, Kurt.

Happy birthday, Fields.

W. C. Fields was born on this date in 1880.

... I thought I'd lost it.


28 January 2015


If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what i think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.

Thomas Merton

24 January 2015

Happy birthday, Zevon.

Warren Zevon was born on this date in 1947.


... as small as a world and as large as alone. 

for whatever we lose(like a you or a me) 

it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.

e.e. cummings

23 January 2015

Jerry Jeff Walker, "Pick Up the Tempo"

For cryin' out loud I like gravy.

Featuring Lloyd Maines on the steel ... 

Praise the Lloyd!


Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required.

Winston Churchill


Goldsworthy, Rain Shadow, undated

What is the best book about philosophy one could look at? For the 6th-century B.C. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, it wasn't a volume (or a scroll) but the book of nature. It is the natural world, in particular its rocks, water, stone, trees and clouds, that offers us constant, eloquent lessons in wisdom and calm - if only we remembered to pay attention a little more often.

In Lao Tzu's eyes, most of what is wrong with us stems from our failure to live 'in accordance with nature'. Our envy, our rage, our manic ambition, our frustrated sense of entitlement, all of it stems from our failure to live as nature suggests we should. Of course, 'nature' has many moods and one can see in it almost anything one likes depending on one's perspective. But when Lao Tzu refers to nature, he is thinking of some very particular aspects of the natural world; he focuses in on a range of attitudes he sees in it which, if we manifested them more regularly in our own lives, would help us find serenity and fulfilment.


22 January 2015


... the late afternoon sail so exquisite, the sun sight so perfect, the wind so regular (temperature just right), I played the piano a bit before dinner. Not easy because when the boat rocks I need to exert great pressure through my knees on the underside of the keyboard to keep from falling over backward, and the additional challenge to coordination is enough to make the sounds that result a travesty on the Bach partita I am, as usual, struggling with. I left the piano and put on the cassette player, a late Beethoven sonata, as we sat down for a dinner of turkey and stuffing, wine, cheese, fruit and coffee. I thought I would try to say something about the difference between the late and the early Beethoven.

You have shortened sail just a little, because you want more steadiness than you are going to get at this speed, the wind up to twenty-two, twenty-four knots, and it is late at night, and there are only two of you in the cockpit. You are moving at racing speed, parting the buttery sea as with a scalpel, and waters roar by, themselves exuberantly subdued by your powers to command your way through them. Triumphalism ... and the stars also seem to be singing together for joy.

William F. Buckley, Jr.



To know how to eat well, one must first know how to wait.

Marco Pierre White

21 January 2015

Sting, "You Can Close Your Eyes"


Homer, Swell of the Ocean, 1883

Free man, you will always cherish the sea!
The sea is your mirror; you contemplate your soul
In the infinite unrolling of its billows;
Your mind is an abyss that is no less bitter.
You like to plunge into the bosom of your image;
You embrace it with eyes and arms, and your heart
Is distracted at times from its own clamoring
By the sound of this plaint, wild and untamable.
Both of you are gloomy and reticent:
Man, no one has sounded the depths of your being;
O Sea, no person knows your most hidden riches,
So zealously do you keep your secrets!
Yet for countless ages you have fought each other
Without pity, without remorse,
So fiercely do you love carnage and death,
O eternal fighters, implacable brothers!

Charles Baudelaire



It's a poor fellow who can't take his pleasure without asking other people's permission.

Herman Hesse

Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111

Daniel Barenboim performs ...

Happy birthday, Jackson.

Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson was born on this date in 1824.

Once you get them running, you stay right on top of them, and that way a small force can defeat a large one every time. Only thus can a weaker country cope with a stronger; it must make up in activity what it lacks in strength.  Under divine blessing, we must rely on the bayonet when firearms cannot be furnished.

Thomas Jackson


Simon Sinek discusses the principle behind every successful person and business. A simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?"

Thank You, Jessica.


Have you ever smelled that distinctive, sweet aroma that lingers after it rains?

Scientists call it "petrichor," and since the 1960s, they've believed it comes from oils and chemicals that are released when raindrops hit the ground.

Don't miss this video.

More here.

Thank You, Jessica

Smell Ya.


For the poet is a light and winged and holy thing, and there is no invention in him until he has been inspired and is out of his senses, and the mind is no longer in him: when he has not attained to this state, he is powerless and is unable to utter his oracles.


20 January 2015


Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. 

John Steinbeck


There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.

C.S. Lewis

18 January 2015


Happy birthday, Milne.

A.A. Milne was born on this date in 1882.

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.  Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday.

A.A. Milne

17 January 2015


Deep silence fell about the little camp, planted there so audaciously in the jaws of the wilderness. The lake gleamed like a sheet of black glass beneath the stars. The cold air pricked. In the draughts of night that poured their silent tide from the depths of the forest, with messages from distant ridges and from lakes just beginning to freeze, there lay already the faint, bleak odors of coming winter.

Algernon Blackwood, from Wendigo


Mønsted, Gastein, 1912

Nowhere, Beloved, will world be but within us. Our life passes in transformation. And the external shrinks into less and less. Where once an enduring house was, now a cerebral structure crosses our path, completely belonging to the realm of concepts, as though it still stood in the brain. Our age has built itself vast reservoirs of power, formless as the straining energy that it wrests from the earth. Temples are no longer known. It is we who secretly save up these extravagances of the heart. Where one of them still survives, a Thing that was formerly prayed to, worshipped, knelt before -- just as it is, it passes into the invisible world. Many no longer perceive it, yet miss the chance. To build it inside themselves now, with pillars and statues: greater.

Rainer Maria Rilke


Severen, Keats Listening to a Nightingale on Hampstead Heath, 1845

The poetical Character is not itself – it has no self – it is everything and nothing – It has no character – it enjoys light and shade; it lives in gusto, be it foul or fair, high or low, rich or poor, mean or elevated – It has as much delight in an Iago as an Imogen. What shocks the virtuous philosopher delights the camelion Poet.

John Keats


The act of writing is like a boy hoeing a field of corn on a hot day, from which he can see either a woodlot or, more often, an immense forest where he'd rather be. This is uncomplicated, almost banal. He had to hoe the corn in order to be allowed to reach his beloved forest. This can be easily extrapolated into a writer as a small god who has forty acres as a birthright on which to reinvent the world. He cultivates this world, but then there is always something vast and unreachable beyond his grasp, whether it's the forest, the ocean, or the implausible ten million citizens of New York or Paris. While he hoes or writes, he whirls toward the future at a rate that with age becomes quite incomprehensible. He leaves a trail of books, but he really marks the passage of time by the series of hunting dogs he's left behind. His negative capability has made the world grow larger rather than shrink, and not a single easy answer has survived the passing of years.



It's ...

16 January 2015


There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books. Thus I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation of Plato off the library shelf and read the Symposium. He would rather read some dreary modern book ten times as long, all about “isms” and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said. The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator.

The simplest student will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism. It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.

C.S. Lewis


He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.

Jack London


In anything fit to be called by the name of reading, the process itself should be absorbing and voluptuous; we should gloat over a book, be rapt clean out of ourselves, and rise from the perusal, our mind filled with the busiest, kaleidoscopic dance of images, incapable of sleep or of continuous thought. The words, if the book be eloquent, should run thence-forward in our ears like the noise of breakers, and the story, if it be a story, repeat itself in a thousand colored pictures to the eye.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Jay Farrar, "Highways and Cigarettes"


Learn how to ‪meditate‬ on paper. Drawing and writing are forms of meditation. Learn how to contemplate works of art. Learn how to pray in the streets or in the country. Know how to meditate not only when you have a book in your hand but when you are waiting for a bus or riding in a train. 

Thomas Merton


A good way to rid one's self of a sense of discomfort is to do something. That uneasy, dissatisfied feeling is actual force vibrating out of order; it may be turned to practical account by giving proper expression to its creative character. The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.

William Morris


The particulars in poems are like the particularities, the personalities, that distinguish people from one another. Poems are easy to share, easy to pass on, and when you read a poem, you can imagine someone's speaking to you or for you, maybe even someone far away or someone made up or someone deceased. That's why we can go to poems when we want to remember something or someone, to celebrate or to look beyond death or to say goodbye, and that's one reason poems can seem important, even to people who aren't me, who don't so much live in a world of words. The poet Frank O'Hara said, "If you don't need poetry, bully for you," but he also said when he didn't want to be alive anymore, the thought that he wouldn't write any more poems had stopped him. Poetry helps me want to be alive, and I want to show you why by showing you how; how a couple of poems react to the fact that we're alive in one place at one time in one culture, and in another we won't be alive at all.

Rob Ickes, "Angeline the Baker"

15 January 2015


This giant Swiss Army knife from Wenger is designed with an incredible 87 implements that perform 141 functions ...

2.5" 60% Serrated locking blade
Nail file, nail cleaner
Adjustable pliers with wire crimper and cutter
Removable screwdriver bit adapter
2.5" Blade for Official World Scout Knife
Spring-loaded, locking needle-nose pliers with wire cutter
Removable screwdriver bit holder
Phillips head screwdriver bit 0
Phillips head screwdriver bit 1
Phillips head screwdriver bit 2
Flat head screwdriver bit 0.5mm x 3.5mm
Flat head screwdriver bit 0.6mm x 4.0mm
Flat head screwdriver bit 1.0mm x 6.5mm
Magnetized recessed bit holder
Double-cut wood saw with ruler (inch & cm)
Bike chain rivet setter
5mm Allen wrench
Removable tool for adjusting bike spokes, 10mm hexagonal key for nuts
Removable 4mm curved allen wrench with philips head screwdriver
Removable 10mm hexagonal key
Patented locking philips head screwdriver
Universal wrench
2.4" Springless scissors with serrated, self-sharpening design
1.65" Clip point utility blade
2.5" Clip point blade
Golf club face cleaner
2.4" Round tip blade
Patented locking screwdriver, cap lifter, can opener
Golf shoe spike wrench
Golf divot repair tool
4mm allen wrench
2.5" blade
Fine metal file with precision screwdriver
Double-cut wood saw
Cupped cigar cutter with double-honed edges
12/20-Guage choke tube tool
Watch caseback opening tool
Snap shackle
Mineral crystal magnifier with precision screwdriver
Compass, straight edge, ruler (in./cm)
Telescopic pointer
Fish scaler, hook disgorger, line guide
Shortix laboratory key
Micro scraper - straight
Micro scraper - curved
Laser pointer with 300 ft. range
Metal saw, metal file
Fine fork for watch spring bars
Pin punch 1.2mm
Pin punch .8mm
Round needle file
Special self-centering screwdriver for gunsights
Flat philips head screwdriver
Chisel-point reamer
Mineral crystal magnifier, fork for watch spring bars, small ruler
Tire tread gauge
Fiber optic tool holder
Can opener
Patented locking screwdriver, cap lifter, wire stripper
Key ring

Actual Size:  8.75” W x 3.25” L
Weight:  2lbs 11oz
Limited lifetime warranty

Made in Switzerland


We need the tonic of wildness.At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.

Henry David Thoreau

Crazy Horse, "Cortez the Killer"


I am the forest,
I am an ancient.
I treasure the stag,
I treasure the deer.
I shelter you from storm,
I shelter you from snow.
I resist the frost,
I keep the source.
I nurse the earth,
I am always there.
I build your house,
I kindle your hearth.
Therefore, you people, hold me dear.

Inscription found in a 17th century forester’s house in Lower Saxony, Germany  


Skimming across the ocean like a bird on the wing ...


Mike Scott explains his big, black Book of Shadows ...


A field of falling water that pauses wherever a human body is detected, Rain Room offers visitors the experience of controlling the rain. Known for their distinctive approach to contemporary digital practice, Random International’s experimental projects come alive through audience interaction—and Rain Room is their largest and most ambitious to date. The work invites visitors to explore the roles that science, technology, and human ingenuity can play in stabilizing our environment. Using digital technology, Rain Room creates a carefully choreographed downpour, simultaneously encouraging people to become performers on an unexpected stage and creating an intimate atmosphere of contemplation.


Thank you, Christopher.


Clark, Grains of Morning, 2014

Mysteries, yes

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

Mary Oliver

13 January 2015


Smart, The Face at The Guild Inn, 2005

People who understand everything get no stories.

Bertold Brecht


Cosentino, Behind a Little House, 2008

Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


Imagination cannot contain the absolute. 
Poems are elusive because their presence is.



All his life, Olav Heyerdahl had heard the stories of his grandfather: of how he crossed the Pacific in 1947 on a primitive raft made of balsa wood. Now, at last, he got to experience it first hand.


12 January 2015


Over Jim Harrison’s almost 50-year-long career, the Michigan-raised author has established himself as one of the most visceral and muscular outdoor writers, with classics such as True North and A Good Day to Die to his name. While incredibly prolific—cranking out a book nearly every year since 1965—Harrison has inspired almost as much writing as he’s produced, thanks to his cantankerous and rollicking demeanor.

Below we’ve provided links to the six most essential articles about Harrison ever published, as well as excerpts from each.