"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 July 2015

Nigel Kennedy, "Fallen Forest"


Today the bourgeoisie is sociopathic, overindulged, distracted, spoiled beyond measure, and unable to restrain its gluttony, even in the face of pending planetary destruction.  In the face of such a threat, it has, by necessity, become the responsibility of the artist to model health and sanity.

Gary Snyder


Our great mistake in education is, as it seems to me, the worship of book-learning–the confusion of instruction and education. We strain the memory instead of cultivating the mind. The children in our elementary schools are wearied by the mechanical act of writing, and the interminable intricacies of spelling; they are oppressed by columns of dates, by lists of kings and places, which convey no definite idea to their minds, and have no near relation to their daily wants and occupations; while in our public schools the same unfortunate results are produced by the weary monotony of Latin and Greek grammar. We ought to follow exactly the opposite course with children–to give them a wholesome variety of mental food, and endeavor to cultivate their tastes, rather than to fill their minds with dry facts. The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn. What does it matter if the pupil know a little more or a little less? A boy who leaves school knowing much, but hating his lessons, will soon have forgotten almost all he ever learned; while another who had acquired a thirst for knowledge, even if he had learned little, would soon teach himself more than the first ever knew.

John Lubbock


van Gogh, Self-portrait dedicated to Paul Gauguin (detail), 1888

I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?

Vincent van Gogh

29 July 2015

Robert Plant, "Going to California"

"Skin" Tyson, guitar; Justin Adams, mandolin ...



Squier & Davis, Newark Works, 1847

When the Hopewell culture of the Scioto River valley constructed their complex of earthworks in what is now the city of Newark, Ohio, they included two parallel walls of clay marking a 200-foot wide path leading from the Octagon Earthwork in a straight line some two miles south where they intersect Ramp Creek, a minor tributary of the Licking River. The walls form the boundaries of a meticulously graded road, crowned in the middle and constructed of clay differing from the neighboring soil. The destination of the road is a matter of debate, although that it actually extended for many miles beyond the small creek is a fact that has been discovered many times in the field only to languish from academic neglect. Thus the road's curious fate is to be periodically re-discovered, and then, for some odd reason, be pooh-poohed by the referees of archaeological correctness. The current champion of the road is Dr. Bradley T. Lepper, whose interest in the road was sparked by his discovery of a forgotten manuscript gathering dust at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, detailing an 1862 survey of the road. Lepper has followed up this discovery by finding traces of the road which still exist today despite nearly two centuries of agriculture and other improvements to the Ohio landscape. With his evidence, coupled with aerial surveys done back in the 1930s that found traces of the road extending straight as an atlatl throw for at least twelve miles towards the great Hopewellian center of what is now Chillicothe, 55 miles distant, Lepper concludes that there are sound reasons to believe that this ancient Hopewell sacra via did exist.



[E]agerness to listen can be thought of as “nourishing silence,” which is also “active silence,” listening for higher, deeper comprehension of self and divinity, self as part of divinity, and self in the other.



Deep in the mountains of Bavaria is a concrete doorway set into the side of the mountain. Even in the height of summer, the thick steel door is cool to the touch, and drips with condensation. From the edges of the door frame comes a chilling cold breeze. It isn’t marked on any tourists guide maps, as the government would prefer that you had no idea that it exists.



Kapsberger/Piccinini, Chiaconna

Jan Grüter, theorbo ...

28 July 2015

Liam "Skin" Tyson.


Dr. Bradley T. Lepper, Curator of Archaeology from the Ohio Historical Society, details the historic Newark Earthworks and why it should become a World Heritage Site.


This present moment
that lives on

to become

long ago

Gary Snyder

Debussy, Cello Sonata

Martha Argerich and Mischa Maisky perform ...



Kent, Study, 1920

Blow the dust off the clock. Your watches are behind the times. Throw open the heavy curtains which are so dear to you -- you do not even suspect that the day has already dawned outside.  Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn


Taken July 28, 1962, the cutting of the highest hedge of England, in Cirencester. The hedge is 11 meters high and was planted in 1720. 

Mozart, Horn Concerto No. 3 E flat major, K. 447

Radek Baborák performs with the Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Jean Jacques Kantorow ...

Happy birthday, Potter.

Beatrix Potter was born on this date in 1866.

Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.

Beatrix Potter


27 July 2015

Darrell Scott, "A World of Wonder/Satisfied Mind"

Many is the day I have squandered away
Bended low from the weight I was under
And many is the time
I have spent all where it might
While livin' in a world of wonder

I have troubled my soul
To things I can't control
Awaiting my next foolish blunder
And I try to tell myself
It's in the hands of someone else

Up above the darkened cloud
There's a light to be found
High above the lightning and the thunder
Oh Lord hear my plea
Won't you help my eyes to see
I am livin' in a world of wonder

I once had a friend
And he loved life to the end
And he never let his faith go asunder
Though he lost his worldly due
He could smile and say to you
Man we're livin' in a world of wonder

Up above the darkened cloud
There's a light to be found
High above the lightning and the thunder
Oh Lord hear my plea
Won't you help my eyes to see
I am livin' in a world of wonder

I am living, you are living,
We are living in a world of wonder


Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water. Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.



We need nature not just for physical health, but - as importantly - for sanity. 


Tenaka, Withered Trees, undated

What is an unspoken hunger except an ever deepening lust that pulses through our identity with such vigor that we sense, but cannot or will not express, its desires for a union with and a commingling of our destinies with those of another, such that what happens to one exists also for the other. In some primal symbiotic encounter, we yearn for --and yet it eludes us-- a recovery of that dance from which we were born, grow, mature and decay. What is unspoken is the endless necessity of finding that ecstasy in the lives of others for whom we recognize that rhythm. We speak not about how by joining together, we experience intimacy unbound, and that discovery of reunion is fleetingly possible -- if only we dare.

Unspoken because in our gestures, our subliminally felt need to nourish one another eludes any words that can only accompany, but never substitute for, the actions of devotion and delight. Hunger because in our daily activity we crave but do not satiate that impulse to render all of our attention to those with whom we love to conspire; breathing together and invigorating one another's senses in ways that bind us back to the ancestral, if not original, union from whence we are banished in the birth pangs of differentiation and the labor of separating ourselves from one another.

The unspoken hunger dwells deeply, abides within my unconscious emerging as a sweet spring from beneath the parched earth tethering me in unimagined ways to all that has been here and all that sense here an eternal spawning of one thing as it turns entirely into another.

Terry Tempest Williams

Mozart, Ave Verum Corpus, K. 618


It might be big or small, natural or man-made, but it stops you cold—while other positive emotion arouse the body, people feeling awe are very still—and makes you re-evaluate what you actually know.  

Happy birthday, Belloc.

Hilaire Belloc was born on this date in 1870.

The South Country

When I am living in the Midlands
That are sodden and unkind,
I light my lamp in the evening:
My work is left behind;
And the great hills of the South Country
Come back into my mind.

The great hills of the South Country
They stand along the sea;
And it's there walking in the high woods
That I could wish to be,
And the men that were boys when I was a boy
Walking along with me.

The men that live in North England
I saw them for a day:
Their hearts are set upon the waste fells,
Their skies are fast and grey;
From their castle-walls a man may see
The mountains far away.

The men that live in West England
They see the Severn strong,
A-rolling on rough water brown
Light aspen leaves along.
They have the secret of the Rocks,
And the oldest kind of song.

But the men that live in the South Country
Are the kindest and most wise,
They get their laughter from the loud surf,
And the faith in their happy eyes
Comes surely from our Sister the Spring
When over the sea she flies;
The violets suddenly bloom at her feet,
She blesses us with surprise.

I never get between the pines
But I smell the Sussex air;
Nor I never come on a belt of sand
But my home is there.
And along the sky the line of the Downs
So noble and so bare.

A lost thing could I never find,
Nor a broken thing mend:
And I fear I shall be all alone
When I get towards the end.
Who will there be to comfort me
Or who will be my friend?

I will gather and carefully make my friends
Of the men of the Sussex Weald;
They watch the stars from silent folds,
They stiffly plough the field.
By them and the God of the South Country
My poor soul shall be healed.

If I ever become a rich man,
Or if ever I grow to be old,
I will build a house with deep thatch
To shelter me from the cold,
And there shall the Sussex songs be sung
And the story of Sussex told.

I will hold my house in the high wood
Within a walk of the sea,
And the men that were boys when I was a boy
Shall sit and drink with me.

Hilaire Belloc


... [T]he result of a painstaking and admittedly quixotic effort to catalog the country as it has been described in the American road-tripping literature.

Thank You, Jessica.


When you roam around in the spaces of your mind, you're not forming sentences and reeling out vocabulary. You're just looking at the landscape of your mind.

Gary Snyder

23 July 2015

Jay Farrar, "Hickory Wind"

Happy birthday, Jessica.


Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.

Ernest Hemingway

22 July 2015

Rolling Stones, "The Nearness of You"

Keith sings Hoagy Carmichael poetry ...


Dove, Sunrise IV, 1937

The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveler coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveler to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger you begin.”

So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveler. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveler wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveler, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.



The Jay Ungar Family Band, "Ashokan Farewell"


Stom, Young Man Reading by the Light of a Candle, 1633

I wanted to crawl in between those black lines of print the way you crawl through a fence, and go to sleep under that beautiful big green fig-tree.

Sylvia Plath


Swiping through such small chunks of text seemed less intimidating, and more suited to the ten-minute-long bursts of reading I’d fit into interstitial moments. Because I was carrying the book around all the time, I pulled it out all the time: on the subway, walking down the block to get groceries. Once you’re genuinely hankering to get back to a book, to delve into the folds of its plot and the clockwork machinations of its characters, you stop needing so much mindfulness to screen out digital diversions. The book becomes the diversion itself, the thing your brain is needling you to engage with.

Clive Thompson

Happy birthday, Hopper.

Hopper, Clamdigger, 1935

Edward Hopper was born on this date in 1882.

No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination. If you could say it in words, there'd be no reason to paint.

Edward Hopper

20 July 2015


Dürer, A Heavenly Body in the Night Sky, 1497

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
         Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
         Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
         Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
         Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
         Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
         Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

John Keats

Hot Rize, "Nellie Kane"

... I can't explain.

Tim O'Brien poetry. Charles Sawtelle, guitar ...


One Stab disliked the altitude numbers attached to mountains.  Some large mountains have no character while certain smaller ones are noble and holy places with good springs.

Jim Harrison, from Legends of the Fall

09 July 2015

Tony Rice, "Shenandoah"


Improvement makes straight roads, but the crooked roads, without Improvement, are roads of Genius.

William Blake

Tim O'Brien, "Less and Less"


Levitan, Clouds, 1895

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Mary Oliver



The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented. Even the eyes of all humanity are not enough. I regret that brutes cannot write books. Very gladly would I learn what face things present to a mouse or a bee; more gladly still would I perceive the olfactory world charged with all the information and emotion it carries for a dog. Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality.  In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad of eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do. 

C.S. Lewis
Gagnon, In the Northern Woods, 1918

The wilderness does not make you forget your normal life so much as it removes the distractions for proper remembering.

Jim Harrison

06 July 2015


van Eyck, Man in a Red Turban, 1433


O'Keeffe, Wave, Night, 1928

I listen, and the mountain lakes
hear snowflakes come on those winter wings
only the owls are awake to see,
their radar gaze and furred ears
alert. In that stillness a meaning shakes;
And I have thought (maybe alone
on my bike, quaintly on a cold
evening pedaling home), Think!—
the splendor of our life, its current unknown
as those mountains, the scene no one sees.
O citizens of our great amnesty:
we might have died. We live. Marvels
coast by, great veers and swoops of air
so bright the lamps waver in tears,
and I hear in the chain a chuckle I like to hear.

William Stafford

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, "The Waiting"

Happy birthday, Kahlo.

Kahlo, Roots, 1943

Frida Kahlo was born on this date in 1907.

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.

I wish I could do whatever I liked behind the curtain of “madness”. Then: I’d arrange flowers, all day long, I’d paint; pain, love and tenderness, I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say: “Poor thing, she’s crazy!” (Above all I would laugh at my own stupidity.) I would build my world which while I lived, would be in agreement with all the worlds. The day, or the hour, or the minute that I lived would be mine and everyone else’s – my madness would not be an escape from “reality”.

Frida Kahlo 

05 July 2015

The Waterboys, "Spirit"

Man gets tired
Spirit don't
Man surrenders
Spirit won't

Man crawls
Spirit flies
Spirit lives
When man dies

Man seems
Spirit is
Man dreams
The spirit lives

Man is tethered
Spirit free
What spirit
Is man can be

What spirit
Is man can be
What spirit
Is man can be


Doré, A Voyage to the Moon, 1868

Perhaps it’s true that things can change in a day, that a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house—-the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture … these must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.

Arundhati Roy


I am the rain.

The mountain may spit fire at the sky …
Still the rain will fall.

The mountain may quake at the world …
Still the rain will fall.

The mountain will be silent and brooding …
Still the rain will fall.

The mountain will tumble down upon the earth …
Still the rain will fall.

The mountain will be reduced to sandy shore …
Still the rain will fall.

Be the rain.

D. Denise Dianaty



There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, "Do trousers matter?"

P.G. Wodehouse

04 July 2015


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.



02 July 2015


Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.

William Blake

Thank you, Kurt Arrigo Photography.


van Honthorst, Merry Musician with a Violin under his Left Arm, 1624

When I play on my fiddle in Dooney,
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,
My brother in Moharabuiee.

I passed my brother and cousin:
They read in their books of prayer;
I read in my book of songs
I bought at the Sligo fair.

When we come at the end of time,
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;

For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle
And the merry love to dance:

And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With 'Here is the fiddler of Dooney!'
And dance like a wave of the sea.

William Butler Yeats

Steve Wickham.

Wickham getting work done ...



On this date in 1776, The Continental Congress passed a resolution declaring independence from Great Britain.

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.


Herman Hesse was born on this date in 1877.

There is no escape. You can’t be a vagabond and an artist and still be a solid citizen, a wholesome, upstanding man. You want to get drunk, so you have to accept the hangover. You say yes to the sunlight and pure fantasies, so you have to say yes to the filth and the nausea. Everything is within you, gold and mud, happiness and pain, the laughter of childhood and the apprehension of death. Say yes to everything, shirk nothing. Don’t try to lie to yourself. You are not a solid citizen. You are not a Greek. You are not harmonious, or the master of yourself. You are a bird in the storm. Let it storm! Let it drive you!

Herman Hesse