Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which
attend a wintry fireside; candles at four o'clock, warm hearth rugs, tea, a fair
tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies to the floor,
whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without.
Someone else's vision will never be as good as your own
vision of yourself. Live and die with it because in the end it’s all you have.
Lose it and you lose yourself and everything else. I should have listened to
We comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection.
Something closed must retain our memories, while leaving them their original
value as images. Memories of the outside world will never have the same
tonality as those of home and, by recalling these memories, we add to our store
of dreams; we are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion
is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.
A local Navajo woman and Bears Ears supporter cooked vats of
mutton stew, made piles of fry bread, and we all listened to stories at the
Mexican Water Chapter House and heard again why the Bears Ears landscape is so
important to the people.
We listened to stories about Headman Manuelito. He was born
at the “Bears Ears” that sit atop the deep and convoluted red rock canyons
above the Colorado River. We know these places as Dark Canyon, White Canyon,
and Cedar Mesa today, but Native people have been hunting, gathering and
occupying these vast, wild landscapes for millennia. Diné call this area
"Náhonidzó," or “the escaping place.” Manuelito guided hundreds of
Navajo into this maze-like refuge to save them from the Long Walk of 1864, when
Navajos were forced by the U.S. army to march from Arizona and Utah into a new
reservation in New Mexico. Those who stayed in hiding in these canyons were
spared the trauma and death of the Long Walk. Diné were allowed to return home
in 1868 and Utah Navajo People joined them to re-occupy what is now the Navajo
Spider Woman instructed the Navajo women how to weave on a
loom, which Spider Man told them how to make. The cross poles were made of sky
and earth cords, the warp sticks of sunrays, the heads of rock crystal and
sheet lightning. The batten was a sun halo, white shell made the comb. There
were four spindles: one a stick of zigzag lightning with a whorl of cannel
coal; one a stick of flash lightning with a whorl of turquoise; a third had a
stick of sheet lightning with a whorl of abalone; a rain streamer formed the
stick of the fourth spindle, and its whorl was white shell.
On August 21, 2017 a total eclipse of the sun will be
visible from a narrow corridor crossing the United States. It will be the first
total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous U.S. since 1979. The path of
the moon’s umbral shadow starts in the northern Pacific and moves
east through parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas,
Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South
Carolina. The moon’s penumbral shadow produces a partial eclipse
that’s visible from a much larger region covering most of North America.
To the free man, the country is the collection of
individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a
common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a
means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors and gifts, nor
a master or god to be blindly worshipped and served. He recognizes no national
goal except as it is the consensus of the goals that the citizens severally
serve. He recognizes no national purpose except as it is the consensus of the
purposes for which the citizens severally strive.
The free man will ask neither what his country can do for
him nor what he can do for his country. He will ask rather “What can I and my
compatriots do through government” to help us discharge our individual
responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to
protect our freedom? And he will accompany this question with another:
How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will
destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect?
The White House declared two new national monuments in
Utah and Nevada on Wednesday, setting aside 1.65 million acres of desert
that includes landscapes sacred to several Native American groups, ancient rock
art, and rare species’ habitat.
Each year on Christmas Eve, [Karl] Haas dedicated his show to the distinctive sounds of church bells throughout Europe and the Middle East. He provided a fascinating documentation of the unique bell sound of each city, along with a brief history of bell ringing. Listening to these programs, I was always struck by the continuity of tradition at the heart of European bell ringing. In most cases, these are sounds which have been heard for centuries.
The Story of the Bells must have been one of Haas’ most popular programs, because it’s one of the few episodes which can be found on CD. Last year, The Listeners’ Club continued the tradition with two bell-related posts, Europe’s Age Old Bells and Change Ringing in England. Now, in honor of Karl Haas, here are a few more. Listen to the way the sound builds gradually, sometimes starting with a single bell and ending in a glorious cacophony. Notice the rich overtones and distinct timbre of each cathedral.
I think we are losing beauty and there is a danger that with it we will lose the meaning of life. I’m Roger Scruton, philosopher and writer. My trade is to ask questions. During the last few years I have been asking questions about beauty. Beauty has been central to our civilization for over 2000 years. From its beginnings in ancient Greece philosophy has reflected on the place of beauty in art, poetry, music, architecture and everyday life. Philosophers have argued that through the pursuit of beauty we shape the world as a home. We also come to understand our own nature as spiritual beings. But our world has turned its back on beauty and because of that we find ourselves surrounded by ugliness and alienation.
I want to persuade you that beauty matters; that it is not just a subjective thing, but a universal need of human beings. If we ignore this need we find ourselves in a spiritual desert. I want to show you the path out of that desert. It is a path that leads to home. Roger Scruton
“I’m always in a good mood,” Henry tells me, with a jaunty,
almost a rakish smile. His beard and sidelocks are gray, but there’s a
nimbleness to his movements. His sleeves are rolled, and his shirt hangs open
one or two buttons below what you might expect. Despite the long hours and the
heavy lifting, he still enjoys the work. “Every morning I wake up and thank
Henry’s workshop is five steps below street level, in the
basement of the Congregation Sons of Moses synagogue. There are no windows and
yet it’s a cheerful place, primarily because of Henry, but also because of the
instruments he uses—the oversewing machine with its web of thread, the presses
that are tightened by wheel crank, the hand guillotine and the foot guillotine.
Some are wickedly efficient, others possessed of a Rube Goldberg charm. Grease
is needed to keep these machines in working order, and there’s a sweetness in
the air, from the lubricant oils, the leather polish and Elmer’s glue, all of
it underlined by the nutty scent of paper recently cut.
Two rows of tables span the room. Their tops are covered in
newspapers, discarded covers, fabric, brushes, pots of glue. A tinkerer’s chaos
prevails, and as you pass through it, Henry watches and warns where you are
most at risk of losing a finger, or of succumbing to schmutz.
135 Henry Street has been a bookbindery as long as anyone
alive can remember. As a young man, Henry worked briefly as a sofer,
transcribing the Torah and other holy writings by hand, then heard that his
brother’s father-in-law, the bookbinder, needed help, and went to work in the
shop. It was a bustling place. There were many others in the trade back then.
One of Henry’s former colleagues, Moshe, was hanging around the day I went by
to visit. Moshe is 86 now and a little stooped, but Henry assured me that in
his day Moshe was the strongest of the bookbinders and did the work of ten men,
or ten horses, even. Moshe nodded sagely. “I was strong,” he acknowledged.
“Once I danced with six women in one night. September 17th, 1953.”
Living without mystery means knowing nothing of the mystery
of our own life, nothing of the mystery of another person, nothing of the
mystery of the world; it means passing over our own hidden qualities and those
of others and the world. It means remaining on the surface, taking the world
seriously only to the extent that it can be calculated and exploited, and not
going beyond the world of calculation and exploitation. Living without mystery
means not seeing the crucial processes of life at all and even denying them.
"Barring love I'll take my life in large doses alone--rivers, forests, fish, grouse, mountains. Dogs."
TAO TE CHING, Lao Tzu
"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one's own mind without another's guidance. Dare to know! Sapere aude. 'Have the courage to use your own understanding,' is therefore the motto of the enlightenment."
"Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing."
"Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained."
Spitzweg, The Bookworm, 1850
"Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” Fernando Pessoa
"Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes)."
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. But this business, alas, is fatal to the placid moods and fine other-worldliness of the poet."
"We're just dancing in the rain ..."
"If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you."
"It is hard to go on living without some hope of encountering the extraordinary."
I'm reading ...
Unlikely General: "Mad" Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America
"I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; Garlands from window to window; Golden chains from star to star ... And I dance."
"When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”