AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

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

30 September 2020

Behold.


The SOLITARY REAPER

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?–
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;–
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

William Wordsworth

Lean.

Wyeth, Jamie, Pumpkin and Shell, 1989


SEPTEMBER MIDNIGHT

Lyric night of the lingering Indian summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent.
The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
Tired with summer.
Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heavy.
Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
Lest they forget them.

Sara Teasdale

29 September 2020

Mozart, Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, KV 339

 Patricia Janečková performs the Laudate Dominum with the Janáček Chamber Orchestra ...


Goodnight.

Power.


Stow.

North Door of St. Edward’s Church, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, England

What.

Do.

AC⚡DC, "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)"

Premiered.


Gustav Holst's The Planets premiered on this day in 1918.

Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra & Female Choir performs ...

Catch.


Willie Mays made The Catch on this day in 1954.

Done.


Done and done.

Presence.


How sweet the morning air is! See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo. Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. It shines on a good many folk, but on none, I dare bet, who are on a stranger errand than you and I. How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!

Arthur Conan Doyle

28 September 2020

Glière, Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in B-flat major, Op. 91

Radek Baborák performs Hermann Baumann's cadenza ...


Goodnight.

Must.


You must write every single day of your life. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.  May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days and out of that love, remake a world.

Ray Bradbury

Run.


Censorship and the suppression of reading materials are rarely about family values and almost always about controlabout who is snapping the whip, who is saying no, and who is saying go. Censorship's bottom line is this: if the novel
Christine offends me, I don't want just to make sure it's kept from my kid; I want to make sure it's kept from your kid, as well, and all the kids. This bit of intellectual arrogance, undemocratic and as old as time, is best expressed this way: "If it's bad for me and my family, it's bad for everyone's family.

Yet when books are run out of school classrooms and even out of school libraries as a result of this idea, I'm never much disturbed not as a citizen, not as a writer, not even as a schoolteacher . . . which I used to be. What I tell kids is, Don't get mad, get even. Don't spend time waving signs or carrying petitions around the neighborhood. Instead, run, don't walk, to the nearest nonschool library or to the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they're trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that's exactly what you need to know.

Stephen King

Freedom.

If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.

John F. Kennedy

The American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom's List of Banned and Challenged Books is HERE.

27 September 2020

Pretenders, "Up the Neck"

Excellent.

An excellent album ...

Reminded.


It is a home designed purposefully, laid out for living.  Airy, well-lit; not glaring ... well-lit.

The scent of the Harden home is its most distinguishing characteristic.  Like my Uncle Fred's cottage on Higgins Lake, it keeps me fruitlessly attempting to compare, recreate, even identify the impact of breezes, forests, and the water cycle. 

It will never happen.

Happy Birthday, Adams

Copley, Samuel Adams, 1772


Samuel Adams was born on this day in 1722.

Let the divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impression the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls; of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity and universal philanthropy, and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country; instructing them in the art of self-government, without which they never can act a wise part in the government of societies, great or small; in short, of  leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system, which will happily tend to subdue the turbulent passions of men, and introduce that golden age.

Samuel Adams, from a letter to John Adams, October 4, 1790

26 September 2020

Appropriately.

To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things, ruling, hoarding, building, are only little appendages and props, at most.

Michel de Montaigne

Happy Birthday, Ferry


Bryan Ferry was born on this day in 1945.

"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" ...

25 September 2020

Feel.

Important.


It's important not to get caught short.

Jim Harrison

Excellent.

 An excellent book ...

Nemo.

Wyeth, N.C., Captain Nemo, 1918

Precious.

Sisley, Autumn in Louveciennes, 1873


I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Lifelong.


The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.

Glenn Gould

Excellent.

 An excellent album ...

Happy Birthday, Gould


Glenn Gould was born on this date in 1932.

My moods are inversely related to the clarity of the sky.

Glenn Gould

Glenn Gould: On the Record ...



Glenn Gould: Off the Record ...

Happy Birthday, Borromini

 Borromini, Palazzo Spada Gallery, 1652


Francesco Borromini was born on this day in 1599.

It has been said that idleness is the parent of mischief, which is very true; but mischief itself is merely an attempt to escape from the dreary vacuum of idleness.

Francesco Borromini

24 September 2020

Priest, "Diamonds and Rust"

Heard.

Chatham, Fall Moon Rising, n/d


GOING for WATER

The well was dry beside the door,
And so we went with pail and can
Across the fields behind the house
To seek the brook if still it ran;

Not loth to have excuse to go,
Because the autumn eve was fair
(Though chill) because the fields were ours,
And by the brook our woods were there.

We ran as if to meet the moon
That slowly dawned behind the trees,
The barren boughs without the leaves,
Without the birds, without the breeze.

But once within the wood, we paused
Like gnomes that hid us from the moon,
Ready to run to hiding new
With laughter when she found us soon.

Each laid on other a staying hand
To listen ere we dared to look,
And in the hush we joined to make
We heard—we knew we heard—the brook.

A note as from a single place,
A slender tinkling fall that made
Now drops that floated on the pool
Like pearls, and now a silver blade.

Robert Frost

The Kings, "All the Way"

Observing.


Don’t let athletics run away with you as you may see in nine cases out of ten.  It doesn’t amount to a row of pins.  What you want to do is slowly but steadily get ahold of the simple facts of nature by reading and observing and also get all you can from Grandpapa, who can probably give you more practical knowledge than lots of professors, and then when you come to the science part it will come easy.  This is also true in art.  I’ve lived in the country, closer to nature, among animals, etc., and have learned and observed lots of little, seemingly little, things that have helped me in my final scientific study.  Write compositions and stories of your wanderings in the woods and when you can, send one to me.  Do as John Burroughs does.  If you can get some of his books and read them they are wonderful.

You've got a most interesting future before you if you wish to make it so and I wish you all possible success.

N.C. Wyeth, from a letter to his brother Edwin, May 25, 1903

Voice.


Everything comes from Neil Young and his song, "Are You Ready for the Country?", which has caused us considerable harm. After listening to her, a lot of people left town for the countryside. For my part, I already knew life in the countryside. But all these city dwellers came back, they tried to cultivate gardens and to grow grass which they smoked until getting sick. The designs of these people make me laugh. There is no man on one side and nature on the other. The two merge. This is why I find the position of environmental activists absurd. Empty and wild nature never existed: before the white man, there were the Indians and, before them, perhaps still other men. We must stop romanticizing nature. Having said that, I have nothing against Neil Young. I listened to his music a lot when I spent my time in Key West, just before I left to work for Hollywood. We find in his music the same thing as in Dalva: the desire for mystery, the romanticism in life, avoid shit, banality, the media and the noise of motorcycles which prevent me from speaking to you correctly since the beginning of this interview.

Interesting people often write down their thoughts in a notebook. I am very attracted by this literary genre which is the diary, or even more prosaically scattered notes written from day to day. As if things were no longer related to each other, there are only almost surreal notations left. I feel very close to this writing style today; I now realize that things never stick together and that it is up to us to pick up the pieces of a reality that constantly eludes us. When I wrote my Dalva Notebooks, I couldn't count on anything except on earth, the sun, the moon and the stars. That’s all I have. You can never count on a city. On the other hand, a tree or a river will never let you down. In Howl, Allen Ginsberg speaks of “this incredible street music”, I think that if you put aside your personality, you will be more receptive to this music. The most important thing I’ve done in seven years - my life is moving in cycles of seven years - is to have abandoned my personality. Only your voice counts and, if you manage to preserve it, you have a chance to escape the torments and lamentations of everyday life. As long as I keep my voice, I know that I will never be one of those lost guys who don't know what to do with their lives.

Jim Harrison

23 September 2020

Wander.

 McCoy, Brandywine at Twin Bridges, 1953


Upon the hearth the fire is red,
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet,
Still round the corner we may meet
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.
  Tree and flower and leaf and grass,
  Let them pass! Let them pass!
  Hill and water under sky,
  Pass them by! Pass them by!

Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.
  Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,
  Let them go! Let them go!
  Sand and stone and pool and dell,
  Fare you well! Fare you well!

Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
We'll wander back to home and bed.
  Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
  Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
  Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
  And then to bed! And then to bed!

J.R.R. Tolkien

22 September 2020

Sheep-like.


The sheep-like tendency of human society soon makes inroads on a child's unsophistications, and then popular education completes the dastardly work with its systematic formulas, and away goes the individual, hurtling through space into that hateful oblivion of mediocrity. We are pruned into stumps, one resembling another, without character or grace.

N. C. Wyeth

Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109

Claudio Arrau performs ...

Restore.

Sketch a plan, grab some wood, and get to work.

The Hardens restore an historic monument.

CONNECT

Eternity.

Wyeth, N.C. Farmer with a Pumpkin, 1910 


AUTUMN

The thistledown's flying, though the winds are all still,
On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill,
The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot;
Through stones past the counting it bubbles red-hot.

The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread,
The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead.
The fallow fields glitter like water indeed,
And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.

Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we're eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.

John Clare

Mellow.

20 September 2020

Phantom.


Bagels.


Q: Why do seagulls fly over the sea?

A: Because if they flew over the bay they’d be bagels.

Stop.


Stop saying, "I'm all in."

Excellent.

 An excellent book ...

Chatham.

In 1975, while Jimmy Buffett was visiting him in Livingston, Montana, Russell Chatham embellished one of Jimmy's guitars.

Sibelius, The Trees, Op. 75, No. 5

Clare Hammond performs "The Spruce" ...

Difference.

We believe that if the argument for equality has merit, it does so because it protects difference. Equality used to allow those who differ not to subsume themselves under another's identity but to claim equity for their distinction and the State's protection in maintaining and even defending it. Now, however, equality is being used to erase difference, destroy institutional distinction and remove proper and plural provision for different groups, faiths and organisations.  What is needed here is equity that respects difference not equality that destroys it.

Sir Roger Scruton