Food for the Spirit and the Soul

Because the diverse parts of human nature need to be nourished in different ways.

From the Pacific Northwest – Part XLV

Musings in December: Isabella Olivia Ellis

“Isn’t it strange that all life can pretty much end, but the universe goes on as it is? No one else exists, but the moon keeps shining and the stars keep falling.”

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A Poem for Today

Haiku
By Buson

Lighting one candle
from another –
Winter night

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Art for December – Part I of III: Lady X

Below – “State of Love”

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Musings in December: Maggie Stiefvater

“This new world was a vicious, sleek world made of street lights and tight jeans, sharp smiles and fast cars. This was a city, edited. A city, pared down to its bare minimums, beautiful and abusive.”

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Art for December – Part II of III: Vivian Thierfelder

Below – “Pear on a Silver Platter #2”

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A Second Poem for Today

“On Darkness”
By Rainer Maria Rilke

You darkness, that I come from,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes
a circle of light for everyone,
and then no one outside learns of you.

But the darkness pulls in everything;
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them!—
powers and people—

and it is possible a great energy
is moving near me.

I have faith in nights.

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Art for December – Part III of III: Gordon Apple Smith

Below – “Sea Edge”

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Musings in December: Sigmund Freud

“I am going to the USA to catch sight of a wild porcupine and to give some lectures.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Glass House”
By Heather McHugh

Everything obeyed our laws and
we just went on self-improving
till a window gave us pause and
there the outside world was, moving.

Five apartment blocks swept by,
the trees and ironwork and headstones
of the next town’s cemetery.
Auto lots. Golf courses. Rest homes.
Blue-green fields and perishable vistas
wars had underscored in red
were sweeping past,
with cloudscapes, just

as if the living room were dead.
Which way to look? Nonnegative?
Nonplussed? (Unkilled? Unkissed?)
Look out, you said; the sight’s on us:

If we don’t move, we can’t be missed.

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American Art – Stephen O’Donnell

In the words of one writer, “Almost entirely self taught, Stephen O’Donnell was first ‘educated’ as an artist as a consequence of his great interest in history and biography. Historical portraits have been his greatest ongoing influence. Gender ambiguity has played a large role in his work and, especially recently, it appears in conjunction with his favored genre: the portrait historié. Literally, a historicized portrait, in which a recognizable subject is portrayed in historical or mythological guise, it was a popular conceit employed by many of the great seventeenth and eighteenth century masters.
Not surprisingly, Stephen most often uses the self-portrait as the basis for his work. And by using himself as the model, he feels that he is able to avoid the biggest limitation of the portrait as a form: that it is ‘about’ someone specific. If the portrait is only of the artist, then the viewer has more opportunity to find their own narrative in whatever visual scenario is presented.”

Below – “Autumn in Winter”; “Crown(n)”; “Le Vermillon”; “Pan”; “Penchee”; “Tatouage.”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Water Picture”
By May Swenson

In the pond in the park
all things are doubled:
Long buildings hang and
wriggle gently. Chimneys
are bent legs bouncing
on clouds below. A flag
wags like a fishhook
down there in the sky.

The arched stone bridge
is an eye, with underlid
in the water. In its lens
dip crinkled heads with hats
that don’t fall off. Dogs go by,
barking on their backs.
A baby, taken to feed the
ducks, dangles upside-down,
a pink balloon for a buoy.

Treetops deploy a haze of
cherry bloom for roots,
where birds coast belly-up
in the glass bowl of a hill;
from its bottom a bunch
of peanut-munching children
is suspended by their
sneakers, waveringly.

A swan, with twin necks
forming the figure 3,
steers between two dimpled
towers doubled. Fondly
hissing, she kisses herself,
and all the scene is troubled:
water-windows splinter,
tree-limbs tangle, the bridge
folds like a fan.

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Musings in December: Rob Nixon

“It is a pervasive condition of empires that they affect great swathes of the planet without the empire’s populace being aware of that impact – indeed without being aware that many of the affected places even exist. How many Americans are aware of the continuing socio-environmental fallout from U.S. militarism and foreign policy decisions made three or four decades ago in, say, Angola or Laos? How many could even place those nation-states on a map?”

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Canadian Art – Part I: Joan Armour

In the words of one writer, “Armour has painted for more than 25 years with her acrylics ‘en plein air’ to capture the natural light.”

Below – “Summer Road”; “Tamaracks”; “King Township”; “Late Autumn Afternoon”; “Overlooking Georgian Bay”; “Autumn Impression.”

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Musings in December: Jim Butcher

“‘Apocalypse is a frame of mind.’ [Nicodemus] said then. ‘A belief. A surrender to inevitability. It is a despair for the future. It is the death of hope.’”

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“December Moon”
By May Sarton

Before going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window.

Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
where the wild creatures ranged
while the moon rose and shone.

Why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?

How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we’ll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow.

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Musings in December: Fei Xiaotong

“American children hear no stories about ghosts. They spend a dime at the drugstore to buy a Superman comic book…Superman represents actual capabilities or future potential, while ghosts symbolize belief in and reverence for the accumulated past…How could ghosts gain a foothold in American cities? People move about like the tide, unable to form permanent ties with places, still less with other people…In a world without ghosts, life is free and easy. American eyes can gaze straight ahead. But still I think they lack something and I do not envy their life.”

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Canadian Art – Part II: Bob Arrigo

In the words of one writer, “Bob Arrigo paints the beauty he sees in the natural world. He is an artist who strives to express the images his eyes see through composition and design.”

Below – “Shoreline Pools”; “After the Rain”; “Looking West”; “Shadows in the Woods”; “Gathering Pond”; “End of the Trail.”

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December 2016

Musings in December: Edgar Allan Poe

“Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December…”

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Art for December – Judith Anderson

Below – “December at the Creek”

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A Poem for Today

“Bare Trees”
By Kiran Bantawa

A bare tree stands

with roots on both ends

in December days.


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Musings in December: John Geddes

“December’s wintery breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer’s memory.”

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Art for December – Manuel Sosa

Below – “December in the Oaks Forest”

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A Second Poem for Today

From “Rain at Night”
By W.S. Merlin

“This is what I have heard


at last the wind in December

lashing the old trees with rain

unseen rain racing along the tiles

under the moon

wind rising and falling

wind with many cloud
s
trees in the night wind.


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Musings in December: Fennel Hudson

“December, being the last month of the year, cannot help but make us think of what is to come.”

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Art For December – Luigi Loir

Below – “The Seine in December”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Year’s End”
By Ted Kooser

Now the seasons are closing their files
on each of us, the heavy drawers
full of certificates rolling back
into the tree trunks, a few old papers
flocking away. Someone we loved
has fallen from our thoughts,
making a little, glittering splash
like a bicycle pushed by a breeze.
Otherwise, not much has happened;
we fell in love again, finding
that one red feather on the wind.

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Art in December – Sandy Dooley

Below – “December”

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Musings in December: Roman Payne

“It is growing cold. Winter is putting footsteps in the meadow. What whiteness boasts that sun that comes into this wood! One would say milk-colored maidens are dancing on the petals of orchids. How coldly burns our sun! One would say its rays of light are shards of snow, one imagines the sun lives upon a snow crested peak on this day. One would say she is a woman who wears a gown of winter frost that blinds the eyes. Helplessness has weakened me. Wandering has wearied my legs.”

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Art for December – Thomas Habermann

Below – “December Sun”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Stone Thoughts”
By Robert Pack

I speak cold silent words a stone might speak
If it had words or consciousness,
Watching December moonlight on the mountain peak,
Relieved of mortal hungers, the whole mess
Of needs, desires, ambitions, wishes, hopes.
This stillness in me knows the sky’s abyss,
Reflected by blank snow along bare slopes,
If it had words or consciousness,
Would echo what a thinking stone might say
To praise oblivion words can’t possess
As inorganic muteness goes its way.
There’s no serenity without the thought ‘serene,’
Owl-flight without spread wings, honed eyes, hooked beak,
Absence without the meaning ‘absence’ means.
To rescue bleakness from the bleak,
I speak cold silent words a stone might speak.

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Art for December – Oleg Bezugly

Below – “December”

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Musings in December: John Burroughs

“If the October days were a cordial like the sub-acids of fruit, these are a tonic like the wine of iron. Drink deep or be careful how you taste this December vintage. The first sip may chill, but a full draught warms and invigorates.”

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Art for December – Carol Nelson

Below – “December Song”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part XLIV

Musings in Autumn: Neil Gaiman

“Songs remain. They last…A song can last long after the events and the people in it are dust and dreams and gone. That’s the power of songs.”

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Art for November – Part I of IV: Dorothy Knowles

Below – “Flowered Hedge”

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Musings in Autumn: Nathan Reese Maher

“All is as if the world did cease to exist. The city’s monuments go unseen, its past unheard, and its culture slowly fading in the dismal sea.”

Below – Atlantic City

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Art for November – Part II of IV: John Koerner

Below – Untitled Landscape

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Musings in Autumn: Stephen Vincent Benet

“Remember that when you say ‘I will have none of this exile and this stranger for his face is not like my face and his speech is strange,’ you have denied America with that word.”

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A Poem for Today

“Scaffolding”
By Seamus Heaney”

Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.

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Canadian Art – Allen Sapp

In the words of one writer, “A descendant of the great plains Cree Chief Poundmaker, Allen Sapp was born in 1929 on the Red Pheasant Reserve in Saskatchewan. Often bed-ridden as a child because of frail health, he learned to draw and to paint as a way of giving expression to his world. In 1966, Allen Sapp met Dr. Allan Gonor, who became his good friend and patron. Dr. Gonor played an influential role in Allen Sapp’s artistic career and was the driving force behind the creation of the Allen Sapp Gallery. The Gonor Collection opened in 1989 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, making Allen Sapp the only living Canadian artist, at that time, to have a museum dedicated to his work. A distinguished artist, respected by his peers, Allen Sapp was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy in 1973. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1987 by Governor General Jeanne Sauvé, in recognition of his achievements in the visual arts. He has had numerous exhibitions throughout Canada and abroad, including New York, Los Angeles and London.”

Below – “Going Home With a Load”; “Inside the House at Sweetgrass Reserve”; “Making Posts on Sweetgrass Reserve”; “Stopping to Talk”; “Making a Rope for the Horse.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“Oceanside, CA”
By Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Balancing on crutches in the shallows
near her mother, a girl missing her right lower leg
swings her body and falls, laughing.
Behind them, her father and brother play catch.
Up the beach, the incoming tide nibbles
a sleeping woman, another beer is opened.
A young veteran walks by with a high and tight
buzz cut and Semper Fi shoulder tattoo, his right leg
a prosthesis to mid-thigh. He approaches
the family, removes the prosthesis, and joins
the girl in the water. They lift shorn legs high
and smack them down. No one talks about the war.

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Musings in Autumn: Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“And the fox said to the little prince: men have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”

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Art for November – Part III of IV: Patrick Landsley

Below – “The Red Garden”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Emergency Vehicles”
By Kay Ryan

Emergency vehicles
are on the way but
slow ones. You will
have to go on for
some time. Well, years.
Then one day they will
suddenly arrive
and show you your
chest, which is
neatly packed with
something, you see.
You thank them,
having feared you
would be lost.

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Musings in Autumn: Gary Kowalski

“Animals, like us, are living souls. They are not things. They are not objects. Neither are they human. Yet they mourn. They love. They dance. They suffer. They know the peaks and chasms of being.”

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Art for November – Part IV of IV: Paul Green

Below – “Tale”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“[Sometimes I don’t know if I’m having a feeling]”
By Matthew Siegel

Sometimes I don’t know if I’m having a feeling
so I check my phone or squint at the window
with a serious look, like someone in a movie
or a mother thinking about how time passes.
Sometimes I’m not sure how to feel so I think
about a lot of things until I get an allergy attack.
I take my antihistamine with beer, thank you very much,
sleep like a cut under a band aid, wake up
on the stairs having missed the entire party.
It was a real blast, I can tell, for all the vases
are broken, the flowers twisted into crowns
for the young, drunk, and beautiful. I put one on
and salute the moon, the lone face over me
shining through the grates on the front door window.
You have seen me like this before, such a strange
version of the person you thought you knew.
Guess what, I’m strange to us both. It’s like
I’m not even me sometimes. Who am I? A question
for the Lord only to decide as She looks over
my résumé. Everything is different sometimes.
Sometimes there is no hand on my shoulder
but my room, my apartment, my body are containers
and I am thusly contained. How easy to forget
the obvious. The walls, blankets, sunlight, your love.

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Musings in Autumn: Maggie Young

“Millennials: We lost the genetic lottery. We graduated high school into terrorist attacks and wars. We graduated college into a recession and mounds of debt. We will never acquire the financial cushion, employment stability, and material possessions of our parents. We are often more educated, experienced, informed, and digitally fluent than prior generations, yet are constantly haunted by the trauma of coming of age during the detonation of the societal structure we were born into. But perhaps we are overlooking the silver lining. We will have less money to buy the material possessions that entrap us. We will have more compassion and empathy because our struggles have taught us that even the most privileged can fall from grace. We will have the courage to pursue our dreams because we have absolutely nothing to lose. We will experience the world through backpacking, couch surfing, and carrying on interesting conversations with adventurers in hostels because our bank accounts can’t supply the Americanized resorts. Our hardships will obligate us to develop spiritual and intellectual substance. Maybe having roommates and buying our clothes at thrift stores isn’t so horrible as long as we are making a point to pursue genuine happiness.”

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American Art – Rick Bartow: Part I

In the words of one writer, “A wide range of cultural experiences inspired Rick Bartow’s drawings, paintings, sculpture, and prints. Native American transformation myths are the heart of much of his work. Bartow lived and worked on the Oregon coast, where he observed hawk, raven and eagle—the subjects that populate his artwork.”

Below – “Coyote/Madonna”; “Magician”; “Bird Telling Stories”; “Poets Crow”; “Thursday Falcon”; “What the Crow Said.”

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Polaroid: Links”
By Stacey Lynn Brown

Knock-kneed, bucktoothed,
I stand with a small golf bag slung

over my shoulder, my 96
ROCK hat pulled low, shielding

the bright Florida sun.
I am seven, out with my dad

chasing this small white
ball up and down the fairway

while he hits mulligans, calibrates
his swing. He wants me to be

the next Nancy Lopez. I just want
to spend time with him, would never

actually say I don’t like playing,
watching, talking about it

for hours on end. All too soon,
‘his handicap’ won’t refer

to his game but to the night
my mother found him on the floor,

the aftermath, the constant
tallying of the effort it takes

to get from one hazard to
the next. My father is away,

furthest from the hole, choosing
between iron and wood.

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Musings in Autumn: Mark Lawrence

“We wrap up our violent and mysterious world in a pretense of understanding. We paper over the voids of our comprehension with science and religion, and make believe that order has been imposed. And, for the most of it, the fiction works. We skim across the surfaces, heedless of the depths below. Dragonflies flitting over a lake, miles deep, pursuing erratic paths to pointless ends. Until that moment when something from the cold unknown reaches up to take us.
The biggest lies we save for ourselves. We play a game in which we are gods, in which we make choices, and the current follows in our wake. We pretend a separation from the wild. Pretend that a man’s control runs deep, that civilization is more than a veneer, that reason will be our companion in dark places.”

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American Art – Rick Bartow: Part II

In the words of one writer, “Rick was a member of the Wiyot tribe from Northwestern California.
In 1969, Rick Bartow earned a Bachelors of Arts in Art Education from Western Oregon State University. Soon after, Bartow served in the Vietnam War for thirteen months, 1970-1971. He returned to art making several years after his military service ended. In the interim, Bartow worked in many fields including fishing, bartending, building maintenance, and teaching. He was an active blues guitarist.
Bartow’s work as a professional artist included solo exhibitions at museums, universities, and galleries around the globe and the USA.”

Below – “Coyote Magic”; “Bear Heart”; “Monkey Business”; “Coyote Song”; “Big Raven, My Hands”; “From Nothing Coyote Creates Himself”; “Crying Wild.”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part XLIII

Musings in Autumn: Garth Risk Hallberg

“The reason we can say anything we want in America is that we know it makes no difference.”

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A Poem for Today

“The Land of Nod”
By Robert Louis Stevenson

From Breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay,
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.

All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do–
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.

The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the land of Nod.

Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.

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Art for November – Part I of III: George Horvath

Below – “Wheatfields”

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Musings in Autumn: Roger Zelazny

“Don’t wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.”

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Art for November – Part II of III: John Koerner

Below – “Still Life, Mainly Blue”

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Musings in Autumn: Julius Evola

“The Americans are the living refutation of the Cartesian axiom, ‘I think, therefore I am’: Americans do not think, yet they are.”

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Art for November – Part III of III: Doris Jean McCarthy

Below – “Ontario”

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Musings in Autumn: Cormac McCarthy

“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”

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Canadian Art – Peter McConville

Artist Statement: “The fallen leaves and deadwoods feed the forest a reminder of the cycle of life. When I look into the forest, it reveals a wonderful range of deep rich colours. The bright orange, red and green leaves found in the forest make up a natural, complementary palette.”

Below – “Hush”; “Surging Skyline”; “Hillside Birches”; “Arbutus Tree”; “last Leaves”; “Fall Leaves Fall.”

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Musings in Autumn: Neil Gaiman

“I sat in the dark and thought: There’s no big apocalypse. Just an endless procession of little ones.”

Copyright York Museums Trust / Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

A Second Poem for Today

“A Bird came down the Walk”
By Emily Dickinson

A Bird came down the Walk—
He did not know I saw—
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,

And then he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass—
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass—

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all around—
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought—
He stirred his Velvet Head

Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home—

Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam—
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon
Leap, plashless as they swim.

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Musings in Autumn: Rebecca McNutt

“Personally, I believe ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. I’d rather use film cameras and vinyl records and cathode ray tubes than any sort of the digital technology available. Look around! The streets are full of people who would rather have their eyes on their cell phones than on the world around them! Scientists are researching technology to erase specific memories from people! Our thrown-away digital technology is showing up overseas in huge piles of toxic heavy metals and plastic!
And yet there are still people who keep wanting technology and the future to keep going. They dream of flying cars, or humanoid robots, of populated cities on Mars. But do we really NEED this stuff? Maybe before we try to keep turning our world into an episode of The Jetsons, we should focus more on the problems that are surprisingly being overlooked now more than ever. Before we design another stupid cell phone or build a flying car, let’s put a stop to racism, to sexism, to homophobia, to war. Let’s stop buying all our ‘American’ products from sweat shops overseas and let’s end poverty in third-world countries. Let’s let film photography never go obsolete, let’s let print books continue to be printed. Let’s stop domestic violence and child abuse and prostitution and this world’s heavy reliance on prescription drugs. Let’s stop terrorism, let’s stop animal cruelty, , let’s stop overpopulation and urbanization, let’s stop the manufacture of nuclear weapons…
…I mean come on, we have all these problems to solve, but digital tech enthusiasts are more concerned that we don’t have flying cars or robotic maids yet? That’s pathetic.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Wild Swans”
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.
And what did I see I had not seen before?
Only a question less or a question more;
Nothing to match the flight of wild birds flying.
Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,
House without air, I leave you and lock your door.
Wild swans, come over the town, come over
The town again, trailing your legs and crying!

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Musings in Autumn: Max DePree

“We are alone, absolutely alone on this chance planet; and amid all the forms of life that surround us, not one, excepting the dog has made an alliance with us.”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Line on Retirement, after Reading Lear”
By David Wright

for Richard Pacholski

Avoid storms. And retirement parties.
You can’t trust the sweetnesses your friends will
offer, when they really want your office,
which they’ll redecorate. Beware the still
untested pension plan. Keep your keys. Ask
for more troops than you think you’ll need. Listen
more to fools and less to colleagues. Love your
youngest child the most, regardless. Back to
storms: dress warm, take a friend, don’t eat the grass,
don’t stand near tall trees, and keep the yelling
down—the winds won’t listen, and no one will
see you in the dark. It’s too hard to hear
you over all the thunder. But you’re not
Lear, except that we can’t stop you from what
you’ve planned to do. In the end, no one leaves
the stage in character—we never see
the feather, the mirror held to our lips.
So don’t wait for skies to crack with sun. Feel
the storm’s sweet sting invade you to the skin,
the strange, sore comforts of the wind. Embrace
your children’s ragged praise and that of friends.
Go ahead, take it off, take it all off.
Run naked into tempests. Weave flowers
into your hair. Bellow at cataracts.
If you dare, scream at the gods. Babble as
if you thought words could save. Drink rain like cold
beer. So much better than making theories.
We’d all come with you, laughing, if we could.

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American Arty – Miles Cleveland Goodwin

In the words of one writer, “What is the fundamental nature of art if not to elicit feeling, to create a direct line of communication between creator and viewer? In an age of digital manipulation and mass produced imagery, Miles Cleveland Goodwin remains true to his own hand, just as he does to the individual perception of his eye. Goodwin is a superb painter. How seldom today do we refer to work as ‘painterly’? Yet that so well defines Goodwin, an artist whose classical training underlies his every canvas. Art builds upon its own history, and Goodwin pays homage to the vision of such seemingly disparate painters as Francis Bacon and Andrew Wyeth with a hand not unrelated to the mastery of the German expressionists. Though young, Goodwin’s work has attained what the French call ‘ecriture’, the unique hallmark that sets an artist apart from all others.”

Below – “Butterfly and Lightning”; “(Self Portrait) Under a Wave”; “Haints”; “Sunday Stroll Down Dumaine Street”; “Laughing Gull”; “Massacre”; “Unsettled Sea”; “Sunrise”; “Sacred Oak.”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part XLII

Musings in Autumn: W.G. Sebald

“I watched the shadow of our plane hastening below us across hedges and fences, rows of poplars and canals … Nowhere, however, was a single human being to be seen. No matter whether one is flying over Newfoundland or the sea of lights that stretches from Boston to Philadelphia after nightfall, over the Arabian deserts which gleam like mother-of-pearl, over the Ruhr or the city of Frankfurt, it is as though there were no people, only the things they have made and in which they are hiding. One sees the places where they live and the roads that link them, one sees the smoke rising from their houses and factories, one sees the vehicles in which they sit, but one sees not the people themselves. And yet they are present everywhere upon the face of the earth, extending their dominion by the hour, moving around the honeycombs of towering buildings and tied into networks of a complexity that goes far beyond the power of any one individual to imagine, from the thousands of hoists and winches that once worked the South African diamond mines to the floors of today’s stock and commodity exchanges, through which the global tides of information flow without cease. If we view ourselves from a great height, it is frightening to realize how little we know about our species, our purpose and our end, I thought, as we crossed the coastline and flew out over the jelly-green sea.”

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Art for November – Part I of II: Keith Hiscock

Below – “Pilot Boat, Looking Toward Metchosin”

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A Poem for Today

“Haunted Seas”
By Cale Young Rice

A gleaming glassy ocean
Under a sky of grey;
A tide that dreams of motion,
Or moves, as the dead may;
A bird that dips and wavers
Over lone waters round,
Then with a cry that quavers
Is gone—a spectral sound.

The brown sad sea-weed drifting
Far from the land, and lost;
The faint warm fog unlifting,
The derelict long tossed,
But now at rest—though haunted
By the death-scenting shark,
Whose prey no more undaunted
Slips from it, spent and stark.

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Art for November – Part II of II: Ron Hedrick

Below – Untitled – Woman and Children on Beach

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Musings in Autumn: Ta-Nehisi Coates

“Perhaps there has been, at some point in history, some great power whose elevation was exempt from the violent exploitation of other human bodies. If there has been, I have yet to discover it. But this banality of violence can never excuse America, because America makes no claim to the banal. America believes itself exceptional, the greatest and noblest nation ever to exist, a lone champion standing between the white city of democracy and the terrorists, despots, barbarians, and other enemies of civilization. One cannot, at once, claim to be superhuman and then plead mortal error. I propose to take our countrymen’s claims of American exceptionalism seriously, which is to say I propose subjecting our country to an exceptional moral standard. This is difficult because there exists, all around us, an apparatus urging us to accept American innocence at face value and not to inquire too much. And it is so easy to look away, to live with the fruits of our history and to ignore the great evil done in all of our names.”

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Canadian Art – Eric Klemm

In the words of one writer, “Eric Klemm is a member of the prestigious Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Photographie. He first studied graphic design and turned seriously to photography in 1968, living in Heidelberg and Duesseldorf at the time. Affiliated with the legendary German magazine Twen, Klemm contributed to most of Germany’s top magazines for more than a decade. He now lives and works in British Columbia, Canada. Eric Klemm has won numerous awards and is best known for his portraits of Native Americans.”

Below – “Sonny, Cherokee Indian”; “Robert, Tewa Indian”; “Little Man, Aztec Indian”; “Forever Green 41”; “Forever Green 23”; “Shavings #8.”

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Musings in Autumn: William S. Burroughs

“Cat hate reflects an ugly, stupid, loutish, bigoted spirit. There can be no compromise with this Ugly Spirit.”

Below – William S. Burroughs with his cat Ginger.

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A Second Poem for Today

By Lucille Clifton
“it was a dream”

in which my greater self
rose up before me
accusing me of my life
with her extra finger
whirling in a gyre of rage
at what my days had come to.
what,
i pleaded with her, could i do,
oh what could i have done?
and she twisted her wild hair
and sparked her wild eyes
and screamed as long as
i could hear her
This. This. This.

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American Art – Matthew Dennison: Part I

In the words of one writer, “Matthew Dennison studied at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 1981-’82, and has been exhibiting throughout the country for over 25 years. His work resides in a vast number of public and private collections, including Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA, and Legacy Emanuel Hospital, Portland, OR.”

Below – “Edward Goss”; “Epilimnion”; “Land Call”; “Turgid Volume”; “Royinfield”; “Winter Coat.”

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Musings in Autumn: Patricia B. McConnell

“We humans may be brilliant and we may be special, but we are still connected to the rest of life. No one reminds us of this better than our dogs. Perhaps the human condition will always include attempts to remind ourselves that we are separate from the rest of the natural world. We are different from other animals; it’s undeniably true. But while acknowledging that, we must acknowledge another truth, the truth that we are also the same. That is what dogs and their emotions give us– a connection. A connection to life on earth, to all that binds and cradles us, lest we begin to feel too alone. Dogs are our bridge– our connection to who we really are, and most tellingly, who we want to be. When we call them home to us, it’s as if we are calling for home itself. And that’ll do, dogs. That’ll do.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Evening Hawk”
By Robert Penn Warren

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak’s black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.
His wing
Scythes down another day, his motion
Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear
The crashless fall of stalks of Time.

The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error.

Look! Look! he is climbing the last light
Who knows neither Time nor error, and under
Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings
Into shadow.

Long now,
The last thrush is still, the last bat
Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics. His wisdom
Is ancient, too, and immense. The star
Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.

If there were no wind we might, we think, hear
The earth grind on its axis, or history
Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.

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Musings in Autumn: Anais Nin

“In America the vast spaces accentuate the vast spaces between people, deserts which stretch between human beings. It is a void which has to be spanned by the automobile. It takes an hour to reach a movie, two hours to reach a friend. So the coyotes howl and wail at the awful emptiness of mountains, deserts, hills.”

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American Art – Matthew Dennison: Part II

In the words of one writer, “Dennison is well-known throughout the Northwest for the painterly elegance of his vibrant figurative paintings. Gently exploring the interplay between people, animals, and their environment, Dennison stages his cast of imaginary characters in unusual interpretations of ordinary surroundings. Dennison’s sophisticated sense of color, composition, and texture balance his whimsical narratives and provide paintings that engage the viewer on many levels.”

Below – “Ursidae”; “Sisters”; “Orchard”; “Vestibule”; “Vitalism”; “Ulotrichus.”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part XLI

A Poem for Today

By JohnHaines
“If the Owl Calls Again”

at dusk from the island in the river, and it’s not too cold, I’ll wait for the moon to rise, then take wing and glide to meet him. We will not speak, but hooded against the frost soar above the alder flats, searching with tawny eyes. And then we’ll sit in the shadowy spruce and pick the bones of careless mice, while the long moon drifts toward Asia and the river mutters in its icy bed. And when the morning climbs the limbs we’ll part without a sound, fulfilled, floating homeward as the cold world awakens.

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Art for November – Part I of II: Frederick Varley

Below – “Autumn, The Gatineau”

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Musings in Autumn: James Thurber

“The dog has seldom been successful in pulling man up to its level of sagacity, but man has frequently dragged the dog down to his.”

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Art for November – Part II of II:Halfred Tygesen

Below – “Winter Scene”

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A Second Poem for Today

“Hardware Sparrows”
By R. T. Smith

Out for a deadbolt, light bulbs
and two-by-fours, I find a flock
of sparrows safe from hawks

and weather under the roof
of Lowe’s amazing discount
store. They skitter from the racks

of stockpiled posts and hoses
to a spill of winter birdseed
on the concrete floor. How

they know to forage here,
I can’t guess, but the automatic
door is close enough,

and we’ve had a week
of storms. They are, after all,
ubiquitous, though poor,

their only song an irritating
noise, and yet they soar
to offer, amid hardware, rope

and handyman brochures,
some relief, as if a flurry
of notes from Mozart swirled

from seed to ceiling, entreating
us to set aside our evening
chores and take grace where

we find it, saying it is possible,
even in this month of flood,
blackout and frustration,

to float once more on sheer
survival and the shadowy
bliss we exist to explore.

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Canadian Art – Diana Dean: Part I

In the words of one writer, “Diana Dean was born in Rhodesia and lived in England. She studied at the prestigious Bath Academy of Art between 1961 and 1964, where she was awarded a Diploma in Art and Education with a distinction in sculpture. She exhibited and was awarded prizes for her sculpture until 1973.
Diana moved with her family to Ottawa, Canada in 1975 where she took up painting (for practical reasons). Early in the 1980s, she moved to Salt Spring Island BC, where she remains today.

Below – “Women Buddhists Carrying the Horns”; “Three Birches”; “The Painter”; “Theh Hermit’s Blessing”; “Orchid and Thrush”; “Salt Spring Landscape”; “Sunflowers.”

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Musings in Autumn: Austin Grossman

“The United States of America is logically the least magical place in the world. Planned by committee, not even a country, just a legal umbrella for fifty associated provinces, an elaborate polling system for creating other larger and more permanent committees. No mysteries; no demons; one God at the most. Sure, it had its own folklore and tall tales, but it wasn’t the same. Its rulers weren’t descended from men and women who spoke with birds and rode dragons. Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan were hayseeds, folksy also-rans compared to the madness in the ancient royal blood going back to the Druids, to Byzantium, to Mithraic cults.”

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Canadian Art – Diana Dean: Part II

In the words of one writer, “Diana Dean has created an impressive body of work. She takes her cues from the Old Masters in regards to subject, scale and composition, creating pictures that are allegorical in nature, yet modern and poignant. Her strong identity with the place in which she lives is coupled with her equally strong family sensibility, and is expressed clearly in her work.”

Below – “The Gale”; “House Through Trees, Bowen Island”; “Sumac Tree”; “Fernwood Dock”; “Evening Light”; “The Ritual I.”

“The Gale”  oil/paper 1990

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A Third Poem for Today

“The House”
By Richard Wilbur

Sometimes, on waking, she would close her eyes
For a last look at that white house she knew
In sleep alone, and held no title to,
And had not entered yet, for all her sighs.

What did she tell me of that house of hers?
White gatepost; terrace; fanlight of the door;
A widow’s walk above the bouldered shore;
Salt winds that ruffle the surrounding firs.

Is she now there, wherever there may be?
Only a foolish man would hope to find
That haven fashioned by her dreaming mind.
Night after night, my love, I put to sea.

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Musings in Autumn: Allen Ginsberg

“It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.”

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American Art – Lil Wilburn: Part I

In the words of one writer, “Lli Wilburn received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, NY in 1992 and her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA in 1988. Wilburn has participated in group exhibitions throughout the Pacific Northwest and is represented in the public collections of the Cities of Seattle, Portland, and Portland Community College among others. Lli lives and works in Portland, Oregon.”

Below – “Broadway Bridge and Willamette”; “Confluence of Sandy and Bull Run”; “Summer Lake, Hot Springs”; “Sunriver Observatory”; “Rockt Butte 1”; “Burnt Thunderbird Hotel.”

ink, dye and graphite on board 10.5" x 4.25"

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Fairbanks Under the Solstice”
By John Haines

Slowly, without sun, the day sinks
toward the close of December.
It is minus sixty degrees.

Over the sleeping houses a dense
fog rises—smoke from banked fires,
and the snowy breath of an abyss
through which the cold town
is perceptibly falling.

As if Death were a voice made visible,
with the power of illumination…

Now, in the white shadow
of those streets, ghostly newsboys
make their rounds, delivering
to the homes of those
who have died of the frost
word of the resurrection of Silence.

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Musings in Autumn: Jay Woodman

“The world is a wide place where we stumble like children learning to walk. The world is a bright mosaic where we learn like children to see, where our little blurry eyes strive greedily to take in as much light and love and colour and detail as they can.
The world is a coaxing whisper when the wind lips the trees, when the sea licks the shore, when animals burrow into earth and people look up at the sympathetic stars. The world is an admonishing roar when gales chase rainclouds over the plains and whip up ocean waves, when people crowd into cities or intrude into dazzling jungles.
What right have we to carry our desperate mouths up mountains or into deserts? Do we want to taste rock and sand or do we expect to make impossible poems from space and silence? The vastness at least reminds us how tiny we are, and how much we don’t yet understand. We are mere babes in the universe, all brothers and sisters in the nursery together. We had better learn to play nicely before we’re allowed out….. And we want to go out, don’t we? ….. Into the distant humming welcoming darkness.”

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American Art – Lil Wilburn: Part II

In the words of one writer, “Lli often draws urban places that are best experienced, or indeed can only be seen, by traveling on foot. Whether deliberately planned or coincidental, these places allow us to observe the city without being swept by in the flow of traffic, and to experience time as changes of light and atmosphere: ephemeral and eternal.
City structures observed at length also become establishing shots for countless possible narratives, historical sites that will never be in any guidebook but where, every day, people mark unrecorded events with contemplation, celebration, or mourning.”

Below – “Gladstone”; “Palms Motel Sign”; “Red Ship, High Water”; “Interstate Bridge Walkway”; “Yellow Hayden Island Railroad Bridge”; “Viaduct.”

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Ink on Langdell Luster paper 11"x 18.5" (Image is 8" x 15")

Drypoint and chine colle 7.75" x 3.25" (Paper is 15"x 11")

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part XL

A Poem for Today

“Poet as Immortal Bird”
By Ron Padgett

A second ago my heart thump went
and I thought, “This would be a bad time
to have a heart attack and die, in the
middle of a poem,” then took comfort
in the idea that no one I have ever heard
of has ever died in the middle of writing
a poem, just as birds never die in mid-flight.
I think.

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Musings in Autumn: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

“May our daily choices be a reflection of our deepest values, and may we use our voices to speak for those who need us most, those who have no voice, those who have no choice.”

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Canadian Art – Robert Genn

In the words of one writer, “Robert Genn is one of Canada’s most accomplished painters, having gained international recognition for his genre subjects on Canada’s West Coast. He has painted in most parts of Canada and in the United States, Central America, Europe and Asia.
Born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1936, he attended Victoria College, The University of British Columbia and The Art Centre School in Los Angeles, California. Genn carries on the tradition of the Canadian Landscape with fresh, painterly techniques and strong design.”

Below – “Silver Mine, Yellowknife”; “Counterpoint”; “Late Light”; “Northern Forest, Algoma”; “Point”; “Toni Onley at Stuart Island.”

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Musings in Autumn: Jess C. Scott

“Killing animals to make a fashion statement = a sickening + cold-blooded vanity.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“Meeting with My Father in the Orchard”
By Homero Aridjis

Past noon. Past the cinema
with the tall sorrowful walls
on the point of coming down, I enter the orchard.
Show over, all of them have gone:
day laborers, dogs and doors.
My father is standing in front of a fig tree.
My mother has died. The children, grown old.
He’s alone, small threads of air
weave in and out of his tattered clothes.
For fear of getting too close and startling him
with my living presence, I want to go straight by,
the strange one now with white hair whom he asks,
“Who’s that there?”
“Father, it’s me, your son.”
“Does your mother know you’re back. Will you stay and eat?”
“Father, for years now your wife has lain at rest
by your side in the town graveyard.”
Then, as if he has divined everything,
he calls me by my childhood name
and gives me a fig.
So we met up, the living and the dead.
Then, each went on his way.

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Art for November – Part I of II: Kris Hargis

Below – “Hill Road Bouquet”

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Musings in Autumn: Maureen Johnson

“I’d love to be a tabletop in Paris, where food is art and life combined in one, where people gather and talk for hours. I want lovers to meet over me. I’d want to be covered in drops of candle wax and breadcrumbs and rings from the bottom of wineglasses. I would never be lonely, and I would always serve a good purpose.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Birds Again”
By Jim Harrison

A secret came a week ago though I already
knew it just beyond the bruised lips of consciousness.
The very alive souls of thirty-five hundred dead birds
are harbored in my body. It’s not uncomfortable.
I’m only temporary habitat for these not-quite-
weightless creatures. I offered a wordless invitation
and now they’re roosting within me, recalling
how I had watched them at night
in fall and spring passing across earth moons,
little clouds of black confetti, chattering and singing
on their way north or south. Now in my dreams
I see from the air the rumpled green and beige,
the watery face of earth as if they’re carrying
me rather than me carrying them. Next winter
I’ll release them near the estuary west of Alvarado
and south of Veracruz. I can see them perching
on undiscovered Olmec heads. We’ll say goodbye
and I’ll return my dreams to earth.

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Art for November – Part II of II: Wade Baker

Below – “Grandfather Thunderbird (Articulated Mask)”

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Musings in Autumn: Michael Thomas Ford

“I think he just loved being with the bears because they didn’t make him feel bad. I get it too. When he was with the bears, they didn’t care that he was kind of weird, or that he’d gotten into trouble for drinking too much and using drugs (which apparently he did a lot of). They didn’t ask him a bunch of stupid questions about how he felt, or why he did what he did. They just let him be who he was.”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Shaking the Grass”
By Janice N. Harrington

Evening, and all my ghosts come back to me
like red banty hens to catalpa limbs
and chicken-wired hutches, clucking, clucking,
and falling, at last, into their head-under-wing sleep.

I think about the field of grass I lay in once,
between Omaha and Lincoln. It was summer, I think.
The air smelled green, and wands of windy green, a-sway,
a-sway, swayed over me. I lay on green sod
like a prairie snake letting the sun warm me.

What does a girl think about alone
in a field of grass, beneath a sky as bright
as an Easter dress, beneath a green wind?

Maybe I have not shaken the grass.
All is vanity.

Maybe I never rose from that green field.
All is vanity.

Maybe I did no more than swallow deep, deep breaths
and spill them out into story: all is vanity.

Maybe I listened to the wind sighing and shivered,
spinning, awhirl amidst the bluestem
and green lashes: O my beloved! O my beloved!

I lay in a field of grass once, and then went on.
Even the hollow my body made is gone.

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American Art – Laura Ross-Paul: Part I

In the words of one writer, “Laura Ross-Paul attended Oregon State University, Corvallis, received a B.F.A. in Painting from Fort Wright College, Spokane, Washington, a B.S. in Arts and an M.F.A. in Painting from Portland State University, Oregon. She has had solo exhibitions at the Portland Art Museum, the Art Gym at Marylhurst University, Oregon State University and Colorado College and has been included in numerous group shows including the 1991 and 1997 Oregon Biennials. She is included in many public and private collections throughout the nation. More recently she was included in Bonnie Bronson Fellows: 20 Years at Lewis & Clark College, 2011.”

Below – “Triple Self-Portrait at Trident Falls”; “Falls and Pools”; “Headwaters”; “Fall River Initiation #1”; “Blue Eye”; “Needles.”

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Musings in Autumn: John Maynard Keynes

“But if America recalls for a moment what Europe has meant to her and still means to her, what Europe, the mother of art and of knowledge, in spite of everything, still is and still will be, will she not reject these counsels of indifference and isolation, and interest herself in what may prove decisive issues for the progress and civilization of all mankind?”

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Of Late, I Have Been Thinking About Despair”
By TJ Jarrett

its ruthless syntax, and the ease with which it interjects
itself into our days. I thought how best to explain this—

this dark winter, but that wasn’t it, or beds unshared
but that isn’t exactly it either, until I remembered

Saturday afternoons spent with my father in the garage
and those broken cars one after another. At the time,

that’s what we could afford. Broken things. Saturdays,
there was always a game on the radio and I’d stand

beside him or lie under the engine, oil cascading from
the oilpan. Daddy would curse wildly, sometimes

about the car, sometimes about the game. Sometimes
Mama called for one or the other of us from upstairs and

I’d trudge up to see what she wanted with a sigh.
We sighed so much then. Funny. If you asked us

if we were happy, we’d say: “Families. They are happy.”
There’s a solace in broke-down cars: you can find what

is broken. You can make it whole again. I’d pop the hood,
peer into the sooty inside and Daddy would pass me parts

for my small hands to tender to each need. Daddy
scrambled into the front seat, turned a key and a roar

came out that would be cause for rejoicing. But time came,
(this is the inevitable part) when he would draw the white

handkerchief to his head in surrender. I would always ask
if we could’ve tried harder. “Baby girl,” he’d say. “She’s gone.”

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Musings in Autumn: Congressman X

“We’ve become a superficial nation obsessed with fluff. Americans may be hard-pressed to name their two senators or find Afghanistan on a map, but they know everything about the loopy Kardashians and Brad and what’s-her-name. I worry about our country’s future when critical issues take a backseat to the inane utterings of illiterate athletes and celebrity twits.”

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American Art – Laura Ross-Paul: Part II

Artist Statement: “Lit windows shining behind brushes and tree limbs at night give a beautiful geometric contrast to the fractal patterns of nature. The close proximity of a variety of trees has led me to see them as individual conifer and deciduous citizens, each with its own personality, just as we humans have our own.”

Below – “Rain Tree”; “Double Tree 1”;l “Double Tree 2”; “Lines 1”; “Pines 2”; “Seven Rings 1.”

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part XXXIX

Musings in Autumn: Carl Sagan

“Humans — who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals — have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and ‘animals’ is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them — without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us.”

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A Poem for Today

“Lying While Birding”
By Naomi Shihab Nye

     Yes       Yes
        I see it
so they won’t keep telling you
           where it is

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Canadian Art – Cicero August

In the words of one writer, “Cicero August, is a Coast Salish master carver who has been working at his craft for over forty years. August was one of the first students of Simon Charlie’s first students. Cicero’s work, as carver, canoe builder, or paddle maker, reflect the traditional Coast Salish designs. Locally his carved totem poles can be viewed along the Totem Walk in Duncan, many other pieces have traveled internationally. Cicero has passed his skills down to his children, who are also recognized as carvers and jewelry makers. One of his largest carvings is a 30 ft. totem pole which stands in front of the BC Legislature Buildings, Victoria BC.”

Below – “ Talking Stick in Stand, with Rattles” Cowichan Sotry of Whale and Thunderbird); “Frog Totem”; “Carved Hummingbird Relief”; “Pacific Salmon Wall Plaque”; “Two-Sided Healing Rattle, Wood and Leather.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“The Thaw”
By Henry David Thoreau

I saw the civil sun drying earth’s tears —
Her tears of joy that only faster flowed,
Fain would I stretch me by the highway side,
To thaw and trickle with the melting snow,
That mingled soul and body with the tide,
I too may through the pores of nature flow.
But I alas nor tinkle can nor fume,
One jot to forward the great work of Time,
‘Tis mine to hearken while these ply the loom,
So shall my silence with their music chime.

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Musings in Autumn: Robert Benchley

“A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.”

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Art for November – Part I of II: Rod Charlesworth

Below – “Spirit of the West Coast”;

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Musings in Autumn: Noam Chomsky

“Both political parties have moved to the right during the neoliberal period. Today’s New Democrats are pretty much what used to be called “moderate Republicans.” The “political revolution” that Bernie Sanders called for, rightly, would not have greatly surprised Dwight Eisenhower.
The fate of the minimum wage illustrates what has been happening. Through the periods of high and egalitarian growth in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the minimum wage—which sets a floor for other wages—tracked productivity. That ended with the onset of neoliberal doctrine. Since then, the minimum wage has stagnated (in real value). Had it continued as before, it would probably be close to $20 per hour. Today, it is considered a political revolution to raise it to $15.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“A lane of Yellow led the eye”
By Emily Dickinson

A lane of Yellow led the eye
Unto a Purple Wood
Whose soft inhabitants to be
Surpasses solitude
If Bird the silence contradict
Or flower presume to show
In that low summer of the West
Impossible to know –

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Art for November – Part II of II: Ivan Eyre

Below “Rose Country”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Littlefoot, 19, [This is the bird hour]”
By Charles Wright

This is the bird hour, peony blossoms falling bigger than wren hearts
On the cutting border’s railroad ties,
Sparrows and other feathery things
Homing from one hedge to the next,
late May, gnat-floating evening.

Is love stronger than unlove?
Only the unloved know.
And the mockingbird, whose heart is cloned and colorless.

And who’s this tiny chirper,
lost in the loose leaves of the weeping cherry tree?
His song is not more than three feet off the ground, and singular,
And going nowhere.
Listen. It sounds a lot like you, hermane.
It sounds like me.

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Musings in Autumn: Mark Bekoff

“When animals express their feelings they pour out like water from a spout. Animals’ emotions are raw, unfiltered, and uncontrolled. Their joy is the purest and most contagious of joys and their grief the deepest and most devastating. Their passions bring us to our knees in delight and sorrow.”

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Chinese Art – Li Haihua

Painter Li Haihua was born in 1978 in Hunan Province.

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Abandoned”
By Joseph Ausländer

Vacant and ghostly and content with death,
Once a man’s hearthtree; now the haunt of bats;
Once a cradle creaked upstairs and someone sang
The terribly beautiful songs young mothers know.
It is hard, even though you hold your breath,
To step without disturbing the loosened slats
And livid plaster…. Go! for a whisper rang
Through the bleak rafters: Take up your things and go!

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Musings in Autumn: Karan Mahajan

“During these years in the small-talk wilderness, I also wondered why Americans valued friendliness with commerce so much. Was handing over cash the sacred rite of American capitalism—and of American life? On a day that I don’t spend money in America, I feel oddly depressed. It’s my main form of social interaction—as it is for millions of Americans who live alone or away from their families.”

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A Sixth Poem for Today

“Ghost in the Land of Skeletons”
By Christopher Kennedy

                               For Russell Edson

If not for flesh’s pretty paint, we’re just a bunch of skeletons, working hard to deny the fact of bones. Teeth remind me that we die. That’s why I never smile, except when looking at a picture of a ghost, captured by a camera lens, in a book about the paranormal. When someone takes a picture of a spirit, it gives me hope. I admire the ones who refuse to go away. Lovers scorned and criminals burned. I love the dead little girl who plays in her yard, a spectral game of hide and seek. It’s the fact they don’t know they’re dead that appeals to me most. Like a man once said to me, ‘Do you ever feel like you’re a ghost? Sure,’ I answered, ‘every day.’ He laughed at that and disappeared. All I could think was he beat me to it.

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American Art – Part I of II: Katherine Ace

In the words of one writer, “Katherine Ace finds inspiration in art from ancient times to the present and has an ongoing fascination with both figurative and still life painting. Her work posits, plays with and subverts realism, creating intriguing contraries and opposites. She synthesizes different materials, such as paper, small objects, insect wings, zippers/holes and digital/video into the paint and fabric of her paintings to create new meanings.
Ace is originally from Chicago and has a BA from Knox College, Galesburg, IL. Her work has been featured in numerous shows and collections including the Ellen Noel Art Museum, TX; Elmhurst Art Museum, IL; Portland Art Museum; Portland State University, Littman Gallery; the Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle; Tacoma Art Museum; and Southern Oregon State University, Ashland. Commissions include US Bank Portland and Paragon, Inc., Seattle.”

Below – “The Empty Room”; “Hearth God”; “Mad Hatter”; “Message”; “Unexpected Helpers”; “The Devil’s Grimy Brother.”

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A Seventh Poem for Today

“With Kit, Age 7, at the Beach”
By William Stafford

We would climb the highest dune,
from there to gaze and come down:
the ocean was performing;
we contributed our climb.

Waves leapfrogged and came
straight out of the storm.
What should our gaze mean?
Kit waited for me to decide.

Standing on such a hill,
what would you tell your child?
That was an absolute vista.
Those waves raced far, and cold.

‘How far could you swim, Daddy,
in such a storm?’
‘As far as was needed,’ I said,
and as I talked, I swam.

Below – Ann Munson: “At the Beach”

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Musings in Autumn: Robert Pirsig

“What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua…that’s the only name I can think of for it…like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, this America, the one that we are now in, an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer. The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks. In this Chautauqua I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated.”

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American Art – Part II of II: Kevin Kadar

In the words of one writer, “Kevin Kadar is a graduate of Cooper Union in New York and has been exhibiting in Portland for over 25 years. He is included in many corporate, private and public collections including the Tacoma Art Museum, The Oregon Historical Society and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in Salem, OR.
Currently making his home in the Pacific Northwest, Kevin Kadar has lived and traveled throughout Western Europe for several years. During his time spent overseas, Kadar has found inspiration and kinship with the landscape masters, painters such as Constable, Turner and Corot. Studying their work in the museums of France, Italy and Portugal, Kadar adopted many of their approaches: theatrical lighting, intense weather phenomena and dramatic composition take precedence over direct observation and literal documentation. Kadar’s paintings are imbued with a timeless, otherworldly quality only found in one’s dreams and imaginations.”

Below – “Firewall”; “The Third Way to Nirvana”; “Primordial Cascade Spiral Portal”; “Aurora, Missouri”; “Bank of River in Idaho”; “Young Woman Amongst the Autumn Leaves”; “Pink Sky Seascape”; “Railroad Bridge on Columbia River.”

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Thanksgiving 2016

I am thankful for many things, including the wonderful people who read my postings.

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Musings on Thanksgiving: Inga Muscio

“As ever, the original inhabitants of Turtle Island are entirely overlooked. Mysteriously, the only time indigenous people are guaranteed a mainstream Amerikkan mention is on Thanksgiving.
Again, to contextualize, this would be be kinda like someone busting into your house and robbing you blind, then sending you postcards once a year to remind you how much they are enjoying all of your stuff, and getting annoyed with you if you don’t respond with appreciation for their thoughtfulness.”

Below – Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (American painter, 1863-1930): “The First Thanksgiving” (1915); The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota; Pine Ridge is currently the third poorest county in the United States, ranking slightly ahead of two other South Dakota Indian Reservations.

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In The Shadow of Wounded Knee

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From the Pacific Northwest – Part XXXVIII

Musings in Autumn: Colleen Mariotti

“It is such a privilege to learn from children as they discover new worlds of possibility and give themselves full over to their dreams, inspiring a few adults along the way.”

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American Art – Gabriel Liston: Part I

In the words of one writer, “Working from a large collection of sketchbooks and oil studies, he constructs pictures of children engaged at the intersection of place, light, and culture. About his work, Gabriel says: ‘I paint pictures of children taking the world apart from the inside-out in those places where the world shows its seams.’”

Below – “An Ambush on the Road”; “Good Afternoon, Citizens”; “Bierstadt cannonballs into the lake”; “My Troubles Are Over”; “The Track Ends.”

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A Poem for Today

“Sliverswords”
By Juliet S. Kono

At cold daybreak
we wind
up the mountainside
to Haleakala Crater.
Our hands knot
under the rough of
your old army blanket.

We pass protea
and carnation farms
in Kula,
drive through
desolate rockfields.

Upon this one place
on Earth,
from the ancient
lava rivers,
silverswords rise,
startled
into starbursts
by the sun.
Like love, sometimes,
they die
at their first
and rare flowering.

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Musings in Autumn: Umberto Eco

“We are a pluralist civilisation because we allow mosques to be built in our countries, and we are not going to stop simply because Christian missionaries are thrown into prison in Kabul. If we did so, we, too, would become Taliban.”

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American Art – Gabriel Liston: Part II

In the words of one writer, “Gabriel Liston was born in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Western Colorado. He studied painting there, in Denver, and in Portland, Oregon, receiving a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art in 1998. Liston’s work has been exhibited in many group and solo shows in Oregon and Colorado since 1994. Liston’s work was recently profiled by Daily Serving, an international online publication for contemporary art.

Below – “Snowfall on the Retreat from the Pinnacles”; “June Snowball”; “Above the Reservoir, with Nighthawks”; “Mt Shasta over Lake Klamath from the Train”; “Silver Creek, Rico, Colorado”; “Spider Magnolia.”

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Musings in Autumn: Gary Larson

“I don’t believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“The Potato”
By Joseph Stroud

Three days into the journey
I lost the Inca Trail
and scrambled around the Andes
in a growing panic
when on a hillside below snowline
I met a farmer who pointed the way—
Machu Picchu allá, he said.
He knew where I wanted to go.
From my pack I pulled out an orange.
It seemed to catch fire
in that high blue Andean sky.
I gave it to him.
He had been digging in a garden,
turning up clumps of earth,
some odd, misshapen nuggets,
some potatoes.
He handed me one,
a potato the size of the orange
looking as if it had been in the ground
a hundred years,
a potato I carried with me
until at last I stood gazing down
on the Urubamba valley,
peaks rising out of the jungle into clouds,
and there among the mists
was the Temple of the Sun
and the Lost City of the Incas.
Looking back now, all these years later,
what I remember most,
what matters to me most,
was that farmer, alone on his hillside,
who gave me a potato,
a potato with its peasant face,
its lumps and lunar craters,
a potato that fit perfectly in my hand,
a potato that consoled me as I walked,
told me not to fear,
held me close to the earth,
the potato I put in a pot that night,
the potato I boiled above Machu Picchu,
the patient, gnarled potato
I ate.

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Art for November – Part I of II: Rody Kenny Hammond Courtice

Below – “The White Calf”

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Musings in Autumn: David McCullough

“‘The thought of going abroad makes my heart Leap,’ (Charles) Sumner wrote. ‘I feel, when I commune with myself about it, as when dwelling on the countenance and voice of a lovely girl. I am in love with Europa.’”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Fishing in Winter”
By Ralph Burns

A man staring at a small lake sees
His father cast light line out over
The willows. He’s forgotten his
Father has been dead for two years
And the lake is where a blue fog
Rolls, and the sky could be, if it
Were black or blue or white,
The backdrop of all attention.

He wades out to join the father,
Following where the good strikes
Seem to lead. It’s cold. The shape
Breath takes on a cold day is like
Anything else — a rise on a small lake,
The Oklahoma hills, blue scrub —
A shape already inside a shape,
Two songs, two breaths on the water.

Young man fishing on a lake from the boat at sunset

Art for November – Part II of II: Bertram Brooker

Below – “Bridge Near Portage Le Prairie”

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Musings in Autumn: Farley Mowat

“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be –the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourself.”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Philosopher in Florida”
By C. Dale Young

Midsummer lies on this town
like a plague: locusts now replaced
by humidity, the bloodied Nile

now an algae-covered rivulet
struggling to find its terminus.
Our choice is a simple one:

to leave or to remain, to render
the Spanish moss a memory
or to pull it from trees, repeatedly.

And this must be what the young
philosopher felt, the pull of a dialectic so basic
the mind refuses, normally,

to take much notice of it.
Outside, beyond a palm-tree fence,
a flock of ibis mounts the air,

our concerns ignored
by their quick white wings.
Feathered flashes reflected in water,

the bending necks of the cattails:
the landscape feels nothing—
it repeats itself with or without us.

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Musings in Autumn: Robert Pirsig

“People spend their entire lives at those lower altitudes without any awareness that this high country exists.”

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Canadian Art – Mildred Valley Thornton – Part I

In the words of one writer, “Born in Dresden, Ontario in 1890, she moved with her family to Regina in 1913 and became interested in the Plains Indians. She began to paint professionally in the 1920s, painting portraits of more than 300 aborignal people. In response to the Depression, she came with her family to Vancouver in 1934. Having attended Olivet College in Michigan, the Ontario School of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, she wrote for the ‘Vancouver Sun’ as an art critic from 1944 to 1959. Thornton was inducted into the Royal Society of Arts in 1954 and became president of the Canadian Women’s Press Club, but she could never attain her greatest wish: to have the government of Canada accept her donation of her work en masse. She claimed the Kwakiutl of the Clan Eagle had named her ‘Ah-ou-Mookht,’ meaning “’the one who wears the blanket because she is of noble birth,’ and the Crees had named her ‘Owas-ka-esk-ean’ or ‘putting your best ability for us.’ After her husband died in 1958, Mildred Valley Thornton moved to England in 1959 to live with one of her sons. A major exhibit of her work was mounted by the Royal Commonwealth Institute but she was afflicted by a skin disease and could not attend. She came back to Vancouver in 1961.”

Below – “At Fort Sabine”; “English Bay”; untitled farm scene; untitled mountain lake; untitled beachscape; untitled landscape.

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Musings in Autumn: Alice Walker

“Horses make a landscape look beautiful.”

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“A Winter Blue Jay”
By Sara Teasdale

Crisply the bright snow whispered,
Crunching beneath our feet;
Behind us as we walked along the parkway,
Our shadows danced,
Fantastic shapes in vivid blue.
Across the lake the skaters
Flew to and fro,
With sharp turns weaving
A frail invisible net.
In ecstasy the earth
Drank the silver sunlight;
In ecstasy the skaters
Drank the wine of speed;
In ecstasy we laughed
Drinking the wine of love.
Had not the music of our joy
Sounded its highest note?
But no,
For suddenly, with lifted eyes you said,
“Oh look!”
There, on the black bough of a snow flecked maple,
Fearless and gay as our love,
A bluejay cocked his crest!
Oh who can tell the range of joy
Or set the bounds of beauty?

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Musings in Autumn: Jack Kerouac

“The eyes of hope looking over the flare of the hood into the maw with its white line feeding in straight as an arrow, the lighting of fresh cigarettes, the buckling to lean forward to the next adventure something that’s been going on in America ever since the covered wagons clocked the deserts in three months flat.”

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Canadian Art – Mildred Valley Thornton – Part II

In the words of one writer, “Thornton’s first book Indian Lives and Legends (Mitchell Press, 1966) pertained mainly to B.C. and included twelve, hand-inserted colour plates. Thornton gradually succumbed to her skin disease, dying in 1967, at age 77. Embittered by the lack of official support for her art, she had a codicil in her will that requested all her paintings should be burned to ashes after her death. This codicil was not acted upon on the grounds that it had not been legally witnessed. The collection was saved but it has been mostly sold piecemeal. Her 1966 book has been retitled ‘Potlatch People: Indian Lives and Legends of British Columbia’ (Hancock, 2003), edited by her son John M. Thornton. Its preceding companion volume, ‘Buffalo People: Portraits of a Vanishing Nation’ (Hancock, 2000), contains 38 paintings pertaining to the prairies.”

Below – “Saskatchewan Summer”; “Mountain Scene”; “Anarchist Mountain”; “The Willows”; untitled Saskatchewan landscape”; untitled landscape.

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