Food for the Spirit and the Soul

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

February Offerings – Part X: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of V: Brian Davis

Here is how one writer describes the artistry of Brian Davis (born 1946): “The artist Brian Davis has the profound depth, the beauty of soul, and the unique composure of a man who truly understands the creation of a piece of art. Although magnificent flowers and landscapes are the main choice for his compositions, Brian Davis says, ‘The actual job of making an arresting piece of art has nothing to do with what the thing is.’”






Musings in Winter: Annie Dillard

“An acre of poppies and a forest of spruce boggle no one’s mind. Even ten square miles of wheat gladdens the hearts of most . . . No, in the plant world, and especially among the flowering plants, fecundity is not an assault on human values. Plants are not our competitors; they are our prey and our nesting materials. We are no more distressed at their proliferation than an owl is at a population explosion among field mice . . . but in the animal world things are different, and human feelings are different . . . Fecundity is anathema only in the animal. ‘Acres and acres of rats’ has a suitably chilling ring to it that is decidedly lacking if I say, instead, ‘acres and acres of tulips.’”

From the Music Archives: Don Wilson

Born 10 February 1937 – Don Wilson, an American rock guitarist and member of The Ventures.

Musings in Winter: Mary Oliver

“The resurrection of the morning.
The mystery of the night.
The hummingbird’s wings.
The excitement of thunder.
The rainbow in the waterfall.
Wild mustard, that rough blaze of the fields.”

A Poem for Today

By Robert Duncan

And a tenth part of Okeanos is given to dark night
a tithe of the pure water under earth
so that the clear fountains pour from rock face,
tears stream from the caverns and clefts,
down-running, carving woundrous ways in basalt resistance,
cutting deep as they go into layers of time-layerd
Gaia where She sleeps—

the cold water, the black rushing gleam, the
moving down-rush, wash, gush out over
bed-rock, toiling the boulders in flood,
purling in deeps, broad flashing in falls—

And a tenth part of bright clear Okeanos
his circulations— mists, rains, sheets, sheathes—
lies in poisonous depths, the black water.

Styx this carver of caverns beneath us is.
Styx this black water, this down-pouring.

The well is deep. From its stillness
the words our voices speak echo.
Resonance follows resonance.
Waves of this sounding come up to us.

We draw the black water, pure and cold.
The light of day is not as bright
as this crystal flowing.

Three thousand years we have recited its virtue
out of Hesiod.
Is it twenty-five thousand
since the ice withdrew from the lands and we
came forth from the realm of caverns where
the river beneath the earth we knew
we go back to.
Styx pouring down in the spring from its glacial remove,
from the black ice.

Fifty million years—from the beginning of what we are—
we knew the depth of this well to be.

Fifty million years deep —but our knowing deepens
—time deepens—
this still water

we thirst for in dreams we dread.

Below – Joachim Patinir: “Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx” (circa 1515-1524).

Musings in Winter: Kristen Iversen

“The body is an organ of memory, holding traces of all our experiences. The land, too, carries the burden of all its changes. To truly see and understand a landscape is to see its depth as well as its smooth surfaces, its beauty and its scars.”

According to one critic, the work of Georgian painter Givi Siproshvili (born 1940) “is notable for originality, uniqueness, individuality and diversity of styles.”










Musings in Winter: Albert Einstein

“We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.”
A Second Poem for Today

“A Lady”
By Amy Lowell

You are beautiful and faded 

Like an old opera tune 

Played upon a harpsichord; 

Or like the sun-flooded silks 

Of an eighteenth-century boudoir. 

In your eyes 

Smoulder the fallen roses of out-lived minutes, 

And the perfume of your soul 

Is vague and suffusing, 

With the pungence of sealed spice-jars. 

Your half-tones delight me, 

And I grow mad with gazing 

At your blent colours. 

My vigour is a new-minted penny, 

Which I cast at your feet. 

Gather it up from the dust, 

That its sparkle may amuse you.

Musings in Winter: Mehmet Murat Ildan

“If you are lost inside the beauties of nature, do not try to be found!”

“A deception that elevates us is dearer than a host of low truths.” – Alexander Pushkin, Russian writer of the Romantic era and author of “Eugene Onegin,” who died 10 February 1837.

Some quotes from the work of Alexander Pushkin:

“I have outlasted all desire,
My dreams and I have grown apart;
My grief alone is left entire,
The gleamings of an empty heart.

The storms of ruthless dispensation
Have struck my flowery garland numb,
I live in lonely desolation
And wonder when my end will come.

Thus on a naked tree-limb, blasted
By tardy winter’s whistling chill,
A single leaf which has outlasted
Its season will be trembling still.”

“Two fixed ideas can no more exist together in the moral world than two bodies can occupy one and the same place in the physical world.”
“He filled a shelf with a small army of books and read and read; but none of it made sense. .. They were all subject to various cramping limitations: those of the past were outdated, and those of the present were obsessed with the past.”
“And these days I’ve come to prefer the more steady Bordeaux. I am no longer up to champagne from Ay: it’s like a mistress: sparkling, flighty, vivacious, wayward – and not to be trusted. But Bordeaux is like a friend who in time of trouble and misfortune stands by us always, anywhere, ready to give us help, or just to share our quiet leisure. So raise your glasses – to our friend Bordeaux!”
“Want of courage is the last thing to be pardoned by young men, who usually look upon bravery as the chief of all human virtues, and the excuse for every possible fault.”

Musings in Winter: Mark Nepo

“To walk quietly until the miracle in everything speaks is poetry, whether we write it down or not.”

A Third Poem for Today

By Colette Bryce

Over time, you picture them
after dark, in searches

focusing on streets and houses
close above the churches

or balancing
on narrow wands of light.

And find so much depends upon
the way you choose

to look at them:
high in the night

their minor flares confused
among the stars, there

almost beautiful.
Or from way back

over the map
from where they might resemble

a business of flies
around the head wound of an animal.

American Art – Part II of V: Susan Clinard

In the words of one critic, “Susan first touched clay at the age of 19 when she took a sculpture class in college. She can recall the immediate sensory connection she made with the material; the smell, its texture and shadows. Her love for art did not begin there; she remembers always drawing and making “things” as a child and throughout her youth. To this day, Susan will argue that her formal training as an art student was only part of what made her a creative spirit. Living a life immersed in the diverse people and environments around her is what gave her the insight, ideas, and the inspiration she now possesses.
Susan received her degree in Sculpture and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan in 1995. After college she moved to Chicago to live with her sister Wendy Clinard, a professional dancer/choreographer/painter. Her strong bond with her sister helped her grow immensely as a visual artist. Their mutual respect and admiration of one another’s work has led to several collaborations.
Another important influence during this period was Susan’s experience working as a caseworker for foster children in Chicago. Working on the front lines in the community, schools, hospitals, and justice systems allowed her to see humanity in a way nothing else before it had. She began sculpting the things she saw, people she knew; as if keeping a journal. She was moved by the stories of inequality, fear, compassion, and courage. At this time Susan realized that sculpture was the unquestionable voice that would allow her to be true to herself while giving back to her community.”









Musings in Winter: Priscilla Stuckey

“If mind belongs to humans alone, then stones, trees, and streams become mere objects of human tinkering. We can plunder the earth’s resources with impunity, treating creeks and mountaintops in Kentucky or rivers in India or forests in northwest America as if they existed only for economic development. Systems of land and river become inert chunks of lifeless mud or mechanical runs of H2O rather than the living, breathing bodies upon which we and all other creatures depend for our very lives.

Not to mention what ‘nature as machine’ has done to our emotional and spiritual well-being. When we regard nature as churning its way forward mindlessly through time, we turn our backs on mystery, shunning the complexity as well as the delights of relationship. We isolate ourselves from the rest of the creatures with whom we share this world. We imagine ourselves the apex of creation — a lonely spot indeed. Human minds become the measure of creation and human thoughts become the only ones that count. The result is a concept of mind shorn of its wild connections, in which feelings become irrelevant, daydreams are mere distractions, and nighttime dreams — if we attend to them at all — are but the cast-offs of yesterday’s overactive brain. Mind is cut off from matter, untouched by exingencies of mud or leaf, shaped by whispers or gales of wind, as if we were not, like rocks, made of soil.

And then we wonder at our sadness and depression, not realizing that our own view of reality has sunk us into an unbearable solipsism, an agony of separateness — from loved ones, from other creatures, from rich but unruly emotions, in short, from our ability to connect, through senses and feeling and imagination, with the world that is our home.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Are These My People?”
By Carl Mayfield

Sitting around the kitchen table,
legs crossed, listening to look-alike foreheads
remember how the tornado
forgot to kill them:

Yes we are going to the cellar again
so wipe that look off your face
and I don’t want no heathen backtalk

Are these my people?
Yes, in both name and deed,
even though I drink store-bought whiskey.
We pass a cowlick around the table,
grin like fools on holiday,
our hearts circling unremarkable moons.

Musings in Winter: William Stafford

“Now has come, an easy time. I let it
roll. There is a lake somewhere
so blue and far nobody owns it.
A wind comes by and a willow listens
I hear all this, every summer. I laugh
and cry for every turn of the world,
its terribly cold, innocent spin.
That lake stays blue and free; it goes
on and on.
And I know where it is.”

Below – Kluane Lake, Yukon, Canada.

Born 10 February 1936 – Olwyn Bowey, a British painter.

Below – “Farmyard in Winter”; “Children in a Hedgerow”; “Footbridge, Stockton”; “Rowner Millpond in Autumn”; “Still Life with a Thrush”; “Victoriana.”
(c) Olwyn Bowey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Olwyn Bowey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Olwyn Bowey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Olwyn Bowey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Olwyn Bowey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Olwyn Bowey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation


Nobel Laureate: Boris Pasternak

“When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it.” –
Boris Pasternak, Russian poet, novelist, translator, author of “Dr. Zhivago, and recipient of the 1958 Nobel Prize for Literature “for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition,” who was born 10 February 1890.

“February, Take Ink and Weep”

February. Take ink and weep,
write February as you’re sobbing,
while black Spring burns deep
through the slush and throbbing.

Take a cab. For a clutch of copecks,
through bell-towers’ and wheel noise,
go where the rain-storm’s din breaks,
greater than crying or ink employs.

Where rooks in thousands falling,
like charred pears from the skies,
drop down into puddles, bringing
cold grief to the depths of eyes.

Below, the black shows through,
and the wind’s furrowed with cries:
the more freely, the more truly
then, sobbing verse is realised.

Mexican painter Jesus Lima (born 1985) studied at the University of Visual Arts in Pueblo City.

Musings in Winter: Haruki Murakami

“I sat on a somewhat higher sand dune and watched the eastern sky. Dawn in Mongolia was an amazing thing. In one instant, the horizon became a faint line suspended in the darkness, and then the line was drawn upward, higher and higher. It was as if a giant hand had stretched down from the sky and slowly lifted the curtain of night from the face of the earth. It was a magnificent sight, far greater in scale, […] than anything that I, with my limited human faculties, could comprehend. As I sat and watched, the feeling overtook me that my very life was slowly dwindling into nothingness. There was no trace here of anything as insignificant as human undertakings. This same event had been occurring hundreds of millions – hundreds of billions – of times, from an age long before there had been anything resembling life on earth.”

A Fifth Poem for Today
American Muse: John Crowe Ransom

“Janet Waking”

Beautifully Janet slept
Till it was deeply morning. She woke then
And thought about her dainty-feathered hen,
To see how it had kept.

One kiss she gave her mother,
Only a small one gave she to her daddy
Who would have kissed each curl of his shining baby;
No kiss at all for her brother.

“Old Chucky, Old Chucky!” she cried,
Running across the world upon the grass
To Chucky’s house, and listening. But alas,
Her Chucky had died.

It was a transmogrifying bee
Came droning down on Chucky’s old bald head
And sat and put the poison. It scarcely bled,
But how exceedingly

And purply did the knot
Swell with the venom and communicate
Its rigour! Now the poor comb stood up straight
But Chucky did not.

So there was Janet
Kneeling on the wet grass, crying her brown hen
(Translated far beyond the daughters of men)
To rise and walk upon it.

And weeping fast as she had breath
Janet implored us, “Wake her from her sleep!”
And would not be instructed in how deep
Was the forgetful kingdom of death.

Below – Tim Pospisil: “Lethe: The River of Forgetfulness” (2012).

Musings in Winter: Paul Bogard

“When I lie back and close my eyes, this farthest lip of beach right next to the end of the ocean feels like being up close to an enormous breathing being, the bass drum surf thump reverberating through the sand. Living out here with no lights, alone, you would indeed become sensitive to seasons, rhythms, weather, sounds- right up next to the sea, right up under the sky, like lying close to a lover’s skin to hear blood and breath and heartbeat.”

Below – Judith I. Brigland: “Burn Meets the Sea, Morar”

American Art – Part III of V: Paul G. Oxborough

In the words of one writer, “Paul Oxborough was born in Minnesota, USA in 1965. He began his studies at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design before entering a four-year apprenticeship at the Atelier Lessuer; a rigorous program that adheres to a stringent French academic tradition.
The range of Oxborough’s subject matter seems unlimited and varies from intimate interiors illuminated by flickering candles to laconic landscapes drenched in the noonday sun to a child’s face touched by the first rays of morning light.”










“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” – Alex Haley, American writer, author of “Roots: The Saga of an American Family” and co-author of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” who died 10 February 1992.

Some quotes from the work of Alex Haley:

“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage- to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness. ”
“Racism is taught in our society… it is not automatic. It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics.”
“The main thing you got to remember is that everything in the world is a hustle.”
“Find the Good and Praise it.”
“‘Is this how you repay my goodness–with badness?’ cried the boy. ‘Of course,’ said the crocodile out of the corner of his mouth. ‘That is the way of the world.’”
“I certainly wasn’t seeking any degree, the way a college confers a status symbol upon its students. My homemade education gave me, with every additional book that I read, a little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness and blindness that was afflicting the black race in America. Not long ago, an English writer telephoned me, asking questions. One was, ‘What’s your alma mater?’ I told him, ‘Books.’”
“So Dad has joined the others up there. I feel that they do watch and guide, and I also feel that they join me in the hope that this story of our people can help alleviate the legacies of the fact that preponderantly the histories have been written by the winners.”

Musings in Winter: Rabindranath Tagore

“The birds looked upon me as nothing but a man, quite a trifling creature without wings—and they would have nothing to do with me. Were it not so I would build a small cabin for myself among their crowd of nests and pass my days counting the sea waves.”

From the Movie Archives: Jim Varney

“Know what I mean, Vern?” – Jim Varney, American actor, comedian, musician, writer, and voice actor best known for his role as Ernest P. Worrell, who died 10 February 2000.

Musings in Winter: Alan Watts

“Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.”

A Sixth Poem for Today

“The Drowning”
By Alexis Orgera

He came home to us one afternoon,
came sopping wet and blue-lipped,
hugged the dog so hard
we couldn’t pry them apart.
This is what my brother told us:

“When you die a port-wine stain lodges
behind your right eye like a migraine.
Your fingers are electric, lungs exploding stars.
And on the way down I saw Uncle Max floating by.”

Then my brother was quiet for an age
while we teetered on the living room couch
hoping he’d been given some special truth,
something to change us. When he spoke again,
my brother’s eyes were buffed canaries.

“So when your body washes up,
it’s on a beach with no shoreline.
Everyone’s naked, saying, ‘Look how familiar this place is.’”
But my brother swore it resembled nothing.

He said, “Everyone just sits around with their eyes closed,
cross-legged, and they bask in grayness
while pieces of their bodies fall off•
First small parts. Toenails and earlobes.
Then hands and feet until all that’s left is nubs

jabbing the sand. And there’s music playing
high up on a black cliff of sky.
It’s not like our music, “he said,

“but as if the whole world is a crying woman
who can’t get out of whatever fix she’s in.”

Then my brother fell asleep, arms around the dog.
And there we were, wondering while he slept
if my brother was a ghost or a superhero
or if he’s merely stumbled into some dumb luck
that would dote on him the rest of his life.

Musings in Winter: Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“After all, I don’t see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood.”

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Welsh painter Michael de Bono: “Michael de Bono is a self-taught painter living and working in Cardiff. He was born in Caerphilly spending his early years among the hills and dales of Llambradach. This harmonious environment fostered an appreciation of the gentle vitality of nature over the frenetic dislocation of the industrialised cityscape. His interest in the elegance and primacy of nature manifests within his beautifully rendered figurative subjects, the intimacy of which invites us to reflect freely upon their narrative context.”












”Poetry is a search for ways of communication; it must be conducted with openness, flexibility, and a constant readiness to listen.” – Fleur Adcock, New Zealand poet and editor, who was born 10 February 1934.


The young are walking on the riverbank

arms around each other’s waist and shoulders,

pretending to be looking at the waterlilies

and what might be a nest of some kind, over
there, which two who are clamped together

mouth to mouth have forgotten about.

The others, making courteous detours

around them, talk, stop talking, kiss.

They can see no one older than themselves.

It’s their river. They’ve got all day.

Seeing’s not everything. At this very

moment the middle-aged are kissing

in the backs of taxis, on the way

to airports and stations. Their mouths and tongues

are soft and powerful and as moist as ever.

Their hands are not inside each other’s clothes

(because of the driver) but locked so tightly

together that it hurts: it may leave marks

on their not of course youthful skin, which they won’t

notice. They too may have futures.

Below – Rodin: “The Kiss.”

A Seventh Poem for Today

“American Gothic”
By Michelle Boisseau

A child started to cough and didn’t last
the night. Lightning razed the barn.
The gate rotted and livestock trampled
the mustard greens. In the hallways
of rooming houses they waited their turn

for the bathtub. May I put on a light?
Pass the potatoes, please.
When our great-grandparents, the merchants,
posed at their dry-goods counters
in darned stockings and remarkable mustaches,

it hadn’t been invented yet. Sure, the sisters
in the kitchen laughed till they cried,
their raw hands clutching at each other,
when the rooster perched on the parlor window
to accompany Aunt Florence in a hymn,

but their smiles floated in the moment,
mild lightning bugs, not lightning
we would learn to aim with camera,
lipstick, and dentistry. In Collier’s
a tidal wave of hair, coy tilt of the head

and there it was, the Great American Smile
with a Coca-Cola. Before long the President
was walking softly, carrying a big smile.
When you’re smiling, let your smile
be your umbrella, chorus lines of teeth relayed

at the Picture Show, the mascot, a cheery mouse
who sang in a tin can. Around classrooms
teachers hung big grins of construction paper:
Dare to Dream. Reach for the Stars.
Roll out the big plans for this town. Big trucks,

big backhoes forging piles of yellow clay
with snappy signage. Our greatness,
began the Senator, our greatness. He
pushed up his sleeves at a stack of pancakes
and launched a grin like a rocket ship

and jets blinked across the sky. Rain fell.
Snow covered the roads and wind worked the fields
where once in a while a farmhouse crouched,
creaking and sighing, thin windows whistling
as someone looked out, provident and hardy.

Musings in Winter: Stephen Markley

“The problem with driving around Iceland is that you’re basically confronted by a new soul-enriching, breath-taking, life-affirming natural sight every five goddamn minutes. It’s totally exhausting.”
Iceland Landscape spring panorama at sunset

American Art – Part IV of V: Don Dahlke

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of painter Don Dahlke, who has spent time in the West Indies: “His strength lies in the allure of the island ambience, sun, warmth, and colors.”

An Eighth Poem for Today

“Praise Them”
By Li-Young Lee

The birds don’t alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying. They leave
nothing to trace. It is our own
astonishment collects
in chill air. Be glad.
They equal their due
moment never begging,
and enter ours
without parting day. See
how three birds in a winter tree
make the tree barer.
Two fly away, and new rooms
open in December.
Give up what you guessed
about a whirring heart, the little
beaks and claws, their constant hunger.
We’re the nervous ones.
If even one of our violent number
could be gentle
long enough that one of them
found it safe inside
our finally untroubled and untroubling gaze,
who wouldn’t hear
what singing completes us?

Armenian painter Arbe Berberyan is a diligent student of the artists he most admires: Dali, Picasso, Titian, Rembrandt, and, especially, Klimt.

Musings in Winter: Mary Butts

“All night the earth and the heavens followed their usual arrangements. Stars passed: an immense tide hung over them. A silent sea raced back with the sun, its wave turn-over small, delicate and comfortless. The most glorious of all stars hung above the sun’s threshold and went out. An hour later the sun governed the earth again, mist-chasing, flower-opening, bird-rousing, ghost-driving, spirit-shepherding back out the various gates of sleep.”

A Ninth Poem for Today

“Abandoned Farmhouse”
By Ted Kooser

He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.

Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm-a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

American Art – Part V of V: Elizabeth Allen-Cannon

Painter Elizabeth Allen-Cannon (born 1988) is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Elizabeth Allen-Cannon

Elizabeth Allen-Cannon

Elizabeth Allen-Cannon

Elizabeth Allen-Cannon

Elizabeth Allen-Cannon

Elizabeth Allen-Cannon

Elizabeth Allen-Cannon

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January Offerings – Part XXVIII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of V: Amy Hill

Here is the Artist Statement of American painter Amy Hill: “Painting is both a material and historical process. Fifteenth century Flemish painters are my current inspiration. Their simultaneous naiveté and precocious power of observation are spiritually reassuring. My instincts as a painter are similar enough to theirs to allow me to conduct an ongoing dialogue with them.”
Amy Hill

Amy Hill

Amy Hill

Amy Hill

Amy Hill

A Poem for Today

“Afternoon on a Hill”
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down!

Below – Yelena Bryksenkova: “Afternoon on a Hill”

Musings in Winter: F. G. Capitanio

“There is a mystical quality to the place where sea meets land, the clashing of two very different worlds. Yet continuity remains between them. The oceans reclaim the earth with their wind and water. The earth soaks up the sea to be carried off by the rain. They are always in flux. Each has their specific creatures, breathing in their own given ways, but dying in the same way, caught in a constant battle to survive. They swim and run and fly in tranquil spaces, among rolling hills and waves, great blue and green expanses, mountains both below the surface and above. And there is violence in their worlds.”

American Art – Part II of V: Jackson Pollock

“Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you.” – Jackson Pollock, influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement, who was born 28 January 1912.

Below – “Convergence”; “Number 1 (Lavender Mist)”; “Full Fathom Five”; “Blue (Moby Dick)”; “The Deep”; “Portrait and a Dream.”






An American Voice – The Poetry of Gary Snyder: Part I of VI

“December At Yase”

You said, that October,
In the tall dry grass by the orchard
When you chose to be free,
“Again someday, maybe ten years.”

After college I saw you
One time. You were strange,
And I was obsessed with a plan.

Now ten years and more have
Gone by: I’ve always known
where you were—
I might have gone to you
Hoping to win your love back.
You still are single.

I didn’t.
I thought I must make it alone. I
Have done that.

Only in dream, like this dawn,
Does the grave, awed intensity
Of our young love
Return to my mind, to my flesh.

We had what the others
All crave and seek for;
We left it behind at nineteen.

I feel ancient, as though I had
Lived many lives.

And may never now know
If I am a fool
Or have done what my
karma demands.

Below – Gary Snyder (born 1930), circa 1966.

Musings in Winter: Bill McKibben

“We speak often, and sentimentally, of being ‘enchanted’ by the natural world. But what if it’s the other way around? What if we are enchanted, literally, by the human world we live in? That seems entirely more likely – that the consumer world amounts to a kind of lulling spell, chanted tunefully and eternally by the TV, the billboard, the suburb. A spell that convinces us that the things we want most from the world are comfort, convenience, security. A spell that by now we sing to each other. A spell that, should it start to weaken, we try to strengthen with medication, with consumption, with noise. A slight frantic enchantment, one that has to get louder all the time to block out the troubling question constantly forming in the back of our minds: ‘Is this all there is?’”

The Irish Muse – William Butler Yeats: Part I of V

“The Second Coming”

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Below – “Life in the Gyre,” by Valerie O’Flynn (inspired by “The Second Coming”).

A Second Poem for Today

“The Art of Disappearing”
By Naomi Shihab Nye

When they say Don’t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

Musings in Winter: Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon

“The great workman of nature is time.”


28 January 1813 – Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is first published in the United Kingdom.

Some quotes from “Pride and Prejudice”:

“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.”
“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”
We are all fools in love.”

An American Voice – The Poetry of Gary Snyder: Part II of VI

“Above Pate Valley”

We finished clearing the last
Section of trail by noon,
High on the ridge-side
Two thousand feet above the creek
Reached the pass, went on
Beyond the white pine groves,
Granite shoulders, to a small
Green meadow watered by the snow,
Edged with Aspen—sun
Straight high and blazing
But the air was cool.
Ate a cold fried trout in the
Trembling shadows. I spied
A glitter, and found a flake
Black volcanic glass—obsidian—
By a flower. Hands and knees
Pushing the Bear grass, thousands
Of arrowhead leavings over a
Hundred yards. Not one good
Head, just razor flakes
On a hill snowed all but summer,
A land of fat summer deer,
They came to camp. On their
Own trails. I followed my own
Trail here. Picked up the cold-drill,
Pick, singlejack, and sack
Of dynamite.
Ten thousand years.

Below – The Tuolmne River in Pate Valley.

Musings in Winter: Anne Sexton

“Put your mouthful of words away
and come with me to watch
the lilies open in such a field,
growing there like yachts,
slowly steering their petals
without nurses or clocks.”

American Art – Part III of V: Jenny Morgan

In the words of one writer, “Jenny Morgan is a contemporary artist who creates large paintings. She was schooled at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Colorado. Jenny has held several solo shows throughout the Denver area and has participated in numerous other shows across Colorado and New York.”






A Third Poem for Today

“Beans and Franks”
By Donald Hall

When Newberry’s closed
in Franklin, New Hampshire—homely lime front
on Main Street, among the closed
storefronts of this mill town depressed
since nineteen twenty-nine;
with its lunch counter for beans and franks
and coleslaw; with its
bins of peanuts, counters of acrylic,
hair nets, underwear, workshirts,
marbled notebooks, Bic pens, plastic
toys, and cheap sneakers;
where Marjorie worked ten years at the iron
cash register, Alcibide
Monbouquet pushed a broom at night.
and Mr. Smith managed—
we learned that a man from Beverly
Hills owned it, who never saw
the streets of Franklin, New Hampshire,
and drew with a well-groomed hand
a line through “Franklin, New Hampshire.”

The Irish Muse – William Butler Yeats: Part II of V

“Leda and the Swan”

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

Below – Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640): “Leda and the Swan”; Rapiti Giovanni: “Leda and the Swan” (2008).


Musings in Winter: John Muir

“The making of gardens and parks goes on with civilization all over the world, and they increase both in size and number as their value is recognized. Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little windowsill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent National Parks—the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc.—Nature’s sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world. Nevertheless, like anything else worth while, from the very beginning, however well guarded, they have always been subject to attack by despoiling gain-seekers and mischief-makers of every degree from Satan to Senators, eagerly trying to make everything immediately and selfishly commercial, with schemes disguised in smug-smiling philanthropy, industriously, sham-piously crying, ‘Conservation, conservation, panutilization,’ that man and beast may be fed and the dear Nation made great. Thus long ago a few enterprising merchants utilized the Jerusalem temple as a place of business instead of a place of prayer, changing money, buying and selling cattle and sheep and doves; and earlier still, the first forest reservation, including only one tree, was likewise despoiled. Ever since the establishment of the Yosemite National Park, strife has been going on around its borders and I suppose this will go on as part of the universal battle between right and wrong, however much of its boundaries may be shorn, or its wild beauty destroyed.”


Nobel Laureate: Joseph Brodsky

“Life, the way it really is, is a battle not between Bad and Good but between Bad and Worse.” – Joseph Brodsky, Russian poet, essayist, and recipient of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature “for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity,” who died 28 January 1996.

“Odysseus to Telemachus”

The Trojan War 

is over now; I don’t recall who won it. 

The Greeks, no doubt, for only they would leave

so many dead so far from their own homeland. 

But still, my homeward way has proved too long. 

While we were wasting time there, old Poseidon, 

it almost seems, stretched and extended space.

I don’t know where I am or what this place 

can be. It would appear some filthy island, 

with bushes, buildings, and great grunting pigs. 

A garden choked with weeds; some queen or other. 

Grass and huge stones . . . Telemachus, my son! 

To a wanderer the faces of all islands 

resemble one another. And the mind 

trips, numbering waves; eyes, sore from sea horizons, 

run; and the flesh of water stuffs the ears. 

I can’t remember how the war came out; 

even how old you are–I can’t remember.

Grow up, then, my Telemachus, grow strong. 

Only the gods know if we’ll see each other 

again. You’ve long since ceased to be that babe 

before whom I reined in the plowing bullocks. 

Had it not been for Palamedes’ trick 

we two would still be living in one household. 

But maybe he was right; away from me 

you are quite safe from all Oedipal passions, 

and your dreams, my Telemachus, are blameless.

Below – Lucien Doucet: “Reunion of Odysseus and Telemachus”


Musings in Winter: D. T. Suzuki

“Modern life seems to recede further and further away from nature, and closely connected with this fact we seem to be losing the feeling of reverence towards nature. It is probably inevitable when science and machinery, capitalism and materialism go hand in hand so far in a most remarkably successful manner. Mysticism, which is the life of religion in whatever sense we understand it, has come to be relegated altogether in the background. Without a certain amount of mysticism there is no appreciation for the feeling of reverence, and, along with it, for the spiritual significance of humility. Science and scientific technique have done a great deal for humanity; but as far as our spiritual welfare is concerned we have not made any advances over that attained by our forefathers. In fact we are suffering at present the worst kind of unrest all over the world.”


An American Voice – The Poetry of Gary Snyder: Part III of VI

“Paiute Creek”

One granite ridge
A tree, would be enough
Or even a rock, a small creek,
A bark shred in a pool.
Hill beyond hill, folded and twisted
Tough trees crammed
In thin stone fractures
A huge moon on it all, is too much.
The mind wanders. A million
Summers, night air still and the rocks
Warm. Sky over endless mountains.
All the junk that goes with being human
Drops away, hard rock wavers
Even the heavy present seems to fail
This bubble of a heart.
Words and books
Like a small creek off a high ledge
Gone in the dry air.
A clear, attentive mind
Has no meaning but that
Which sees is truly seen.
No one loves rock, yet we are here.
Night chills. A flick
In the moonlight
Slips into Juniper shadow:
Back there unseen
Cold proud eyes
Of Cougar or Coyote
Watch me rise and go.

Below – Paiute Creek.

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Prayer Chain”
By Tim Nolan

My mother called to tell me
about an old classmate of mine who

was dying on the parish prayer chain—
or was very sick—or destitute—

or it had not worked out—the marriage—
or the kids were all on drugs—and

all the old mothers were praying intensely
for all the pain of their children

and for life—they were praying for life—
in their quiet rooms—sipping decaf coffee—

I bet they’ve been praying for me at times—
so I’ll find my way—so I won’t rob a bank—

I’ll take them—the mystical prayers of old mothers—
it matters—all this patient and purposeful love.

In the words of one critic, the art of Spanish-born Venezuelan painter Chelin Sanjuan “stands out for its polished technique. Her drawing is clean, with steady and secure lines, while dynamic, showing a balanced and serene usage of color, mainly warm tones. She copes with easiness in the most realistic pictorial lines, but also in more imaginative and surrealist fields. Each painting is an unique world, magical, intimate, with hidden elements and transparent shapes that mix with softness.
The characters -women, children and animals, particularly cats- that appear in her paintings have an interesting close relationship between them, always showing a small point of humor. Figurative art, of sharp and polished shapes, but delicate in the topics and always lively in the contents, without doubt a very personal style, not influenced by gestural and pseudodecorative artistic trends. ‘A flower in the desert,’ I thought the first time I saw her works.”






















An American Voice – The Poetry of Gary Snyder: Part IV of VI

“Hay for the Horses”

He had driven half the night

From far down San Joaquin

Through Mariposa, up the

Dangerous Mountain roads,

And pulled in at eight a.m.

With his big truckload of hay

behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks

We stacked the bales up clean

To splintery redwood rafters

High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa

Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,

Itch of haydust in the 

sweaty shirt and shoes.

At lunchtime under Black oak

Out in the hot corral,

—The old mare nosing lunchpails,

Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds—

“I’m sixty-eight” he said,

“I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.

I thought, that day I started,

I sure would hate to do this all my life.

And dammit, that’s just what

I’ve gone and done.”

Below – Bucking hay.

Musings in Winter: Tsering Wangmo Dhompa

“There is an uncommonly harsh beauty to the Tibetan landscape. Its nakedness makes it seem incapable of deception, but under its calm deportment it conceals winds so brutal that yaks are known to die while their jaws are in masticating bliss. On hot summer days the sun licks up the rain within minutes. No puddles are formed; no moisture lingers in the air. It is only the droplets on tiny leaves of the baby turnip plant that betray rain.”

American Art – Part IV of V: Ryan Mendoza

American painter Ryan Mendoza (born 1971) is a graduate of Parsons School of Art and Design in New York City. He now lives and works in both Berlin and Naples.








The Irish Muse – William Butler Yeats: Part III of V

“Sailing to Byzantium”


That is no country for old men. The young

In one another’s arms, birds in the trees

—Those dying generations—at their song,

The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,

Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long

Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.

Caught in that sensual music all neglect

Monuments of unaging intellect.


An aged man is but a paltry thing,

A tattered coat upon a stick, unless

Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing

For every tatter in its mortal dress,

Nor is there singing school but studying

Monuments of its own magnificence;

And therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium.


O sages standing in God’s holy fire

As in the gold mosaic of a wall,

Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,

And be the singing-masters of my soul.

Consume my heart away; sick with desire

And fastened to a dying animal

It knows not what it is; and gather me 

Into the artifice of eternity.


Once out of nature I shall never take

My bodily form from any natural thing,

But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make

Of hammered gold and gold enamelling

To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;

Or set upon a golden bough to sing

To lords and ladies of Byzantium

Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

Below – Martin Cheek: “Byzantine Fishermen”

Irish Art – Part I of II: Eileen Healy

In the words of one critic, “Eileen Healy is mainly a figurative artist who works from life. A strong believer in the practice of drawing she believes its this practice of working from life that keeps her work fresh and alive.
She uses models as her source of inspiration working with various lighting, investigating the effects of light and shadow on the body and face both with nudes and portraits.
Her finished pieces mostly show the figure in isolation, she rarely uses props or themes as the main focus is mainly on the person seated or lying in front of her.
Working in a variety of mediums she enjoys developing her skills in both pastel, oil and sometimes acrylic.”










The Irish Muse – William Butler Yeats: Part IV of V

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree”

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Below – Isle of Innisfree.
Sligo 25-08-2010 AM

Irish Art – Part II of II: Bob Quinn

In the words of one writer, “Born in 1948 Bob Quinn enjoyed a long career within the Irish advertising business as a commercial artist, designer and as the head of a successful design and production company.
He now works full time as a sculptor in Blackrock Co Dublin where he lives with his wife and two daughters.”










The Irish Muse – William Butler Yeats: Part V of V

William Butler Yeats died on 28 January 1939.

“Under Ben Bulben – Stanza VI”

Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:

Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!

Below – Ben Bulben; the grave of William Butler Yeats.


An American Voice – The Poetry of Gary Snyder: Part V of VI

“There Are Those Who Love To Get Dirty”

There are those who love to get dirty
and fix things.
They drink coffee at dawn,
beer after work,

And those who stay clean,
just appreciate things,
At breakfast they have milk
and juice at night.

There are those who do both,
they drink tea.

Below – Gary Snyder drinking tea during his student days at Berkeley.

Musings in Winter: Okakura Kakuzo

“Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.”

Below – Yen-Fu: “The Evening Glow and Bamboo”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“My Mother’s Address Book”
By Lyn Lifshin

With rubber bands
flecked with powder,
slack as the face of
a child who won’t
eat. Almost half
the names crossed
out with a line,
Buzzy, darkened over
with a pencil, as if there
was a rush like some
one throwing a dead
relative’s shoes and
wool dresses toward
the Salvation Army
baskets, someone
catching a train,
breathlessly, the
graphite black as
shining freight.

Musings in Winter: John Steinbeck

“The Pacific is my home ocean; I knew it first, grew up on its shore, collected marine animals along the coast. I know its moods, its color, its nature. It was very far inland that I caught the first smell of the Pacific. When one has been long at sea, the smell of land reaches far out to greet one. And the same it true when one has been long inland.”

An American Voice – The Poetry of Gary Snyder: Part VI of VI

“Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout”

Down valley a smoke haze
Three days heat, after five days rain
Pitch glows on the fir-cones
Across rocks and meadows
Swarms of new flies.

I cannot remember things I once read
A few friends, but they are in cities.
Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup
Looking down for miles
Through high still air.

Below – Sourdough Mountain Lookout in the North Cascades.

Musings in Winter: Daniel J. Rice

“If you have not touched the rocky wall of a canyon. If you have not heard a rushing river pound over cobblestones. If you have not seen a native trout rise in a crystalline pool beneath a shattering riffle, or a golden eagle spread its wings and cover you in shadow. If you have not seen the tree line recede to the top of a bare crested mountain. If you have not looked into a pair of wild eyes and seen your own reflection. Please, for the good of your soul, travel west.”

American Art – Part V of V: Craig Kosak

Artist Statement: “Inspired by the wildlife and landscapes I encounter while travelling I return to my studio with insights about the world and about myself. Rather than faithfully documenting the flora and fauna, I strive to capture the feeling and emotions these trips provide. Each trip consists of both a journey through the outer world, and an inner journey where I learn more about my humanity, my spirit and the world inside. These paintings are about both worlds and how they relate.”

Friends: I am leaving town for a few days to visit my son and daughter-in-law in Fairbanks, Alaska. If I can take a good photograph of the Aurora – or anything else interesting in the Arctic landscape – I will definitely post it immediately upon my return.
Morning in Fairbanks

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January Offerings – Part XXVII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of V: Alex Gross

In the words of one writer, “Painter Alex Gross received a B.F.A. with honors from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1990. He has done extensive study of Japanese fine and commercial art.”






Musings in Winter: Daniel Wallock

“The moon rested right above the mountains, a place I call home.”

Born 27 January 1893 – Soong Ching-ling, the second wife of Sun Yat-sen, leader of the 1911 revolution that established the Republic of China. In the words of one historian, “She was a member of the Soong family, and together with her siblings played a prominent role in China’s politics prior to 1949. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, she held several prominent positions in the new government, and traveled abroad during the early 1950s, representing it at a number of international activities. During the Cultural Revolution, however, she was heavily criticized; in one incident in 1966, her parents’ grave was destroyed by Red Guards. Soong survived the Cultural Revolution, but appeared less frequently after 1976. During her final illness in May 1981, she was given the special title of Honorary President of the People’s Republic of China.”

Anyone wishing to garner some fascinating insights into the role of the Soong family in influencing Chinese history during the twentieth century should read “The Soong Dynasty,” by Sterling Seagrave.

Below – Soong Ching-ling in Hong Kong in 1937.


Speaking for Psyche – Quotes from the work of James Hillman: Part I of IV

“Love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining.”

A Poem for Today

“Domination of Black”
By Wallace Stevens

At night, by the fire,
The colors of the bushes
And of the fallen leaves,
Repeating themselves,
Turned in the room,
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
Yes: but the color of the heavy hemlocks
Came striding.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

The colors of their tails
Were like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind,
In the twilight wind.
They swept over the room,
Just as they flew from the boughs of the hemlocks
Down to the ground.
I heard them cry — the peacocks.
Was it a cry against the twilight
Or against the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind,
Turning as the flames
Turned in the fire,
Turning as the tails of the peacocks
Turned in the loud fire,
Loud as the hemlocks
Full of the cry of the peacocks?
Or was it a cry against the hemlocks?

Out of the window,
I saw how the planets gathered
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
I saw how the night came,
Came striding like the color of the heavy hemlocks
I felt afraid.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

Chinese painter Bao Zhen (born 1960) graduated from the Art Department of Beijing Normal University.









Musings in Winter: Margaret Atwood

“I am alive, I live, I breathe, I put my hand out, unfolded, into the sunlight.”

“I don’t hold with shamans, witch doctors, or psychiatrists. Shakespeare, Tolstoy, or even Dickens, understood more about the human condition than ever occurred to any of you. You overrated bunch of charlatans deal with the grammar of human problems, and the writers I’ve mentioned with the essence.” – Mordecai Richler, Canadian writer, screenwriter, essayist, and author of “The Apprenticeship of Danny Kravitz,” who was born 27 January 1931.

Some quotes from the work of Mordecai Richler:

“What’s black and white and brown and looks good on a lawyer? A Doberman.”
“In Canada, nobody is ever overthrown because nobody gives a damn.”
“Fundamentally, all writing is about the same thing; it’s about dying, about the brief flicker of time we have here, and the frustration that it creates.”
“Canada is not so much a country as a holding tank filled with the disgruntled progeny of defeated peoples. French-Canadians consumed by self-pity; the descendants of Scots who fled the Duke of Cumberland; Irish, the famine; and Jews, the Black Hundreds. Then there are the peasants from Ukraine, Poland, Italy and Greece, convenient to grow wheat and dig out the ore and swing the hammers and run the restaurants, but otherwise to be kept in their place. Most of us are huddled tight to the border, looking into the candy store window, scared of the Americans on one side and of the bush on the other.”

Died 27 January 2003 – Louis Archambault, a Canadian sculptor.

Below – “Moon Maids”; “Man and Woman”; “A Winged Man”; “The Great Priest”; “Tall Couple.”





Musings in Winter: Carl Safina

“Whenever we take the focus off ourselves and move it outward, we benefit. Life’s most fortunate ironies are that what’s best for the long run is best now, and selflessness serves our interests far better than selfishness. The wider our circle of considerations, the more stable we make the world—and the better the prospects for human experience and for all we might wish. The core message of each successive widening: we are one. The geometry of the human voyage is not linear; it’s those ripples whose circles expand to encompass self, other, community, Life, and time.”

A Second Poem for Today

“I Am in Need of Music”
By Elizabeth Bishop

“I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling finger-tips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

American Art – Part II of V: Richard Cleaver

Artist Statement: “My sculptures integrate ceramic, which is the primary medium, with wood, fresh water pearls, semi-precious stones, gold leaf and oil paint. They are made complete with secret compartments which serve as hiding places for multiple and often times personal meanings. My recent work is based on narratives drawn from personal and historical events that are overlapped with subconscious images. The figures are like actors on a stage, enigmatic yet tense while being enveloped or encrusted within layers of overgrowth concealing a world within.”











Musings in Winter: Luther Burbank

“Do not feed children on maudlin sentimentalism or dogmatic religion; give them nature.”

A Third Poem for Today

By Heather Allen

So still at heart,
They respond like water
To the slightest breeze,
Rippling as one body,

And, as one mind,
Bend continually
To listen:
The perfect confidants,

They keep to themselves,
A web of trails and nests,
Burrows and hidden entrances—
Do not reveal

Those camouflaged in stillness
From the circling hawks,
Or crouched and breathless
At the passing of the fox.

Born 27 January 1805 – Samuel Palmer, a British landscape painter, etcher, printmaker, and key figure in Romanticism in Britain, who produced visionary pastoral canvases.

Below – “A Cornfield by Moonlight with the Evening Star”; “A Dream in the Appenine”; “The Rising of the Skylark”; “The Gleaning Field”; “A Hilly Scene”; “Self-Portrait.”

A Dream in the Apennine exhibited 1864 by Samuel Palmer 1805-1881





Musings in Winter: Michelle Frost

“It was early evening twilight when we came around a corner… and there in the road was a red deer stag. He leapt up the bank beside the road and then paused, looking back over his shoulder as we passed. Like a scene in a dream I watched him as he watched me. He was so close… so still and so beautiful. There was an instant of knowing that my heart was as trapped in this beautiful wildness as my eyes were caught in his calm curious gaze. It was a slowly growing realisation that I had fallen in love a third time… with this lovely, cold strange world of water and stone, sharp light and deep shadows.
And I would never be the same again.”

“Suspect each moment, for it is a thief, tiptoeing away with more than it brings.” – John Updike, American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, literary critic, and the recipient of numerous literary awards, who died 27 January 2009.

Some quotes from the work of John Updike:

“Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face.”
“The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.”
“It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you.”
“We do survive every moment, after all, except the last one.”
“Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them. ”
“What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.”
“How can you respect the world when you see it’s being run by a bunch of kids turned old?”
“Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.”
“Everybody who tells you how to act has whiskey on their breath.”
“Looking foolish does the spirit good. The need not to look foolish is one of youth’s many burdens; as we get older we are exempted from more and more.”
“The world keeps ending but new people too dumb to know it keep showing up as if the fun’s just started.”
“Children are not a zoo of entertainingly exotic creatures, but an array of mirrors in which the human predicament leaps out at us. ”
“A leader is one who, out of madness or goodness, volunteers to take upon himself the woe of the people. There are few men so foolish, hence the erratic quality of leadership.”
“So much love, too much love, it is our madness, it is rotting us out, exploding us like dandelion polls.”
“The Founding Fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called an education.”
Juniper Books

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Stealing Lilacs”
By Alice N. Persons

A guaranteed miracle,
it happens for two weeks each May,
this bounty of riches
where McMansion, trailer,
the humblest driveway
burst with color—pale lavender,
purple, darker plum—
and glorious scent.
This morning a battered station wagon
drew up on my street
and a very fat woman got out
and starting tearing branches
from my neighbor’s tall old lilac—
grabbing, snapping stems, heaving
armloads of purple sprays
into her beater.
A tangle of kids’ arms and legs
writhed in the car.
I almost opened the screen door
to say something,
but couldn’t begrudge her theft,
or the impulse
to steal such beauty.
Just this once,
there is enough for everyone.

Musings in Winter: Mark Doty

“One last mystery: on one of the little ponds, this morning, I saw wind riffling the first of the waterlily leaves. They haven’t all emerged yet, but new circles tattoo the water, here and there, a coppery red. When the wind lifted their edges, each would reveal a little shadowy spot, a dot of black which seemed to flash on the water, and so across the whole surface of the pond there was what could only be described as the inverse of sparkling; a scintillant blackness. Shining blackly, black but rippling, lyrical: the sheen and radiance of death-in-life.
Is that my work, to point to the world and say, See how darkly it sparkles?”

Born 27 January 1885 – Maeda Seison, one of the great twentieth century Japanese painters.






“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” – Howard Zinn, American historian, writer, playwright, social activist, and author of “A People’s History of the United States” and “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train” (his memoir), who died 27 January 2010.

Some quotes from the work of Howard Zinn:

“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
“I’m worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel – let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they’re doing. I’m concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that’s handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers.”
“Historically, the most terrible things – war, genocide, and slavery – have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.”
“How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?”
“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
“Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.”
“History is important. If you don’t know history it is as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it.”
“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.”
“If those in charge of our society – politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television – can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.”
“The memory of oppressed people is one thing that cannot be taken away, and for such people, with such memories, revolt is always an inch below the surface.”
“But I suppose the most revolutionary act one can engage in is… to tell the truth.”
“Nations are not communities and never have been. The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals the fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such as world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.”
“We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children”
“I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.”
“The prisons in the United States had long been an extreme reflection of the American system itself: the stark life differences between rich and poor, the racism, the use of victims against one another, the lack of resources of the underclass to speak out, the endless ‘reforms’ that changed little. Dostoevski once said: ‘The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.’
It had long been true, and prisoners knew this better than anyone, that the poorer you were the more likely you were to end up in jail. This was not just because the poor committed more crimes. In fact, they did. The rich did not have to commit crimes to get what they wanted; the laws were on their side. But when the rich did commit crimes, they often were not prosecuted, and if they were they could get out on bail, hire clever lawyers, get better treatment from judges. Somehow, the jails ended up full of poor black people.”
“What struck me as I began to study history was how nationalist fervor–inculcated from childhood on by pledges of allegiance, national anthems, flags waving and rhetoric blowing–permeated the educational systems of all countries, including our own. I wonder now how the foreign policies of the United States would look if we wiped out the national boundaries of the world, at least in our minds, and thought of all children everywhere as our own. Then we could never drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, or napalm on Vietnam, or wage war anywhere, because wars, especially in our time, are always wars against children, indeed our children.”
“I will try not to overlook the cruelties that victims inflict on one another as they are jammed together in the boxcars of the system. I don’t want to romanticize them. But I do remember (in rough paraphrase) a statement I once read: ‘The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.’”
“Today everybody is talking about the fact that we live in one world; because of globalization, we are all part of the same planet. They talk that way, but do they mean it? We should remind them that the words of the Declaration [of Independence] apply not only to people in this country, but also to people all over the world. People everywhere have the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When the government becomes destructive of that, then it is patriotic to dissent and to criticize – to do what we always praise and call heroic when we look upon the dissenters and critics in totalitarian countries who dare to speak out.”
“I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions–poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed–which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished.
It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity.”
“Why should we cherish ‘objectivity,’ as if ideas were innocent, as if they don’t serve one interest or another? Surely, we want to be objective if that means telling the truth as we see it, not concealing information that may be embarrassing to our point of view. But we don’t want to be objective if it means pretending that ideas don’t play a part in the social struggles of our time, that we don’t take sides in those struggles.
Indeed, it is impossible to be neutral. In a world already moving in certain directions, where wealth and power are already distributed in certain ways, neutrality means accepting the way things are now. It is a world of clashing interests – war against peace, nationalism against internationalism, equality against greed, and democracy against elitism – and it seems to me both impossible and undesirable to be neutral in those conflicts.”
“The Greatest Generation?
They tell me I am a member of the greatest generation. That’s because I saw combat duty as a bombardier in World War 11. But I refuse to celebrate “the greatest generation” because in so doing we are celebrating courage and sacrifice in the cause of war. And we are miseducating the young to believe that military heroism is the noblest form of heroism, when it should be remembered only as the tragic accompaniment of horrendous policies driven by power and profit. The current infatuation with World War 11 prepares us–innocently on the part of some, deliberately on the part of others–for more war, more military adventures, more attempts to emulate the military heroes of the past.”


Musings in Winter: Adrian Sandvaer

“One person may look and only see a tree, whereas others may look and see a tree with leaves.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

By Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

Musings in Winter: Dale Pendell

“As dreams are the healing songs from the wilderness of our unconscious – So wild animals, wild plants, wild landscapes are the healing dreams from the deep singing mind of the earth.”

Italian Art – Part I of II: Felice Casorati

Felice Casorati (1883-1963) was an Italian painter, sculptor, and printmaker best remembered for his figurative compositions.

Below – “Daphne at Paravola”; “Girl on a Red Carpet”; “Portrait of Sylvana Cenni”; “Girl of Pavarolo”; “The Studio”; “Woman Reading.”






Speaking for Psyche – Quotes from the work of James Hillman: Part II of IV

“Everything that everyone is afraid of has already happened: The fragility of capitalism, which we don’t want to admit; the loss of the empire of the United States; and American exceptionalism. In fact, American exceptionalism is that we are exceptionally backward in about fifteen different categories, from education to infrastructure.”

American Art – Part III of V: Natalia Fabia

Painter Natalia Fabia graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. In the words of one critic, Fabia is “inspired by light, color, punk rock music, hot chicks, sparkles… and sultry women.”














Musings in Winter: John Wesley Powell

“The glories and the beauties of form, color, and sound unite in the Grand Canyon – forms unrivaled even by the mountains, colors that vie with sunsets, and sounds that span the diapason from tempest to tinkling raindrop, from cataract to bubbling fountain.”

From the American History Archives: Indian Territory

27 January 1825 – The United States Congress approves the creation of Indian Territory (in what is now Oklahoma), clearing the way for the forced relocation of Eastern Indian tribes on the “Trail of Tears.”

Below – An illustration of a steamboat entering Indian Territory on the Arkansas River.

A Sixth Poem for Today

“Singing in the Toyota”
By David Etter

I’ve been booed in the shower,
put down on the patio, ridiculed at the beach,
but when I sing in the car,
I get nothing but approval:
big smiles from the dashboard,
handclaps from the windshield wipers,
cheers from the steering wheel.
Even though I’m no Sinatra,
no Nat King Cole of the tollways,
I can croon along on every song
the Delco radio serves up,
and when I get going good
on some old favorite,
like “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
or maybe “Answer Me, My Love,”
I start to see my name in lights.
The face in the mirror is mine.
I have a captive audience.
And I can do me better than me.

Speaking for Psyche – Quotes from the work of James Hillman: Part III of IV

“Of course, a culture as manically and massively materialistic as ours creates materialistic behavior in its people, especially in those people who’ve been subjected to nothing but the destruction of imagination that this culture calls education, the destruction of autonomy it calls work, and the destruction of activity it calls entertainment.”

Musings in Winter: Robert W. Service

“Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land ‘way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.”

Italian Art – Part II of II: Stefania Fersini

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Italian painter Stefania Fersini: “Stefania Fersini creates wrinkled oil on canvas portraits, as a critique of a world that produces more than we need. She uses enlarged fashion pages to bring back to real scale the characters and the scene in the foreground, creating a parallel world made of models, scenarios, icons of our society. As in front of a mirror, viewers recognize the reflection they aim to identify with. Magazine papers picked recycled from rubbish, with their twists and reflections, divert the attention from the scene. Together with the products’ captions, they represent consumerism and appearance, that is the values and myths of nowadays society.”









A Seventh Poem for Today

“What I Believe”
By Michael Blumenthal

I believe there is no justice,
but that cottongrass and bunchberry
grow on the mountain.

I believe that a scorpion’s sting
will kill a man,
but that his wife will remarry.

I believe that, the older we get,
the weaker the body,
but the stronger the soul.

I believe that if you roll over at night
in an empty bed,
the air consoles you.

I believe that no one is spared
the darkness,
and no one gets all of it.

I believe we all drown eventually
in a sea of our making,
but that the land belongs to someone else.

I believe in destiny.
And I believe in free will.

I believe that, when all
the clocks break,
time goes on without them.

And I believe that whatever
pulls us under,
will do so gently.

so as not to disturb anyone,
so as not to interfere
with what we believe in.

Musings in Winter: James Hilton

“Then the whole range, much nearer now, paled into fresh splendor; a full moon rose, touching each peak in succession like some celestial lamplighter, until the long horizon glittered against a blue-black sky.”

American Art – Part IV of V: Jeannie Vodden

Artist Statement: “I love painting the complex textures, forms and patterns found in nature. The scales of a reptile, the random branches of a nest, the tousled hair of a young child, a dried leaf, are some of my favorites. It’s fun to compare and contrast man-made textures. A few I’ve attempted are: a crocheted scarf, the floral print in the folds of a woman’s dress, a glass vase. And when I add beautiful, natural light it changes the whole look and feel of each surface and pattern, overlaying complexity and changing form.”

Jeannie Vodden

Jeannie Vodden

Jeannie Vodden

Jeannie Vodden

Jeannie Vodden

Jeannie Vodden

Jeannie Vodden

Jeannie Vodden

Jeannie Vodden

Speaking for Psyche – Quotes from the work of James Hillman: Part IV of IV

“Sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path… this is what I must do, this is what I’ve got to have. This is who I am.”

Musings in Winter: Toni Sorenson

“A journey through nature is always a road that leads to self-discovery.”

An Eighth Poem for Today

“How to See Deer”
By Philip Booth

Forget roadside crossings.
Go nowhere with guns.
Go elsewhere your own way,

lonely and wanting. Or
stay and be early:
next to deep woods

inhabit old orchards.
All clearings promise.
Sunrise is good,

and fog before sun.
Expect nothing always;
find your luck slowly.

Wait out the windfall.
Take your good time
to learn to read ferns;

make like a turtle:
downhill toward slow water.
Instructed by heron,

drink the pure silence.
Be compassed by wind.
If you quiver like aspen

trust your quick nature:
let your ear teach you
which way to listen.

You’ve come to assume
protective color; now
colors reform to

new shapes in your eye.
You’ve learned by now
to wait without waiting;

as if it were dusk
look into light falling;
in deep relief

things even out. Be
careless of nothing. See
what you see.

American Art – Part V of V: Stephen Wright

In the words of one writer, “Stephen is a figure painter working in a realist genre. His clarity and sense of form lend a palpable edge to his restrained yet psychologically charged paintings. Stephen’s subtle vision pervades his canvases with unnerving consistency, and imparts a sense of disquieting beauty in the viewer.”












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January Offerings – Part XXVI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Christine Peloquin

Artist Statement: ”The majority of my art work can be summarized as drawing and painting on fabric and paper collage. The subjects range from idealized faces and figures of women to landscapes, nature scenes and abstracts.
All the pieces begin with fabric and paper collage arranged, sewn and adhered to wood panels. The collages consist of any of the following: antique cloths, contemporary fabrics, antique dictionary pages, old children’s school books, atlases, architectural plans, wallpaper, tablecloths, napkins, lace, buttons, flowers, leaves and any variety of papers and 2D found objects. Over the collages, the drawings are done in charcoal and the work is painted with acrylics and mediums.
My intention is to weave an autobiographical tapestry invoking and addressing universal issues such as philosophy, spirituality, sexuality, motherhood and self-awareness.
The joy in this process is the instinctual choices of rendering and harmonizing what I will cover up and what I will leave to be revealed.”






Nikos Kazantzakis on Happiness – Quotes from “Zorba the Greek”: Part I of V

“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”

A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part I of X

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”

A Poem for Today

“Of Mere Being”
By Wallace Stevens

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

Musings in Winter: Theodore Roosevelt

“Surely our people do not understand even yet the rich heritage that is theirs. There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majesty all unmarred.”





Died 26 January 1824 – Théodore Géricault, an influential French painter and lithographer.

Below – “The Raft of the Medusa”; “The Derby at Epsom”; “Portrait of a Kleptomaniac”; “Portrait of a Demented Woman”; “Portrait of Laura Bro”; “The Capture of a Wild Horse.”






A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part II of X

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

“As science pushes forward, ignorance and superstition gallop around the flanks and bite science in the rear with big dark teeth.” – Philip Jose Farmer, American author best known for his award-winning science fiction and fantasy works, who was born 26 January 1918.

Some quotes from the work of Philip Jose Farmer:

“The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.”
“These people who expect to be saints in heaven, though they were not on Earth, have ignored the wisdom of the founders of the great religions. This wisdom is that the kingdom of heaven is within you and that you do not go to heaven unless you are already in it. The magic must be wrought by you and you alone. God has no fairy wand to tap the pig and turn it into a swan.
People ignore this. And those who believe in sinners burning in hell are, perhaps, not so much concerned with going to heaven as with being sure that sinners-–others-–roast forever in the flames.”
“Dullard: Someone who looks up a thing in the encyclopedia, turns directly to the entry, reads it, and then closes the book.”
“It was the essence of life to disbelieve in death for one’s self, to act as if life would continue forever. And life had to act also as if little issues were big ones. To take a realistic attitude toward life and death meant that one lapsed into unreality. Into insanity. It was ironic that the only way to keep one’s sanity was to ignore that one was in an insane world or to act as if the world were sane.”

Musings in Winter: William Cullen Bryant

“And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood.”
At a stream the sunflower grew

A Second Poem for Today

“Reading Primo Levi Off Columbus Circle”
By J. T. Barbarese

Re-reading him in Bouchon
past noon, it is mobbed midtown,
like an ant farm seen through painkillers.
God, what a bust it’s all been,

capitalism, communism, feminism,
this lust to liberate.
Che should have stayed in medicine.
The girls here admit they can’t wait

to marry and get to the alimony,
before they hit thirty. The men,
heads skinned like ‘Lager’ inmates,
know only the revolutions

in diets and spinning classes.
Still, one table away,
these two, with gnarled empretzled hands,
seem unhappy in the old way.

American Art – Part II of VI: Michael Bartholomew

Artist Statement: “My philosophy towards still life painting is to say more with less with simplistic arrangements and the use of organic and inanimate objects.
To me, art is the vehicle that transcends through time, what we love, feel, and experience about this life we live. It represents every expression of humanity, good bad, or indifferent. It is not to be taken for granted or dismissed as something that is simply just there for the taking. But instead, art is to be respected because it tells the truth and reveals the soul of its creator.”






Musings in Winter: Peter Mattiessen

“My foot slips on a narrow ledge; in that split second, as needles of fear pierce heart and temples, eternity intersects with present time. Thought and action are not different, and stone, air, ice, sun, fear, and self are one. What is exhilarating is to extend this acute awareness into ordinary moments, in the moment-by-moment experiencing of the lammergeier and the wolf, which, finding themselves at the center of things, have no need for any secret of true being. In this very breath that we take now lies the secret that all great teachers try to tell us…the present moment. The purpose of mediation practice is not ‘enlightenment’ – it is to pay attention even at unextraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each event of ordinary life.”

A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part III of X

“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.”

Nikos Kazantzakis on Happiness – Quotes from “Zorba the Greek”: Part II of V

“When I encounter a sunrise, a painting, a woman, or an idea that makes my heart bound like a young calf, then I know I am standing in front of happiness.”

Below – Robert Fowler (1853-1926): “The Birth of Venus”

Russian painter Oxana Zaika (born 1969) lives and works in Paris.










“What I desire of a poem is a clear understanding of motive, and a just evaluation of feeling A poem in the first place should offer us a new perception…bringing into being a new experience Verse is more valuable than prose for its rhythms are faster and more highly organised and lead to greater complexity.” – Yvor Winters, American poet and literary critic, who died 25 January 1968.

“The Slow Pacific Swell”

Far out of sight forever stands the sea, 

Bounding the land with pale tranquillity. 

When a small child, I watched it from a hill 

At thirty miles or more. The vision still 

Lies in the eye, soft blue and far away: 

The rain has washed the dust from April day; 

Paint-brush and lupine lie against the ground; 

The wind above the hill-top has the sound 

Of distant water in unbroken sky; 

Dark and precise the little steamers ply- 

Firm in direction they seem not to stir. 

That is illusion. The artificer 

Of quiet, distance holds me in a vise 

And holds the ocean steady to my eyes.

Once when I rounded Flattery, the sea 

Hove its loose weight like sand to tangle me 

Upon the washing deck, to crush the hull; 

Subsiding, dragged flesh at the bone. The skull
Felt the retreating wash of dreaming hair. 

Half drenched in dissolution, I lay bare. 

I scarcely pulled myself erect; I came 

Back slowly, slowly knew myself the same. 

That was the ocean. From the ship we saw 

Gray whales for miles: the long sweep of the jaw, 

The blunt head plunging clean above the wave. 

And one rose in a tent of sea and gave 

A darkening shudder; water fell away; 

The whale stood shining, and then sank in spray.

A landsman, I. The sea is but a sound. 

I would be near it on a sandy mound, 

And hear the steady rushing of the deep 

While I lay stinging in the sand with sleep. 

I have lived inland long. The land is numb. 

It stands beneath the feet, and one may come 

Walking securely, till the sea extends 

Its limber margin, and precision ends. 

By night a chaos of commingling power, 

The whole Pacific hovers hour by hour. 

The slow Pacific swell stirs on the sand, 

Sleeping to sink away, withdrawing land, 

Heaving and wrinkled in the moon, and blind; 

Or gathers seaward, ebbing out of mind.

Musings in Winter: James Michener

“The South Pacific is memorable because when you are in the islands you simply cannot ignore nature. You cannot avoid looking up at the stars, large as apples on a new tree. You cannot deafen your ear to the thunder of the surf. The bright sands, the screaming birds, and the wild winds are always with you.”

A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part IV of X

“Wine is bottled poetry.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Dawn Revisited”
By Rita Dove

Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don’t look back,

the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits –
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours

to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on,
shake a leg! You’ll never know
who’s down there, frying those eggs,
if you don’t get up and see.

American Art – Part III of VI: Brad Slaugh

Artist Statement: ”I work in several ways, all of them representational but not strictly realist, with an emphasis on immediate response and tactile exploration of form and color.
Many artists have influenced my work from el Greco, Caravaggio and Egon Schiele to more recent artists like Alice Neel, Eric Fischl and David Hockney.”








Musings in Winter: Mark Twain

“If we hadn’t our bewitching autumn foliage, we should still have to credit the weather with one feature which compensates for all its bullying vagaries-the ice storm: when a leafless tree is clothed with ice from the bottom to the top – ice that is as bright and clear as crystal; when every bough and twig is strung with ice-beads, frozen dew-drops, and the whole tree sparkles cold and white, like the Shah of Persia’s diamond plume. Then the wind waves the branches and the sun comes out and turns all those myriads of beads and drops to prisms that glow and burn and flash with all manner of colored fires, which change and change again with inconceivable rapidity from blue to red, from red to green, and green to gold-the tree becomes a spraying fountain, a very explosion of dazzling jewels; and it stands there the acme, the climax, the supremest possibility in art or nature, of bewildering, intoxicating, intolerable magnificence. One cannot make the words too strong.”
A tree covered with hoarfrost is seen at the Korday pass

Nikos Kazantzakis on Happiness – Quotes from “Zorba the Greek”: Part III of V

“I should learn to run, to wrestle, to swim, to ride horses, to row, to drive a car, to fire a rifle. I should fill my soul with flesh. I should fill my flesh with soul. In fact, I should reconcile at last within me the two internal antagonists.”

Below – K. Madison Moore: “Fire in the Body and Soul”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Altar”
By Charles Simic

The plastic statue of the Virgin
On top of a bedroom dresser
With a blackened mirror
From a bad-dream grooming salon.

Two pebbles from the grave of a rock star,
A small, grinning windup monkey,
A bronze Egyptian coin
And a red movie-ticket stub.

A splotch of sunlight on the framed
Communion photograph of a boy
With the eyes of someone
Who will drown in a lake real soon.

An altar dignifying the god of chance.
What is beautiful, it cautions,
Is found accidentally and not sought after.
What is beautiful is easily lost.

Musings in Winter: John Muir

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part V of X

“Sightseeing is the art of disappointment.”

In the words of one art critic, “Born in 1963 in Sichuan, China, Pang Maokun received an MA from the Sichuan Arts Institute in 1988. Pang frequently shows work in major exhibitions and has held seven solo exhibitions. Pang showed work overseas as early as the 1980s and has taken part in academic visits in Paris and Amsterdam which provided further creative stimulus
Pang Maokun is not the type of intellectual who seeks social reform or the salvation of mankind or the society. He is more concerned with his own independent spiritual exploration and artistic creation, adopting an attitude of benign indifference to the dramatic changes in social life and to the prevailing cultural mediocrity. While keeping a distance from the daily life, Maokun concentrates in the perfection of his own character and in his artistic exploration – a way of spiritual self-salvation. Exactly in this kind of dogged spiritual pursue, we sense the independence of Chinese intellectual in this era of changing urban culture.”





aMao6 copy




Nikos Kazantzakis on Happiness – Quotes from “Zorba the Greek”: Part IV of V

“This is true happiness: to have no ambition and to work like a horse as if you had every ambition. To live far from men, not to need them and yet to love them. To have the stars above, the land to your left and the sea to your right and to realize of a sudden that in your heart, life has accomplished its final miracle: it has become a fairy tale.”

Below – Scott Kahn: “Full Moon Afternoon”

A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part VI of X

“Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.”

Musings in Winter: Henry David Thoreau

“There is a low mist in the woods—
It is a good day to study lichens.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“Singing Voice”
By Kenneth Rexroth

Once, camping on a high bluff
Above the Fox River, when
I was about fourteen years
Old, on a full moonlit night
Crowded with whippoorwills and
Frogs, I lay awake long past
Midnight watching the moon move
Through the half drowned stars. Suddenly
I heard, far away on the warm
Air a high clear soprano,
Purer than the purest boy’s
Voice, singing, “Tuck me to sleep
In my old ‘Tucky home.”
She was in an open car
Speeding along the winding
Dipping highway beneath me.
A few seconds later
An old touring car full of
Boys and girls rushed by under
Me, the soprano rising
Full and clear and now close by
I could hear the others singing
Softly behind her voice. Then
Rising and falling with the
Twisting road the song closed, soft
In the night. Over thirty
Years have gone by but I have
Never forgotten. Again
And again, driving on a
Lonely moonlit road, or waking
In a warm murmurous night,
I hear that voice singing that
Common song like an
Angelic memory.

American Art – Part IV of VI: Daniel Bilmes

In the words of one writer, “Daniel Bilmes blends his unique family history with personal experiences around the world to create a lasting, impressionable body of work.
Semyon Bilmes, his father, attended the exclusive Russian Soviet Academy before immigrating to the United States in 1975 to attend the prestigious Parsons Academy in New York. There he met and fell in love with his future wife Alla, as she studied alongside such notable classmates as Mark Jacobs and Isaac Mizrahi at Parson’s School of Fashion Design.
Daniel began his lifelong artistic education as an eight year old at The Bilmes Art School in Southern Oregon under Semyon’s tutelage. The youngest student at his father’s school, Daniel displayed a natural talent and sensitivity for the medium while rapidly developing the awareness and focus needed to create meaningful art. Daniel, though younger than many of his peers, rapidly rose to become one of his father’s most trusted and able instructors.
Throughout his life Daniel has immersed himself in different cultures all over the world, acquiring inspiration, lifelong influence from such masters as Rafael, llya Repin, Ingres, Lawrence, Alma-Tadema, and Rembrandt, as well as an innate understanding of the lives and places he reinvents on canvas.
Daniel currently spends his time painting on Maui’s north shore. His studio, which he personally designed and helped build, is a beautiful space bathed in north light. The beautiful sunsets, exotic plant and wildlife, and serenity of the ocean, combined with Hawaii’s sublime landscape, provide Daniel an ideal setting to pursue his artistic ambitions.”







Musings in Winter: Stefanie Brook Trout

“Here I find the true nature of the tree – not in the bulk of its shape but in the way its form alters my vision of the world.”

A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part VII of X

“Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name.”

From the American History Archives: Rocky Mountain National Park

26 January 1915 – President Woodrow Wilson signs the bill creating Rocky Mountain National Park.

Below – The Big Thompson River on the east side of the park; Hallett Peak (left); Longs Peak seen from the Dream Lake trail; Grand Lake; view from Bear Lake; Ouzel Falls.






A Sixth Poem for Today

“The Work”
By Robert Penick

The plumbing is undone
at one end of the house
like my childhood train set
and how the trains never came back.
My father’s tools are scattered
through these rooms and I wonder
how long it would take him
to sort things out.
To couple the pipes and
make the equation.

I have outshone my father
in one vital respect:
I screwed this job up
in half the time
he would have needed
to actually complete it.
Somewhere he is shaking his head
and giving me that ancient look,
the one shot from
fathers to sons

Musings in Winter: Annie Dillard

“The news, in other words, breaks on the beaches.”

A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part VIII of X

“Extreme busyness is a symptom of deficient vitality, and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.”

American Art – Part V of VI: Julie Robertson

Artist Statement: “I am a Tokyo-born Japanese+American artist currently residing near Oklahoma City in the US. My work portrays the delicate beauty of Japanese women, expressed through layers of mixed media and strategic paint drips. I explore the juxtaposition of realism and non-objectivity, elegance and tumult, tradition and modernism, innocence and mortality. Fashion, film, music videos, and literature all provide me with inspiration for my surreal-looking subjects. I hope you as the viewer are engaged, intrigued, mesmerized. My work is a true representation of the thoughts and strivings that are in my soul.”






Musings in Winter: Constance Chuks Friday

“Unexplored paths lead to undiscovered treasures.”

A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part IX of X

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”

Lluis Sogorb is a Spanish wildlife artist and illustrator.







Nikos Kazantzakis on Happiness – Quotes from “Zorba the Greek”: Part V of V

“Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean Sea.”

A Well-Travelled Man – Quotes from the work of Robert Louis Stevenson: Part X of X

“To travel hopefully is better than to arrive.”

A Seventh Poem for Today

By Marilyn Kallet

In the dry summer field at nightfall,
fireflies rise like sparks.
Imagine the presence of ghosts
flickering, the ghosts of young friends,
your father nearest in the distance.
This time they carry no sorrow,
no remorse, their presence is so light.
Childhood comes to you,
memories of your street in lamplight,
holding those last moments before bed,
capturing lightning-bugs,
with a blossom of the hand
letting them go. Lightness returns,
an airy motion over the ground
you remember from Ring Around the Rosie.
If you stay, the fireflies become fireflies
again, not part of your stories,
as unaware of you as sleep, being
beautiful and quiet all around you.

Musings in Winter: Peter Matthiessen

“The sun is roaring, it fills to bursting each crystal of snow. I flush with feeling, moved beyond my comprehension, and once again, the warm tears freeze upon my face. These rocks and mountains, all this matter, the snow itself, the air- the earth is ringing. All is moving, full of power, full of light.”

American Art – Part VI of VI: Brian Pollett

Here is one writer describing the artistry of American painter Brian Pollett: “Since early 2012, Brian began exploring the infinite realms of digital art and integrated himself within the collaborative minds of West Coast Visionary artists and event producers, a (group that wishes) to move culture forward through creative expression.”









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January Offerings – Part XXV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VIII: Isaiah Stephens

In the words of one writer, “Isaiah Stephens was born in the artistic city of Lowell, Massachusetts in 1988. From the age of five, Isaiah spent a great portion of his youth in the rural town of Raeford, North Carolina, until 2005 when he returned to his birthplace.
Having a tumultuous relationship with his adopted guardian, he turned to drawing and writing as outlets to express himself. Now he is content with writing and drawing all the time.”








“There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.” – Robert Burns, Scottish poet and lyricist widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, who was born 25 January 1759.

“To A Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough”

Wee, sleekit, cow’rin’, timorous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an chase thee
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? Poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
‘S a sma’ request
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
And never miss ‘t!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa’s the win’s are strewin’!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin’,
Baith snell and keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste,
An’ weary winter comin’ fast,
An cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! The cruel coulter passed
Out-through thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o’ leaves and stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turned out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreach cauld

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley,
And lea’s us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promised joy.

Still thou art blest compared wi’ me!
The present only touchect thee:
But och! I backward cast my e’e
On prospects drear!
An’ forward though I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner: Part I of XII

“One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native home of hope. When it fully learns that cooperation, not rugged individualism, is the quality that most characterizes and preserves it, then it will have achieved itself and outlived its origins. Then it has a chance to create a society to match its scenery.”

Below – Serene Lake and Mount Hood.

A Poem for Today

“136 Syllables at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center”
By Allen Ginsberg

Tail turned to red sunset on a juniper crown a lone magpie cawks.

Mad at Oryoki in the shrine-room — Thistles blossomed late afternoon.

Put on my shirt and took it off in the sun walking the path to lunch.

A dandelion seed floats above the marsh grass with the mosquitos.

At 4 A.M. the two middleaged men sleeping together holding hands.

In the half-light of dawn a few birds warble under the Pleiades.

Sky reddens behind fir trees, larks twitter, sparrows cheep cheep cheep
cheep cheep.

Musings in Winter: Richard Flanagan

“And when I had finished painting & looked at that poor leatherjacket which now lay dead on the table I began to wonder whether, as each fish died, the world was reduced in the amount of love that you might know for such a creature. Whether there was that much less wonder & beauty left to go round as each fish was hauled up in the net. And if we kept on taking & plundering & killing, if the world kept on becoming ever more impoverished of love & wonder & beauty in consequence, what, in the end, would be left?”

In the words of one writer, “Kate Leiper is an artist and illustrator based in Edinburgh. Her work has been exhibited in galleries from London to the north of Scotland. She has been commissioned for projects by the Scottish Storytelling Centre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre. Inspired by Scottish folklore, tales from the far East, Shakespeare, and even the lyrics of Noel Coward, her animal drawings, rich in emotion as they are in detail, celebrate stories and bring narrative to life.”









Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner: Part II of XII

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence . . .
We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.”

Below – Tenmile Range above Silverthorne, Colorado.

A Second Poem for Today

“The Kimono”
By James Merrill

When I returned from lovers’ lane

My hair was white as snow.

Joy, incomprehension, pain

I’d seen like seasons come and go.

How I got home again

Frozen half dead, perhaps you know.

You hide a smile and quote a text:

Desires ungratified

Persist from one life to the next.

Hearths we strip ourselves beside

Long, long ago were x’d

On blueprints of “consuming pride.”

Times out of mind, the bubble-gleam

To our charred level drew

April back. A sudden beam . . .

–Keep talking while I change into

The pattern of a stream

Bordered with rushes white on blue.

Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner: Part III of XII

“Towns are like people. Old ones often have character, the new ones are interchangeable.”

Below – Silverton, Colorado.

Musings in Winter: Jon Krakauer

“Early on a difficult climb, especially a difficult solo climb, you constantly feel the abyss pulling at your back. To resist takes a tremendous conscious effort; you don’t dare let your guard down for an instant. The siren song of the void puts you on edge; it makes your movements tentative, clumsy, herky-jerky. But as the climb goes on, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control. By and by your attention becomes so intensely focused that you no longer notice the raw knuckles, the cramping thighs, the strain of maintaining nonstop concentration. A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-to-day existence — the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes — all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand. At such moments something resembling happiness actually stirs in your chest, but it isn’t the sort of emotion you want to lean on very hard. In solo climbing the whole enterprise is held together with little more than chutzpah, not the most reliable adhesive.”

American Art – Part II of VIII: Nick Kosciuk

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of painter Nick Kosciuk (born 1964): “(He) cannot recall a specific time when he decided he wanted to be an artist, but from an early age there was a sense of knowing that he would paint. He received a degree in painting from the University of Washington, but he considers himself to be largely self-taught, continuing to glean information and insight from a variety of sources.
Kosciuk gravitates toward what he finds personally inspiring, be it a painting by an old master or a deftly placed brushstroke made by a relatively unknown painter. Inspiration can come through a piece of music or great literature. What inspires Kosciuk the most are the children of Belarus.
Since 2001, Kosciuk has become an advocate for forgotten and abandoned children in the land-locked Eastern European republic. When he visits, he takes hundreds of photographs, capturing the beauty and strength in the eyes of these young people who so inspire him. He returns frequently to Belarus to visit the children who affectionately call him, ‘Papa.’
Back in his studio in Arizona, Kosciuk paints their likenesses as honestly and directly as he can. His intent is simply to paint what he sees, and to let the paintings speak for themselves.
The paintings do seem to speak to people. One can clearly see the openness, thoughtfulness and resilience in the faces of these children. Kosciuk says that often he himself discovers something in a finished painting that he had not previously noticed.
The painter says he is pleased and blessed that he has been given the opportunity to share in the kids’ lives. ‘The paintings are significant because the children are significant, and what I am doing with my life has meaning.’”







Singing for America – Quotes from the work of Walt Whitman: Part I of III

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

Below – Walt Whitman (born 1819) in 1856.


Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner: Part IV of XII

“If there is such a thing as being conditioned by climate and geography, and I think there is, it is the West that has conditioned me. It has the forms and lights and colors that I respond to in nature and in art. If there is a western speech, I speak it; if there is a western character or personality, I am some variant of it; if there is a western culture in the small-c, anthropological sense, I have not escaped it. It has to have shaped me. I may even have contributed to it in minor ways, for culture is a pyramid to which each of us brings a stone.”

Musings in Winter: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Resolve, and thou art free. But breathe the air
Of mountains, and their unapproachable summits
Will lift thee to the level of themselves.”

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.” – Virginia Woolf, English writer and author of “To the Lighthouse,” who was born 25 January 1882.

Some quotes from the work of Virginia Woolf:

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”
“On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.”
“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”
“When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter very much, do they?”
“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.”
“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”
“Nothing thicker than a knife’s blade separates happiness from melancholy.”
“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.”
“Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”
“All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.”
“I am rooted, but I flow.”
“Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.”

Musings in Winter: John Lubbock

“To lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

“What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious, the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.” – Amedeo Modigliani, Italian painter and sculptor, who died 24 January 1920.

Below – “Nude Sitting on a Divan”; “Gypsy Woman with Baby”; “Woman with a Necklace”; “Reclining Nude”; “Anna Zborowska”; “Alice.”






A Third Poem for Today

“Against Lawn”
By Grace Bauer

The midnight streetlight illuminating
the white of clover assures me

I am right not to manicure
my patch of grass into a dull

carpet of uniform green, but
to allow whatever will to take over.

Somewhere in that lace lies luck,
though I may never swoop down

to find it. Three, too, is
an auspicious number. And this seeing

a reminder to avoid too much taming
of what, even here, wants to be wild.

Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner: Part V of XII

“If you could forget mortality… You could really believe that time is circular, and not linear and progressive as our culture is bent on proving. Seen in geological perspective, we are fossils in the making, to be buried and eventually exposed again for the puzzlement of creatures of later eras.”

Musings in Winter: William Blake

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet;
This is not done by jostling in the street.”

American Art – Part III of VIII: Natasha Zupan

Artist Statement: “My work is about a universe where time and emotions intersect. I grew up in Europe and in the US, so have a dual perspective with regards to tradition in painting and aesthetics. My work is about duality and is informed by a cross-cultural exposure. The method, which predominates my work, is collage. It is not only the use of different materials, but also of different representational techniques. By de-contextualizing the language of representation, i.e. drawing, painting, color theory, and perspective etc., I reformulate to create a new space. My work is about this process of blurring boundaries and the dialectic between experimentation and tradition. I combine images from old masters, alchemical prints, contemporary artists, and bits from magazines and newspapers to create overlapping, intersecting worlds of transparencies and transformation. Collage allows emotions to converge with the material. I play with the juxtaposition of the past and present in an atmosphere of no time.
The work is informed by romance, desire, disillusion, torment, ecstasy, dream and myth. My best works are erotic displays of mental confusion particularly concerning relationships.”





From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Etta James

Born 25 January 1938 – Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins), an American singer-songwriter whose style spanned a variety of musical genres, including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz, and gospel.

Musings in Winter: Lynn Thomson

“To be standing together in a frosty field, looking up into the sky, marvelling at birds and revelling in the natural world around us, was a simple miracle. And I wondered why we were so rarely able to appreciate it.”

Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner: Part VI of XII

“After a day and a half or so the traveler will realize that crossing the continent by Interstate he gets to know the country about as well as a cable messenger knows the sea bottom.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Indian painter Chinmaya Panda (born 1989): “I am a young, self-taught artist (or rather, in the process of becoming one, as I am still learning the finer aspects of artistry) from India. Since childhood, I have a keen interest in painting, especially watercolors. During school days, I managed to win four gold medals and one silver medal as well as many others. Though trained as a chemical engineer, my born urge made me take up painting with zest once again. I like to portray my subjects as they are. Speaking of subjects, I prefer my subjects to be different, far removed from the daily monotonous regularity of life. Being an Indian, I am a bit more inclined to portray the spectacle, the wonder that is my country, my land, on my paper as much as possible. I consider myself as a beginner, a newbie, a student. And as being a student, curiosity comes naturally to me, and it is this curiosity that drives me, motivates me to paint, to put my ideas, my perspective of the world around me into the paper.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Mortal Limit”
By Robert Penn Warren

I saw the hawk ride updraft in the sunset over Wyoming.
It rose from coniferous darkness, past gray jags
Of mercilessness, past whiteness, into the gloaming
Of dream-spectral light above the lazy purity of snow-snags.

There–west–were the Tetons. Snow-peaks would soon be
In dark profile to break constellations. Beyond what height
Hangs now the black speck? Beyond what range will gold eyes see
New ranges rise to mark a last scrawl of light?

Or, having tasted that atmosphere’s thinness, does it
Hang motionless in dying vision before
It knows it will accept the mortal limit,
And swing into the great circular downwardness that will restore

The breath of earth? Of rock? Of rot? Of other such
Items, and the darkness of whatever dream we clutch?

American Art – Part IV of VIII: Cassie Taggart

Artist Statement: “I grew up in the house of Aaron Burr’s many mistresses. An ancient brownstone that told of the past. It was possessed of a temperamental broiler that constantly broke down forcing on many mornings to heat our bath water on the stove. It created in me a sense of existing in multiple places, times, and realities all at the same moment.
My childhood tended toward odd artistic pursuits, I carved tiny flying saucers and sewed a thousand wee pillows, each methodically ‘designed’ and given out to baffled relatives. When I was eight or so, the streets surrounding our house were closed to traffic, covered with crisp white paper, and smeared with bloody animal parts. It was a hallucinatory sight, an indelible image of the quirks of reality and it has stayed with me.
I thought it was a dream, too strange to be real.
I am fascinated by the idea of multiple truths, I want to create them, I want them to thrive in my paintings as they do in life. There is a line we straddle between dream and reality, between one truth and another.
Reality is pliable, as any criminal attorney will tell you, and for every perspective, there is a different truth.”






A Fifth Poem for Today

“Summer Job”
By Richard Hoffman

“The trouble with intellectuals,” Manny, my boss,
once told me, “is that they don’t know nothing
till they can explain it to themselves. A guy like that,”
he said, “he gets to middle age—and by the way,
he gets there late; he’s trying to be a boy until
he’s forty, forty-five, and then you give him five
more years until that craziness peters out, and now
he’s almost fifty—a guy like that at last explains
to himself that life is made of time, that time
is what it’s all about. Aha! he says. And then
he either blows his brains out, gets religion,
or settles down to some major-league depression.
Make yourself useful. Hand me that three-eights
torque wrench—no, you moron, the other one.”

Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner: Part VII of XII

“Be proud of every scar on your heart, each one holds a lifetime’s worth of lessons.”

Below – Lauren Domsky: “Beauty of a Broken Heart”

From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Creedence Clearwater Revival

25 January 1969 – Creedence Clearwater Revival releases the “Bayou Country” album.

Singing for America – Quotes from the work of Walt Whitman: Part II of III

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”

Below – Walt Whitman (born 1819) in 1863.


Musings in Winter: Edward Hirsch

“And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.”

American Art – Part V of VIII: Donelli “Dan” Dimaria

In the words of one writer, “Dan has shown in galleries across the US for the past 10 years and participated in fourteen museum shows over the past two years. Articles about his paintings have appeared in ‘American Art Collector,’ ‘American Artist,’ and ‘The Artist’s Magazine.’ In 1998, his figurative work was showcased in ‘The Best of Portrait Painting’ by North Light books. In addition, he has participated in over 70 juried and 30 invited shows across the US including Oil Painters of America, Academic Artists, International Guild of Realism, Salon International, American Artist’s Professional League, Hudson Valley Art Association, Masterworks of New Mexico, and Allied Artists receiving many awards along the way.”
Donelli DiMaria

Donelli DiMaria


Donelli DiMaria

Donelli DiMaria


Donelli DiMaria

Donelli DiMaria

Donelli DiMaria

Donelli DiMaria


Donelli DiMaria

Donelli DiMaria

Donelli DiMaria

Donelli DiMaria

Donelli DiMaria

Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner – Part VIII of XII

“Youth hasn’t got anything to do with chronological age. It’s times of hope and happiness.”

Below – My ancient self with my youthful students at the base of Mount Kanchenjunga in Sikkim, India.

A Sixth Poem for Today

By Judy Loest

Leaves drift from the cemetery oaks onto late grass,
Sun-singed, smelling like straw, the insides of old barns.
The stone angel’s prayer is uninterrupted by the sleeping
Vagrant at her feet, the lone squirrel, furtive amid the litter.

Someone once said my great-grandmother, on the day she died,
rose from her bed where she had lain, paralyzed and mute
For two years following a stroke, and dressed herself—the good
Sunday dress of black crepe, cotton stockings, sensible, lace-up shoes.

I imagine her coiling her long white braid in the silent house,
Lying back down on top of the quilt and folding her hands,
Satisfied. I imagine her born-again daughters, brought up
In that tent-revival religion, called in from kitchens and fields
To stand dismayed by her bed like the sisters of Lazarus,
Waiting for her to breathe, to rise again and tell them what to do.

Here, no cross escapes the erosion of age, no voice breaks
The silence; the only certainty in the crow’s flight
Or the sun’s measured descent is the coming of winter.
Even the angel’s outstretched arms offer only a formulated
Grace, her blind blessings as indiscriminate as acorns,
Falling on each of us, the departed and the leaving.

Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner: Part IX of XII

“[The modern age] knows nothing about isolation and nothing about silence. In our quietest and loneliest hour the automatic ice-maker in the refrigerator will cluck and drop an ice cube, the automatic dishwasher will sigh through its changes, a plane will drone over, the nearest freeway will vibrate the air. Red and white lights will pass in the sky, lights will shine along highways and glance off windows. There is always a radio that can be turned to some all-night station, or a television set to turn artificial moonlight into the flickering images of the late show. We can put on a turntable whatever consolation we most respond to, Mozart or Copland or the Grateful Dead.”

Below – Cartoon by Gary Hovland.

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Belarusian painter Andrei Buryak: “Andrei Buryak’s art is a present-day example of the balance of individuality, traditions and creativity. The immanent feature of his paintings is an inward readiness for expression. His works of art give free play to viewer’s imagination and are saturated with underlying messages. Naïve stardust, sentimentality and meditative concentration on intriguing interconnections within ordinary objects, incompleteness and detachment run through his painting.”






From the American History Archives – Part I of II: Shays’ Rebellion

25 January 1787 – Shays’ Rebellion suffers a setback when debt-ridden farmers, led by Captain Daniel Shays (a veteran of the American Revolutionary War), fail to capture an arsenal at Springfield, Massachusetts.

Below – A contemporary depiction of Daniel Shays (left) and Job Shattuck, two of the main protest leaders.

Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner: Part X of XII

“Salt is added to dried rose petals with the perfume and spices, when we store them away in covered jars, the summers of our past.”

A Seventh Poem for Today

By Marie Howe

We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store
and the gas station and the green market and
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry,
as she runs along two or three steps behind me
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.

Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?
Today, when all the errands are finally done, I say to her,
Honey I’m sorry I keep saying Hurry—
you walk ahead of me. You be the mother.

And, Hurry up, she says, over her shoulder, looking
back at me, laughing. Hurry up now darling, she says,
hurry, hurry, taking the house keys from my hands.

American Art – Part VI of VIII: Sean Diediker

In the words of one critic, “Sean Diediker is a painter’s painter. His sweeping, faceted brushstrokes and painterly surfaces generate works that reveal the artist’s sensitivity to his medium and attention to the act of painting itself. Diediker assembles bold colors, chiascurro and a cutting-edge sense of design to create a highly original body of work that separates him from his contemporaries. His imagery captures biblical allegories, narratives and concepts and renders them contemporary. Classical iconography, in Diediker’s hands, becomes a thoroughly modern symbolic language that is fresh, visually striking, and germane to our times.”












Musings in Winter: Mary Austin

“But there is one tree that for the footer of the mountain trails is voiceless; it speaks, no doubt, but it speaks only to the austere mountain heads, to the mindful wind and the watching stars. It speaks as men speak to one another and are not heard by the little ants crawling over their boots. This is the Big Tree, the Sequoia.”
A giant sequoia tree, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park

From the American History Archives – Part II of II: The Battle of Seattle

25 January 1856 – The Battle of Seattle takes place between American settlers and Native Americans. This skirmish, part of the multi-year Puget Sound War or Yakima War, lasted a single day.

Below – “Battle of Seattle, 1856” – from a sketch by Clarence Hanford.

An Eighth Poem for Today

“Baby Wrens’ Voices”
Thomas R. Smith

I am a student of wrens.
When the mother bird returns
to her brood, beak squirming
with winged breakfast, a shrill
clamor rises like jingling
from tiny, high-pitched bells.
Who’d have guessed such a small
house contained so many voices?
The sound they make is the pure sound
of life’s hunger. Who hangs our house
in the world’s branches, and listens
when we sing from our hunger?
Because I love best those songs
that shake the house of the singer,
I am a student of wrens.

Here is the Artist Statement of Australian painter Jason Cordero: “I, Jason Cordero, am a painter of the landscape. At present, I am concerned with the Wilderness, not so much as a place, but as a manifestation of the ethereal, a freedom from the known, the constructed. A dual identity, both empirical and subliminal, it is the Horizon – an illusion of the imagination, a portal to something other.
The Mountain and the Sea, the Lake and the River are sanctuaries, thresholds through which the transcendent can be felt. From the caress of a cloud upon the summit, to the glint of a pool upon the beach, the Other can be experienced. Intertwined and inseparable, the land pressures the sky, as the sky sculpts the land. Gathering libation offered by the sea and held by the winds, the peak is fashioned by the river, doubled by the lake and all are received by the sea. A circadian rhythm of end and beginning.
It is a sublime one craves. We can only glimpse such from our harbours, in suspense and dreaming, breathing through the gates whatever is offered. I merely provide an echo of my encounters, a shadow of my memories.”






Singing for America – Quotes from the work of Walt Whitman: Part III of III

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.”

Below – Walt Whitman (born 1819) in 1891.


Musings in Winter: Jean Craighead George

“I throw back my head, and, feeling free as the wind, breathe in the fresh mountain air. Although I am heavy-hearted, my spirits are rising. To walk in nature is always good medicine.”
Hiking Buckskin Pass

Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner: Part XI of XII

“His clock was set on pioneer time. He met trains that had not yet arrived, he waited on platforms that hadn’t yet been built, beside tracks that might never be laid.”

American Art – Part VII of VIII: Lisa Aerin Collett

Artist Statement: “Art, to me, is an experiment of old and new and how to make them work together, a fusion of materials that create an illusion that makes the creation mysterious. The process is just as important as the subject, and how they converse together is where the magic lies.
While working toward more complex themes and metaphors, the simplicity of nature has always captivated my attention. While discovering what the possibilities and limitations are of the process I am experimenting with right now, I enjoy painting simple figures from nature such as birds, buffalo, and butterflies, symbols of the human soul that are just as unique, and mysterious.”










Speaking for America with a Western Accent – Quotes from the work of Wallace Stegner: Part XII of XII

“The mountains of the Great Divide are not, as everyone knows, born treeless, though we always think of them as above timberline with the eternal snows on their heads. They wade up through ancient forests and plunge into canyons tangled up with water-courses and pause in little gem-like valleys and march attended by loud winds across the high plateaus, but all such incidents of the lower world they leave behind them when they begin to strip for the skies: like the Holy Ones of old, they go up alone and barren of all circumstance to meet their transfiguration.”

Below – The Continental Divide looking west down Elk Creek, San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

Musings in Winter: John Burroughs

“I have loved the feel of the grass under my feet, and the sound of the running streams by my side. The hum of the wind in the tree-tops has always been good music to me, and the face of the fields has often comforted me more than the faces of men.”

A Ninth Poem for Today

“Mysterious Neighbors”
By Connie Wanek

Country people rise early
as their distant lights testify.
They don’t hold water in common. Each house
has a personal source, like a bank account,
a stone vault. Some share eggs,
some share expertise,
and some won’t even wave.
A walk for the mail elevates the heart rate.
Last November I saw a woman down the road
walk out to her mailbox dressed in blaze orange
cap to boot, a cautious soul.
Bullets can’t read her No Trespassing sign.
Strange to think they’re in the air
like lead bees with a fatal sting.
Our neighbor across the road sits in his kitchen
with his rifle handy and the window open.
You never know when. Once
he shot a trophy with his barrel resting on the sill.
He’s in his seventies, born here, joined the Navy,
came back. Hard work never hurt a man
until suddenly he was another broken tool.
His silhouette against the dawn
droops as though drought-stricken, each step
deliberate, down the driveway to his black mailbox,
prying it open. Checking a trap.

Musings in Winter: Edward Abbey

“Beyond the wall of the unreal city … there is another world waiting for you. It is the old true world of the deserts, the mountains, the forests, the islands, the shores, the open plains. Go there. Be there. Walk gently and quietly deep within it. And then —
May your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill. May the wind bring rain for the slickrock potholes fourteen miles on the other side of yonder blue ridge. May God’s dog serenade your campfire, may the rattlesnake and the screech owl amuse your reverie, may the Great Sun dazzle your eyes by day and the Great Bear watch over you by night.”
Stunning Images captured of our Galactic Desert

American Art – Part VIII of VIII: Wiley Wallace

Painter Wiley Wallace has earned a BFA from Arizona State University and an MFA from the University of California at Santa Barbara.









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January Offerings – Part XXIV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Alan Dingman

In the words of one writer, “Alan Dingman grew up in upstate NY. He left for New York City to attend Parsons School of Design and Rhode Island School of a Design in Providence, Rhode Island.
Upon completion of his BFA, he became Associate Art Director at St Martins Press in NYC. In 1996 he became a full-time illustrator. Since then his work has appeared in numerous publications including Rolling Stone, The New York Times and Business Week. He received an International Bronze Award for 3-D Illustration from the The Dimensional Illustrators Inc., a Silver Medal for design and Merit Awards for illustration from The Society of Illustrators.”







Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part I of XIII

“Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Below – Ansel Adams: “The Tetons and the Snake River”

A Victorian Sage – Quotes from the Work of Matthew Arnold: Part I of IV

“To have the sense of creative activity is the great happiness and the great proof of being alive.”

Below – Marguerite Gerard: “Artist Painting a Portrait of a Musician”

Musings in Winter: Terence McKenna

“Nature is not mute; it is man who is deaf.”

Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part II of XIII

“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace. To avoid the first danger, one should plant a garden, preferably where there is no grocer to confuse the issue. To avoid the second, he should lay a split of good oak on the andirons, preferably where there is no furnace, and let it warm his shins while a February blizzard tosses the trees outside. If one has cut, split, hauled, and piled his own good oak, and let his mind work the while, he will remember much about where the heat comes from, and with a wealth of detail denied to those who spend the week end in town astride a radiator.”

A Poem for Today

“Don’t Let That Horse . . .”
By Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Don’t let that horse
eat that violin

cried Chagall’s mother

But he
kept right on

And became famous

And kept on painting
The Horse With Violin In Mouth

And when he finally finished it
he jumped up upon the horse
and rode away
waving the violin

And then with a low bow gave it
to the first naked nude he ran across

And there were no strings

Below – Marc Chagall: “The Equestrienne”

Musings in Winter: Hermann Hesse

“What is the world doing? Have new gods been discovered, new laws, new freedoms? Who cares! But up here a primrose is blossoming and bearing silver fuzz on its leaves, and the light sweet wind is singing below me in the poplars, and between my eyes and heaven a dark golden bee is hovering and humming—I care about that. It is humming the song of happiness, humming the song of eternity. Its song is my history of the world.”

Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part III of XIII

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”

Below – An abandoned farm in eastern Montana.

“My little old dog – a heartbeat at my feet.” – Edith Wharton, American novelist, poet, short story writer, designer, and recipient of the 1922 Pulitzer Prize (for “The Age of Innocence”), who was born 24 January 1862.

Some quotes from the work of Edith Wharton:

“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.”
“Life is always either a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.”
“If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time.”
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be he candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
“I don’t know if I should care for a man who made life easy; I should want someone who made it interesting.”
“Ah, good conversation – there’s nothing like it, is there? The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing.”
“The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!”
“There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one’s self, the very meaning of one’s soul.”
“We can’t behave like people in novels, though, can we?”
“Silence may be as variously shaded as speech.”
“In reality they all lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world, where the real thing was never said or done or even thought, but only represented by a set of arbitrary signs.”
“It was easy enough to despise the world, but decidedly difficult to find any other habitable region.”
“An unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences.”
“The real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humor or irony pitched in exactly the same key, so that their joint glances on any subject cross like inter-arching searchlights.”
“She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate.”
“A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness.”
“In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”

A Second Poem for Today

By Joseph Bruchac

Seeing photos
of ancestors
a century past

is like looking
at your own

and lines
you can’t

until someone else
with a stranger’s eye
looks close and says
that’s you.
Musings in Winter: Daniel J. Rice

“I walked slowly to enjoy this freedom, and when I came out of the mountains, I saw the sky over the prairie, and I thought that if heaven was real, I hoped it was a place I never had to go, for this earth was greater than any paradise.”

Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part IV of XIII

“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, ‘What good is it?’ If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”

Below – Gib Myers: “Bison Herd”

Here is how one critic describes the paintings of English-born Australian artist Francis (Tone) O’Leary:
“Virtuoso puzzle paintings, pencil and paint magically combined.
Dazzling depictions of the figure in allegorical compositions.
A close study of old masters such as Leonardo, Perugino, and above all, Botticelli.”

Musings in Winter: John Clare

“In mid-wood silence, thus, how sweet to be;
Where all the noises, that on peace intrude,
Come from the chittering cricket, bird, and bee,
Whose songs have charms to sweeten solitude.”

Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part V of XIII

“Perhaps the most serious obstacle impeding the evolution of a land ethic is the fact that our educational and economic system is headed away from, rather than toward, an intense consciousness of land. Your true modern is separated from the land by many middlemen, and by innumerable physical gadgets. He has no vital relation to it; to him it is the space between cities on which crops grow. Turn him loose for a day on the land, and if the spot does not happen to be a golf links or a ‘scenic’ area, he is bored stiff. If crops could be raised by hydroponics instead of farming, it would suit him very well. Synthetic substitutes for wood, leather, wool, and other natural land products suit him better than the originals. In short, land is something he has ‘outgrown.’”

A Third Poem for Today

“The Season of Phantasmal Peace”
By Derek Walcott

Then all the nations of birds lifted together
the huge net of the shadows of this earth
in multitudinous dialects, twittering tongues,
stitching and crossing it. They lifted up
the shadows of long pines down trackless slopes,
the shadows of glass-faced towers down evening streets,
the shadow of a frail plant on a city sill—
the net rising soundless as night, the birds’ cries soundless, until
there was no longer dusk, or season, decline, or weather,
only this passage of phantasmal light
that not the narrowest shadow dared to sever.

And men could not see, looking up, what the wild geese drew,
what the ospreys trailed behind them in silvery ropes
that flashed in the icy sunlight; they could not hear
battalions of starlings waging peaceful cries,
bearing the net higher, covering this world
like the vines of an orchard, or a mother drawing
the trembling gauze over the trembling eyes
of a child fluttering to sleep;
it was the light
that you will see at evening on the side of a hill
in yellow October, and no one hearing knew
what change had brought into the raven’s cawing,
the killdeer’s screech, the ember-circling chough
such an immense, soundless, and high concern
for the fields and cities where the birds belong,
except it was their seasonal passing, Love,
made seasonless, or, from the high privilege of their birth,
something brighter than pity for the wingless ones
below them who shared dark holes in windows and in houses,
and higher they lifted the net with soundless voices
above all change, betrayals of falling suns,
and this season lasted one moment, like the pause
between dusk and darkness, between fury and peace,
but, for such as our earth is now, it lasted long.

Below – Paul Cezanne: “Mont Sainte Victoire Seen from Les Lauves”

American Art – Part II of VI: Robert Gwathmey

“Art never grows out of the persuasion of polished eclecticism or the inviting momentum of the bandwagon.” – Robert Gwathmey, American social realist painter, who was born 24 January 1903.

Below – “Tobacco Farms”; “Singing and Mending”; “Hoeing”; “Fruit and Vegetable Vendor”; “Like Son”; “Flowers for the Pulpit.”






Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part VI of XIII

“Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television.”

Musings in Winter: Carl Sagan

“The world is so exquisite, with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence.”

A Victorian Sage – Quotes from the Work of Matthew Arnold: Part II of IV

“Culture is the endeavour to know the best and to make this knowledge prevail for the good of all humankind.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“One Art”
By Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Musings in Winter: Hermann Hesse

“A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, the longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home.”

Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part VII of XIII

“Nonconformity is the highest evolutionary attainment of social animals.”

Below – The Sage of Walden Pond.

Here is one writer describing the background of Dutch painter Rien van Uitert (born 1952): “After training as an architect and designing several projects, Rien van Uitert was gripped by the desire to become a realist painter. He attended several courses, including the Graphic Centre in Groningen , and learned the intricacies of Chris Herenius and Herman van Hoogdalem .”






Musings in Winter: David Levithan

“Run outside during a thunderstorm
That downpour, that conquered hesitation, that exhilaration
That’s what unlonely is like.”
Man standing in the rain and observing thunderstorm.

A Fifth Poem for Today

“On Inhabiting an Orange”
By Josephine Miles

All our roads go nowhere.
Maps are curled
To keep the pavement definitely
On the world.

All our footsteps, set to make
Metric advance,
Lapse into arcs in deference
To circumstance.

All our journeys nearing Space
Skirt it with care,
Shying at the distances
Present in air.

Blithely travel-stained and worn,
Erect and sure,
All our travels go forth,
Making down the roads of Earth
Endless detour.

Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part VIII of XIII

“We all strive for safety, prosperity, comfort, long life, and dullness.”

From the American History Archives – Part I of II: Lehman Caves National Monument

24 January 1922 – President Warren G. Harding makes Lehman Caves in east-central Nevada a National Monument.



Musings in Winter: Richard Erdoes

“I think it was a sense of being completely swallowed up by nature that gave the prairie its powerful attraction. There is nothing like it in all of Europe. Even high up on a Swiss glacier one is still conscious of the toy villages below, the carefully groomed landscape of multicolored fields, the faraway ringing of a church bell. It is all very beautiful, but it does not convey the utmost escape. I believe, with the Indians, that a landscape influences and forms the people living on it and that one cannot understand them and make friends with them without also understanding, and making friends with, the earth from which they came.”

American Art – Part III of VI: Robert Motherwell

“Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail.” – Robert Motherwell, American painter, printmaker, and one of the youngest members of the New York School, who was born 24 January 1915.

Below – “Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 110”; “New England Elegy 2”; “Western Air”; “Africa Tapestry”; “Blue Air”; “The Cavern.”






Musings in Winter: Kishore Bansal

“Nature unfolds her treasure at the first ray of sunrise.”

Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part IX of XIII

“Man always kills the thing he loves, and so we the pioneers have killed our wilderness. Some say we had to. Be that as it may, I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in. Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?”

Below – Yukon wilderness.

A Sixth Poem for Today

“I am Waiting”
By Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find
the right channel
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did
to Tom Sawyer
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

Here is the Artist Statement of Canadian Cree painter Aaron Paquette: “In my paintings, I seek to nurture a relationship with the viewer. I try to use colours that are calm and soothing, but also fresh and exciting. My goal is to create work that a person can be comfortable with and can invite into their home. In this manner, I hope to deliver a message. In each painting I try to include a story that is meaningful to me and encourages discussion. I hope that my work can act as part of a catalyst for greater understanding. I feel that it is important to allow art to be beautiful while conveying deep and sometimes very serious meaning. My work almost always features an aspect of nature and our relationship with the earth.”
Aaron Paquette

Aaron Paquette

Aaron Paquette

Aaron Paquette

Aaron Paquette


Aaron Paquette

Aaron Paquette



Aaron Paquette

Musings in Winter: Black Elk

“You have noticed that everything as Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round….. The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours…. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.”

Below – The Bighorn Medicine Wheel.

A Victorian Sage – Quotes from the Work of Matthew Arnold: Part III of IV

“But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us—to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.”

Below – John William Waterhouse: “The Lady of Shalott”

Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part X of XIII

“Ability to see the cultural value of wilderness boils down, in the last analysis, to a question of intellectual humility. The shallow-minded modern who has lost his rootage in the land assumes that he has already discovered what is important; it is such who prate of empires, political or economic, that will last a thousand years. It is only the scholar who appreciates that all history consists of successive excursions from a single starting-point, to which man returns again and again to organize yet another search for a durable scale of values. It is only the scholar who understands why the raw wilderness gives definition and meaning to the human enterprise.”

Below – The Fitzpatrick Wilderness, Wyoming.

A Seventh Poem for Today

“On Finding a Turtle Shell in Daniel Boone National Forest”
By Jeff Worley

This one got tired
of lugging his fortress
wherever he went,
was done with duck and cover
at every explosion
through rustling leaves
of fox and dog and skunk.
Said au revoir to the ritual
of pulling himself together. . .

I imagine him waiting
for the cover of darkness
to let down his hinged drawbridge.
He wanted, after so many
protracted years of caution,
to dance naked and nimble
as a flame under the moon—
even if dancing just once
was all that the teeth
of the forest would allow.

From the American History Archives – Part II of II: Aztec Ruin National Monument

24 January 1923 – Aztec Ruin National Monument is established in northwestern New Mexico. Its name was changed to Aztec Ruins National Monument in 1928. The structures were actually built by ancient Pueblo people – the Anasazi.


New Mexican Ruins

Musings in Winter: Paul Gauguin

“All the joys—animal and human—of a free life are mine. I have escaped everything that is artificial, conventional, customary. I am entering into the truth, into nature.”

Below – “Tahitian Landscape”

A Victorian Sage – Quotes from the Work of Matthew Arnold: Part IV of IV

“Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.”

Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part XI of XIII

“The practices we now call conservation are, to a large extent, local alleviations of biotic pain. They are necessary, but they must not be confused with cures. The art of land doctoring is being practiced with vigor, but the science of land health is yet to be born.”

Below – Ozark Landscape: The White River in northern Arkansas.

American Art – Part IV of VI: David Molesky

American painter David Molesky (born 1977) holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art Practice from the University of California at Berkeley.
David Molesky paintings

David Molesky paintings

David Molesky paintings

David Molesky paintings

David Molesky paintings

David Molesky paintings

David Molesky paintings

David Molesky paintings

An Eighth Poem for Today

By Jan Mordenski

Even after darkness closed her eyes 

my mother could crochet. 

Her hands would walk the rows of wool 

turning, bending, to a woolen music.

The dye lots were registered in memory: 

appleskin, chocolate, porcelain pan, 

the stitches remembered like faded rhymes: 

pineapple, sunflower, window pane, shell.

Tied to our lives those past years 

by merely a soft colored yarn, 

she’d sit for hours, her dark lips 

moving as if reciting prayers, 

coaching the sighted hands.

Peruvian painter Herman Braun Vega (born 1933) lives and works in Paris.









Musings in Winter: Henry David Thoreau

“No man ever followed his genius till it misled him. Though the result were bodily weakness, yet perhaps no one can say that the consequences were to be regretted, for these were a life in conformity to higher principles. If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal—that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality… The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”

Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part XII of XIII

“The good life of any river may depend on the perception of its music; and the preservation of some music to perceive.”

Below – The Buffalo National River.

A Ninth Poem for Today

“The Whistle”
By Kathy Mangan

You could whistle me home from anywhere
in the neighborhood; avenues away,
I’d pick out your clear, alternating pair
of notes, the signal to quit my child’s play
and run back to our house for supper,
or a Saturday trip to the hardware store.
Unthrottled, wavering in the upper
reaches, your trilled summons traveled farther
than our few blocks. I’ve learned too, how your heart’s
radius extends, though its beat
has stopped. Still, some days a sudden fear darts
through me, whether it’s my own city street
I hurry across, or at a corner in an unknown
town: the high, vacant air arrests me—where’s home?

Musings in Winter: John Graves

“Canoes, too, are unobtrusive; they don’t storm the natural world or ride over it, but drift in upon it as a part of its own silence. As you either care about what the land is or not, so do you like or dislike quiet things–sailboats, or rainy green mornings in foreign places, or a grazing herd, or the ruins of old monasteries in the mountains. . . . Chances for being quiet nowadays are limited.”

Below – Winslow Homer: “The Blue Boat”

American Art – Part V of VI: Rebecca Campbell

Painter Rebecca Campbell earned a B.F.A. from Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland and an M.F.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.








Land, Community, and Ethics – Quotes from the Work of Aldo Leopold: Part XIII of XIII

“Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets, but humbler folk may circumvent this restriction if they know how. To plant a pine, for example, one need be neither god nor poet; one need only own a shovel. By virtue of this curious loophole in the rules, any clodhopper may say: Let there be a tree – and there will be one.”

Musings in Winter: Edward Abbey

“Beyond the river and ten miles east of the city the Sangre Mountains began to reveal themselves in more detail as the sun rose higher, the rampart of blue shadow dissolving in the light, exposing the fissured red cliffs, the canyons and gorges a thousand feet deep, the towers leaning out from the main wall, the foothills dry and barren as old bones, and above and behind these tumbled ruins the final barrier of granite, the great horizontal crest tilted up a mile high into the frosty blue sky, sparkling with a new fall of snow. The mountains loomed over the valley like a psychical presence, a source and mirror of nervous influences, emotions, subtle and unlabeled aspirations; no man could ignore that presence; in an underground poker game, in the vaults of the First National Bank, in the realtor’s office during the composition of and intricate swindle, in the heart of a sexual embrace, the emanations of mountain and sky imprinted some analogue of their nature on the evolution and shape of every soul.”

A Tenth Poem for Today

By Peter Everwine

Toward evening, as the light failed
and the pear tree at my window darkened,
I put down my book and stood at the open door,
the first raindrops gusting in the eaves,
a smell of wet clay in the wind.
Sixty years ago, lying beside my father,
half asleep, on a bed of pine boughs as rain
drummed against our tent, I heard
for the first time a loon’s sudden wail
drifting across that remote lake—
a loneliness like no other,
though what I heard as inconsolable
may have been only the sound of something
untamed and nameless
singing itself to the wilderness around it
and to us until we slept. And thinking of my father
and of good companions gone
into oblivion, I heard the steady sound of rain
and the soft lapping of water, and did not know
whether it was grief or joy or something other
that surged against my heart
and held me listening there so long and late.

American Art – Part VI of VI: Philip Geiger

In the words of one writer, “In 1983, having been on the faculty of Colorado State University, Philip Geiger joined the McIntire Department of Art of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville to teach figure drawing and introductory drawing. He is known for his highly realistic interior domestic scenes with figures sleeping, gathered around a dinner table or sitting alone pensively and quietly.”










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January Offerings – Part XXIII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Leona Shanks

Artist Statement: “As an artist, I have much to say. My art is a forum for me to express ideas that are in my consciousness. Images will not leave my mind until I explore them on canvas. My platform for communication is with paintbrush and canvas.
As an artist, I want to paint something that matters and is relevant to contemporary issues. I aspire to make a contribution so that when I leave this earth, maybe I have done something meaningful. A fire rages inside of me to create art that has soul and significance.”






A Poem for Today

“Alpine Wedding”
By Ralph Angel

All dark morning long the clouds are rising slowly up
beneath us, and we are fast asleep.
The mountains unmove

intensely. And so do we. Meadows
look down.

A city there looks up and
stirs a little. Adrift the rolling tiled roofs of
buildings, the deadly

trains of grinding sand and morning—
a spy unfolds his paper,

the coffee’s served.

A bride and groom stand shivering on a tarmac
in the mist, and
they are happy. Each one

and all of us entangled, the room is moist with us,
the house unfinished, windowless,

and we are fast asleep.

The brother of the groom can’t get
close enough. He leans against the brightest ridge
and ladder, the sucking

sound of memory
as heaven picks up speed and

hurtles through his burning skin
its frozen blankets
to the sun.

Musings in Winter: Hermann Hesse

“That is just what life is when it is beautiful and happy – a game! Naturally, one can also do all kinds of other things with it, make a duty of it, or a battleground, or a prison, but that does not make it any prettier.”

Dutch painter Mathisse Arendsen (born 1948) studied at the Academy for Visual Arts in Arnhem.









For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part I of XVIII

“People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.”

Musings in Winter: Darrell Calkins

“Listen and look long at beauty that compels you, spontaneously engage what naturally calls to you…this is how we recover our true personal values.”

“There are as many styles of beauty as there are visions of happiness.”
– Marie-Henri Beyle, known by his pen name Stendhal, French writer and author of “The Red and the Black,” who was born 23 January 1783.

Some quotes from the work of Stendhal:

“All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few.”
“Our true passions are selfish.”
“Pleasure is often spoiled by describing it.”
“Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness.”
“One can acquire everything in solitude except character.”
“After moral poisoning, one requires physical remedies and a bottle of champagne.”
“Love born in the brain is more spirited, doubtless, than true love, but it has only flashes of enthusiasm; it knows itself too well, it criticizes itself incessantly; so far from banishing thought, it is itself reared only upon a structure of thought.”
“A melancholy air can never be the right thing; what you want is a bored air. If you are melancholy, it must be because you want something, there is something in which you have not succeeded.
It is shewing your inferiority. If you are bored, on the other hand, it is the person who has tried in vain to please you who is inferior.”
“A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love.”
“Faith, I am no such fool; everyone for himself in this desert of selfishness which is called life.”
“Nothing is so hideous as an obsolete fashion.”
“Ah, Sir, a novel is a mirror carried along a high road. At one moment it reflects to your vision the azure skies, at another the mire of the puddles at your feet. And the man who carries this mirror in his pack will be accused by you of being immoral! His mirror shews the mire, and you blame the mirror! Rather blame that high road upon which the puddle lies, still more the inspector of roads who allows the water to gather and the puddle to form.”
“The idea which tyrants find most useful is the idea of God.”

Musings in Winter: Henry David Thoreau

“With what infinite & unwearied expectation and proclamations the cocks usher in every dawn, as if there had never been one before.”

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part II of XVIII

“There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say ‘It is yet more difficult than you thought.’ This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

“There are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another.” – Edouard Manet, French painter and a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism, who was born 23 January 1831.

Below – “The Luncheon on the Grass”; “Music in the Tullerias”; “A Bar at the Folies-Bergere”; “Olympia”; “The Café Concert”; “Young Flautist.”






Musings in Winter: Hermann Hesse

“Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours.”

Below – Hermann Hesse

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part III of XVIII

“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”

The Words and Art of Emily Carr – Part I of III

“Trees love to toss and sway; they make such happy noises.”

Above – Emily Carr (born 1871) in 1887.
Below – “Blue Sky”

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part IV of XVIII

“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”


“I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.” – Salvador Dali, Spanish surrealist painter, who died 23 January 1989.

Below – “The Persistence of Memory”; “Metamorphosis of Narcissus”; “Leda Atomica”; “Basket of Bread“; “The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus”; “Fiesta in Figueres.”






Musings in Winter: June Stoyer

“Dandelions, like all things in nature are beautiful when you take the time to pay attention to them.”

Below – Janella Horne: “Spring Dandelions”

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part V of XVIII

“In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else’s mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one’s own place and economy.
In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks, and shares. And as our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced or placeless citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self-interested suppliers…
Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else’s legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would be the point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed?
The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth – that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community – and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means.”

A Second Poem for Today

“The Yellow Bowl”
By Rachel Contreni Flynn

If light pours like water
into the kitchen where I sway
with my tired children,

if the rug beneath us
is woven with tough flowers,
and the yellow bowl on the table

rests with the sweet heft
of fruit, the sun-warmed plums,
if my body curves over the babies,

and if I am singing,
then loneliness has lost its shape,
and this quiet is only quiet.

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part VI of XVIII

“The complexity of our present trouble suggests as never before that we need to change our present concept of education. Education is not properly an industry, and its proper use is not to serve industries, either by job-training or by industry-subsidized research. It’s proper use is to enable citizens to live lives that are economically, politically, socially, and culturally responsible. This cannot be done by gathering or ‘accessing’ what we now call ‘information’ – which is to say facts without context and therefore without priority. A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first.”

American Art – Part II of VI: Alex Gnidziejko

In the words of one writer, “In the style of heightened realism, Alex Gnidziejko’s paintings are reminiscent of the Dutch masters of the 16th and 17th centuries. Gnidziejko’s painstaking technique of egg tempera emulsion and oil give his paintings a stunning depth and three-dimensional quality. The process he uses starts with a precise under painting with white egg tempera. Using small brush strokes that follow the contour of the subject, Gnidziejko brings definition to the form and accentuates its highlights. Transparent oil glazes of complementary colors are then applied to the painting. By building up many layers of these glazes over luminescent egg tempera, Gnidziejko is able to achieve the life-like quality that characterizes his paintings.”






Musings in Winter: John Muir

“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.”

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part VII of XVIII

“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.”


“Because I see the world poisoned
by cant and brutal self-seeking,
must I be silent about
the useless waterlily, the dunnock’s nest
in the hedgeback?” – From “Balances,” by Norman MacCaig, Scottish poet and teacher, who died 23 January 1996.

“Ineducable Me”

I don’t learn much, I’m a man
of no improvements. My nose snuffs the air
in an amateurish way. My profound ideas
were once toys on the floor, I love them, I’ve licked
most of the paint off. A whisky glass
is a rattle I don’t shake. When I love
a person, a place, an object, I don’t see
what there is to argue about.

I learned words, I learned words: but half of them
died for lack of exercise. And the ones I use
often look at me with a look that whispers, Liar.

How I admire the elder duck that dives
with a neat loop and no splash and the gannet that suddenly
harpoons the sea – I’m a guillemot
that still dives
in the first way it thought of: poke your head under
and fly down.

Musings in Winter: Hermann Hesse

“Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.”

Below – Hermann Hesse: Floral Watercolor

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part VIII of XVIII

“Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.”

The Words and Art of Emily Carr – Part II of III

“I sat staring, staring, staring – half lost, learning a new language or rather the same language in a different dialect. So still were the big woods where I sat, sound might not yet have been born.”

Above – Emily Carr in 1937.
Below – “Forest, British Columbia”

Musings in Winter: Wallace Stegner

“‘Oh, listen. Listen!’ A sound like a big crowd a good way off, excited and shouting, getting closer. We stand up and scan the empty sky. Suddenly there they are (the geese), a wavering V headed directly over the hilltop, quite low, beating southward down the central flyway and talking as they pass. We stay quiet suspending our human conversation until their garrulity fades and their wavering lines are invisible in the sky.
They have passed over us like an eraser over a blackboard, wiping away whatever was there before they came.”

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part IX of XVIII

“A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance.”

Musings in Winter: Alan Watts

“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”

American Art – Part III of VI: Carol Carter

Here is the Artist Statement of painter Carol Carter: “Having grown up in Florida, my strongest visual impression of an environment for human activity is water. In much of my work, water provides the setting for anonymous figures. Watercolors of nudes, as well as black and white nudes are in my portfolio. The nude swimmer- evocative and sensual watercolour painting is a signature theme.
 The paintings contain duality: clarity and ambiguity; sanctuary and threat; pleasure and pain. The use of vibrant, saturated-color contributes to the tension between these extremes.”










For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part X of XVIII

The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”


A Third Poem for Today

“Wax Lips”
By Cynthia Rylant

Todd’s Hardware was dust and a monkey—
a real one, on the second floor—
and Mrs. Todd there behind the glass cases.
We stepped over buckets of nails and lawnmowers
to get to the candy counter in the back,
and pointed at the red wax lips,
and Mary Janes,
and straws full of purple sugar.
Said goodbye to Mrs. Todd, she white-faced and silent,
and walked the streets of Beaver,
our teeth sunk hard in the wax,
and big red lips worth kissing.

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part XI of XVIII

“So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute…Give your approval to all you cannot understand…Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years…Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts…Practice resurrection.”

Musings in Winter: Tecumseh

“Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.

Trouble no one about his religion.

Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours.

Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long and of service to your people.

Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.

Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.

When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength.

Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.

If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.

Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools and robs their spirit of its vision.

When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.

Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”


Here is Ukrainian painter Anton Yakutovych (born 1975) discussing his artistry:
“I have been doing etching, lithography and painting since my earliest childhood. These disciplines complement each other, since the graphic arts bring rigour to one’s work and painting a sense of freedom.
I come from a country in the former USSR where classical techniques are still taught in schools and I grew up in a family of artists. I studied in circles where I was kept informed about the social and cultural changes in the world. I have a very pronounced taste for films, rock music and literature. I am naturally part of this post-modern age we live in where popular art, drawing nourishment from high art, has become exceedingly sophisticated.
For each new painting, my point of departure is a series of questions that were left unresolved when I completed the previous one. This first state is one of confusion, a strange impression of having lost the thread. Several pages covered in sketches that contain no real leads and are generally of no use.
Then finally the right rough sketch, the right idea emerges and the thread is restored. Then comes the work on the canvas, followed by a sort of frenzy. Tones, technique and information intermingle.
Eagerness gives way to reason, to restraint, to a long series of coming and goings between doing and looking, until a balance is reached. Once all the elements are in place, an accent, a distinctive characteristic still needs to be found, a surprise that will render the work unique and complete.
My characters exist less for their human properties than for their sculptural quality. The attitudes they adopt in my works are at the service of the composition and the rhythm. The foreground of sculptures in action creates a break in the accumulation of information. Constructing a completely realistic or fantastic scene is of less importance to me than revealing a subtle arrangement of the zones and the planes.
I take the mechanisms of reality as my inspiration and, although I do not reproduce all their workings, they form the basis of my imaginary world. At first sight, what strikes the eye is a series of objects set in a subtle fantasy scene, but if one looks more closely at the work, for example by isolating one particular detail from the rest of the painting, one’s eye will be guided from these familiar objects through a variety of plastic experiences.
The small story the painting tells, the viewer’s identification with it, the role-play, all of these fade into variations on the theme, a sweet obsession of mine. This theme unfolds throughout the exhibition like a collection of scenes in which fragmented harmony, controlled disorder and childhood memories blend and blur into each other to create a multitude of references and interpretations.”

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part XII of XVIII

“I dislike the thought that some animal has been made miserable to feed me. If I am going to eat meat, I want it to be from an animal that has lived a pleasant, uncrowded life outdoors, on bountiful pasture, with good water nearby and trees for shade.”

Musings in Winter: Tsleil-Waututh (Chief Dan George)

“If you talk to animals, they will talk with you
and you will know each other.
If you do not talk to them you will not know them,
and what you do not know you will fear.
What one fears one destroys.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Paleontologist’s Blind Date”
By Philip Memmer

You have such lovely bones, he says,
holding my face in his hands,

and although I can almost feel
the stone and the sand

sifting away, his fingers
like the softest of brushes,

I realize after this touch
he would know me

years from now, even
in the dark, even

without my skin. Thank you, I smile—

then I close the door
and never call him again.

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part XIII of XVIII

“Especially among Christians in positions of wealth and power, the idea of reading the Gospels and keeping Jesus’ commandments as stated therein has been replaced by a curious process of logic. According to this process, people first declare themselves to be followers of Christ, and then they assume that whatever they say or do merits the adjective ‘Christian.’”

American Art – Part IV of VI: Louise Peabody

Artist Statement: “My paintings and drawings are emotional narratives that explore the unseen — a subtle world of psychic energy. A reality lies below the surface and is revealed through visual clues. In creating a likeness of my subjects, I transcend their physical presence, capturing the who versus the what in the person before me.”














For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part XIV of XVIII

“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.”

From the American History Archives: The Baker Massacre

23 January 1870 – The United States Cavalry, under the command of Major Eugene Baker, attacks a Blackfoot Indian camp in Montana, resulting in the deaths of 173 Native Americans, most of them women and children. Here is the description of the massacre given by Bear Head, who survived it: “(A)t once all of the seizers began shooting into the lodges. Chief Heavy Runner ran from his lodge toward the seizers on the (river) bank. He was shouting to them and waving a paper … a writing saying that he was a good and peaceful man, a friend of the whites. He had run but a few steps when he fell, his body pierced with bullets.
Inside the lodges men were yelling, terribly frightened women and children screaming, screaming from wounds, from pain as they died. I saw a few men and women escaping from the lodges, shot down as they ran. … I sat before the ruin of my lodge and felt sick. I wished the seizers had killed me, too.”

Below – Major Eugene Baker, center, ninth from left leaning on railing, poses with Army officers at Fort Ellis in this 1870 photograph; The Crazy Dog Society singing at the Baker Massacre Memorial.



For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part XV of XVIII

“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.”

Musings in Winter: Barry Lopez

“A Chipewyan guide named Saltatha once asked a French priest what lay beyond the present life. ‘You have told me heaven is very beautiful,’ he said. ‘Now tell me one more thing. Is it more beautiful than the country of the muskoxen in the summer, when sometimes the mist blows over the lakes, and sometimes the water is blue, and the loons cry very often? That is beautiful. If heaven is still more beautiful, I will be glad. I will be content to rest there until I am very old.’”
Musk Ox  feeding on Willow



American Art – Part V of VI: William Wolk

Here is one critic describing the artistic genesis of painter William Wolk (born 1951): “(He) began drawing free-hand charcoal portraits at age eight. By age nine, he was working diligently in oils. At age seventeen, he spent one year in drawing study at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. At eighteen, Wolk moved to Florence, Italy to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. The total absence of a teacher or any instruction at the Academy spurred Wolk on to a year of self-study in the city’s museums and churches. Upon his return to the United States, Wolk had his first one man show in Coral Gables, Florida at age nineteen.”









For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part XVI of XVIII

“You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.”

Below – “Super! Now, once you’ve rebuilt civilization, I can do the investment banking.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“The One Certain Thing”
By Peter Cooley

A day will come I’ll watch you reading this.
I’ll look up from these words I’m writing now—
this line I’m standing on, I’ll be right here,
alive again. I’ll breathe on you this breath.
Touch this word now, that one. Warm, isn’t it?

You are the person come to clean my room;
you are whichever of my three children
opens the drawer here where this poem will go
in a few minutes when I’ve had my say.

These are the words from immortality.
No one stands between us now except Death:
I enter it entirely writing this.
I have to tell you I am not alone.
Watching you read, Eternity’s with me.
We like to watch you read. Read us again.

The Words and Art of Emily Carr – Part III of III

“There is something bigger than fact: the underlying spirit, all it stands for, the mood, the vastness, the wildness.”

Above – Emily Carr.
Below – “Trees in a Swirling Sky”

For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part XVII of XVIII

“Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.”

Musings in Winter: Black Elk

“I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world.

And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.

And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all children of one mother and one father.

And I saw that it was holy.”

According to one critic, the art of Canadian painter Christopher Walker “is best described as perceptual realism. This complex method of analysis of form and composition can only be derived from the actual experience of the subject. The artist attempts to convey a unique interpretation of the subject based on personal associations and intellectual perspectives. The concept then progresses to multiple juxtaposition of various elements to achieve an infinite range of distinctive metaphoric combinations.
Walker’s various artistic influences range from the Renaissance Flemish masters to contemporary realists, impressionists and abstract expressionists. Having experimented in these particular styles, the artist has refined his technique and composition to blending the traditional method with a unique contemporary flair.”










For the Sake of Community and Good Land – Quotes from the Work of Wendell Berry: Part XVIII of XVIII

“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

Musings in Winter: Elizabeth Gilbert

“I have never felt the need to invent a world beyond this world, for this world has always seemed large and beautiful enough for me. I have wondered why it is not large and beautiful enough for others.”

A Sixth Poem for Today

By Kevin Griffith

I hold my two-year-old son
under his arms and start to twirl.
His feet sway away from me
and the day becomes a blur.
Everything I own is flying into space:
yard toys, sandbox, tools,
garage and house,
and, finally, the years of my life.

When we stop, my son is a grown man,
and I am very old. We stagger
back into each other’s arms
one last time, two lost friends
heavy with drink,
remembering the good old days.


American Art – Part VI of VI: Jennifer Cronin

Artist Statement: “There is always something that cannot be seen. A before and after. Something just outside, on the fringe, or even teeming just beneath the surface. Building upon the ubiquitous but often concealed psychological underpinnings inherent to suburban life, my paintings create an absurd mythology of the seemingly banal.
I am certainly not alone in my upbringing as a female growing up in the suburbs, yet that aspect of my identity has remained one of the most salient and inescapable to me throughout my life. My earlier paintings vibrate with a dark anxiety with women looking for ways out, attempting to break through an invisible something as we passively watch their struggle. Like a painting, they are trapped within their own beauty, grace, and seduction.
Recently, I have been interested in the fact that my paintings are very unabashedly highly constructed images, just as our reality is construct, perhaps no more real or meaningful than the flat surfaces of the paintings themselves. Sitting on the surface of the canvas, the paint, sometimes thick, drippy, misty, brush strokey, etc. infuses the banal, quiet, domestic space with beauty, horror, drama, tension, and mystique. The paintings themselves grapple with the fact that they are merely paintings. The characters within the paintings confront their existence as merely painted figures. Painted figures struggling to make sense of their existence within seemingly meaningless structures and confines that they are brought into. Painted figures trying to find their way within the backdrop of a painting that is just as incidental and banal as life itself. Painted figures that find ways to cope within their world. Some, like myself, even turn to painting.”

Jennifer Cronin

Jennifer Cronin


Jennifer Cronin









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January Offerings – Part XXII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of V: Sandra Jones Campbell

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of American painter Sandra Jones Campbell: “(Her) depiction of social and political scenes reflect both her professional respect for the 30’s style German Expressionists Max Beckman, George Grosz and Otto Dix, and her uniquely gentle wit. Multiple figures populate lively acrylics on paper or canvas images that blend Sandra’s optimism and candor, along with the artist’s keen visual skill: balancing color, form composition, humor and subject matter.”










Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part I of XII

“While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, ‘It makes a difference for this one.’ I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.”

A Poem for Today

“The Collection,”
By Michael Chitwood

Even two years later, she still gets correspondence
addressed to him. Correspondence. This like that.

Mostly about his hobby. Coin collector brochures.
Announcements of collector swap meets. His pastime.

A way to spend an afternoon back when an afternoon
needed spending. Before all the silence flooded the house.

He had old currency. Nickels worth ten dollars.
And heavy, the bags. Musical, too.

She needs to sort through them all.
That’s what she should do, realize its value.

But what she is thinking of is spending it,
buying gum and soft drinks, maybe a chocolate bar.

Just get face value for mint-condition rarities.
Get them back into circulation. Circulation. The afterlife

where someone else could get them as change
and be joyful at the luck of finding his life’s pleasure.

Musings in Winter: Ruskin Bond

“I have come to believe that the best kind of walk, or journey, is the one in which you have no particular destination when you set out.”

From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Sam Cooke

Born 22 January 1931 – Sam Cooke, influential American recording artist and singer-songwriter.

Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part II of XII

“Man no longer dreams over a book in which a soft voice, a constant companion, observes, exhorts, or sighs with him through the pangs of youth and age. Today he is more likely to sit before a screen and dream the mass dream which comes from outside.”

Below – Edward Hopper: “New York Movie”


In the words of one writer, “Fernando Vicente Sánchez (Madrid, 1963) is a cartoonist, illustrator and painter. He has produced work for Spanish magazines and newspapers, illustrated book and record covers, exhibited across Spain and published several books of his work.”
The paintings below are from the Atlas Series.








Mary Austin – Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain”: Part I of IV

“East away from the Sierras, south from Panamint and Amargosa, east and south many an uncounted mile, is the Country of Lost Borders.”

Below – The Country of Lost Borders, an area of land between Death Valley and the High Sierras.

A Second Poem for Today

“Lock and Key,”
By Rachel Sherwood

I hardly know where to look
anymore. Places have a
putrid familiarity
like the smell of my own sheets
or the close air of the kitchen —
fishbones on the drain
left in the ghastly order
of temporal things.

I have been sitting in this bar
for years now
the beer is stale, the wine off-color
the music is always the same,
old, sad songs that get older
no better than endless conversation
night after forgotten night
when all I or you can recall
is the dark, the traffic lights,
the bartender’s comments
about drunk women
in public places.

I would like to go home
finally, down the long streets
north and south crossed with small gold leaves;
I forget just where the hell
anything is. Locked out.

Below – Jennifer Cronin: “Cake.”

Jennifer Cronin

Musings in Winter: Elizabeth Kolbert

“Right now, in the amazing moment that to us counts as the present, we are deciding, without quite meaning to, which evolutionary pathways will remain open and which will forever be closed. No other creature has ever managed this and it will, unfortunately, be our most enduring legacy.”

Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part III of XII

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”

Below – The Arkansas River in Salida, Colorado.

From the Music Archives – Part II of III: Addie “Micki” Harris

Born 22 January 1940 – Addie “Micki” Harris, an American vocalist and member of the singing group The Shirelles.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of English sculptor Lynn Muir: “Lynn sculpts whimsical figures in wood, mainly from driftwood gathered from the beach near her home in Cornwall after a strong south westerly wind. Her pieces are characterised by their humour and by their simple shapes. Their forms are shaped with saws and sanding tools, the wood itself often suggesting the figure, its size, stance or hairstyle. Detailing is added with her fine painting, of facial features and decorative patterning of clothes, frequently jumpers which are ‘just like one I had.’
Lynn was born in East Anglia and trained at Colchester School of Art in Illustration. Her workshop overlooking the Atlantic was established when she moved to Cornwall in 1986.”









Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part IV of XII

“It is a commonplace of all religious thought, even the most primitive, that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and live for a time in the wilderness. If he is of the proper sort, he will return with a message. It may not be a message from the god he set out to seek, but even if he has failed in that particular, he will have had a vision or seen a marvel, and these are always worth listening to and thinking about…. One must seek, then, what only the solitary approach can give – a natural revelation.”

Below – From the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest: An image of the supernatural power which a human could gain through a vision quest.

“I have great hopes that we shall love each other all our lives as much as if we had never married at all.” – George Gordon Byron, English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement, who was born 22 January 1788.

“She Walks in Beauty”

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Below – Alexis Hale: “She Walks in Beauty”

Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part V of XII

“Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.”

American Art – Part II of V: Michael Pyrdsa

Michael Pyrdsa earned a B.S. degree from the College of New Jersey.


Musings in Winter: Vincente Garcia Groyon

“When you’re in the city, trapped among the cubic structures, it’s easy to forget that you’re connected to the earth, because you’re so separated from it by layers and layers of protection – the soles of your shoes, sandals, or slippers, sheets of asphalt, concrete, linoleum tiling.”

From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Johann Sebastian Bach

A Third Poem for Today

“The Aunts,”
By Joyce Sutpen

I like it when they get together
and talk in voices that sound
like apple trees and grape vines,

and some of them wear hats
and go to Arizona in the winter,
and they all like to play cards.

They will always be the ones
who say “It is time to go now,”
even as we linger at the door,

or stand by the waiting cars, they
remember someone—an uncle we
never knew—and sigh, all

of them together, like wind
in the oak trees behind the farm
where they grew up—a place

I remember—especially
the hen house and the soft
clucking that filled the sunlit yard.

Mary Austin – Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain”: Part II of IV

“The coyote is your true water-witch, one who snuffs and paws, snuffs and paws again at the smallest spot of moisture-scented earth until he has freed the blind water from the soil. Many water-holes are no more than this detected by the lean hobo of the hills in localities where not even an Indian would look for it.”

In the words of one writer, Italian painter Vincenzo Calli (born 1953) “lives and works in his studio near Anghiari, a medieval hilltown dominating the upper Tiber Valley of Tuscany. He obtained his diploma from Sansepolcro’s Institute of Art, and continued his artistic training at the Academy of Belle Arts in Florence. He held his first public exhibition at the age of 21. In 1984, he was introduced in America and to worldwide galleries through an invitation to exhibit at the World Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana.”
Calli 26-04-2011 001



Calli 30-08-2011 004



Calli 14-05-2010 008


Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part VI of XII

“Some degree of withdrawal serves to nurture man’s creative powers. The artist and the scientist bring out of the dark void, like the mysterious universe itself, the unique, the strange, the unexpected. Numerous observers have testified upon the loneliness of the process.”

Below – Walden Pond.

Musings in Winter: George Bernard Shaw

“Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does.”

“One could not do without repetition in life, like the beating of the heart, but it was also true that the beating of the heart was not all there was to life.” – Kobo Abe, Japanese writer, playwright, photographer, and inventor, who died 22 January 1993. In the words of one critic, “Among the honors bestowed on him were the Akutagawa Prize in 1951 for the short story “The Crime of S. Karuma” (published in “Beyond the Curve”), the Yomiuri Prize in 1962 for “Woman in the Dunes,” and the Tanizaki Prize in 1967 for the play “Friends.”

Some quotes from the work of Kobe Abe:

“When I look at small things, I think I shall go on living: drops of rain, leather gloves shrunk by being wet…When I look at something too big, I want to die: the Diet Building, or a map of the world…”
“The most frightening thing in the world is to discover the abnormal in that which is closest to us.”
“There wasn’t a single item of importance [in the newspaper]. A tower of illusion, all of it, made of illusory bricks and full of holes. If life were made up only of important things, it really would be a dangerous house of glass, scarcely to be handled carelessly. But everyday life was exactly like the headlines. And so everybody, knowing the meaninglessness of existence, sets the centre of his compass at his own home.”
“Loneliness was an unsatisfied thirst for illusion.”
“Still, the one who best understands the significance of light is not the electrician, not the painter, not the photographer, but the man who lost his sight in adulthood. There must be the wisdom of deficiency in deficiency, just as there is the wisdom of plenty in plenty.”
“He wanted to believe that his own lack of movement had stopped all movement in the world, the way a hibernating frog abolishes winter.”
“You don’t need me. What you really need is a mirror. Because any stranger is for you simply a mirror in which to reflect yourself. I don’t ever again want to return to such a desert of mirrors.”
“What in heaven’s name was the real essence of this beauty? Was it the precision of nature with its physical laws, or was it nature’s mercilessness, ceaselessly resisting man’s understanding?”
“I rather think the world is like sand. The fundamental nature of sand is very difficult to grasp when you think of it in its stationary state. Sand not only flows, but this very flow is the sand.”
“Certainly sand was not suitable for life. Yet, was a stationary condition absolutely indispensable for existence? Didn’t unpleasant competition arise precisely because one tried to cling to a fixed position? If one were to give up a fixed position and abandon oneself to the movement of the sands, competition would soon stop. Actually, in the deserts flowers bloomed and insects and other animals lived their lives. These creatures were able to escape competition through their great ability to adjust–for example, the man’s beetle family.
While he mused on the effect of the flowing sands, he was seized from time to time by hallucinations in which he himself began to move with the flow.”
“Being free always involves being lonely.”



Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part VII of XII

“If it should turn out that we have mishandled our own lives as several civilizations before us have done, it seems a pity that we should involve the violet and the tree frog in our departure.”

Below – A chart of one hundred small animals that have recently become extinct.

A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Changing Light”
By Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The changing light
at San Francisco
is none of your East Coast light
none of your
pearly light of Paris
The light of San Francisco
is a sea light
an island light
And the light of fog
blanketing the hills
drifting in at night
through the Golden Gate
to lie on the city at dawn
And then the halcyon late mornings
after the fog burns off
and the sun paints white houses
with the sea light of Greece
with sharp clean shadows
making the town look like
it had just been painted

But the wind comes up at four o’clock
sweeping the hills

And then the veil of light of early evening

And then another scrim
when the new night fog
floats in
And in that vale of light
the city drifts
anchorless upon the ocean


Musings in Winter: Anna Quindlen

“In the woods it was not so much that it was quiet as that the few sounds were loud and distinct, not the orchestra tuning-up of the city but individual grace notes. Birdcalls broken into pieces like a piano exercise, a tree branch snapping sharp and then swishing down and thump on the ground, the hiss of water coming off the mountain.”

Below – Douglas Herr: “Quiet Woods”

Born 22 January 1891 – Moise Kisling, a Polish-born French painter.

Below – “Provence Landscape”; “Nude on a Black Sofa”; “Vase of Mimosa”; “Portrait of a Young Woman”; “Three Orphans”; “Self-Portrait with a Pipe.”






Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part VIII of XII

“The magic that gleams an instant between Argos and Odysseus is both the recognition of diversity and the need for affection across the illusions of form. It is nature’s cry to homeless, far-wandering, insatiable man: ‘Do not forget your brethren, nor the green wood from which you sprang. To do so is to invite disaster.’”

Below – Argos and Odysseus.

A Fifth Poem for Today

By Marie Sheppard Williams

I stood at a bus corner
one afternoon, waiting
for the #2. An old
guy stood waiting too.
I stared at him. He
caught my stare, grinned,
gap-toothed. Will you
sign my coat? he said.
Held out a pen. He wore
a dirty canvas coat that
had signatures all over
it, hundreds, maybe
I’m trying
to get everybody, he
I signed. On a
little space on a pocket.
Sometimes I remember:
I am one of everybody.

American Art – Part III of V: Zoe Zylowski

In the words of one writer, “Zoe has studied at the Art Academy of Hillsborough since June 2010 under the direction of Kevin Murphy. Mr. Murphy is an internationally recognized, award winning portrait painter and illustrator.
From June 2011 to June 2012 Zoe served as apprentice to Mr. Murphy. During this apprenticeship Zoe painted two commissioned portraits for the Hillsborough Township Public Art Collection.
Zoe’s paintings and drawings have won local, state, national and international awards.”


Zoe Zylowski paintings


Zoe Zylowski paintings

Zoe Zylowski paintings

Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part IX of XII

“Since the first human eye saw a leaf in Devonian sandstone and a puzzled finger reached to touch it, sadness has lain over the heart of man. By this tenuous thread of living protoplasm, stretching backward into time, we are linked forever to lost beaches whose sands have long since hardened into stone. The stars that caught our blind
amphibian stare have shifted far or vanished in their courses, but still that naked, glistening thread winds onward. No one knows the secret of its beginning or its end. Its forms are phantoms. The thread alone is real; the thread is life.”

Below – The Thread of Life.

Musings in Winter: Ruskin Bond

“I never cease to wonder at the tenacity of water – its ability to make its way through various strata of rock, zigzagging, back-tracking, finding space, cunningly discovering faults and fissures in the mountain, and sometimes traveling underground for great distances before emerging into the open. Of course, there’s no stopping water. For no matter how tiny that little tickle, it has to go somewhere.”

22 January 1951 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to John Crowe Ransom.

“Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter”

There was such speed in her little body,
And such lightness in her footfall,
It is no wonder her brown study
Astonishes us all.

Her wars were bruited in our high window.
We looked among orchard trees and beyond
Where she took arms against her shadow,
Or harried unto the pond

The lazy geese, like a snow cloud
Dripping their snow on the green grass,
Tricking and stopping, sleepy and proud,
Who cried in goose, Alas,

For the tireless heart within the little
Lady with rod that made them rise
From their noon apple-dreams and scuttle
Goose-fashion under the skies!

But now go the bells, and we are ready,
In one house we are sternly stopped
To say we are vexed at her brown study,
Lying so primly propped.

Below – Seymour Joseph Guy (1824-1910): “The Goose Girl”

Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part X of XII

“Every man contains within himself a ghost continent.”

Below – Figures from the Ghost Panel in Horseshoe Canyon, Utah.

Here is Argentinean painter Fernando O’Connor describing the genesis of his career: ”I was born in Buenos Aires on July, 1966. I started painting in the late 80’s. I spent very short periods of time at the Prilidiano Pueyrredón and Ernesto de la Cárcova Schools of Fine Art. But my real formation was at the Fine Arts Stimulation Academy drawing live models.”






Mary Austin – Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain”: Part III of IV

“Just as the mesa twilights have their vocal note in the love call of the burrowing owl, so the desert spring is voiced by the mourning doves. Welcome and sweet they sound in the smoky mornings before breeding time, and where they frequent in any great numbers water is confidently looked for.”

A Sixth Poem for Today

“78 RPM”
By Jeff Daniel Marion

In the back of the junkhouse
stacked on a cardtable covered
by a ragged bedspread, they rest,
black platters whose music once
crackled, hissed with a static
like shuffling feet, fox trot or two-step,
the slow dance of the needle
riding its merry-go-round,
my mother’s head nestled
on my father’s shoulder as they
turned, lost in the sway of sounds,
summer nights and faraway
places, the syncopation of time
waltzing them to a world
they never dreamed, dance
of then to the dust of now.

Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part XI of XII

“The venture into space is meaningless unless it coincides with a certain interior expansion, an ever-growing universe within, to correspond with the far flight of the galaxies our telescopes follow from without.”

Below – Linda Wein: “Inner Space – Passage.”

American Art – Part IV of V: Leon Richman

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of sculptor Leon Richman:
“Beginning in medium to large-scale marble figures, his passion to explore the beauty of the human form in all dimensions soon led him to a more pliable medium, allowing more freedom in the creative process. The result has been an inspired body of work, each piece possessing its own unique spirit and personality.
Leon Richman is a California artist with a formal education from the renowned Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and years of practical experience in the field of commercial art, but his soul and passion have always been deeply rooted in the finer arts. He has almost as many years experience in drawing and painting as he’s been living and breathing. Now he has directed his creative ambitions towards the art of sculpture.”











A Seventh Poem for Today

By Steven Huff

You used to be able to flag a ride in this country.
Impossible now—everyone is afraid
of strangers. Well, there was fear then too,
and it was mutual: drivers versus hitchhikers.
And we rode without seat belts,
insurance or beliefs. People
would see me far ahead on a hill like a seedling,
watch me grow in the windshield
and not know they were going to stop until
they got right up to me. Maybe they wanted
company or thought I’d give them
some excitement. It was the age
of impulse, of lonesome knee jerks. An old woman
stopped, blew smoke in my face
and after I was already in her car she asked me
if I wanted a ride. I’m telling you.
Late one night a construction boss pulled over.
One of his crew had been hit
by the mob, he said as he drove, distraught
and needing to talk to someone.
We rode around for a long time.
He said, I never wore a gun to a funeral before,
but they’ve gotta be after me too.
Then he looked at me and patted the bulge
in his coat. Don’t worry, he said, you’re safe.

Musings in Winter: Jack Kerouac

“Sometimes I’d yell questions at the rocks and trees, and across gorges, or yodel – “What is the meaning of the void?” The answer was perfect silence, so I knew.”

Mary Austin – Quotes from “The Land of Little Rain”: Part IV of IV

“There is seldom and wind with first snows, more often rain, but later, when there is already a smooth foot or two over all the slopes, the drifts begin. The late snows are fine and dry, mere ice granules at the wind’s will. Keen mornings after a storm they are blown out in wreaths and banners from high ridges sifting into the canons.”

An Eighth Poem for Today

“The World as It is”
By Carolyn Miller

No ladders, no descending angels, no voice
out of the whirlwind, no rending
of the veil, or chariot in the sky—only
water rising and falling in breathing springs
and seeping up through limestone, aquifers filling
and flowing over, russet stands of prairie grass
and dark pupils of black-eyed Susans. Only
the fixed and wandering stars: Orion rising sideways,
Jupiter traversing the southwest like a great firefly,
Venus trembling and faceted in the west—and the moon,
appearing suddenly over your shoulder, brimming
and ovoid, ripe with light, lifting slowly, deliberately,
wobbling slightly, while far below, the faithful sea
rises up and follows.
Lost River Spring





Musings in Winter: Sanober Khan

“the ocean mist
engulfs me, like a lifetime’s
friendship honored.”

Notes of a Star-Thrower – Quotes from the Work of Loren Eiseley: Part XII of XII

“The creature was very young. He was alone in a dread universe. I crept on my knees and crouched beside him. It was a small fox pup from a den under the timbers who looked up at me. God knows what had become of his brothers and sisters. His parents must not have been home from hunting. He innocently selected what I think was a chicken bone from an untidy pile of splintered rubbish and shook it at me invitingly… the universe was swinging in some fantastic fashion around to present its face and the face was so small that the universe itself was laughing.
It was not a time for human dignity. It was a time only for the careful observance of amenities written behind the stars. Gravely I arranged my forepaws while the puppy whimpered with ill-concealed excitement. I drew the breath of a fox’s den into my nostrils. On impulse, I picked up clumsily a whiter bone and shook it in teeth that had not entirely forgotten their original purpose. Round and round we tumbled and for just one ecstatic moment I held the universe at bay by the simple expedient of sitting on my haunches before a fox den and tumbling about with a chicken bone. It is the gravest, most meaningful act I shall ever accomplish, but, as Thoreau once remarked of some peculiar errand of his own, there is no use reporting it to the Royal Society.”

American Art – Part V of V: Rebecca Guay

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of painter Rebecca Guay: “In her personal watercolors and oils—her self determined narratives—she delves deep into archetypes of masculine and feminine and deals with complex ideas of sexuality and sensuality. Her philosophy of image making is driven by the principles of creating a remarkable moment, thereby making a deep emotional connection with the viewer. Rebecca’s recent work creates an environment of lush surfaces, forms and gesture that live in a reality entirely of her own creation.”










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January Offerings – Part XXI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VII: Brooke Walker-Knoblich

Contemporary realist painter Brooke Walker-Knoblich (born 1982) received her B.A. in Studio Art from the University of California, San Diego.






From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Jackie Wilson

Died 21 January 1984 – Jackie Wilson, an influential American singer known as “Mr. Excitement.”

Musings in Winter: Marty Rubin

“The waterfall winks at every passerby.”

American Art – Part II of VII: Paul Goodnight

Artist Statement: “I would like to be a skilled and consummate draftsman. I try to use a collection of sensuous colors, often revealing mysterious hidden forms. I would love to convey the ability to see between the figures, melding and infusing them into an environment of endless nuances where abstraction and representational images are comfortable in the same space and where passion and humanity resonate. Once I learn to do this well, I will be obligated to pass this on, just as this information has been based on to me.”
Paul Goodnight

Paul Goodnight

Paul Goodnight

Paul Goodnight

Paul Goodnight

Paul Goodnight

Paul Goodnight

Paul Goodnight

A Poem for Today

“A Country Boy in Winter,”
By Sarah Orne Jewett

The wind may blow the snow about,
For all I care, says Jack,
And I don’t mind how cold it grows,
For then the ice won’t crack.
Old folks may shiver all day long,
But I shall never freeze;
What cares a jolly boy like me
For winter days like these?

Far down the long snow-covered hills
It is such fun to coast,
So clear the road! the fastest sled
There is in school I boast.
The paint is pretty well worn off,
But then I take the lead;
A dandy sled’s a loiterer,
And I go in for speed.

When I go home at supper-time,
Ki! but my cheeks are red!
They burn and sting like anything;
I’m cross until I’m fed.
You ought to see the biscuit go,
I am so hungry then;
And old Aunt Polly says that boys
Eat twice as much as men.

There’s always something I can do
To pass the time away;
The dark comes quick in winter-time—
A short and stormy day
And when I give my mind to it,
It’s just as father says,
I almost do a man’s work now,
And help him many ways.

I shall be glad when I grow up
And get all through with school,
I’ll show them by-and-by that I
Was not meant for a fool.
I’ll take the crops off this old farm,
I’ll do the best I can.
A jolly boy like me won’t be
A dolt when he’s a man.

I like to hear the old horse neigh
Just as I come in sight,
The oxen poke me with their horns
To get their hay at night.
Somehow the creatures seem like friends,
And like to see me come.
Some fellows talk about New York,
But I shall stay at home.

Below – Sue Hartman: “Maine Farm in Winter”

Musings in Winter: E. B. White

“Once you begin watching spiders, you haven’t time for much else.”

Ukrainian Art – Part I of II: Lana Khavronenko

Artist Statement: “My work tells you all about me.”










From the Music Archives – Part II of III: The Bee Gees

21 January 1978 – The Bee Gees’ “Saturday Night Fever” album reaches #1 on American popular music charts and remains there for twenty-four weeks.

Ukrainian Art – Part II of II: Kateryna Kosyanenko

In the words of one writer, “Ukrainian artist Kateryna Kosyanenko (born 1978) has an M.A. degree in painting and has been a member of the National Artists’ Union of Ukraine since 2002.”


Musings in Winter: Thomas Merton

“All of this is mystification. The city itself lives on its own myth. Instead of waking up and silently existing, the city people prefer a stubborn and fabricated dream; they do not care to be a part of the night, or to be merely of the world. They have constructed a world outside the world, against the world, a world of mechanical fictions which contemn nature and seek only to use it up, thus preventing it from renewing itself and man.”

From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Richie Havens

Born 21 January 1941 – Richie Havens, an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Havens’ opening performance at Woodstock:

Musings in Winter: Terry Tempest Williams

“Wilderness holds an original presence giving expression to that which we lack, the losses we long to recover, the absences we seek to fill. Wilderness revives the memory of unity. Through its protection we can find faith in our humanity.”

American Art – Part III of VII: Eric Armusik

In the words of one writer, “Eric Armusik studied Fine Arts at Pennsylvania State University. The figurative artist worked under artists Robert Yarber, Julie Heffernan and abroad in Italy. Armusik has a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts and a minor in Art History. The contemporary figurative artist is known for his Old Master-inspired, dramatic, figurative paintings.”







The Words of a Pilgrim – Part I of III: Quotes from Annie Dillard at Tinker Creek

“Thomas Merton wrote, ‘there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.’ There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.
I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.
Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock-more than a maple- a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”


Musings in Winter: Fennel Hudson

“The real world, in my opinion, exists in the countryside, where Nature goes about her quiet business and brings us greatest pleasure.”


Died 21 January 1914 – Theodor Kittelsen, a Norwegian artist famous for his nature paintings, as well as for his illustrations of fairy tales and legends.

Below – “Echo”; “Water Spirit”; “The White Bear King”; “Boy on White Horse”; “The Twelve Wild Ducks”; “Water Spirit”; “Self-Portrait.”







Musings in Winter: Robert M. Pirsig

“When you have mountains in the distance or even hills, you have space.”

A Second Poem for Today

“The World in the Evening,”
By Rachel Sherwood

As this suburban summer wanders toward dark
cats watch from their driveways — they are bored
and await miracles. The houses show, through windows
flashes of knife and fork, the blue light
of televisions, inconsequential fights
between wife and husband in the guest bathroom

voices sound like echoes in these streets
the chattering of awful boys as they plot
behind the juniper and ivy, miniature guerillas
that mimic the ancient news of the world
and shout threats, piped high across mock fences
to girls riding by in the last pieces of light

the color of the sky makes brilliant reflection
in the water and oil along the curb
deepened aqua and the sharp pure rose of the clouds
there is no sun or moon, few stars wheel
above the domestic scene — this half-lit world
still, quiet calming the dogs worried by distant alarms

there — a woman in a window washes a glass
a man across the street laughs through an open door
utterly alien, alone. There is a time, seconds between
the last light and the dark stretch ahead, when color
is lost — the girl on her swing becomes a swift
apparition, black and white flowing suddenly into night.

Below – “Suburbia,” by Leonard Koscianski

“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell (the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair), English novelist, essayist, journalist, critic, democratic socialist, and author of “1984,” “Animal Farm,” and “Homage to Catalonia,” who died 21 January 1950.

Some quotes from the work of George Orwell:

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ”
“Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.”
“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
“The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.”
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
“The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.”
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
“Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”
“Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.”
“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
“On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.”
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”
“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”
“Big Brother is Watching You.”

Musings in Winter: Jane Wilson-Howarth

“The river is such a tranquil place, a place to sit and think of romance and the beauty of nature, to enjoy the elegance of swans and the chance of a glimpse of a kingfisher.”

American Art – Part IV of VII: Susan Seaberry

In the words of one critic, painter Susan Seaberry “received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Art Center Collage of Design in California and began her busy career as an illustrator and designer. Her experience in art continues to produce imaginative and prolific work that is exhibited widely in galleries and celebrated in print. This is a career that began at the forefront of the Functional Art Movement in Los Angeles and continues today with her commissions in portraiture and with her narrative figure paintings. Inspiration comes from revealing the character of her subjects and the playful use of metaphor in the telling of their stories. A high regard for draftsmanship and a contemporary take in blending romanticism and classicism is a recognizable theme throughout her art.”








The Words of a Pilgrim – Part II of III: Quotes from Annie Dillard at Tinker Creek

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them.”

In the words of one critic, “Kate Hansen graduated from the University of Regina in 2001 with a BFA in fine arts, focusing on painting. Her grad show was at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina, and it was a series of figurative oil paintings. She was married in 2002 and moved to Crowsnest Pass in the rocky mountains of Alberta. She continued to paint during this time, exhibiting several times with group shows at the Crowsnest Pass Art Gallery. In 2007 she gave birth to her first child, and began to work with conte crayons instead of oil paints. Her series ‘Madonna and Child\’ was inspired by the birth of her son. In 2008 the family moved to Courtenay on Vancouver Island in BC, and their second child was born shortly thereafter. Kate continues to live and work in Courtenay with her family.”






Musings in Winter: Sanober Khan

“i can’t always tell
what’s better

long drives
in the star-spangled deserts

or long walks
along winding tea gardens.”


21 January 1935 – The Wilderness Society is incorporated. This organization is dedicated to protecting America’s wilderness and fostering an American land ethic. The eight founders of the Wilderness Society were: Bob Marshall, chief of recreation and lands for the Forest Service; Aldo Leopold, noted wildlife ecologist and later author of “A Sand County Almanac”; Robert Sterling Yard, publicist for the National Park Service; Benton MacKaye, the “Father of the Appalachian Trail”; Ernest Oberholtzer, proponent of the Quetico-Superior wilderness area; Harvey Broome; Bernard Frank; and Harold C. Anderson. Yard became the Society’s first secretary and the editor of its magazine, “The Living Wilderness.” Biologist Claus Murie became president of the Society in 1950.
A Third Poem for Today

[“I Saw Myself”],
By Lew Welch

I saw myself
a ring of bone
in the clear stream
of all of it

and vowed,
always to be open to it
that all of it
might flow through

and then heard
“ring of bone” where
ring is what a

bell does
aWelch2 copy

Musings in Winter: Hopi Maxim

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

American Art – Part V of VII: Nelson Shanks

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of painter Nelson Shanks: “As was well understood from the Renaissance forward, it takes years of concentration and practice to become a highly skilled painter. Throughout his career, Nelson has painted nearly every day of the year—landscape, still life, the figure, and portraits. He takes pride in setting his own goals to grow and improve with every painting.”











The Words of a Pilgrim – Part III of III: Quotes from Annie Dillard at Tinker Creek

“Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what’s going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”

Here is how one writer describes the artistry of Ton Dubbeldam: “It is remarkable to see that the Dutch Painter, Ton Dubbeldam, often chooses themes that beautifully come together with his impressionistic and pointillist techniques. There is a certain atmosphere about his canvasses, which will give you the feelings of a 17th century landscape painting. You will notice his specific use of light and dark shades, the depth, the high skies, the wilderness and the far horizons, which are not disrupted by buildings or trees. The angles from which Ton Dubbeldam views his subjects are far from traditional. Horizons will sometimes be very high up and views of the water and sky are strongly accented…Dubbeldam’s paintings in oil, combined with dry pastel, and sometimes by using spotting and dripping techniques will make you associate his work with various art forms and different periods of time.”


















21 January 1983 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to Anthony Hecht.

“The End of the Weekend”

A dying firelight slides along the quirt

Of the cast iron cowboy where he leans

Against my father’s books. The lariat

Whirls into darkness. My girl in skin tight jeans

Fingers a page of Captain Marriat

Inviting insolent shadows to her shirt.

We rise together to the second floor.

Outside, across the lake, an endless wind

Whips against the headstones of the dead and wails

In the trees for all who have and have not sinned.

She rubs against me and I feel her nails.

Although we are alone, I lock the door.

The eventual shapes of all our formless prayers:

This dark, this cabin of loose imaginings,

Wind, lip, lake, everything awaits

The slow unloosening of her underthings

And then the noise. Something is dropped. It grates
against the attic beams. I climb the stairs

Armed with a belt.

A long magnesium shaft

Of moonlight from the dormer cuts a path

Among the shattered skeletons of mice.

A great black presence beats its wings in wrath.

Above the boneyard burn its golden eyes.

Some small grey fur is pulsing in its grip.

Musings in Winter: Marty Rubin

“Under a red desert sky all thought seems superfluous.”

American Art – Part VI of VII: Edward J. Reed

Artist Statement: “Few paintings, no matter how beautifully crafted, captivate me unless they contain a strong central idea…Not sweating the details early lets me remain loose and expressive, which breathes life into my work…I plunge in with meaningful color from the first stroke.”














A Fourth Poem for Today

By Donald Justice

It’s snowing this afternoon and there are no flowers.
There is only this sound of falling, quiet and remote,
Like the memory of scales descending the white keys
Of a childhood piano—outside the window, palms!
And the heavy head of the cereus, inclining,
Soon to let down its white or yellow-white.

Now, only these poor snow-flowers in a heap,
Like the memory of a white dress cast down . . .
So much has fallen.
And I, who have listened for a step
All afternoon, hear it now, but already falling away,
Already in memory. And the terrible scales descending
On the silent piano; the snow; and the absent flowers

Musings in Winter: Ojibway Proverb

“Sometimes I go about pitying myself, and all the while I am being carried across the sky by beautiful clouds.”

American Art – Part VII of VII: David Baltzer

Artist Statement: “My painting is an exploration of the often overlooked qualities of objects: the play of light on a casual grouping; a chance relationship of objects, a juxtaposition of textures, colors or shapes that combine with the manipulation of paint to express something striking… something deeper than their casual presence would at first suggest.”

Below – “Café Chairs”; “St. John’s #20”; “St. John’s #19”; “Gros Morne II (Green Gardens)”; “Roomscape Redux”; “Wood Bowl with Japanese Pears”; “Baker Street (San Francisco)”; “Bird in Tree”; “Boat in Snow.”









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January Offerings – Part XX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Kendric Tonn

Artist Statement: “I have always held drawing in a kind of reverence, both as an art form in its own right and as a foundational skill for other arts. When I was trained in the classical tradition of oil painting, it was a touchstone and constant companion–first throughout several years worth of studies in charcoal and pencil, and finally, when my teachers allowed me to begin painting, a question that accompanied each brushstroke: ‘Does this paint I’m putting down improve the drawing in my picture?’
Even now, out of the painting academy and working on my own, I find myself frequently returning to the pure drawing I was taught as a neophyte painter. With these studies of the figure in pencil or portraits in charcoal, I have the chance to concentrate on questions of line, shape, and value–in other words, drawing, the hard skeleton that will give structure to a painting or teach one to produce a subtly-varied line that expresses form with elegance and economy.”








The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part I of VII

“If people persist in trespassing upon the grizzlies’ territory, we must accept the fact that the grizzlies, from time to time, will harvest a few trespassers.”

Musings in Winter: Kahlil Gibran

“I cannot tarry longer.
The sea that calls all things unto her calls me.”

Below – Josephine Wall: “Call of the Sea”

“All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” – Federico Fellini, Italian film director and scriptwriter, who was born 20 January 1920.

Fellini won five Academy Awards, including the greatest number of Oscars in history for Best Foreign Language Film (4): “La Strada” (1956), “The Nights of Cabiria” (1957), “8 ½” (1963), and “Amarcord” (1974). In March of 1993 he received an honorary Oscar in recognition of his cinematic accomplishments.




A Poem for Today

“A Partial History of My Stupidity,”
By Edward Hirsch

Traffic was heavy coming off the bridge
and I took the road to the right, the wrong one,
and got stuck in the car for hours.

Most nights I rushed out into the evening
without paying attention to the trees,
whose names I didn’t know,
or the birds, which flew heedlessly on.

I couldn’t relinquish my desires
or accept them, and so I strolled along
like a tiger that wanted to spring,
but was still afraid of the wildness within.

The iron bars seemed invisible to others,
but I carried a cage around inside me.

I cared too much what other people thought
and made remarks I shouldn’t have made.
I was silent when I should have spoken.

Forgive me, philosophers,
I read the Stoics but never understood them.

I felt that I was living the wrong life,
spiritually speaking,
while halfway around the world
thousands of people were being slaughtered,
some of them by my countrymen.

So I walked on–distracted, lost in thought–
and forgot to attend to those who suffered
far away, nearby.

Forgive me, faith, for never having any.

I did not believe in God,
who eluded me.

Musings in Winter: Dara Reidyr

“There are those of us whom nature is awakening to the secrets of the universe; apart from religious dogma or occult dabbling. It is Natural Law. It is awakening the minds and quickening the senses of those whom it’s calling its descendants. Nature is fighting for its rightful place, which can never be fully usurped. Those who are most open to this knowledge are artists (poets, musicians, writers) who also happen to be free thinkers or ‘outsiders’ to the system. We hear a voice that is calling us to waken to the secrets of the universe. Perhaps in some distant future, humanity will read of us; the ones who paved the way for this Pali or New Romanticism called the awakening unto Nature’s Law. It won’t be technology or software that paves the way, but nature. It won’t allow itself to be destroyed, maybe uninhabitable for a time for humans, but never destroyed. There are those of us, the chosen few who are following the narrow path. We will be the future thinkers and writers who generations will read about that truly changed the world, and made a way where there seemingly was none.”

Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923) excelled in the painting of portraits and landscapes. In the words of one writer, “His most typical works are characterized by a dexterous representation of the people and landscape under the sunlight of his native land.”

Below – “Strolling Along the Seashore”; “The Horse’s Bath”; “Valencian Fishermen”; “Young Girl in a Silvery Sea”; “The Milkmaid.”




The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part II of VII

“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.”
Hiker and dog in mountains

Musings in Winter: John Muir

“When a mountain is climbed, it is said to be conquered — (may) as well say a man is conquered when a fly (lands) on his head.”

“Devise some creed, and live it, beyond theirs,
Or I shall think you but their spendthrift heirs.” – Edmund Blunden, English poet, author, critic, and professor, who died 20 January 1974.


Here they went with smock and crook,
Toiled in the sun, lolled in the shade,
Here they mudded out the brook
And here their hatchet cleared the glade:
Harvest-supper woke their wit,
Huntsmen’s moon their wooings lit.

From this church they led their brides,
From this church themselves were led
Shoulder-high; on these waysides
Sat to take their beer and bread.
Names are gone – what men they were
These their cottages declare.

Names are vanished, save the few
In the old brown Bible scrawled;
These were men of pith and thew,
Whom the city never called;
Scarce could read or hold a quill,
Built the barn, the forge, the mill.

On the green they watched their sons
Playing till too dark to see,
As their fathers watched them once,
As my father once watched me;
While the bat and beetle flew
On the warm air webbed with dew.

Unrecorded, unrenowned,
Men from whom my ways begin,
Here I know you by your ground
But I know you not within –
There is silence, there survives
Not a moment of your lives.

Like the bee that now is blown
Honey-heavy on my hand,
From his toppling tansy-throne
In the green tempestuous land –
I’m in clover now, nor know
Who made honey long ago.

Musings in Winter: Marty Rubin

“Even music can’t compete with the wildflowers and waterfalls.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Scottish painter Lucy Campbell (born 1977) : “When I was a little girl, I used to wander alone in the woods. One time I remember being lost: it is one of my richest and most enduring early memories. I remember the colours and light; the pink foxgloves, the rich green foliage; but most of all I remember the dichotomous emotions – I felt fearful because I was, for the first time ever, genuinely lost and alone in a corner of the woods I’d never ventured into before that day, and I felt a dreadful fear that I would be lost forever – but I also felt a thrill for the same reasons, as if I’d happened upon some magical other dimension unseen to others. I wandered around in there, imagining I was far, far from home, for some time, until I found myself once again in a bit of the woods I recognised. This memory is always there, in what I paint, the sense of wonder, the glee and the fear.”









The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part III of VII

“The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.”

Musings in Winter: Robin Wall Kimmerer

“Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.”


“Modern traveling is not traveling at all; it is merely being sent to a place, and very little different from becoming a parcel.” – John Ruskin, English art critic, artist, social thinker, philanthropist, and author of “The Stones of Venice,” who died 20 January 1900.

Some quotes from the work of John Ruskin:

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ”
“There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.”
“I believe that the first test of a great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.”
“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.”
“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”
“The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it.”
“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.”
“A book worth reading is worth owning.”
“Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless.”
“Every increased possession loads us with new weariness.”
“No changing of place at a hundred miles an hour will make us one whit stronger, or happier, or wiser. There was always more in the world than man could see, walked they ever so slowly; they will see it no better for going fast. The really precious things are thought and sight, not pace. It does a bullet no good to go fast; and a man, if he be truly a man, no harm to go slow; for his glory is not at all in going, but in being.”
“All art is but dirtying the paper delicately.”
“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.”
“Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.”
“Let every dawn of morning be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close.”
“There is no wealth but life.”
“Cookery means…English thoroughness, French art, and Arabian hospitality; it means the knowledge of all fruits and herbs and balms and spices; it means carefulness, inventiveness, and watchfulness.”
“You will find it less easy to uproot faults than to choke them by gaining virtues. Do not think of your faults, still less of others faults; in every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong; honor that; rejoice in it and as you can, try to imitate it; and your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes.”
“The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion, all in one.”
“Education does not mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.”

Musings in Winter: Ron Lizzi

“The scenery doesn’t necessarily improve in proportion to how far you travel or how much you spend.”

The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part IV of VII

“Water, water, water…There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount, a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”

Below – Las Vegas; Los Angeles.


Here is the Artist Statement of South African painter Marike Kleynscheldt: “I am a Bellville based artist with no formal art training, and have been painting since 2007.
My work is nostalgic, sentimental, anything from portraits to still lifes to conceptual work. I express myself with bright emphasised key colours and I love to use outlines and flat backgrounds as design elements. These outlines and flat backgrounds are my favourite part of the painting to do, but without a strong detailed object in the foreground, there is nothing to create the negative space and outline, so in a way the object I paint exists to emphasise the clean background, and vice versa.
I believe there is a place for ‘art for the sake of art’ as well as conceptual work, the one is no greater than the other, and I tend to bounce between the two, while I work on a conceptual work I look forward to my next still life.
I also believe there is a sense of joy captured in my work, something positive that comes through in my use of red paint, hard brush strokes or simply the way in which I beautify objects I paint. I have a great passion for art, I cannot hold it back, I couldn’t stop painting if i was forced, it is my love and my gift and I only hope to share it.”









Musings in Winter: Karen Gibbs

“Don’t spend your days sitting around waiting for something to happen. Get outside and make it happen! Live like a warrior, be at one with nature, fearless in the moment…because this moment will never happen again so don’t waste it!”

From the Music Archives: Buddy Holly

20 January 1956 – Buddy Holly records “Blue Days, Black Nights” in Nashville.

A Second Poem for Today

“My Puppy Loves Flowers,”
By Bruce Lansky

My puppy’s in the garden.
He loves to smell the flowers.
To help them grow my puppy always
sprinkles them with showers.

American Art – Part II of IV: JW Jung

JW Jung is a contemporary painter working in the Realist tradition.






“Read poems to yourself in the middle of the night. Turn on a single lamp and read them while you’re alone in an otherwise dark room or while someone else sleeps next to you. Read them when you’re wide awake in the early morning, fully alert. Say them over to yourself in a place where silence reigns and the din of the culture — the constant buzzing noise that surrounds us — has momentarily stopped. These poems have come from a great distance to find you.” – Edward Hirsch, American poet and critic, who was born 20 January 1950.

“Early Sunday Morning”

I used to mock my father and his chums
for getting up early on Sunday morning
and drinking coffee at a local spot
but now I’m one of those chumps.

No one cares about my old humiliations
but they go on dragging through my sleep
like a string of empty tin cans rattling
behind an abandoned car.

It’s like this: just when you think
you have forgotten that red-haired girl
who left you stranded in a parking lot
forty years ago, you wake up

early enough to see her disappearing
around the corner of your dream
on someone else’s motorcycle
roaring onto the highway at sunrise.

And so now I’m sitting in a dimly lit
café full of early morning risers
where the windows are covered with soot
and the coffee is warm and bitter.

Musings in Winter: Unknown Inuit

“I think over again my small adventures

My fears, those small ones that seemed so big

For all the vital things I had to get and reach

And yet there is only one great thing

The only thing

To live to see the great day that dawns

And the light that fills the world.”


A Third Poem for Today

“To Hear the Falling World,”
By Jane Hirshfield

Only if I move my arm a certain way,
it comes back.
Or the way the light bends in the trees
this time of year,
so a scrap of sorrow, like a bird, lights on the heart.
I carry this in my body, seed
in an unswept corner, husk-encowled and seeming safe.
But they guard me, these small pains,
from growing sure
of myself and perhaps forgetting.

Cuban painter Yoel Diaz Galvez (born 1979) is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in San Alejandro.







The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part V of VII

“The ugliest thing in America is greed, the lust for power and domination, the lunatic ideology of perpetual Growth – with a capital G. ‘Progress’ in our nation has for too long been confused with ‘Growth'; I see the two as different, almost incompatible, since progress means, or should mean, change for the better – toward social justice, a livable and open world, equal opportunity and affirmative action for all forms of life. And I mean all forms, not merely the human. The grizzly, the wolf, the rattlesnake, the condor, the coyote, the crocodile, whatever, each and every species has as much right to be here as we do.”

20 January 1961 – Robert Frost recites “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Inauguration.

“The Gift Outright”

The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

Latvian painter Flera Birmane (born 1983) is a graduate of the Tsering Art School.












Musings in Winter: Qwatsinas (Hereditary Chief Edward Moody), Nuxalk Nation

“We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Not Horses,”
By Natalie Shapero

What I adore is not horses, with their modern
domestic life span of 25 years. What I adore
is a bug that lives only one day, especially if
it’s a terrible day, a day of train derailment or
chemical lake or cop admits to cover-up, a day
when no one thinks of anything else, least of all
that bug. I know how it feels, born as I’ve been
into these rotting times, as into sin. Everybody’s
busy, so distraught they forget to kill me,
and even that won’t keep me alive. I share
my home not with horses, but with a little dog
who sees poorly at dusk and menaces stumps,
makes her muscle known to every statue.
I wish she could have a single day of   language,
so that I might reassure her ‘don’t be afraid —
our whole world is dead and so can do you no harm.’

Below – Kay Crain: “Woman Walking on Beach with Yorkie Dog”

Musings in Winter: Brave Buffalo (late 19th century -Teton Sioux medicine man)

“Of all the animals the horse is the best friend of the Indian, for without it he could not go on long journeys. A horse is the Indian’s most valuable piece of property. If an Indian wishes to gain something, he promises that if the horse will help him he will paint it with native dye, that all may see that help has come to him through the aid of his horse.”

American Art – Part III of IV: Diane White

In the words of one writer, “Diane White began her painting career in Colorado, studying at the Denver Art Students League and at the Loveland Art Academy. She now makes Santa Fe her home.
Her paintings are created using many traditional still life techniques. However, her work features a unique aspect that she calls, “magical realism”, referring to a literary genre favored by writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and others.”
Diane White

Diane White

Diane White

Diane White

Diane White

Diane White

Diane White

Diane White
The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part VI of VII

“When a man must be afraid to drink freely from his country’s river and streams that country is no longer fit to live in.”

“The tides are in our veins, we still mirror the stars,
life is your child, but there is in me
Older and harder than life and more impartial, the eye
that watched before there was an ocean.” – From “Continent’s End,” by Robinson Jeffers, American poet, who died 20 January 1962.

“Carmel Point”

The extraordinary patience of things!
This beautiful place defaced with a crop of surburban houses-
How beautiful when we first beheld it,
Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs;
No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing,
Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop rockheads-
Now the spoiler has come: does it care?
Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide
That swells and in time will ebb, and all
Their works dissolve. Meanwhile the image of the pristine beauty
Lives in the very grain of the granite,
Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff.-As for us:
We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.

Below – Mary Kay King: “Carmel Point Morning”

In the words of one critic, “Visual artist P. John Burden (born 1943) is a classically trained Canadian and British subject. Burden’s work includes original acrylic paintings, watercolour paintings, and traditional and modern artist’s prints. His art is symbolic or surrealist, using representational skills from a lifetime of drawing, painting, design. John Burden also illustrates books for all ages and has work in collections worldwide.”

Musings in Winter: Rachel Carson

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“Promise of Peace,”
By Robinson Jeffers

The heads of strong old age are beautiful 

Beyond all grace of youth. They have strange quiet, 

Integrity, health, soundness, to the full 

They’ve dealt with life and been tempered by it. 

A young man must not sleep; his years are war, 

Civil and foreign but the former’s worse; 

But the old can breathe in safety now that they are 

Forgetting what youth meant, the being perverse, 

Running the fool’s gauntlet and being cut 

By the whips of the five senses. As for me, 

If I should wish to live long it were but 

To trade those fevers for tranquillity, 

Thinking though that’s entire and sweet in the grave 

How shall the dead taste the deep treasure they have?

Musings in Winter: Kaui Hart Hemmings

“I can still love feeling so close to the sun and the peaks of mountains, still love life at this altitude — it makes me feel like every breath counts.”

The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part VII of VII

“I am not an atheist but an earthiest. Be true to the earth.”

Musings in Winter: Crazy Horse

“Upon suffering beyond suffering: the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day, there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be one.” –

(This statement was taken from Crazy Horse as he sat smoking the Sacred Pipe with Sitting Bull for the last time, four days before he was assassinated.)

American Art – Part IV of IV: Josh George

Artist Statement: “I’ve always been attracted to the urban landscape. It holds a different kind of beauty. The decaying masonry work of time tested dwellings and the dismal skies that surround them. Quilt like patterns are revealed when you view through these arrangements.”
Josh George

Josh George



Josh George





Josh George

Josh George


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