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.”
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“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!
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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.
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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.
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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?”
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.’”
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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.
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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.”
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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.”
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“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.”
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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.”
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“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.”
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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.
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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.”
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Musings in Winter: William Blake

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet;
This is not done by jostling in the street.”
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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.”
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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.”
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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.”
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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.”
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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?
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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.”
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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.”
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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”
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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.
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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.”
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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.”
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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.
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A Sixth Poem for Today

“Faith”
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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.”
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A Seventh Poem for Today

“Hurry”
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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.”
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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.”
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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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