May Offerings – Part VIII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Julie Bozzi

In the words of one writer, “Julie Bozzi’s landscapes depict the spaces between the picturesque events others tend to seek out as they scan a panorama. What they lack in heroic impact, however, they make up for in their subconscious familiarity as American places. A resident of Texas since 1980, Bozzi often paints areas around Fort Worth and Dallas, along the Gulf Coast, and in the eastern Texas Piney Woods. Her approach involves sitting in her car near dusk in front of the chosen site and painting directly onto the canvas. The format of her works – narrow vistas – echoes the view through her car windshield.”

Below – “Levee II”; “Dead Grasses on a Slope”; “Southwest Prairie”; Untitled (Mesquite Prairie); “Billboard Poles”; “Twilight.”
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A Poem for Today

“How Poetry Comes to Me”
By Gary Snyder

It comes blundering over the

Boulders at night, it stays

Frightened outside the

Range of my campfire

I go to meet it at the

Edge of the light
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“We should resolve now that the health of this nation is a national concern; that financial barriers in the way of attaining health shall be removed; that the health of all it’s citizens deserves the help of all the nation.” – Harry S. Truman, thirty-third President of the United States, who was born on 8 May 1884.

Some quotes from the work of Harry S. Truman:

“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home–but not for housing. They are strong for labor–but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage–the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine–for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing–but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing–so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.”
“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own.”
“The only thing new in the world is the history you do not know.”
“We must remember that the test of our religious principles lies not just in what we say, not only in our prayers, not even in living blameless lives – but in what we do for others.”
“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself.”
“The Republicans believe in the minimum wage — the more the minimum, the better.”
“My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Love Worn”
By Lita Hooper

In a tavern on the Southside of Chicago
a man sits with his wife. From their corner booth
each stares at strangers just beyond the other’s shoulder,
nodding to the songs of their youth. Tonight they will not fight.

Thirty years of marriage sits between them
like a bomb. The woman shifts
then rubs her right wrist as the man recalls the day
when they sat on the porch of her parents’ home.

Even then he could feel the absence of something
desired or planned. There was the smell
of a freshly tarred driveway, the slow heat,
him offering his future to folks he did not know.

And there was the blooming magnolia tree in the distance—
its oversized petals like those on the woman’s dress,
making her belly even larger, her hands
disappearing into the folds.

When the last neighbor or friend leaves their booth
he stares at her hands, which are now closer to his,
remembers that there had always been some joy. Leaning
closer, he believes he can see their daughter in her eyes.
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British Art – Part I of II: Eadweard Muybridge

Died 8 May 1904 – Eadweard Muybridge, an English photographer important for his pioneering work in photographic studies of motion.

Below – “Portrait of Vernal Falls at Yosemite”; “Horse”; “Boxing”; “Ruins of a Church, Antigua, Guatemala”; “Cathedral Rocks, Valley of the Yosemite”; “Bridge on the Puerto Bello, Panama.”

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Fancies in Springtime: David Suzuki

“Why do you need to go outside? For one thing, to appreciate what it is that keeps you alive. And the more time you spend outside, the more you are able to sense change in that world. If you can smell something, chances are that unless it’s flowers or food, it doesn’t belong there and is not good for us. But even more profound, we have to get outside and seek nature because we need that connection for our physical and mental health.”
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A Third Poem for Today

“Above Pate Valley”
By Gary Snyder

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.
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British Art – Part II of II: Christine Taherian

Artist Christine Taherian (born 1960) attended a Fine Art Course in Glasgow University during the late 70s. Before finishing the course, she moved to Tehran with her family and continued studying and practicing painting. Christine returned to the United Kingdom in the mid 90’s and continued working with different art groups in Surrey and London. She is currently a member of several art societies, such as Guildford Art Society, Woking Art Society, and The Society of Women Artists.
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“The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.” – Edward Gibbon, English historian, Member of Parliament, and author of “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” (six volumes), who was born on 8 May 1737.

Edward Gibbon was a remarkable scholar and a great prose stylist, and his work is filled with skepticism, irony, and wit – the hallmarks of a civilized sensibility. His six-volume masterpiece, “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” contains much that should interest contemporary Americans. To cite one example, Gibbon described the period of Rome’s decline as one in which “bizarreness masqueraded as creativity.”

Some quotes from Edward Gibbon:

“Fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity.”
“The most worthless of mankind are not afraid to condemn in others the same disorders which they allow in themselves; and can readily discover some nice difference in age, character, or station, to justify the partial distinction.”
“As long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters.”
“Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.”
“Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty.”
“History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.”
“We improve ourselves by victories over ourselves. There must be contest, and we must win.”
“I was never less alone than when by myself.”
“Let us read with method, and propose to ourselves an end to which our studies may point. The use of reading is to aid us in thinking.”
“Religious controversy is the offspring of arrogance and folly; that true piety is most laudably expressed by silence and submission; that man, ignorant of his own nature, should not presume to scrutinize the nature of his God; and that it is sufficient for us to know, that power and benevolence are the perfect attributes of the Deity.”
“The knowledge that is suited to our situation and powers, the whole compass of moral, natural, and mathematical science, was neglected by the new Platonists; whilst they exhausted their strength in the verbal disputes of metaphysics, attempted to explore the secrets of the invisible world, and studied to reconcile Aristotle with Plato, on subjects of which both these philosophers were as ignorant as the rest of mankind.”
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French Art – Part I of II: Paul Gauguin

“Art is either plagiarism or revolution.” – Paul Gauguin, a French Post-Impressionist painter, who died 8 May 1903.

Below – “Conversation Tropiques”; “Seashore II”; “Seed of the Areoi”; “The Moon and the Earth”; “Riders on the Beach”; “And the Gold of Their Bodies”; “The Swineherd, Brittany”; “Self-Portrait.”
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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Reunion”
By Jeff Daniel Marion

Last night in a dream
you came to me. We were young
again and you were smiling,
happy in the way a sparrow in spring
hops from branch to branch.
I took you in my arms
and swung you about, so carefree
was my youth.

What can I say?
That time wears away, draws its lines
on every feature? That we wake
to dark skies whose only answer
is rain, cold as the years
that stretch behind us, blurring
this window far from you.
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Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“There is no deeper religious feeling than the feeling for the natural world. I wouldn’t separate the world of nature from the religious instinct…I would not even object to saying that the sense of awe before the grandeur of nature is itself a religious experience.”
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French Art – Part II of II: Rene Maltete

Born 8 May 1930 – Rene Maltete, a French photographer and poet.
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8 May 1792 – Captain George Vancouver, an officer in the British Royal Navy, sights and names Mount Rainier in honor of his friend, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier.

Below – Captain George Vancouver; “Mount Rainier from the South Part of Admiralty Inlet, 1792”; the beautiful mountain.
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Mount Rainier National Park

Romanian photographer Caras Ionut (born 1978) calls himself a “photo mechanic” who transforms pictures into artistic compositions. Here is how he describes his work: “Most people when considering dreams would think of good, positive dreams, and I like to think I captured that in my work. I also seem to visit the darker side of what people may see in dreams, not necessarily what one would see as negative, but possibly a dream that one could not quite understand or left one feeling lonely.”
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A Fifth Poem for Today

“My Father Teaches Me to Dream”
By Jan Beatty

You want to know what work is?
I’ll tell you what work is:
Work is work.
You get up. You get on the bus.
You don’t look from side to side.
You keep your eyes straight ahead.
That way nobody bothers you—see?
You get off the bus. You work all day.
You get back on the bus at night. Same thing.
You go to sleep. You get up.
You do the same thing again.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
There’s no handouts in this life.
All this other stuff you’re looking for—
it ain’t there.
Work is work.
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Fancies in Springtime: Neil deGrasse Tyson

“According to the song, Rudolph’s nose is shiny, which means it reflects rather than emits light. Useless for navigating fog.”
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Here is how one critic describes the work of German painter Ute Hadam (born 1959): “(She) paints on canvases of different sizes. She mixes her pigments with acrylics of different consistencies in order to enhance the structure. Colors and shades are melted with subtle silk paper collages to obtain transparency and relief. The universe of the artist is the endless wealth of nature. The dynamic play of shapes and lights of plant, mineral or human worlds become a pretext for an original artistic interpretation. In her compositions, you find always a research of beauty of nature.”
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“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” – John Stuart Mill, English economist, philosopher, social theorist, political theorist, and civil servant, who died 8 May 1873.

Some quotes from the work of John Stuart Mill:

“I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.”
“I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.”
“It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.”
“In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.”
“The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”
“Stupidity is much the same all the world over.”
“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”
“Christian morality (so called) has all the characters of a reaction; it is, in great part, a protest against Paganism. Its ideal is negative rather than positive; passive rather than action; innocence rather than Nobleness; Abstinence from Evil, rather than energetic Pursuit of Good: in its precepts (as has been well said) ‘thou shalt not’ predominates unduly over ‘thou shalt.’”
“The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
“Whatever crushes individuality is despotism.”
“To bring a child into existence without a fair prospect of being able, not only to provide food for its body, but instruction and training for its mind is a moral crime, both against the unfortunate offspring and against society.”
“Every great movement must experience three stages: ridicule, discussion, adoption.”
“What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their inability to act according to their beliefs. ”
“Every man who says frankly and fully what he thinks is so far doing a public service. We should be grateful to him for attacking most unsparingly our most cherished opinions.”
“A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life.”
“It is not because men’s desires are strong that they act ill; it is because their consciences are weak.”
“A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes–will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.”
“Truth gains more even by the errors of one who, with due study and preparation, thinks for himself, than by the true opinions of those who only hold them because they do not suffer themselves to think.”
“A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Robert M. Pirsig

“I have seen these marshes a thousand times, yet each time they’re new. It’s wrong to call them benign. You could just as well call them cruel and senseless, they are all of those things, but the reality of them overwhelms halfway conceptions.”
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Japanese painter Osamu Obi (born 1965) is a graduate of Musashino Art University, Department of Oil Painting.
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Portrait of Writer Edmund Wilson Sitting on a Wicker Chair

“All Hollywood corrupts; and absolute Hollywood corrupts absolutely.” – Edmund Wilson, American writer, literary critic, and social critic, who was born 8 May 1895.

The erudite and curmudgeonly Edmund Wilson once dismissed J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” novels as “juvenile trash,” and then added, “Dr. Tolkien has little skill at narrative and no instinct for literary form.” His view of Hemingway: “But for reasons I cannot attempt to explain, something dreadful seems to happen to Hemingway as soon as he begins to write in the first person.” And Wallace Stevens: “Mr. Stevens is the master of style. His gift for combining words is baffling and fantastic, but sure: even when you do not know what he is saying, you know he is saying it well.” And James Joyce: “Joyce has little respect for the capacities of the reader’s attention…‘Ulysses’ suffers from an excess of design rather than from a lack of it…Joyce has half buried his story under the virtuosity of his technical style.”

Some quotes from the work of Edmund Wilson:

“While the romantic individualist deludes himself with unrealizable fantasies, in the attempt to evade bourgeois society, and only succeeds in destroying himself, he lets humanity fall a victim to the industrial-commercial processes, which, unimpeded by his dreaming, go on with their deadly work.”
“An acquaintance with the great works of art and thought is the only real insurance against the barbarism of the time.”
“No two persons ever read the same book.”
“If I could only remember that the days were, not bricks to be laid row on row, to be built into a solid house, where one might dwell in safety and peace, but only food for the fires of the heart.”
“The human imagination has already come to conceive the possibility of recreating human society.”
“The product of the scientific imagination is a new vision of relations – like that of artistic imagination.”
“I have learned to read the papers calmly and not to hate the fools I read about.”

American Art – Part II of IV: Jazz-minh Moore

According to one critic, the interest of painter Jazz-minh Moore (born 1978) “lies in the complicated dialectic between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ within contemporary society.”
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From the American History Archives: V-E Day

8 May 1945 – V-E Day: In the words of one historian, “A public holiday celebrated to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces. It thus marked the end of World War II in Europe.”
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Here is one critic describing the background of Croatian artist Nives Cicin-Sain (born 1961): “In her artistic expression she mostly uses the papier-mâché technique which she perfected herself. She held many workshops at home, in Japan, Germany, USA and Israel. Until 1999 she participated in numerous theatre projects, modeling art props, masks and jewelry. Nives also created three independent scene set designs and three costume design projects, thus gaining precious experience which is reflected in her present work. She has experience with illustration of books and design of picture postcards.”
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“Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.” – Robert Heinlein, American writer often called the “dean of science fiction writers” and author of “Stranger in a Strange Land” (which won a Hugo Award for Best Novel), who died 8 May 1988.

Some quotes from the work of Robert Heinlein:

“A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.”
“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
“Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.”
“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”
“Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist-a master-and that is what Auguste Rodin was-can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is…and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be…and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done to her.”
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.”
“How you behave toward cats here below determines your status in Heaven.”
“You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.”
“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”
“Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors and miss.”
“There is no such thing as ‘Just a cat.’”
“Secrecy is the keystone to all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy and censorship. When any government or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked in this fashion; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, whose mind is free. No, not the rack nor the atomic bomb, not anything. You can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.”
“The most preposterous notion that Homo sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.”
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Died 8 May 1957 – Johannes “Jan” Sluyters, a Dutch painter.

Below – “Houses in the Snow”; “Moon Night”; “Natasha Nude”; “Landscape by Moonlight”; “Odalisque”; “Self-Portrait.”
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Fancies in Springtime: David Suzuki

“Every breath is a sacrament, an affirmation of our connection with all other living things, a renewal of our link with our ancestors and a contribution to generations yet to come. Our breath is a part of life’s breath, the ocean of air that envelopes the earth.”
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“Life’s single lesson: that there is more accident to it than a man can ever admit to in a lifetime and stay sane.” – Thomas Pynchon, American novelist and author of “The Crying of Lot 49,” “Gravity’s Rainbow” (which won the 1974 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction), and “Vineland,” who was born 8 May 1937.

Some quotes from the work of Thomas Pynchon:

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”
“Why should things be easy to understand?”
“It’s been a prevalent notion. Fallen sparks. Fragments of vessels broken at the Creation. And someday, somehow, before the end, a gathering back to home. A messenger from the Kingdom, arriving at the last moment. But I tell you there is no such message, no such home — only the millions of last moments . . . nothing more. Our history is an aggregate of last moments.”
“‘I came,’ she said, ‘hoping you could talk me out of a fantasy.’
‘Cherish it!’ cried Hilarious, fiercely. ‘What else do any of you have? Hold it tightly by its little tentacle, don’t let the Freudians coax it away or the pharmacists poison it out of you. Whatever it is, hold it dear, for when you lose it you go over by that much to the others. You begin to cease to be.’”
“Keep cool but care.”
“The general public has long been divided into two parts; those who think that science can do anything and those who are afraid it will.”
“There is no real direction here, neither lines of power nor cooperation. Decisions are never really made – at best they manage to emerge, from a chaos of peeves, whims, hallucinations and all around assholery. ”
“Such a captive maiden, having plenty of time to think, soon realizes that her tower, its height and architecture, are like her ego only incidental: that what really keeps her where she is is magic, anonymous and malignant, visited on her from outside and for no reason at all. Having no apparatus except gut fear and female cunning to examine this formless magic, to understand how it works, how to measure its field strength, count its lines of force, she may fall back on superstition, or take up a useful hobby like embroidery, or go mad, or marry a disk jockey. If the tower is everywhere and the knight of deliverance no proof against its magic, what else?”
“Through the machineries of greed, pettiness, and the abuse of power, love occurs.”
“All the animals, the plants, the minerals, even other kinds of men, are being broken and reassembled every day, to preserve an elite few, who are the loudest to theorize on freedom, but the least free of all.”
“Someday she might replace whatever of her had gone away by some prosthetic device, a dress of a certain color, a phrase in a letter, another lover. ”
“Losing faith is a complicated business and takes time. There are no epiphanies, no ‘moments of truth.’ It takes much thought and concentration in the later phases, which themselves come about through an accumulation of small accidents: examples of general injustice, misfortune falling upon the godly, prayers of one’s own unanswered.”
“What, I should only trust good people? Man, good people get bought and sold every day. Might as well trust somebody evil once in a while, it makes no more or less sense.”
“If there is something comforting – religious, if you want – about paranoia, there is still also anti-paranoia, where nothing is connected to anything, a condition not many of us can bear for long.”

“Dream tonight of peacock tails,
Diamond fields and spouter whales.
Ills are many, blessings few,
But dreams tonight will shelter you.

Let the vampire’s creaking wing
Hide the stars while banshees sing;
Let the ghouls gorge all night long;
Dreams will keep you safe and strong.

Skeletons with poison teeth,
Risen from the world beneath,
Ogre, troll, and loup-garou,
Bloody wraith who looks like you,

Shadow on the window shade,
Harpies in a midnight raid,
Goblins seeking tender prey,
Dreams will chase them all away.

Dreams are like a magic cloak
Woven by the fairy folk,
Covering from top to toe,
Keeping you from winds and woe.

And should the Angel come this night
To fetch your soul away from light,
Cross yourself, and face the wall:
Dreams will help you not at all.”
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Here is the Artist Statement of Greek painter Christos Tsimaris (born 1968): “I usually like to paint portraits and figures, and regularly jump from representational to almost abstract, and from very disciplined and precise to very gestural, to almost messy.
Quite often I use photographs that inspire me for some reason, but I won’t necessarily transfer the image directly to the canvas – they are merely the vessel that will initiate or ignite a painting, with the painting developing in to something independent of any emotional weight that may have triggered the initial reaction. My main aim is to explore how the painting is created in terms of structure, composition, colour and mark making, rather than focussing solely on what it represents.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Robert M. Pirsig

“Just a sort of unexplained sadness that comes each afternoon when the new day is gone forever and there’s nothing ahead but increasing darkness.”
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A Sixth Poem for Today

“Planting a Dogwood”
By Roy Scheele

Tree, we take leave of you; you’re on your own.
Put down your taproot with its probing hairs
that sluice the darkness and create unseen
the tree that mirrors you below the ground.
For when we plant a tree, two trees take root:
the one that lifts its leaves into the air,
and the inverted one that cleaves the soil
to find the runnel’s sweet, dull silver trace
and spreads not up but down, each drop a leaf
in the eternal blackness of that sky.
The leaves you show uncurl like tiny fists
and bear small button blossoms, greenish white,
that quicken you. Now put your roots down deep;
draw light from shadow, break in on earth’s sleep.
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American Art – Part III of IV: Robert Adams

“No place is boring, if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.” – Robert Adams, American photographer, who was born 8 May 1937.

Adams recorded the changing landscape of the American West in decidedly unromantic ways, and his first book, “The New West,” is as beautiful and inspiring as it is sobering.

Some quotes from the work of Robert Adams:

“The only things that distinguish the photographer from everybody else are his pictures: they alone are the basis for our special interest in him. If pictures cannot be understood without knowing details of the artist’s private life, then that is a reason for faulting them; major art, by definition, can stand independent of its maker.”
“Why is Form beautiful? Because, I think, it helps us confront our worst fear, the suspicion that life may be chaos and that therefore our suffering is without meaning.”
“One does not for long wrestle a view camera in the wind and heat and cold just to illustrate a philosophy. The thing that keeps you scrambling over the rocks, risking snakes, and swatting at the flies is the view. It is only your enjoyment of and commitment to what you see, not to what you rationally understand, that balances the otherwise absurd investment of labor.”
“Silence is, after all, the context for the deepest appreciation of art: the only important evaluations are finally, personal, interior ones.”

Below – “On Signal Hill Overlooking Long Beach, California; “East from Flagstaff Mountain”; “Burning Oil Sludge North of Denver”; “Frame for a Tract House, Colorado Springs”; “Outside Denver”; “Lakewood, Colorado”; “Highland, California.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Neil deGrasse Tyson

“If you ask people where they’re from, they will typically say the name of the city where they were born, or perhaps the place on Earth’s surface where they spent their formative years. Nothing wrong with that. But an astrochemically richer answer might be, ‘I hail from the explosive jetsam of a multitude of high-mass stars that died more than 5 billion years ago.’”
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“In Western Civilization, our elders are books.” – Gary Snyder, American poet, essayist, lecturer, environmental activist, and author of “Turtle Island,” which won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, who was born 8 May 1930.

According to one writer, “‘Turtle Island’ is a term used by several Northeastern Woodland indigenous tribes, especially the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy, for the continent of North America.”

“For All”

Ah to be alive

on a mid-September morn

fording a stream

barefoot, pants rolled up,

holding boots, pack on,

sunshine, ice in the shallows,

northern rockies.

Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters

stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes

cold nose dripping

singing inside

creek music, heart music,

smell of sun on gravel.



I pledge allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the soil

of Turtle Island,

and to the beings who thereon dwell

one ecosystem

in diversity

under the sun

With joyful interpenetration for all.
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Back from the Territory – Art: Nathalie Parenteau (Part VI)

In the words of one writer, “When asked how her images take form, Northern artist Nathalie Parenteau promptly replies: ‘They take shape on their own. I just scratch the canvas with the paint brush and there they are.’ Or so it seems.”
Nathalie Parenteau lives and works in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Rituals”; “River Monster”; “Sea Otter Mandela”; “Silence”; “Sky Ride”; “Spirit Island.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the Earth.”
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A Seventh Poem for Today

“In the Mushroom Summer”
By David Mason

Colorado turns Kyoto in a shower,
mist in the pines so thick the crows delight
(or seem to), winging in obscurity.
The ineffectual panic of a squirrel
who chattered at my passing gave me pause
to watch his Ponderosa come and go—
long needles scratching cloud. I’d summited
but knew it only by the wildflower meadow,
the muted harebells, paintbrush, gentian,
scattered among the locoweed and sage.
Today my grief abated like water soaking
underground, its scar a little path
of twigs and needles winding ahead of me
downhill to the next bend. Today I let
the rain soak through my shirt and was unharmed.
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Fancies in Springtime: Robert M. Pirsig

When you have mountains in the distance or even hills, you have space.”
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American Art – Part IV of IV: Dale Chihuly

Glass sculptor Dale Chihuly earned a B.A. from the University of Washington, an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, and an M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Below – “Black Cylinder #4”; “Emerald Green Seaform Set with Yellow Lip Wraps”; “Amparo Purple Seaform Set with Jonquil Lip Wraps”; “Fire Orange Basket Set”; “Thistle Bloom Macchia with Yellow Lip Wrap”; “Cobalt Persian Pair with Red Lip Wraps”; “Gilded Ikebana with Ochre Flower and Red Leaf.”
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