From the Pacific Northwest – Part XV

Musings in Autumn: John Burroughs

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”

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Below – From the 17th Annual American Impressionist National Juried Exhibition that is being held this year at the Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland, Washington: Jason Sacran, “Fall Harvest.”

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A Poem for Today

“Poem for Beachheads & Briars”
By Michael Robins
 
Awoken by the immaculate flaw
in my bed. Quietude, hollowed
limbs through which the breeze
still moves. Despite molecules
I’ve come to intuit wavelengths,
how Made in America illustrates
that most blown, charitable days
revolve this walk swept of sand.
Smashed & believing whichever
whim as promise, routed clouds,
scenes becoming then breached.
How I wish to bear the purpose
of men carrying a ladder. Maybe
they rescue the wayfared kitten
or cart the rungs for the woods,
heaved & fetched until each stays.

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American Art: Terry Toedtemeier

Artist Statement: “Though I have photographed geologically related terrains in Scotland and Hawaii, my goal is to create a body of work inspired by the place I’ve had the good fortune to have been born and raised in. From photographs of individual pieces of stone to aerial images of block-faulted mountains I see a continuum that speaks to the defining substance of this part of the world… a palpable beauty that begins at the surface of what we see and extends beyond to what we envision of the ongoing forces that give shape to this unique place.”

Below – “Broughton Flume, Collapsed Section at Line Shack, Skamania, Co, WA”; Untitled (Malheur County); Haystack Rock, Near Pacific City, Tillamook Co., Or.”

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Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) was a German-born Swiss poet, novelist, painter, and recipient of the 1946 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Hermann Hesse:

“Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.”
“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.”
“Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.”
“That is where my dearest and brightest dreams have ranged — to hear for the duration of a heartbeat the universe and the totality of life in its mysterious, innate harmony.”
“There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.”
“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”
“To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do.”

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Below – From the 17th Annual American Impressionist National Juried Exhibition that is being held this year at the Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland, Washington: Ron Rencher, “Cambria Pastoral.”

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Musings in Autumn: Oscar Wilde

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“Ode to the Unbroken World, Which Is Coming”
By Thomas Lux

It must be coming, mustn’t it? Churches
and saloons are filled with decent humans.
A mother wants to feed her daughter,
fathers to buy their children things that break.
People laugh, all over the world, people laugh.
We were born to laugh, and we know how to be sad;
we dislike injustice and cancer,
and are not unaware of our terrible errors.
A man wants to love his wife.
His wife wants him to carry something.
We’re capable of empathy, and intense moments of joy.
Sure, some of us are venal, but not most.
There’s always a punchbowl, somewhere,
in which floats a…
Life’s a bullet, that fast, and the sweeter for it.
It’s the same everywhere: Slovenia, India,
Pakistan, Suriname—people like to pray,
or they don’t,
or they like to fill a blue plastic pool
in the back yard with a hose
and watch their children splash. 
Or sit in cafes, or at table with family.
And if a long train of cattle cars passes
along West Ridge
it’s only the cattle from East Ridge going to the abattoir.
The unbroken world is coming,
(it must be coming!), I heard a choir,
there were clouds, there was dust,
I heard it in the streets, I heard it
announced by loudhailers
mounted on trucks.

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Below – From the 17th Annual American Impressionist National Juried Exhibition that is being held this year at the Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland, Washington: Teresa Saia, “Aspen Forest.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Native Memory”
By Ansel Elkins

‘River’ was my first word
after ‘mama.’
I grew up with the names of rivers
on my tongue: the Coosa,
the Tallapoosa, the Black Warrior;
the sound of their names
as native to me as my own.

I walked barefoot along the brow of Lookout Mountain
with my father, where the Little River
carves its name through the canyons
of sandstone and shale
above Shinbone Valley;
where the Cherokee
stood on these same stones
and cast their voices into the canyon below.

‘You are here,’ a red arrow
on the atlas tells me
at the edge of the bluff
where young fools have carved their initials
into giant oaks
and spray painted their names and dates
on the canyon rocks,
where human history is no more
than a layer of stardust, thin
as the fingernail of god.

What the canyon holds in its hands:
an old language spoken into the pines
and carried downstream
on wind and time, vanishing
like footprints in ash.
The mountain holds their sorrow
in the marrow of its bones.
The body remembers
the scars of massacres,
how the hawk ached to see
family after family
dragged by the roots
from the land of their fathers.

Someone survived to remember
beyond the weight of wagons and their thousands
of feet cutting a deep trail of grief.
Someone survived to tell the story of this
sorrow and where they left their homes
and how the trees wept to see them go
and where they crossed the river
and where they whispered a prayer into their grandmother’s eyes
before she died
and where it was along the road they buried her
and where the oak stood whose roots
grew around her bones
and where it was that the wild persimmons grow
and what it was she last said to her children
and which child was to keep her memory alive
and which child was to keep the language alive
and weave the stories of this journey into song
and when were the seasons of singing
and what were the stories that go with the seasons
that tell how to work and when to pray
that tell when to dance and who made the day.

‘You are here’
where bloodlines and rivers
are woven together.
I followed the river until I forgot my name
and came here to the mouth of the canyon
to swim in the rain and remember
this, the most indigenous joy I know:
to wade into the river naked
among the moss and stones,
to drink water from my hands
and be alive in the river, the river saying,
‘You are here,’
a daughter of stardust and time.

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Canadian Art: Terry McCue – Part I

In the words of one writer, “Terry McCue is an Ojibway Indian from the Curve Lake First Nation, in southeastern Ontario. Terry moved to Alberta in 1976 and continues to call it home. For nineteen years, Terry worked as a facilitator conducting workshops across Canada to train substance abuse workers in Native communities. During that time he worked as a freelance illustrator, producing a variety of works including posters, book covers, and illustrations for addiction manuals. He used this work to continually develop his skills as an artist. Terry’s work can be found in private and corporate collections in Canada and the United States.”

Below – “Evening’s Last Light”; “Beauty Walking”; “Boreal Monarch”; “Medicine Moon”; “Out of the Mist”; “Moose Lake”; “Arctic Sovereign.”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Leisure”
By Amy Lowell

Leisure, thou goddess of a bygone age,
   When hours were long and days sufficed to hold
    Wide-eyed delights and pleasures uncontrolled
By shortening moments, when no gaunt presage
Of undone duties, modern heritage,
    Haunted our happy minds; must thou withhold
    Thy presence from this over-busy world,
And bearing silence with thee disengage
    Our twined fortunes? Deeps of unhewn woods
    Alone can cherish thee, alone possess
Thy quiet, teeming vigor. This our crime:
    Not to have worshipped, marred by alien moods
    That sole condition of all loveliness,
The dreaming lapse of slow, unmeasured time.

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Canadian Art: Terry McCue – Part II

In the words of one writer, “Terry McCue is a self-taught painter, who spent time in his youth watching his cousin Arthur Schilling and learning from him. Arthur Schilling still influences Terry’s paintings.”

Below – “Bear Shield”; “Dragonfly Warrior Mounted”; “Night Lodge”; “Bear Walking”; “The Archer”; “Otter Lodge”; “Future’s Promise”; “Red Robe.”

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Musings in Autumn: Emily Bronte

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
fluttering from the autumn tree.

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Canadian Art: Terry McCue – Part III

Artist Statement: “Humanity is an integral part of creation. Humor is spiritual sustenance. Respect for the natural world, and our place in it, is the key to personal understanding. We are magical beings living in a magical world.”

Below – “The Escorts”; “Passing Through”; “Sacred Accompaniment”; “Buffalo Lodge – Dawn”; “Sandhill”; “Mountain’s Magic”; “Reese’s Blue.”

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