From the Pacific Northwest – Part XIX

Musings in Autumn: David Baldacci

“It’s my experience that most folk who ride trains could care less where they’re going. For them it’s the journey itself and the people they meet along the way. You see, at every stop this train makes, a little bit of America, a little bit of your country, gets on and says hello.”

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A Poem for Today

“The Parakeets”
By Alberto Blanco

They talk all day
and when it starts to get dark
they lower their voices
to converse with their own shadows
and with the silence.

They are like everybody
—the parakeets—
all day chatter,
and at night bad dreams.

With their gold rings
on their clever faces,
brilliant feathers
and the heart restless
with speech…

They are like everybody,
—the parakeets—
the ones that talk best
have separate cages.

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Art for November – Part I of II: Victoria Adams

Below – “Lowlands”

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Musings in Autumn: Charles P. Pierce

“America’s always been a great place to be crazy. It just used to be harder to make a living that way.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“The Conditional”
By Ada Limon

Say tomorrow doesn’t come.
Say the moon becomes an icy pit.
Say the sweet-gum tree is petrified.
Say the sun’s a foul black tire fire.
Say the owl’s eyes are pinpricks.
Say the raccoon’s a hot tar stain.
Say the shirt’s plastic ditch-litter.
Say the kitchen’s a cow’s corpse.
Say we never get to see it: bright
future, stuck like a bum star, never
coming close, never dazzling.
Say we never meet her. Never him.
Say we spend our last moments staring
at each other, hands knotted together,
clutching the dog, watching the sky burn.
Say, It doesn’t matter. Say, That would be
enough. Say you’d still want this: us alive,
right here, feeling lucky.

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American Art – Richard Gilkey

In the words of one writer, “Richard Gilkey was born in Bellingham, WA and his family held historic roots in the Skagit Valley. His paintings reflect the natural beauty and colors of the Pacific Northwest landscape.
Mark Tobey and Morris Graves were Richard Gilkey’s mentors. He developed a distinctive style in keeping with his intellectual curiosity. It sought scientific rather than philosophical, material versus metaphysical, answers to the basic workings of the universe.
In the years preceding his death in 1997, he returned to painting abstractions, using black and white to represent the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang.”

Below – “Bay Fields, Skagit Flats Landscape”; “Skagit Valley Flats”; “Winter Still Life”; “Poppies & Grasses (Skagit Still Life)”; “Leeks”; “Crab.”

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Thomas Eugene “Tom” Robbins is an American novelist.

Some quotes from the work of Tom Robbins:

“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”
“Our lives are not as limited as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.”
“Curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness, is what separates the truly alive from those who are merely going through the motions.”
“A sense of humor…is superior to any religion so far devised.”
“We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.”
“Who knows how to make love stay?
1. Tell love you are going to Junior’s Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if loves stays, it can have half. It will stay.
2. Tell love you want a momento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a moustache on your face. Find love. Tell it you are someone new. It will stay.
3. Wake love up in the middle of the night. Tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning.”
“In the haunted house of life, art is the only stair that doesn’t creak.”
“Never underestimate how much assistance, how much satisfaction, how much comfort, how much soul and transcendence there might be in a well-made taco and a cold bottle of beer.”
“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“I Have News for You”
By Tony Hoagland

There are people who do not see a broken playground swing
as a symbol of ruined childhood

and there are people who don’t interpret the behavior
of a fly in a motel room as a mocking representation of their thought process.

There are people who don’t walk past an empty swimming pool
and think about past pleasures unrecoverable

and then stand there blocking the sidewalk for other pedestrians.
I have read about a town somewhere in California where human beings

do not send their sinuous feeder roots
deep into the potting soil of others’ emotional lives

as if they were greedy six-year-olds
sucking the last half-inch of milkshake up through a noisy straw;

and other persons in the Midwest who can kiss without
debating the imperialist baggage of heterosexuality.

Do you see that creamy, lemon-yellow moon?
There are some people, unlike me and you,

who do not yearn after fame or love or quantities of money as
unattainable as that moon;
thus, they do not later
have to waste more time
defaming the object of their former ardor.

Or consequently run and crucify themselves
in some solitary midnight Starbucks Golgotha.

I have news for you—
there are people who get up in the morning and cross a room

and open a window to let the sweet breeze in
and let it touch them all over their faces and bodies.

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Musings in Autumn: Sigmund Freud

“America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success.”

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Art for November – Part II of II: Guy Anderson

Below – “Knossos”

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Musings in Autumn: Rebecca Solnit

“Eduardo Galeano notes that America was conquered, but not discovered, that the men who arrived with a religion to impose and dreams of gold never really knew where they were, and that this discovery is still taking place in our time.”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“You Can’t Have It All”
By Barbara Ras

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this.

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Musings in Autumn: Allen Ginsberg

“America, the plum blossoms are falling.”

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Canadian Art – Don Toney: Part I

Artist Statement (partial) – “Art is my chance to create and celebrate that which is beautiful, noble or important to the human spirit.
It seems for as long as I can remember two things have dominated my thoughts, time and ambitions: horses and art. I was playing at both as a kid and I am still playing at them as an adult (the more things change the more they stay the same).
I grew up on a cattle ranch in the foothills of Pincher Creek, Alberta. We rode horses before we could walk and grew up with an appreciation for the people, the creatures, and the way of life that is our western heritage. These have been the inspiration of much of my art and life. My mother tells me that I wanted to do something artistic from the moment they put a pencil in my hand. Art has been so much a part of my life that I can’t imagine life without it.”

Below – “The Fire And The Flame”; “Song Of The North”; “Somewhere In The Wild”; “Spooked In The Bush”; “Wranglin’ A Rough One”; “The Bunk House.”

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Musings in Autumn: David Gorman

“Those roads provided breath-taking views. There’s something special about an empty road going on and on and on to the horizon where the sun burns the world away into a dancing, shimmering heat haze that reflects the crystal blue sky, literally blurring the line between heaven and earth.”

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Mountain Pines”
By Robinson Jeffers

In scornful upright loneliness they stand,
Counting themselves no kin of anything
Whether of earth or sky. Their gnarled roots cling
Like wasted fingers of a clutching hand
In the grim rock. A silent spectral band
They watch the old sky, but hold no communing
With aught. Only, when some lone eagle’s wing
Flaps past above their grey and desolate land,
Or when the wind pants up a rough-hewn glen,
Bending them down as with an age of thought,
Or when, ‘mid flying clouds that can not dull
Her constant light, the moon shines silver, then
They find a soul, and their dim moan is wrought
Into a singing sad and beautiful.

Below – Ansel Adams: “Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park, California.”

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Canadian Art – Don Toney: Part II

Artist Statement (partial) -“My career as a bronze artist began in 1979 when I was 25 years old. It was then that I learned the method of bronze casting and with a certain amount of trepidation and a healthy dose of ambition decided to make my living as a professional artist. With hard work, the support of my family, friends and art dealers, I have been fortunate to have my work collected by people and corporations from many walks of life.
Dad (Bob Toney) was always a great sportsman so he involved and enkindled an interest in sports in my brother, sister and myself. We skated, skied, fished and golfed from an early age. These activities have often been the subject matter of many of my sculptures and have found their way into many a sportsman’s trophy case.
One of the great joys of my life is my daughter Sheena. She has become the subject of various sculptures. Sheena has from time to time requested or suggested that I do certain creatures or themes (commissions of the heart). All in all, my art is very autobiographical and my hope is that people will also find a little of themselves in viewing or owning my art.
My wife Verna, Sheena and I live in Southern Alberta. We have sixty acres where we keep our eight horses and a small herd of cattle. Two dogs and three cats round out the animals and all help make for a rich and full life.
I feel very honoured to be a part of other people’s lives through my art. I sincerely hope that it brings them a measure of joy and happiness as they collect, receive or give gifts of various sculptures from the over 330 different limited editions bronzes including 3 life sized I have done thus far.”

Below – “Three Rivers Great Bounty”; “In The Land Of The Midnight Sun”; “Legend Of The Great Plains”; “Chief Of The Blackfoot”; “Protector Of The Wilderness Passage”; “Where Surveillance Means Survival.”

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