From the Pacific Northwest – Part XXXIX

Musings in Autumn: Carl Sagan

“Humans — who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals — have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and ‘animals’ is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them — without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us.”

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A Poem for Today

“Lying While Birding”
By Naomi Shihab Nye

     Yes       Yes
        I see it
so they won’t keep telling you
           where it is

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Canadian Art – Cicero August

In the words of one writer, “Cicero August, is a Coast Salish master carver who has been working at his craft for over forty years. August was one of the first students of Simon Charlie’s first students. Cicero’s work, as carver, canoe builder, or paddle maker, reflect the traditional Coast Salish designs. Locally his carved totem poles can be viewed along the Totem Walk in Duncan, many other pieces have traveled internationally. Cicero has passed his skills down to his children, who are also recognized as carvers and jewelry makers. One of his largest carvings is a 30 ft. totem pole which stands in front of the BC Legislature Buildings, Victoria BC.”

Below – “ Talking Stick in Stand, with Rattles” Cowichan Sotry of Whale and Thunderbird); “Frog Totem”; “Carved Hummingbird Relief”; “Pacific Salmon Wall Plaque”; “Two-Sided Healing Rattle, Wood and Leather.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“The Thaw”
By Henry David Thoreau

I saw the civil sun drying earth’s tears —
Her tears of joy that only faster flowed,
Fain would I stretch me by the highway side,
To thaw and trickle with the melting snow,
That mingled soul and body with the tide,
I too may through the pores of nature flow.
But I alas nor tinkle can nor fume,
One jot to forward the great work of Time,
‘Tis mine to hearken while these ply the loom,
So shall my silence with their music chime.

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Musings in Autumn: Robert Benchley

“A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.”

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Art for November – Part I of II: Rod Charlesworth

Below – “Spirit of the West Coast”;

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Musings in Autumn: Noam Chomsky

“Both political parties have moved to the right during the neoliberal period. Today’s New Democrats are pretty much what used to be called “moderate Republicans.” The “political revolution” that Bernie Sanders called for, rightly, would not have greatly surprised Dwight Eisenhower.
The fate of the minimum wage illustrates what has been happening. Through the periods of high and egalitarian growth in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the minimum wage—which sets a floor for other wages—tracked productivity. That ended with the onset of neoliberal doctrine. Since then, the minimum wage has stagnated (in real value). Had it continued as before, it would probably be close to $20 per hour. Today, it is considered a political revolution to raise it to $15.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“A lane of Yellow led the eye”
By Emily Dickinson

A lane of Yellow led the eye
Unto a Purple Wood
Whose soft inhabitants to be
Surpasses solitude
If Bird the silence contradict
Or flower presume to show
In that low summer of the West
Impossible to know –

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Art for November – Part II of II: Ivan Eyre

Below “Rose Country”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Littlefoot, 19, [This is the bird hour]”
By Charles Wright

This is the bird hour, peony blossoms falling bigger than wren hearts
On the cutting border’s railroad ties,
Sparrows and other feathery things
Homing from one hedge to the next,
late May, gnat-floating evening.

Is love stronger than unlove?
Only the unloved know.
And the mockingbird, whose heart is cloned and colorless.

And who’s this tiny chirper,
lost in the loose leaves of the weeping cherry tree?
His song is not more than three feet off the ground, and singular,
And going nowhere.
Listen. It sounds a lot like you, hermane.
It sounds like me.

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Musings in Autumn: Mark Bekoff

“When animals express their feelings they pour out like water from a spout. Animals’ emotions are raw, unfiltered, and uncontrolled. Their joy is the purest and most contagious of joys and their grief the deepest and most devastating. Their passions bring us to our knees in delight and sorrow.”

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Chinese Art – Li Haihua

Painter Li Haihua was born in 1978 in Hunan Province.

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Abandoned”
By Joseph Ausländer

Vacant and ghostly and content with death,
Once a man’s hearthtree; now the haunt of bats;
Once a cradle creaked upstairs and someone sang
The terribly beautiful songs young mothers know.
It is hard, even though you hold your breath,
To step without disturbing the loosened slats
And livid plaster…. Go! for a whisper rang
Through the bleak rafters: Take up your things and go!

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Musings in Autumn: Karan Mahajan

“During these years in the small-talk wilderness, I also wondered why Americans valued friendliness with commerce so much. Was handing over cash the sacred rite of American capitalism—and of American life? On a day that I don’t spend money in America, I feel oddly depressed. It’s my main form of social interaction—as it is for millions of Americans who live alone or away from their families.”

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A Sixth Poem for Today

“Ghost in the Land of Skeletons”
By Christopher Kennedy

                               For Russell Edson

If not for flesh’s pretty paint, we’re just a bunch of skeletons, working hard to deny the fact of bones. Teeth remind me that we die. That’s why I never smile, except when looking at a picture of a ghost, captured by a camera lens, in a book about the paranormal. When someone takes a picture of a spirit, it gives me hope. I admire the ones who refuse to go away. Lovers scorned and criminals burned. I love the dead little girl who plays in her yard, a spectral game of hide and seek. It’s the fact they don’t know they’re dead that appeals to me most. Like a man once said to me, ‘Do you ever feel like you’re a ghost? Sure,’ I answered, ‘every day.’ He laughed at that and disappeared. All I could think was he beat me to it.

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American Art – Part I of II: Katherine Ace

In the words of one writer, “Katherine Ace finds inspiration in art from ancient times to the present and has an ongoing fascination with both figurative and still life painting. Her work posits, plays with and subverts realism, creating intriguing contraries and opposites. She synthesizes different materials, such as paper, small objects, insect wings, zippers/holes and digital/video into the paint and fabric of her paintings to create new meanings.
Ace is originally from Chicago and has a BA from Knox College, Galesburg, IL. Her work has been featured in numerous shows and collections including the Ellen Noel Art Museum, TX; Elmhurst Art Museum, IL; Portland Art Museum; Portland State University, Littman Gallery; the Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle; Tacoma Art Museum; and Southern Oregon State University, Ashland. Commissions include US Bank Portland and Paragon, Inc., Seattle.”

Below – “The Empty Room”; “Hearth God”; “Mad Hatter”; “Message”; “Unexpected Helpers”; “The Devil’s Grimy Brother.”

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A Seventh Poem for Today

“With Kit, Age 7, at the Beach”
By William Stafford

We would climb the highest dune,
from there to gaze and come down:
the ocean was performing;
we contributed our climb.

Waves leapfrogged and came
straight out of the storm.
What should our gaze mean?
Kit waited for me to decide.

Standing on such a hill,
what would you tell your child?
That was an absolute vista.
Those waves raced far, and cold.

‘How far could you swim, Daddy,
in such a storm?’
‘As far as was needed,’ I said,
and as I talked, I swam.

Below – Ann Munson: “At the Beach”

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Musings in Autumn: Robert Pirsig

“What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua…that’s the only name I can think of for it…like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, this America, the one that we are now in, an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer. The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks. In this Chautauqua I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated.”

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American Art – Part II of II: Kevin Kadar

In the words of one writer, “Kevin Kadar is a graduate of Cooper Union in New York and has been exhibiting in Portland for over 25 years. He is included in many corporate, private and public collections including the Tacoma Art Museum, The Oregon Historical Society and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in Salem, OR.
Currently making his home in the Pacific Northwest, Kevin Kadar has lived and traveled throughout Western Europe for several years. During his time spent overseas, Kadar has found inspiration and kinship with the landscape masters, painters such as Constable, Turner and Corot. Studying their work in the museums of France, Italy and Portugal, Kadar adopted many of their approaches: theatrical lighting, intense weather phenomena and dramatic composition take precedence over direct observation and literal documentation. Kadar’s paintings are imbued with a timeless, otherworldly quality only found in one’s dreams and imaginations.”

Below – “Firewall”; “The Third Way to Nirvana”; “Primordial Cascade Spiral Portal”; “Aurora, Missouri”; “Bank of River in Idaho”; “Young Woman Amongst the Autumn Leaves”; “Pink Sky Seascape”; “Railroad Bridge on Columbia River.”

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