Musings in Winter: Lemony Snicket
“The sky was dark blue twilight, pretty to look at but lonely to walk under.”
Musings in Winter: William Hazlitt
“Give me the clear blue sky over my head, and the green turf beneath my feet, a winding road before me, and a three hours’ march to dinner – and then to thinking! … I begin to feel, think, and be myself again. Instead of an awkward silence, broken by attempts at wit or dull common-places, mine is that undisturbed silence of the heart which alone is perfect eloquence.”
Musings in Winter: Barry Lopez
“Imagine a forty-five-year-old male fifty feet long, a slim, shiny black animal cutting the surface of green ocean water at twenty knots. At fifty tons it is the largest carnivore on earth. Imagine a four-hundred-pound heart the size of a chest of drawers driving five gallons of blood at a stroke through its aorta; a meal of forty salmon moving slowly down twelve-hundred feet of intestine…the sperm whale’s brain is larger than the brain of any other creature that ever lived…With skin as sensitive as the inside of your wrist.”
Musings in Winter: Kate Messner
“I love early snow now, though. Especially snow that happens when you least expect it and just sprinkles down for a while. It feels like a secret.”
Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy
“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”
Musings in Winter: Trina Schart Hyman
“I knew then that I wanted to go home, but I had no home to go to–and that is what adventures are all about.”
Musings in Winter: Lucy Maud Montgomery
“‘I wonder if it will be—can be—any more beautiful than this,’ murmured Anne, looking around her with the loving, enraptured eyes of those to whom ‘home’ must always be the loveliest spot in the world, no matter what fairer lands may lie under alien stars.”
Below – The “Anne of Green Gables” House in Cavendish, P.E.I.
A Poem for Today
Every day is a journey,
and the journey itself
“Continual Conversation with a Silent Man”
By Wallace Stevens
The old brown hen and the old blue sky,
Between the two we live and die–
The broken cartwheel on the hill.
As if, in the presence of the sea,
We dried our nets and mended sail
And talked of never-ending things,
Of the never-ending storm of will,
One will and many wills, and the wind,
Of many meanings in the leaves,
Brought down to one below the eaves,
Link, of that tempest, to the farm,
The chain of the turquoise hen and sky
And the wheel that broke as the cart went by.
It is not a voice that is under the eaves.
It is not speech, the sound we hear
In this conversation, but the sound
Of things and their motion: the other man,
A turquoise monster moving round.
A Third Poem for Today
By Charles Simic
I grew up bent over
I loved the word ‘endgame.’
All my cousins looked worried.
It was a small house
near a Roman graveyard.
Planes and tanks
shook its windowpanes.
A retired professor of astronomy
taught me how to play.
That must have been in 1944.
In the set we were using,
the paint had almost chipped off
the black pieces.
The white King was missing
and had to be substituted for.
I’m told but do not believe
that that summer I witnessed
men hung from telephone poles.
I remember my mother
blindfolding me a lot.
She had a way of tucking my head
suddenly under her overcoat.
A Fourth Poem for Today
“Children of Aleppo”
By Chard deNiord
The children were asking
a thousand questions about why
the sky was blue and grass was green
when suddenly their tongues
were stilled by an answer they
never saw. Now silence rings
in their place so loud a stone
can hear it in Arkansas.
So why not the men inside
the sky who only hear the roar
beneath their wings that rip
the clouds? Who believe the distance
is theirs for the way it turns
the heavens into a high of feeling
nothing at all? In which
they have everywhere to turn
as excellent pilots—really
superb—with nowhere to go.
A Fifth Poem for Today
“Late at Night During a Visit of Friends”
By Robert Bly
We spent all day fishing and talking
At last, late at night, I sit at my desk alone,
And rise and walk out in the summery night.
A dark thing hopped near me in the grass.
The trees were breathing, the windmill slowly pumped.
Overhead the rain clouds that rained on Ortonville
Covered half the stars.
The air was still cool from their rain.
It is very late.
I am the only one awake.
Men and women I love are sleeping nearby.
The human face shines as it speaks of things
Near itself, thoughts full of dreams.
The human face shines like a dark sky
As it speaks of those things that oppress the living.
A Sixth Poem for Today
“My Father in the Night Commanding No”
By Louis Simpson
My father in the night commanding No
Has work to do. Smoke issues from his lips;
He reads in silence.
The frogs are croaking and the street lamps glow.
And then my mother winds the gramophone,
The Bride of Lammermoor begins to shriek—
Or reads a story
About a prince, a castle, and a dragon.
The moon is glittering above the hill.
I stand before the gateposts of the King—
So runs the story—
Of Thule, at midnight when the mice are still.
And I have been in Thule! It has come true—
The journey and the danger of the world,
All that there is
To bear and to enjoy, endure and do.
Landscapes, seascapes . . . where have I been led?
The names of cities—Paris, Venice, Rome—
Held out their arms.
A feathered god, seductive, went ahead.
Here is my house. Under a red rose tree
A child is swinging; another gravely plays.
They are not surprised
That I am here; they were expecting me.
And yet my father sits and reads in silence,
My mother sheds a tear, the moon is still,
And the dark wind
Is murmuring that nothing ever happens.
Beyond his jurisdiction as I move
Do I not prove him wrong? And yet, it’s true
‘They’ will not change
There, on the stage of terror and of love.
The actors in that playhouse always sit
In fixed positions—father, mother, child
With painted eyes.
How sad it is to be a little puppet!
Their heads are wooden. And you once pretended
To understand them! Shake them as you will,
They cannot speak.
Do what you will, the comedy is ended.
Father, why did you work? Why did you weep,
Mother? Was the story so important?
“Listen!” the wind
Said to the children, and they fell asleep.
Below – Louis Simpson
Art for Winter – Part I of II: Rob Rohm (American, contemporary)
Art for Winter – Part II of II: Brian Grimm (American, contemporary)
Below – “Panhandle Winds”
Spanish Art – Clara Gangutia
In the words of one writer, “She was born in San Sebastian in 1952. At the age of 16 she enters the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, with Antonio Lopez as her teacher and Juan Manuel Contreras and Roberto Gonzalez as her studio partners. In 1974 she receives a grant to study at the Spanish Academy in Rome, and wins her first award at the contest “Guipuzcoan Paintings” in San Sebastian. In the following years she is also awarded a grant by the Juan March Foundation and the Ministry of Culture. In 1981 she obtains her second medal at the painting contest organized by Madrid Chamber of Commerce. Altough she chooses Madrid as her permanent place of residence, the painter will continue to recreate the landscapes of her home town throughout her entire career.”
American Art – Part I of III: Gary Akers
In the words of one writer, “Akers is one of America’s foremost contemporary realist, painting in watercolor, dry brush and egg tempera. Akers is considered to be a master of light and shadow in his exciting compositions.
His works are praised both for their beauty and for their richness of detail, and that level of detail is all the more remarkable considering the medium he works in.”
American Art – Part II of III: Gene Brown
In the words of one writer, “Gene Brown, a native of Oregon, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Advertising Art at the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1960. After graduation, Gene freelanced in the San Francisco Bay area, eventually relocating to Dallas in 1962 with his wife and son. He worked in advertising agencies and art studios through the early seventies and soon started up his own design firm.
In the mid-seventies Gene developed an avid interest in watercolor painting and became a member of the Southwestern Watercolor Society and also the Artist and Craftsman Association.”
Below – “A View of the Vineyards”; “Summer, July”; “Sunflower”; “Taos Mountain in my Dreams”; “Morning Coffee”; “Along the River.”
American Art – Part III of III: Lynwood Bennett
In the words of one writer, “Lynwood’s interest in art began early. As a youngster growing up in the Austin area, he was constantly drawing and was considered to be the “class artist”. Although he didn’t pursue fine art until later in life, he was inspired, no doubt, by the countryside in which he was raised. His education encompasses four years of industrial arts at Southwest Texas State University, two years at the Texas Tech University school of Architecture and two years studying Advertising Art Design at San Antonio College.”
Below – “Packsaddle Sunset”; “Patterson Pool”; “Below Colorado Bend”; “Cibalo Creek Afternoon”; “Owl Creek Sunset”; “Perdernales Sunrise.”