From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXV

Musings in Winter: Christie Purifoy

“As humans, we roam the entire world. We even venture beyond it not space. The whole planet is ours, but the whole planet is not our home. Instead, home is the ground we measure with our own two feet. And home is the place that measures us. Home is the place that names us and the place we, in turn, name. It feeds us, body and soul, and if we are living well, we feed it too.
Home is the place we cultivate with our love.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: Evgeny Zaremba (Russian, contemporary)

Below “Wolf”

Musings in Winter: Linda Bender

“The animals feel that this urgency is mutual. Their own suffering has made them aware of human suffering. More frequent contact with us has sensitized them to what troubles us. They feel our anxiety and our confusion and, most of all, our loneliness. The pain of being disconnected from the Earth, from each other, from our fellow creatures, and from the Source of all life is the worst pain they can imagine, and they are concerned about us. They understand even better than we do that the suffering we inflict on them is an expression of our own suffering, and that their physical situation cannot get better unless the human spiritual condition gets better. They want to help.”

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Thomas Buechner (American, 1926-2010)

Below – “Begonias in a Box”

A Poem for Today

“A Well Runs Out of Thirst”
By Jane Hirshfield

A well runs out of thirst
the way time runs out of a week,
the way a country runs out of its alphabet
or a tree runs out of its height.
The way a brown pelican
runs out of anchovy-glitter at darkfall.

A strange collusion,
the way a year runs out of its days
but turns into another,
the way a cotton towel’s compact
with pot and plate seems to run out of dryness
but in a few minutes finds more.

A person comes into the kitchen
to dry the hands, the face,
to stand on the lip of a question.

Around the face, the hands,
behind the shoulders,
yeasts, mountains, mosses multiply answers.

There are questions that never run out of questions,
answers that don’t exhaust answer.

Take this question the person stands asking:
a gate rusting open.
‘Yes’ stands on its left, ‘no’ on its right,
two big planets of unpainted silence.

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Gerald Cassidy (American, 1879-1934)

Below – “Corpus Christi Procession”

Musings in Winter: Buck Brannaman

“When you find that the horse is compelled and interested in you, something in you changes. That can be healing or move you deeply.”

A Second Poem for Today

“Fragments from an Abandoned Ode”
By Paul Carroll

The Sicilian bees     They move inside the mind
Our souls are as big as Rome
Her body like a mirror
A statue made of words
The dwarf of love
Bring the wine that heals the summer’s wounds
A wife of freshly fallen snow
The first night of the world—its stars and
     moons still move inside our arteries
Who is the one who carries the horizon in his eyes?
A honeycomb of lies
He writes a letter to his death at 24
10,000 yesterdays gathered on the shelves of
     the library
Leave a photo of yourself behind

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Anna Krasnaya

In the words of one writer, “In this new series (‘Unveil’), Anna made a brand new aesthetic, where in the paintings, there is nothing that surrounds the modern girl. Instead of focusing on the background, the artist puts her focus on showing the beauty of a bent body and thrown up hands, which aims to reflect the inner vision of the models.  Like how beauty was reflected in the era of the late Renaissance and Baroque.
It does not merely record the beautiful models’ features, however, it says something about who she is, offering a vivid sense of a real person’s presence.”

Below – “Morning”; “Tattoo”; “Bubble”; “Pink”; Nude”; “Deep in Thoughts.”

Musings in Winter: Ted Kerasote

“And so what do dogs want? They want what they want when they want it. Just like us.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Viktor Yamshchikov

Painter Viktor Yamshchikov graduated from the Saint Petersburg State Academy of Art in 1991.

Below – “A Bunch of Flowers”; “Foothills of Mount Elbrus”; “Wild Poppies”; “Southern Day”; “Red Roofs”; “Griboyedov Canal.”

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“The boy who rode on slightly before him sat a horse not only as if he’d been born to it which he was but as if were he begot by malice or mischance into some queer land where horses never were he would have found them anyway. Would have known that there was something missing for the world to be right or he right in it and would have set forth to wander wherever it was needed for as long as it took until he came upon one and he would have known that that was what he sought and it would have been.”

Below – Bruce Green: “Father and Son”

A Third Poem for Today

“Twentieth Century”
By Maggie Smith

I must have missed the last train out of this gray city.
I’m scrolling the radio through ‘shhhhh’. The streetlamps

fill with light, right on time, but no one is pouring it in.
Twentieth Century, you’re gone. You’re tucked into

a sleeping car, rolling to god-knows-where, and I’m
lonely for you. I know it’s naïve. But your horrors

were far away, and I thought I could stand them.
Twentieth Century, we had a good life more or less,

didn’t we? You made me. You wove the long braid
down my back. You kissed me in the snowy street

with everyone watching. You opened your mouth a little
and it scared me. Twentieth Century, it’s me, it’s me.

You said that to me once, as if I’d forgotten your face.
You strung me out until trees seemed to breathe,

expanding and contracting. You played “American Girl”
and turned it up loud. You said I was untouchable.

Do you remember the nights at Alum Creek, the lit
windows painting yellow Rothkos on the water?

Are they still there, or did you take them with you?
Say something. I’m here, waiting, scrolling the radio.

On every frequency, someone hushes me. Is it you?
Twentieth Century, are you there? I thought you were

a simpler time. I thought we’d live on a mountain
together, drinking melted snow, carving hawk totems

from downed pines. We’d never come back. Twentieth
Century, I was in so deep, I couldn’t see an end to you.

Musings in Winter: Clare Balding

“I believe that horses bring out the best in us. They judge us not by how we look, what we’re wearing or how powerful or rich we are, they judge us in terms of sensitivity, consistency, and patience. They demand standards of behavior and levels of kindness that we, as humans, then strive to maintain.”

American Art – Part I of II: Nancy Chaboun

In the words of one writer, “Chaboun (born 1954) paints her figurative works quickly with broad brush strokes that define and juxtapose the figure and the background. Her still lifes of finely rendered treasured objects have a different tone all together. In her quest to give her oils eternal life, her fruits and vegetables best emote through her superb attention to texture.
Educated at Arizona State University and Instituto Allende of Mexico, Nancy Chaboun has been distinguished in one museum show, and many one-person shows. Although any subject is fair target, she feels most inspired by people, painting small, intimate ‘portraits’ of thoughts and emotions. Nancy recently won the Best of Show at the 1996 Scottsdale Artist School juried show. Her works are in collections throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East.”

Below – “Pansies, Poppies and Pots”; “Tangerine Dreams”; “Purple Haze”; “Turkish Vase and Money Plant”; “Petal Poetry”; “Feel My Love.”

A Fourth Poem for Today

“What I Mean When I Say Farmhouse”
By Geffrey Davis

             Time’s going has ebbed the moorings
to the memories that make this city-kid

             part farm-boy. Until a smell close enough to
the sweet-musk of horse tunes my ears back

             to tree frogs blossoming after a country rain.
I’m back among snakes like slugs wedged

             in ankle-high grass, back inside that small
eternity spent searching for soft ground, straining

             not to spill the water-logged heft of a drowned
barn cat carried in the shallow scoop of a shovel.

             And my brother, large on the stairs, crying.
Each shift in the winds of remembering renders me

             immediate again, like ancient valleys reignited
by more lightning. If only I could settle on

             the porch of waiting and listening,
near the big maple bent by children and heat,

             just before the sweeping threat of summer
thunderstorms. We have our places for

             loneliness—that loaded asking of the body.
my mother stands beside the kitchen window, her hands

             no longer in constant motion. And my father
walks along the tired fence, watching horses

             and clouds roll down against the dying light—
I know he wants to become one or the other.

             I want to jar the tenderness of seasons,
to crawl deep into the moment. I’ve come

             to write less fear into the boy running
through the half-dark. I’ve come for the boy.

Musings in Winter: Cristiane Serruya

“You know what I’ve learned? Most people are like a leaf, letting themselves drift and turn in the air. Eventually, they fall to the ground. But, others— very few others— are like stars. They have light within themselves to be their own guide. Sometimes, we look at the sky and don’t see the stars, because there is too much light bedimming them. To find the stars again, we have to go to a dark place.”

American Art – Part II of II: John Stephens

Painter John Stephens was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1945.

Below – “Reaching Back in Time”; “Our Lady of the Foam”; “Reflections in a Mountain Lake II”; “The Adventure”; “On the Threshold”; “Elysian Fountain.”

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