From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXXIX

Musings in Winter: Louisa May Alcott

“Some books are so familiar, reading them is like being home again.”

Below – Winslow Homer: “Girl in a Hammock”

Art for Winter – Part I of IV: Dmitry Kochanovich (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Secret”

A Poem for Today

“The Only Day in Existence”
By Billy Collins

The early sun is so pale and shadowy,
I could be looking up at a ghost
in the shape of a window,
a tall, rectangular spirit
looking down at me in bed,
about to demand that I avenge
the murder of my father.
But the morning light is only the first line
in the play of this day–
the only day in existence–
the opening chord of its long song,
or think of what is permeating
the thin bedroom curtains

as the beginning of a lecture
I will listen to until it is dark,
a curious student in a V-neck sweater,
angled into the wooden chair of his life,
ready with notebook and a chewed-up pencil,
quiet as a goldfish in winter,
serious as a compass at sea,
eager to absorb whatever lesson
this damp, overcast Tuesday
has to teach me,
here in the spacious classroom of the world
with its long walls of glass,
its heavy, low-hung ceiling.

Art for Winter – Part II of IV: John French (American, contemporary)

Below – “The Unexpected”

Musings in Winter: William Butler Yeats

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”

Art for Winter – Part III of IV: Joseph A. Imhof (American, 1871-1955)

Below – “Pot Creek Canyon, NM”

A Second Poem for Today

“Caribbean Marsh”
By Muna Lee

Acres of mangrove, crowding the sea-streaked marsh,
Acres of mangrove, wading toward the beaches,
And here and there a milky-white bloom tossed
On fragile boughs above the flooded reaches.
Mangrove thrusts deep in salty mud,
Balances uneasily upon its three-pronged roots,
Huddles from wind in its dissonance of leaves.
Tempest and drought it has withstood,
This straggling orchard that bears no fruits,
This field where none will garner sheaves.
Sucking life up from the acrid marsh,
Drawing life down from the burning sun,
All the year offers of crude and harsh
There between sea and shore it has known.
Wave and glare, sea-urge, sea-drift,
It has been their victim, proved their power,
Persisting bleakly for one end alone—
Through an unheeded hour
Briefly, awkwardly, to lift
This frail, inconsequent flower.

Art for Winter – Part IV of IV: Jamie Wyeth (American, contemporary)

Below – “Portrait of Shorty”

Musings in Winter: Daniel Koontz

“Anyway, in those years, I was happy, as to one extent or another I have always been happy. The forest was not a wilderness to me, but served instead as my private garden, comforting in spite of its vastness, and endlessly mysterious.
The more familiar a place becomes, the more mysterious it becomes, as well, if you are alert to the truth of things. I have found this to be the case all of my life.”

A Third Poem for Today

“Looking Across the River”
By William Stafford

We were driving the river road.
It was at night. “There’s the island,”
someone said. And we all looked across
at the light where the hermit lived.

“I’d be afraid to live there”—
it was Ken the driver who spoke.
He shivered and let us feel
the fear that made him shake.

Over to that dark island
my thought had already crossed—
I felt the side of the house
and the night wind unwilling to rest.

For the first time in all my life
I became someone else:
it was dark; others were going their way;
the river and I kept ours.

We came on home that night;
the road led us on. Everything
we said was louder—it was hollow,
and sounded dark like a bridge.

Somewhere I had lost someone—
so dear or so great or so fine
that I never cared again: as if
time dimmed, and color and sound were gone.

Come for me now, World—
whatever is near, come close.
I have been over the water
and lived there all alone.

Contemporary Russian Art – Part I of II: Alexandr Kompaniets

In the words of one writer, “Kompaniets, Alexander was born in Krasnodar in 1986. He graduated from the Krasnodar Art College in 2006. Graduated from the Saint-Petersburg State Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after Ilya Repin in 2012, the specialty is Painting.”

Below – “Shore”; “Autumn Asphalt”; “Sprig”; “Place of Beauty”; “Butterfly”; “Field”;

Musings in Winter: Jack Canfield

“If your dog doesn’t like someone, you probably shouldn’t either.”


A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Laughing Heart”
By Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Contemporary Russian Art – Part II of II: Tao (Sergey Kondrashkin)

In the words of one writer, “Tao (Sergey Kondrashkin) was born in 1979 in Leningrad. He graduated from I. Repin St. Petersburg State Academy Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, took internships abroad, and taught sculpture in an art college in China. Currently works and exhibits in St. Petersburg. His works are in the collections of the Hermitage and in private collections in Russia, the Netherlands, China, Belgium, Italy and Finland. Sergey Kondrashkin’s monumental artworks are installed in Novosibirsk and Chengdu, Sichuan Province (China). The sculptor finds inspiration in folklore, myths, and esoteric.”

Below – “Fallow Deer”; “The Golden Fleece”; “Wise Man.”

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“Because a lot of the time ever when I say anything about how the world is goin to hell in a handbasket people will just sort of smile and tell me I’m gettin old.” – “No Country for Old Men”

A Fifth Poem for Today

“Winter Stars”
By Sara Teasdale

I went out at night alone;
The young blood flowing beyond the sea
Seemed to have drenched my spirit’s wings—
I bore my sorrow heavily.

But when I lifted up my head
From shadows shaken on the snow,
I saw Orion in the east
Burn steadily as long ago.

From windows in my father’s house,
Dreaming my dreams on winter nights,
I watched Orion as a girl
Above another city’s lights.

Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too,
The world’s heart breaks beneath its wars,
All things are changed, save in the east
The faithful beauty of the stars.

Musings in Winter: Mary Stewart

“I saw the first light, fore-running the sun, gather in a cup of the eastern cloud, gather and grow and brim, till at last it spilled like milk over the golden lip, to smear the dark face of heaven from end to end. From east to north, and back to south again, the clouds slackened, the stars, trembling on the verge of extinction, guttered in the dawn wind, and the gates of day were ready to open at the trumpet.”

Contemporary American Art – Part I of II: Bill Inman

Artist Statement: “I strive for such excellence as will leave the collector without regret and consequently allow the subtleties and nuances of the painting to surface over time for the heightened enjoyment of the viewer, enhancing the intrinsic worth of the painting.”

Below – “Ancient Dreams”; “At Home on the Range”; “Greenhorn Mountain Creek”; “Rye Winter Road”; “Vantage Point”; “Hollyhocks.”

Musings in Winter: Joseph Campbell

“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”

Contemporary American Art – Part II of II: John Darling Haynes

Artist Statement: “My painting is inspired by the visuals of my life journeys as well as my imagination of the mundane. I find it a privilege to wander into the forgotten places of daily routine and ‘rearrange the furniture.’ The joy of breathing life into a lonely place with color and brushstroke is overwhelming at times.
I look back and ponder the thoughts of ‘who sat in that chair… what conversation transpired over the table… what secret narratives were played out by the family and friends in each room for generations?’ On the other hand, some paintings evoke humor and everyday thoughts such as ‘will you clean up your room… do I have any clean underwear for tomorrow… how much longer are you going to be in the tub?’”

Below – “River Harvest”; “A View Inside”; “Out to Pasture”; “A Place to Be”; “Down the Open Road 2”; “Blazin.”

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