Musings in Winter: Dean Koontz
“One of the greatest gifts we receive from dogs is the tenderness they evoke in us. The disappointments of life, the injustices, the battering events that are beyond our control, and the betrayals we endure, from those we befriended and loved, can make us cynical and turn our hearts into flint – on which only the matches of anger and bitterness can be struck into flame. By their delight in being with us, the reliable sunniness of their disposition, the joy they bring to playtime, the curiosity with which they embrace each new experience, dogs can melt cynicism, and sweeten the bitter heart.”
Art for Winter – Part I of V: David Schneuer (German, 1905-1908)
Below – “Reflect”; “Men and Women”; “Parasol I”
For Your Information: 17 February is National Random Acts of Kindness Day in the United States.
Art for Winter – Part II of V: Michael Schofield (American, contemporary)
Below – “After the Rain”; “Barn”; Untitled
Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 17 February 1955 – Guan Moye, better known by his pen name Mo Yan, a Chinese writer, author of “Red Sorghum Clan,” and recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Some quotes from the work of Mo Yan:
“Finally, she mused that human existence is as brief as the life of autumn grass, so what was there to fear from taking chances with your life?”
“People who are strangers to liquor are incapable of talking about literature.”
“The act of giving voice to this spiritual suffering is, in my view, the sacred duty of the writer.”
“All kinds of mysterious phenomena exist in this world, but answers to most of them have come with advances in scientific knowledge. Love is the sole holdout-nothing can explain it. A Chinese writer by the name of Ah Cheng wrote that love is just a chemical reaction, an unconventional point of view that seemed quite fresh at the time. But if love can be controlled and initiated by means of chemistry, then novelists would be out of a job. So while he may have had his finger on the truth, I’ll remain a member of the loyal opposition.”
The young must not scoff at the old, for flowers don’t bloom forever”
“I sometimes think that there is a link between the decline in humanity and the increase in prosperity and comfort. Property and comfort are what people seek, but the costs to character are often terrifying.”
Art for Winter – Part III of V: Ferdinando Vichi (Italian, 1875-1945)
Below – “Sea Nymph”; “Venus Italica”; “Alabaster Sculpture of a Nymph”
Worth a Thousand Words: Mount Shasta, California.
Art for Winter – Part IV of V: Heinz Scholnhammer (Austrian, contemporary)
Below – “Strawberry in Glass”; “Larkspur”; “Springtime”
Remembering an Important Tribal Leader on the Date of His Death: Died 17 February 1909 – Geronimo, a Chiricahua Apache leader and medicine man who fought against the military campaigns of both Mexico and the United States in the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora and the southwestern American territories New Mexico and Arizona.
Some quotes from Geronimo:
“I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.”
“It is my land, my home, my father’s land, to which I now ask to be allowed to return. I want to spend my last days there, and be buried among those mountains. If this could be I might die in peace, feeling that my people, placed in their native homes, would increase in numbers, rather than diminish as at present, and that our name would not become extinct.”
“Late one afternoon when returning from town we were met by a few women and children who told us that Mexican troops from some other town had attacked our camp, killed all the warriors of the guard, captured all our ponies, secured our arms, destroyed our supplies, and killed many of our women and children.. when all were counted, I found that my aged mother, my young wife, and my three small children were among the slain.”
“The soldiers never explained to the government when an Indian was wronged, but reported the misdeeds of the Indians.”
“The song that I will sing is an old song, so old that none knows who made it. It has been handed down through generations and was taught to me when I was but a little lad. It is now my own song. It belongs to me. This is a holy song (medicine-song), and great is its power. The song tells how, as I sing, I go through the air to a holy place where Yusun (The Supreme Being) will give me power to do wonderful things. I am surrounded by little clouds, and as I go through the air I change, becoming spirit only.”
“When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom, and protection. We never prayed against any person, but if we had aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were taught that Yusun does not care for the petty quarrels of men.”
“We had no churches, no religious organizations, so sabbath day, no holidays, and yet we worshiped. Sometimes the whole tribe would assemble and sing and pray; sometimes a smaller number, perhaps only two or three. The songs had a few words, but were not formal. The singer would occasionally put in such words as he wished instead of the usual tone sound. Sometimes we prayed in silence; sometimes each prayed aloud; sometimes an aged person prayed for all of us. At other times one would rise and speak to us of our duties to each other and to Yusun. Our services were short.”
“I should never have surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive.”
Art for Winter – Part V of V: Elmer Schooley (American, 1916-2007)
Below – “Schooley’s Garden”; “Woody”; “Poplar”
Musings in Winter: Stephen Hawking
“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”
This Date in Art History: Born 17 February 1832 – Richard Henry Park, an American sculptor.
Below – “Marble Bust of Maiden”; “Edgar Allan Poe Memorial”; “Benjamin Franklin Monument”; “Sculpted Bust of a Classical Beauty”; “Farmer Girl.”
A Poem for Today
“Notice What This Poem Is Not Doing”
by William Stafford
The light along the hills in the morning
comes down slowly, naming the trees
white, then coasting the ground for stones to nominate.
Notice what this poem is not doing.
A house, a house, a barn, the old
quarry, where the river shrugs–
how much of this place is yours?
Notice what this poem is not doing.
Every person gone has taken a stone
to hold, and catch the sun. The carving
says, “Not here, but called away.”
Notice what this poem is not doing.
The sun, the earth, the sky, all wait.
The crowns and redbirds talk. The light
along the hills has come, has found you.
Notice what this poem has not done.
In the words of one writer, “Fritz Scholder’s mix of Expressionisism and Native American imagery is credited with revitalizing Indian art in the 1960s and ’70s. His art is in many major museums, including the National Gallery and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, the Museum of Modern Art in New York.”
Below – “Portrait of a Dream”; “Last Indian With American Flag”;
“Winged Shaman”; “Mystery Woman in Pool”; “Mystery Woman With Cactus”; “Reservation Dog.”