Sentient in San Francisco – 21 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 21 April 1868 – Alfred Henry Maurer, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Carousel”; “An Arrangement”; “Figure in Landscape”; “The Model”; “Lady With A Japanese Fan”; “Girl In White.”

This Date in Literary History: Bon 21 April 1838 – John Muir, a Scottish-American author, naturalist, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, and “Father of the National Parks.”

Some quotes from the work of John Muir:

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.
“Hiking – I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre,’ ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
“To sit in solitude, to think in solitude with only the music of the stream and the cedar to break the flow of silence, there lies the value of wilderness.”
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.”
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.”
“The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”
“The mountains are calling and I must go.”


This Date in Art History: Born 21 April 1868 – Alfred Henry Maurer, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “In A Cafe”; “Woman In Pink”; “La Pal au Moulin Rouge”; “Paris Nocturne”; “The Beach”; “Woman With A Pink Bow – Portrait of a Lady.”

Remembering an Important Thinker on the Date of Hist Birth: Born 21 April 1915 – Garrett Hardin, an American ecologist and philosopher who warned of the dangers of human overpopulation. In the words of one writer, “His exposition of the tragedy of the commons, in a famous 1968 paper in ‘Science’, called attention to ‘the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment.’ He is also known for Hardin’s First Law of Human Ecology: ‘We can never do merely one thing. Any intrusion into nature has numerous effects, many of which are unpredictable.’”

Some quotes from the work of Garrett Hardin:

“The rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another . . . But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit — in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”
“The exquisite sight, sound, and smell of wilderness is many times more powerful if it is earned through physical achievement, if it comes at the end of a long and fatiguing trip for which vigorous good health is necessary. Practically speaking, this means that no one should be able to enter a wilderness by mechanical means.”
“The only thing we can really count on in this uncertain world is human unreliability itself.”
“Society does not need more children; but it does need more loved children. Quite literally, we cannot afford unloved children – but we pay heavily for them every day. There should not be the slightest communal concern when a woman elects to destroy the life of her thousandth-of-an-ounce embryo. But all society should rise up in alarm when it hears that a baby that is not wanted is about to be born.
“In a competitive world of limited resources, total freedom of individual action is intolerable.”
“Ecology is the overall science of which economics is a minor speciality.”
“A finite world can support only a finite population; therefore, population growth must eventually equal zero.”
“A coldly rationalist individualist can deny that he has any obligation to make sacrifices for the future.”
“Every measured thing is part of a web of variables more richly interconnected than we know.”


This Date in Art History: Born 21 April 1904 – Jean Helion, a French painter.

Below – “The Big Daily Read”; “Augam”; “Pegeen”; “Duo.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 21 April 1910 – Samuel Langhorne Clemons, known by his pen name Mark Twain, n American writer, humorist, critic, publisher, lecturer, and entrepreneur.

Some quotes from the work of Mark Twain:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”
“No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot.”
“Do not complain about growing old. It is a privilege denied to many.”
“Don’t wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”
“Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”
“The older I get, the more clearly I remember things that never happened.”
“The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”
“Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.”

Contemporary American Art – Kim Painter

Below – “Wade in the Water”; “Easy Morning on the River”; “Last Days of Summer”; “Lovely Day”; “Long Way Home.”

A Poem for Today

“Theater of Shadows”
by Derek N. Otsuji

Nights we could not sleep—
summer insects singing in dry heat,
short-circuiting the nerves—

Grandma would light a lamp,
at the center of our narrow room,
whose clean conspiracy of light

whispered to the tall blank walls,
illuminating them suddenly
like the canvas of a dream.

Between the lamp and wall
her arthritic wrists grew pliant
as she molded and cast

improbable animal shapes moving
on the wordless screen:
A blackbird, like a mynah, not a crow.

A dark horse’s head that could but would not talk.
An ashen rabbit (her elusive self)
triggered in snow

that a quivering touch (like death’s)
sent scampering into the wings
of that little theater of shadows

that eased us into dreams.

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