Wandering in Woodacre – 15 December 2020

Contemporary American Art – Shih Ma

Below – “moon night waves”; “snow mountain”; “Lake Nita”; “Night at Fenghuang”; “Twilight at Kumukea Beach”; “Spring at river bank.”

This Date in Tea History: In the words of one writer, “An International Tea Day has been celebrated on December 15, since 2005, in tea producing countries like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda and Tanzania.”
I’ll be celebrating International Tea Day in Woodacre, California.

Contemporary Spanish Art – Marina del Pozo: Part I of II

Below – “Dama series N 12”; “Gheisa serie 7”; “Ink gneiss n 4”; “Joven gheisa N 7”; “Gheisa serie 4”; “La sospecha.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 15 December 1896 – Betty Smith, an American novelist, playwright, and author of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”

Some quotes from the work of Betty Smith:

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”
“Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words.”
“I came to a clear conclusion, and it is a universal one: To live, to struggle, to be in love with life–in love with all life holds, joyful or sorrowful–is fulfillment. The fullness of life is open to all of us.”
“Who wants to die? Everything struggles to live. Look at that tree growing up there out of that grating. It gets no sun, and water only when it rains. It’s growing out of sour earth. And it’s strong because its hard struggle to live is making it strong. My children will be strong that way.”


Contemporary Spanish Art – Marina del Pozo: Part II of II

Below – “Summer”; “Young Gheisa”; “La ola”; “Time 1”; “Gheisa series N 2”; “Time 2.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 15 December 1930 – Edna O’Brien, an award-winning Irish novelist, playwright, poet, short story writer, and author of “The Country Girls” and “Saints and Sinners.”
Following its publication in Ireland in 1960, “The Country Girls” was banned, burned, and denounced from the pulpit. It’s that good.

Some quotes from the work of Edna O’Brien:

“In a way Winter is the real Spring – the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.”
“Ordinary life bypassed me, but I also bypassed it. It couldn’t have been any other way. Conventional life and conventional people are not for me.”
“It is increasingly clear that the fate of the universe will come to depend more and more on individuals as the bungling of bureaucracy permeates every corner of our existence.”
“When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.”
“To live with the work and the letters of James Joyce was an enormous privilege and a daunting education. Yes, I came to admire Joyce even more because he never ceased working, those words and the transubstantiation of words obsessed him. He was a broken man at the end of his life, unaware that Ulysses would be the number one book of the twentieth century and, for that matter, the twenty-first.”
“A country encapsulates our childhood and those lanes, byres, fields, flowers, insects, suns, moons and stars are forever reoccurring.”
“I always want to be in love, always. It’s like being a tuning fork.”
“Love . . . is like nature, but in reverse; first it fruits, then it flowers, then it seems to wither, then it goes deep, deep down into its burrow, where no one sees it, where it is lost from sight, and ultimately people die with that secret buried inside their souls.”
“What makes us so afraid is the thing we half see, or half hear, as in a wood at dusk, when a tree stump becomes an animal and a sound becomes a siren. And most of that fear is the fear of not knowing, of not actually seeing correctly.”


Contemporary American Art – Debra Bretton Robinson

Below – “Jackson Waterfall”; “Blessed by the Zest”; “Salt Island Sun Porch”; “The Amber Acre”; “Red Winged”; “Frozen.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 15 December 1913 – Muriel Rukeyser, an award-winning American poet and playwright.

“The Speaking Tree”
by Muriel Rukeyser

for Robert Payne

Great Alexander sailing was from his true course turned
By a young wind from a cloud in Asia moving
Like a most recognizable most silvery woman;
Tall Alexander to the island came.
The small breeze blew behind his turning head.
He walked the foam of ripples into this scene.

The trunk of the speaking tree looks like a tree-trunk
Until you look again. Then people and animals
Are ripening on the branches; the broad leaves
Are leaves; pale horses, sharp fine foxes
Blossom; the red rabbit falls
Ready and running. The trunk coils, turns,
Snakes, fishes. Now the ripe people fall and run,
Three of them in their shore-dance, flames that stand
Where reeds are creatures and the foam is flame.

Stiff Alexander stands. He cannot turn.
But he is free to turn : this is the speaking tree,
It calls your name. It tells us what we mean.

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