Thursday, May 26, 2022

Ordinary Charms

Gardening is the handiest excuse for being a philosopher. Nobody guesses, nobody accuses, nobody knows, but there you are, Plato in the peonies.
~Ray Bradbury

It's stressful, trying to figure out how to make necessary change happen. Spending time in nature is a good way to de-stress, and spending time with peonies (and peony poems) is A+

By The Peonies
by Czeslaw Milosz

The peonies bloom, white and pink.
And inside each, as in a fragrant bowl,
A swarm of tiny beetles have their conversation,
For the flower is given to them as their home.

Mother stands by the peony bed,
Reaches for one bloom, opens its petals,
And looks for a long time into peony lands,
Where one short instant equals a whole year.

Then lets the flower go. And what she thinks
She repeats aloud to the children and herself.
The wind sways the green leaves gently
And speckles of light flick across their faces.

The charms of the ordinariness soothe the threat of anxiety.


A Word Edgewise has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Linda!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Maurice Sterne

In his first few years in his new country, Sterne worked part-time in, among other places, a flag factory, a cigar store, a bronze factory, a mirror factory, and a saloon. One of his jobs, an apprenticeship in a map-engraver's shop, refocused his attention on art.
~Archives at Yale

I am spitting mad about legislators who offer lip service instead of doing what they are being paid to do, namely make their constituents' lives better/safer/possible. What is freedom? Is freedom being able to go to school, church, the movies, the grocery store without worrying about being shot? Yes, I would say it is.

I picked Latvian-American Maurice Sterne today because I like his paintings. No relation to my real world concerns!

Benares, 1912
by Maurice Sterne

Village Scene
by Maurice Sterne

Monday, May 23, 2022

Caroline Spence

Most days it's hard just to be yourself
But it's impossible to be anybody elsе
~Caroline Spence

For Music Monday, Clean Getaway:

A tip of the hat to Ariana for introducing me to Caroline Spence!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Alisa Amador

Cuando sentiré mi hogar en mi voz?
When will I feel my home in my voice?
~Alisa Amador

I'm in the middle of making something to celebrate Dash's MPP graduation (Master of Public Policy) so I am short on time. Instead of visual art, we have music this Thursday: the winner of NPR's 2022 Tiny Desk Contest, Alisa Amador:

Wasn't that lovely?

Monday, May 16, 2022

Wild as a mink

Music works in both magical and clinically substantiated ways in communities with rich musical traditions
~Taylor Sisk

Today's Music Monday songs were kicked off by National Geographic's article How music is used to heal the sick in Appalachia.

Some of the songs they mention in the article are favorites of mine (e.g. "I'll Fly Away" and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken") but I decided to follow some rabbit trails from the piece. For instance, they discuss The Floyd Country Store, a hotspot for authentic Appalachian music. (I grew up less than an hour from The Floyd Country Store, but haven't been! Man, I'm missing out.)

Here's Keith Alessi, one of the musicians who jams there:

One of the bands Keith Alessi likes: Henhouse Prowlers

Last one! The article mentions "Rodney Harmon of Floyd County, Virginia, has been flatfooting for 60 years, but never had he danced in a health clinic." He did on this day, though: "Harmon dances to “Rocky Top,” giving it his all. Winded, and much obliged for the music and care, he heads home." Here's Rocky Top (instrumental):

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Storm-darken’d or starry bright

My days, my years, my life has seen up and downs, lights and darknesses. If I wrote only and continually of the 'light' and never mentioned the other, then as an artist, I would be a liar.
~Charles Bukowski

Poems to sing to us and help us "through the world...safely go" today.

Where My Books Go
by William Butler Yeats

All the words that I utter,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm-darken’d or starry bright.


Joy and Woe
by William Blake

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine,
Under every grief and pine,
Runs a joy with silken twine.
It is right it should be so,
We were made for joy and woe,
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.


Imagine the Possibilities has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Rose!


I grew up in Los Angeles, and I was always fascinated by the La Brea Tar Pits. Right in the middle of the city, in an area called the Miracle Mile, for crying out loud, we have these eldritch ponds of dark, bubbling goo. And down in the muck, there're all these amazing fossils: mammoth and saber tooth cat and dire wolf.
~Greg van Eekhout

I was trying to figure out what to post for Art Thursday and I kept seeing all this cool old stuff. When I say old, I mean old. Here we go...

Fossil of 37 million year old Whale Skeleton (65ft+ long)
Found in Wadi Al Hitan, Egyptian desert

The Hove amber cup
Dated to around 1250 BCE, the amber cup was found in a Wessex culture grave in a coffin made from a treetrunk. Also in the coffin were a skeleton, a Camerton (Wessex culture) type dagger, a whetstone and a small axe.
Photo credit: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

Collection of Scarabaeus
Scarabs were popular amulets and impression seals in ancient Egypt
photo by Siga

Terracotta figurine of a man grating cheese, 2,500 years old
Found at the ancient Boeotian city of Mykalissos, present-day Rhitsona in Greece
Thebes Archaeological Museum