AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

29 April 2017

Magic.


Evening: to walk into my house is to walk into dawn, into color, into music, into perfume, into magic, into harmony.

Anaïs Nin

We.

So who are we? We are the life-force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. And we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world.Right here, right now, I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere, where we are. I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is. Or, I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere, where I become a single individual, a solid. Separate from the flow, separate from you. I am Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: intellectual, neuroanatomist. These are the "we" inside of me. Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when? I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner-peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be. And I thought that was an idea worth spreading.

27 April 2017

R.E.M., "Undertow"

Mukwa.


Bear (Mukwa) medicine.

Happy birthday, Grant.


Ulysses S. Grant was born on this day in 1822.

I do not believe I ever would have the courage to fight a duel. If any man should wrong me to the extent of my being willing to kill him, I would not be willing to give him the choice of weapons with which it should be done, and of the time, place and distance separating us, when I executed him.

Ulysses S. Grant

Robert Plant, "Turn It Up"

Notice.


I had stopped my chair at that exact place, coming out, because right there the spice of wisteria that hung around the house was invaded by the freshness of apple blossoms in a blend that lifted the top of my head. As between those who notice such things and those who don't, I prefer those who do.

Wallace Stegner

R.E.M., "Perfect Circle"

Romping.

Beard, Bears in the Watermelon Patch, 1871


Is that dance slowing in the mind of man
That made him think the universe could hum?
The great wheel turns its axle when it can;
I need a place to sing, and dancing-room,
And I have made a promise to my ears
I’ll sing and whistle romping with the bears.

Theodore Roethke

Stravinsky, Violin Concerto in D

Viktoria Mullova performs the Capriccio with the Berlin Philharmonic, directed by Gustavo Dudamel ...

Colin Hay, "There's Water Over You"

26 April 2017

Our.


The act of true reading is in its very essence democratic. Consider the nature of what happens when we read a book - and I mean, of course, a work of literature, not an instruction manual or a textbook - in private, unsupervised, un-spied-on, alone. It isn’t like a lecture: it’s like a conversation. There’s a back-and-forthness about it. The book proposes, the reader questions, the book responds, the reader considers. We bring our own preconceptions and expectations, our own intellectual qualities, and our limitations, too, our own previous experiences of reading, our own temperament, our own hopes and fears, our own personality to the encounter.

Philip Pullman

Unusual.


When we hear the sound of the pine trees on a windy day, perhaps the wind is just blowing, and the pine tree is just standing in the wind. That is all that they are doing. But the people who listen to the wind in the tree will write a poem, or will feel something unusual. That is, I think, the way everything is.

Shunryu Suzuki

CONNECT

Flows.


From the sound of cool waters heard through
the green boughs
Of the fruit-bearing trees,
And the rustling breeze,
Deep sleep, as a trance, down over me flows.

Sappho 

Yonder.


A DAY of SUNSHINE

O gift of God!  O perfect day:
Whereon shall no man work, but play;
Whereon it is enough for me,
Not to be doing, but to be!
Through every fibre of my brain,
Through every nerve, through every vein,
I feel the electric thrill, the touch
Of life, that seems almost too much.
I hear the wind among the trees
Playing celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
And over me unrolls on high
The splendid scenery of the sky,
Where through a sapphire sea the sun
Sails like a golden galleon,
Towards yonder cloud-land in the West,
Towards yonder Islands of the Blest,
Whose steep sierra far uplifts
Its craggy summits white with drifts.
Blow, winds! and waft through all the rooms
The snow-flakes of the cherry-blooms!
Blow, winds! and bend within my reach
The fiery blossoms of the peach!
O Life and Love! O happy throng
Of thoughts, whose only speech is song!
O heart of man! canst thou not be
Blithe as the air is, and as free? 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Surrendered.


Be helpless and dumbfounded,
unable to say yes or no.

Then a stretcher will come
from grace to gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see the beauty.
If we say "Yes we can," we'll be lying.

If we say "No, we don't see it,"
that "No" will behead us
and shut tight our window into spirit.

So let us not be sure of anything,
beside ourselves, and only that, so
miraculous beings come running to help.

Crazed, lying in a zero-circle, mute,
we will be saying finally,
with tremendous eloquence, "Lead us."

When we've totally surrendered to that beauty,
we'll become a mighty kindness.

Rumi

Happy birthday, Audubon.

Audubon, Pileated Woodpecker, n/d


John James Audubon was born on this day in 1785.

It would be difficult for me to say in what part of our extensive country I have not met with this hardy inhabitant of the forest. Even now, when several species of our birds are becoming rare, destroyed as they are, either to gratify the palate of the epicure, or to adorn the cabinet of the naturalist, the Pileated Woodpecker is every where to be found in the wild woods, although scarce and shy in the peopled districts.

Wherever it occurs it is a permanent resident, and, like its relative the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, it remains pretty constantly in the place which it has chosen after leaving its parents. It is at all times a shy bird, so that one can seldom approach it, unless under cover of a tree, or when he happens accidentally to surprise it while engaged in its daily avocations. When seen in a large field newly brought into tillage, and yet covered with girdled trees, it removes from one to another, cackling out its laughter-like notes, as if it found delight in leading you a wild-goose chase in pursuit of it. 

John James Audubon, from The Birds of North America (Amsterdam Edition)

CONNECT

Bach, Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001

Viktoria Mullova performs the Siciliana and the Presto ...

25 April 2017

Wander.


There are more like us. All over the world
There are confused people, who can’t remember
The name of their dog when they wake up, and people
Who love God but can’t remember where

He was when they went to sleep. It’s
All right. The world cleanses itself this way.
A wrong number occurs to you in the middle
Of the night, you dial it, it rings just in time

To save the house. And the second-story man
Gets the wrong address, where the insomniac lives,
And he’s lonely, and they talk, and the thief
Goes back to college. Even in graduate school,

You can wander into the wrong classroom,
And hear great poems lovingly spoken
By the wrong professor. And you find your soul,
And greatness has a defender, and even in death you’re safe.

Robert Bly

Peace.

Richardson & Cox, Mutability of Literature, 1864


I have sought everywhere for peace, but I have found it not, save in a little nook, and in a little book.

Thomas a Kempis

Imagine.


I like an empty wall because I can imagine what I like on it.

Georgia O'Keeffe

Legend.


Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent explores the remarkable life of Jeremiah Tower, one of the most controversial and influential figures in the history of American gastronomy. Tower began his career at the renowned Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1972, becoming a pioneering figure in the emerging California cuisine movement. After leaving Chez Panisse, due in part to a famously contentious relationship with founder Alice Waters, Tower went on to launch his own legendary Stars Restaurant in San Francisco. Stars was an overnight sensation and soon became one of America’s top-grossing U.S. restaurants. After several years, Tower mysteriously walked away from Stars and then disappeared from the scene for nearly two decades, only to resurface in the most unlikely of places: New York City’s fabled but troubled Tavern on the Green. There, he launched a journey of self-discovery familiar to anyone who has ever imagined themselves to be an artist. Featuring interviews by Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl and Martha Stewart, this delicious documentary tells the story of the rise and fall of America’s first celebrity chef, whose brash personality and culinary genius has made him a living legend.


Humility.


It’s a universal law — intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Thank you, Charlie.

Escape.


His early failure had released him from any felt obligation to think along institutional lines and his thoughts were already independent to a degree few people are familiar with. He felt that institutions such as schools, churches, governments, and political organizations of every sort all tended to direct thought for ends other than truth, for the perpetuation of their own functions, and for the control of individuals in the service of these functions. He came to see his early failure as a lucky break, an accidental escape from a trap that had been set for him, and he was very trap-wary about institutional truths for the remainder of his time.

Pretty.


When journalists praise new buildings, they often use words like "cutting edge" and "innovative," which are more appropriate for science rather than an art form. This has led to a situation where the word "brutalist" is a compliment, which is crazy -- how can being "brutal" be in any way praiseworthy? I would like to see words like "charming," "delightful," and, dare I say it, "pretty," be applied to architecture.

Francis Terry

Fund.


Scholars, amateur scientists, aspiring men of lettersjust about anyone with intellectual ambition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was likely to keep a commonplace book. In its most customary form, “commonplacing,” as it was called, involved transcribing interesting or inspirational passages from one’s reading, assembling a personalized encyclopedia of quotations. It was a kind of solitary version of the original web logs: an archive of interesting tidbits that one encountered during one’s textual browsing. The great minds of the periodMilton, Bacon, Lockewere zealous believers in the memory-enhancing powers of the commonplace book. There is a distinct self-help quality to the early descriptions of commonplacing’s virtues: in the words of one advocate, maintaining the books enabled one to “lay up a fund of knowledge, from which we may at all times select what is useful in the several pursuits of life.”

Queequeging.


They call it Queequegging.

Whoa-in.'


After this'n, ol' boy's whoa-in' 'er down ... fer good.

Endangered,


Cultural Offering has Roger Scruton on the endangering of childhood.

Happy birthday, Fitzgerald.


Ella Fitzgerald was born on this day in 1917.

Unbendingly.


In the 1980s the architect Quinlan Terry was a bogeyman to much of his profession. Unbendingly traditionalist, he believed that the classical orders were handed down by God. He saw nothing good in modern architecture. He thought that the stainless steel exo-viscera of Richard Rogers’s Lloyds building needed brick walls and a slate roof. His stance also made him a pinup, in his three-piece suit and all, to those who thought that new buildings should like just like old buildings. In the decade when economics were handed down by Margaret Thatcher – for whom, indeed, Terry designed interiors in No 10 Downing Street – and aesthetics by the Prince of Wales, an era when radical finance felt the need to dress itself in the trappings of old England, he was a man of his time.

Well, here we are again, in the reign of another she-Tory and another time of patriotic nostalgia, of the promised return of dark blue passports and a hoped-for relaunch of the royal yacht Britannia. Quinlan Terry is still at it, designing, among other things, country houses in Dorset, Ireland and Kentucky, but now there is also his son Francis, who last year set up his own practice after nearly 20 years working alongside his father. He is carrying out the same type of work as the older Terry – he has country houses on the go in Wiltshire, Norfolk, Hampshire and Ireland, and a mixed-use development in Twickenham – but he has also developed a new line of business, developing counter-proposals, backed by local residents, to overweening developers’ plans in places like Mount Pleasant and West Hampstead, London.

24 April 2017

Happy birthday, Warren.

Albrizio, Robert Penn Warren, 1935


Robert Penn Warren was born on this day in 1905.

EVENING HAWK 

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through 
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds, 
Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding 
The last tumultuous avalanche of 
Light above pines and the guttural gorge, 
The hawk comes. 

His wing 
Scythes down another day, his motion 
Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear 
The crashless fall of stalks of Time. 

The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error. 

Look! Look! he is climbing the last light 
Who knows neither Time nor error, and under 
Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings 
Into shadow. 

Long now, 
The last thrush is still, the last bat 
Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics. His wisdom 
Is ancient, too, and immense. The star 
Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.

If there were no wind we might, we think, hear 
The earth grind on its axis, or history
Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.

Robert Penn Warren

Objective.


INTRODUCTION

For almost thirty years I have written an outdoor column devoted primarily to describing and creating moods about the world of nature. These columns were informed by a rural background and more than sixty years of outdoor experience as contained in field notes made at the time. They tap undying memories. These twelve essays, one for each month, relate incidents and events that contributed heavily to the mood of the time. They are based on columns that appeared in the Columbus Metro Parks News, Ohio Conservation Bulletin Mood of the Month, Wonderful World of Ohio Magazine Outdoor Ohio, and Columbus Dispatch “It’s the Season” as well as in Country Living magazine articles.

            Observation is more of the mind than of vision; our attitude is the secret of original observation. I choose the subjective approach to outdoor enjoyment. I did this after training in zoology and doing twenty years of field work as a wildlife biologist. I first became aware of the great difference between the subjective and objective methods when I read Van Wyck Brook’s New England: Indian Summer, a literary history, wherein the author points out that poets are often more accurate in their observations of nature than scientists. Early American poets described a hemlock woods so well that the description endures 150 years later, whereas contemporary scientific descriptions have been revised many times and still cannot match the revelations of the poet.  The differences were so profound that I began to notice and compare.

            Another example leading me to subjective observation occurs in James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.  In the third “On the Porch” sequence with which he ends the book.  Agee relates an experience that he and the photographer Walker Evans shared while awaiting sleep on the front porch of an Alabama sharecropper’s cabin.  They heard an unknown night call, one that was repeated, then answered by a fellow creature.  Agee’s description of the unknown sound and of the dialogue between the two calling creatures, his discussion of it, and the nurturing of the theme much as a composer might have developed it are superb.  They lend a dimension to the mysterious event (and thus to all existence) that mere identification could never have given and increase the enjoyment beyond reckoning.  Agee’s personal, subjective treatment of the event is what renders it distinctive.   

            The final proof of the value of subjective enjoyment came from reading Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.  Proust would occasionally experience an unaccountable feeling of great happiness, ecstasy, certainty, release from his almost constant anxiety, and the purest joy he had ever know.  He noted that this state was triggered by commonplace experiences.  One day, for example, he ate a cookie dipped in herb tea and had the instant transport to this pleasant state.  He was puzzled and haunted by the mystery, and he sought an answer to the riddle. 

            Other experiences that affected him similarly included stepping on an uneven cobblestone street in a strange city, hearing a certain musical phrase, observing the glow of eventide on a restaurant wall, opening a childhood book, seeing a row of tall trees on a distant skyline.  There was no reasoned solution to account for this state, and he began to earnestly seek an answer to bring peace of mind and understanding to himself.

            Eventually he found the answer.  Individuals change constantly; reason is not equipped to deal with inner change resulting from the gradual accumulation of one’s past.  Only the sensual, the sense-receiving endowment, which remains the same throughout life, can recollect the past in a tranquil state.  Some of these sensual impressions at times of great joy slip into the subconscious mind unperceived by the individual and thus are untainted by thought. 

            Recollection, free of association with the present, recalls completely the freshness of the actual moment of occurrence.  During this magical spell of a return to the past, Proust actually lived in the hopeful atmosphere of that fertile time and had choices available to him then.  He had stumbled onto a way to go home again, only the trip couldn’t be willfully recalled.  It occurred when, by chance, some sensual experience opened the door of the subconscious for a brief return to the past.  This sensual recall is the only reality to an intelligent, imaginative person, Proust writes, for it is wholly and solely his, a completely individual experience.  Many reject it until too late because it is their own and they undervalue themselves.

            Such experience is the heart of individuality.  Since it is not subject to willed recall, it is necessary to explore the subconscious level of understanding.  There the answer may be found, and it is yours alone to find.  Here is Proust’s message for nature observers:  In observing nature, he writes, we pay more attention to the object than to our impression of it, thus ignoring the really original aspect, our own “view” of it.  In other words, we should learn to seek our own original view of what we observe.  We should live in a manner that will stock our subconscious storehouse with an abundance of original sensual impressions, which may later surface in our consciousness.  Thus we may find the reality (truth) that was intended for us from the beginning.  Do not die before the truth intended for you – your own individuality – is revealed to you.

To me, this is convincing proof of the value of the subjective method.  The scientific method is necessary to gain facts, but the manner in which one experiences the facts is what will determine their final value to the individual, and, perhaps, to society.  It eventually occurred to me that from my experience I had personally discovered romanticism two hundred years after the movement had its first stirrings.  Initially I didn’t recognize it because of my strong personal involvement in pursuing the subjective approach, but the knowledge had grown out of my dedicated pursuit.  It became apparent that each individual must experience the romantic movement for himself or herself.  When the discovery comes as a result of strong personal involvement, the person is convinced much more so that if he or she had studied the movement and intellectually decided to follow it. 

            The elements of this method are simplicity, a reliance on spontaneous sensual and emotional reaction to experience for the most creative pleasure, and a return to nature, supplemented by imaginative interpretation.  This results in a highly personal vision, one which may be mystical and often highly symbolic.  The method lends force and vitality to the person and to the pursuit.  Thus, the heart of romanticism—the subjective approach—gives man a sense of his energy and of his limitations.  It is the purest realism, contrary to its critics, for it is entirely the individual’s own.  It enables him to identify fully with the world about him and to express what he experiences lyrically and often dramatically, coloring his observations with richness and variety.  Balanced with a sound basic knowledge of the outdoors, it permits the individual to make creative growth, to move away from cold conformity.  He becomes a more natural person.

            The subjective approach has brought me great personal satisfaction and pleasure; it has resulted in a greater understanding and appreciation of nature.  In the process, I became what I was originally intended to be when I switched from an objective, scientific attitude to a highly personal subjective one:  I am much more natural and at ease following natural gifts than following a learned approach. 

            Each person should learn to read his or her own book.  Contacts with Mother Nature are an excellent place to start.  The enjoyment of the outdoors should be purely subjective for the greatest personal reward.

            The order of the material in each essay is as follows:  weather, diagnostic events, vegetation, birds, mammals, other wildlife, agriculture, the wild harvest, and finally, a summary of the mood of the month.  There may be repetition from month to month because there is repetition in the events of nature.  Each month has ins mood established primarily by the cycles of nature and only secondarily by man.  The Indian moon names are purely of the North American continent; they arose from living with nature rather than exploiting it.

            The wild harvest is important simply because it comes from untended nature.  Carl O. Sauer, a cultural geographer, writes of the evolution of agriculture in relation to the development of man, and he emphasizes the importance of the wild harvest to early man and its contribution to the development of farming.  Sauer’s strong feeling for this development helps to explain why so many have such a strong atavistic urge to participate in planting and harvesting, and in gathering wild harvest.

            I have included much on agriculture because of its importance to the landscape we view, and also because of my farm background, which greatly influenced my attitude toward the world of nature.  Man’s relation to the soil is strong because of this early contact with the earth.  It accounts for the need to get back to nature.  For this reason, all forms of outdoor activity are dealt with, the many forms of nature study and the various ways of the ancient harvest:  hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering wild plant products—potherbs, roots, fruits, and nuts.  Modern man has such great need to reestablish relations with the earth that any form of enjoying the outdoors is extremely valuable to society; all should be encouraged. 

            Phenology and the sense of seasonal progression are of constant concern since they contribute so greatly to the mood of any given time.  Old sayings and folklore are also included as an important part of the mood process.  Finally, the trends of land use and wildlife populations are mentioned because they are interrelated and so striking to the observer.

            One of the most intriguing aspects of nature study involves time.  Time has been defined as the sequential arrangement of events or as the interval between events.  This arrangement gives a sense of progress, order, and change to existence.  Time and space cannot be separated.  Our experiences in space are meaningless without a sense of time. 

            Time is an unending flow, one with which we change.  But, if a person constantly changes, what endures?  Memory!  The present is meaningless without reference to the past and anticipation of the future.  Human life might be defined as the consciousness of time.  Therefore, time is highly personal, and the subjective attitude is extremely crucial for human identity.

            Since subjectivity is the reality of time, one’s attitude and awareness cause it to go fast or slow, or cause one person to be keenly aware of its passing and another to be unconscious of its flux.  Time flows continuously, and our sense of it is colored by association.  Dynamic, unique events are milestones in our memory. 

            The inner world of experience and memory exhibits a structure causally determined by significant subjective associations rather than by objective connections to which we usually attribute it.  Values and emotion strongly color memory and influence our sense of time.  The serial order of time may be changed by memory.  Time is meaningful only within the context of personal experience;  it thus becomes qualitative whereas scientific, measured time is purely quantitative.

              Memory is the self; it is creative imagination.  In memory, the quality of an experience is preserved in its original state; there it attains an eternal essence and becomes more real, in a sense, than the original event.  Memory research, as it might be called, can turn up rich and unsuspected facts of one’s self and one’s world, and outdoor study can amplify such efforts.  Indian moon names illustrate the relationship between nature and the seasons.  The Indians, entirely dependent on nature, had ample time to observe, and important events lodged in their memory, coloring it by dynamic association.  Hence, their subjective moon names capture an eternal essence of the time, revealing far more about the period than the European names for the months.

            In the time of primitive man, regular occurrence of the changing phases of the moon was one of the most readily observable events in their world, and it became the most logical means of dividing time.  It was short step from using the cycle of the moon as a unit of time to using names to distinguish one moon from another, and the moon names that evolved were rich in meaning.  The names grew from conditions and characteristics of the particular moon period, such as changes or beauty or danger, and these conditions led to hope, joy, fear, or dread—attitudes expressed with wistfulness, gentleness, or harshness.  They served as reminders from one generation to another of the important events for the tribe during particular moon phases.  Moon names thus tell much about the people who devised them and of the region in which they originated.  The names reflect and preserve a sense of values. 

            I sincerely hope this book conveys to the reader the impact of the many dynamic wonders of nature. 

Merrill Gilfillan, from his book, Moods of the Ohio Moons: An Outdoorsman's Almanac

Thank You, Jessica, for Your keen awareness and hard work!

Black Flag, "Rise Above"

I find satisfaction
In what they lack

23 April 2017

22 April 2017

Nod.


The LAMPLIGHTER

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky;
It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street. 

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
And my papa’s a banker and as rich as he can be;
But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I’m to do,
Oh Leerie, I’ll go round at night and light the lamps with you! 

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And O! before you hurry by with ladder and with light,
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight!

Robert Louis Stevenson

Give.

Happy birthday, Nicholson.


Jack Nicholson was born on this day in 1937.

21 April 2017

Revels.

von Aachen, Bacchus, Ceres, and Amor, 1603


INSCRIPTION for an ANTIQUE PITCHER

Come, old friend! sit down and listen!
From the pitcher, placed between us,
How the waters laugh and glisten
In the head of old Silenus!


Old Silenus, bloated, drunken,
Led by his inebriate Satyrs;
On his breast his head is sunken,
Vacantly he leers and chatters.


Fauns with youthful Bacchus follow;
Ivy crowns that brow supernal
As the forehead of Apollo,
And possessing youth eternal.


Round about him, fair Bacchantes,
Bearing cymbals, flutes, and thyrses,
Wild from Naxian groves, or Zante's
Vineyards, sing delirious verses.


Thus he won, through all the nations,
Bloodless victories, and the farmer
Bore, as trophies and oblations,
Vines for banners, ploughs for armor.


Judged by no o'erzealous rigor,
Much this mystic throng expresses:
Bacchus was the type of vigor,
And Silenus of excesses.


These are ancient ethnic revels,
Of a faith long since forsaken;
Now the Satyrs, changed to devils,
Frighten mortals wine-o'ertaken.


Now to rivulets from the mountains
Point the rods of fortune-tellers;
Youth perpetual dwells in fountains;
Not in flasks, and casks, and cellars.


Claudius, though he sang of flagons
And huge tankards filled with Rhenish,
From that fiery blood of dragons
Never would his own replenish.


Even Redi, though he chaunted
Bacchus in the Tuscan valleys,
Never drank the wine he vaunted
In his dithyrambic sallies.


Then with water fill the pitcher
Wreathed about with classic fables,
Ne'er Falernian threw a richer
Light upon Lucullus' tables.

Come, old friend, sit down and listen!
As it passes thus between us,
How its wavelets laugh and glisten
In the head of old Silenus!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Rules.

Caravaggio, Bacchus, 1595


Come boy, and pour for me a cup
Of old Falernian. Fill it up
With wine, strong, sparkling, bright, and clear;
Our host decrees no water here.
Let dullards drink the Nymph's pale brew,
The sluggish thin their blood with dew.
For such pale stuff we have no use;
For us the purple grape's rich juice.
Begone, ye chilling water sprite;
Here burning Bacchus rules tonight!

Catullu

The Cars, "Gimme Some Slack"

Happy Friday!

Prepare.

Salini, The Young Bacchus, 1623


Prepare yourselves for the roaring voice of the God of Joy! 

Euripides

Jimmy Buffett, "Migration"

Well now, if I ever live to be an old man,
I'm gonna sail down to Martinique.
I'm gonna buy me a sweat-stained Bogart suit
and an African parakeet.
And then I'll sit him on my shoulder
and open up my trusty old mind.
I'm gonna teach him how to fuss,
Teach him how to cuss,
And pull the cork out of a bottle of wine.

Next.

Happy birthday, Muir.


John Muir was born on this day in 1838.

I drifted on through the midst of this passionate music and motion, across many a glen, from ridge to ridge; often halting in the lee of a rock for shelter, or to gaze and listen. Even when the grand anthem had swelled to its highest pitch, I could distinctly hear the varying tones of individual trees,--Spruce, and Fir, and Pine, and leafless Oak,--and even the infinitely gentle rustle of the withered grasses at my feet. Each was expressing itself in its own way,--singing its own song, and making its own peculiar gestures,--manifesting a richness of variety to be found in no other forest I have yet seen. The coniferous woods of Canada, and the Carolinas, and Florida, are made up of trees that resemble one another about as nearly as blades of grass, and grow close together in much the same way. Coniferous trees, in general, seldom possess individual character, such as is manifest among Oaks and Elms. But the California forests are made up of a greater number of distinct species than any other in the world. And in them we find, not only a marked differentiation into special groups, but also a marked individuality in almost every tree, giving rise to storm effects indescribably glorious.

Toward midday, after a long, tingling scramble through copses of hazel and ceanothus, I gained the summit of the highest ridge in the neighborhood; and then it occurred to me that it would be a fine thing to climb one of the trees to obtain a wider outlook and get my ear close to the Æolian music of its topmost needles. But under the circumstances the choice of a tree was a serious matter. One whose instep was not very strong seemed in danger of being blown down, or of being struck by others in case they should fall; another was branchless to a considerable height above the ground, and at the same time too large to be grasped with arms and legs in climbing; while others were not favorably situated for clear views. After cautiously casting about, I made choice of the tallest of a group of Douglas Spruces that were growing close together like a tuft of grass, no one of which seemed likely to fall unless all the rest fell with it. Though comparatively young, they were about 100 feet high, and their lithe, brushy tops were rocking and swirling in wild ecstasy. Being accustomed to climb trees in making botanical studies, I experienced no difficulty in reaching the top of this one, and never before did I enjoy so noble an exhilaration of motion. The slender tops fairly flapped and swished in the passionate torrent, bending and swirling backward and forward, round and round, tracing indescribable combinations of vertical and horizontal curves, while I clung with muscles firm braced, like a bobo-link on a reed.

In its widest sweeps my tree-top described an arc of from twenty to thirty degrees, but I felt sure of its elastic temper, having seen others of the same species still more severely tried--bent almost to the ground indeed, in heavy snows--without breaking a fiber. I was therefore safe, and free to take the wind into my pulses and enjoy the excited forest from my superb outlook. The view from here must be extremely beautiful in any weather. Now my eye roved over the piny hills and dales as over fields of waving grain, and felt the light running in ripples and broad swelling undulations across the valleys from ridge to ridge, as the shining foliage was stirred by corresponding waves of air. Oftentimes these waves of reflected light would break up suddenly into a kind of beaten foam, and again, after chasing one another in regular order, they would seem to bend forward in concentric curves, and disappear on some hillside, like sea-waves on a shelving shore. The quantity of light reflected from the bent needles was so great as to make whole groves appear as ifcovered with snow, while the black shadows beneath the trees greatly enhanced the effect of the silvery splendor.

Excepting only the shadows there was nothing somber in all this wild sea of pines. On the contrary, notwithstanding this was the winter season, the colors were remarkably beautiful. The shafts of the pine and libocedrus were brown and purple, and most of the foliage was well tinged with yellow; the laurel groves, with the pale undersides of their leaves turned upward, made masses of gray; and then there was many a dash of chocolate color from clumps of manzanita, and jet of vivid crimson from the bark of the madroños, while the ground on the hillsides, appearing here and there through openings between the groves, displayed masses of pale purple and brown.

The sounds of the storm corresponded gloriously with this wild exuberance of light and motion. The profound bass of the naked branches and boles booming like waterfalls; the quick, tense vibrations of the pine-needles, now rising to a shrill, whistling hiss, now falling to a silky murmur; the rustling of laurel groves in the dells, and the keen metallic click of leaf on leaf--all this was heard in easy analysis when the attention was calmly bent.