Saturday, August 18, 2018

Oboe sleeping in the sun



If you listen very closely, you will hearing Oboe snoring softly as the birds are singing.  Oboe's birthday is in August.  She is 13 years old this year.  Sometimes when she snores, I think it is my cell phone vibrating.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Mandala #32: Starry Landscape Drawn From Childhood Memories Of California




















I don't know why this mandala unfolded the way it did, anymore than I know about the previous ones.  This one feels unsettled and unresolved to me.  My decision is to let it be that way.

Bob Dylan has sung various versions of "God Knows"

God (or goodness or heaven) knows
phrase of know
  1. 1. 
    used to emphasize that one does not know something.
    "God knows what else they might find"


    Thanks to Sabine who gave me the link to this lecture listened to while working on parts of this mandala and for giving me so much to think and feel about on her blog and to Elizabeth for her enlightening blog and for her collaborative podcasts which I also listened to while working on this mandala.  Thank you to everyone who continues to visit my blog.  You all contribute to what inspires me to keep making mandalas.  I'm grateful for this community of kindred spirits.

    And eternal thanks to Mavis Staples for:


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

"Under the Red Sky" / 1990, 2017, 2018 / Summer Sky with Bird



Although sky isn't red here this summer so far, it was red for 11 days at this time last year from wildfires in Eastern Washington and British Columbia as well as a local fire.

Just now, while thinking about the massively out-of-control fire in Shasta County in Northern California and reading about the red sky in the Central Valley of California as a result of that fire, I remembered Bob Dylan's album from 1990 which was titled "Under the Red Sky," and I again remembered the song called "Unbelievable."  Bettye LaVette does justice to that eerily prescient song from the album "Under the Red Sky."  

Now I'm remembering when the oil fields were on fire in Kuwait in 1991.

When I looked up into the hot summer sky in the coastal Pacific Northwest, I saw a bird:


Monday, August 6, 2018

Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2018















Image from the Hiroshima series, created by Jacob Lawrence.

Each year on August 6 and August 9, I continue to wonder more deeply why Nazi Germany is held up as the epitome of human cruelty, when the U.S. government perpetrated the atrocity of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, incinerating far more innocent people in two days than the Nazis could in any two-day period and when U.S. history demonstrates centuries of institutionalized human cruelty.   Jacob Lawrence's image of Hiroshima could just as easily be that of people dying in a gas chamber or of any group of people who has suffered under the centuries of policies of the U.S. government, about which there has been such denial and continues to be under the current president and those who voted for him to support their own denial.  

There is so much about which could be said, "Never again."

Thursday, August 2, 2018

What We Are Made Of / To Each One's Own, It's All Unknown / Dead To The World (Alive Alive-O)












News from our neighborhood:

Orca mother carrying her calf who died

Thich Nhat Hanh

When we look into the heart of a flower, we see clouds, sunshine, minerals, time, the earth, and everything else in the cosmos in it. Without clouds, there could be no rain, and there would be no flower. Without time, the flower could not bloom. In fact, the flower is made of entirely non-flower elements; it has no independent, individual existence. When we see the nature of inter-being, barriers between ourselves and others are dissolved, and peace, love, and understanding are possible. Whenever there is understanding, compassion is born.


(quote from Daily Dig, August 2, 2018)


Sulubika - Flute Ernie Provencher - Bass Noel Okimoto - Drums

If dogs run free, then why not we
Across the swooping plain?
My ears hear a symphony
Of two mules, trains and rain
The best is always yet to come
That's what they explain to me
Just do your thing, you'll be king
If dogs run free
If dogs run free, why not me
Across the swamp of time?
My mind weaves a symphony
And tapestry of rhyme
Oh, winds which rush my tale to thee
So it may flow and be
To each his own, it's all unknown
If dogs run free
If dogs run free, then what must be
Must be, and that is all
True love can make a blade of grass
Stand up straight and tall
In harmony with the cosmic sea
True love needs no company
It can cure the soul, it can make it whole
If dogs run free

(Bob Dylan, 1970)


... dead to the world alive I awoke alive I awoke alive alive I awoke alive I awoke alive I awoke alive I awoke I awoke alive I awoke alive alive-o alive alive-o

I'm still thinking about what robin andrea, wrote about her first eight years of life:

Another memory that I can never forget is the time a neighbor who lived in the apartment building above that candy store drew some crosses on the sidewalk. Being Jewish, I hadn't ever really seen or noticed such a thing before. I asked her what it was. She told me the story as best a seven-year old could tell a five-year old what a cross was and who Jesus was. I was devastated. I had to go home and lay down in bed. I had never heard such a thing in my life, someone nailed to a cross. It was then I realized that humans could be more horrible to each other than I had ever imagined. I never forgot.

And I remembered the worlds of an elderly Jewish woman friend of mine who remarked that, given some of the experiences during her lifetime, she didn't have to be a Christian to be moved by the story of the life and death of Jesus.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The voice of a 92 year old and the voice of a Vietnam War combat veteran who became a Zen Buddhist and the voice of a Nobel Prize winner and the voice of a commencement speaker



Abe Markman

As a white man living in a black family for the last fifty-eight years, and having served people of color as a social worker in inner cities, I can attest to having prejudice toward blacks and learning how to act without it. The key, I think, is to fully acknowledge it. Malcolm Gladwell discusses this phenomenon in his 2005 book, Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking. He quotes a psychologist, Keith Payne, who writes that, “When we make a split-second decision, we are really vulnerable to being guided by our stereotypes and prejudices, even ones we may not necessarily endorse or believe.” Gladwell goes on to write that when one of our own hidden biases flashes before us, “we need to wait a beat before identifying the object in an unbiased way… the giant computer in our unconscious needs a moment to do its work.” (from an article in The Humanist)

In the following talks, Claude AnShin Thomas addresses what I perceive as the same process of learning not to act out of previous conditioning, of learning to act in ways that don't promote endless suffering.





Claude AnShin Thomas

Again and again, I find myself asking, "How much violence are we willing to tolerate so that we don't have to feel uncomfortable?"  And, "How much violence are we willing to tolerate so that we don't have to alter our lifestyle?" These are questions that echo in my mind as I move from place to place.  They apply not only to the obvious fighting taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan; they address the roots of violence that exist within me and within each one of us.  (from At Hell's Gate, p. 162)














Toni Morrison -- 1993 Nobel Lecture 

... She is convinced that when language dies, out of carelessness, disuse, indifference and absence of esteem, or killed by fiat, not only she herself, but all users and makers are accountable for its demise. In her country children have bitten their tongues off and use bullets instead to iterate the voice of speechlessness, of disabled and disabling language, of language adults have abandoned altogether as a device for grappling with meaning, providing guidance, or expressing love. But she knows tongue-suicide is not only the choice of children. It is common among the infantile heads of state and power merchants whose evacuated language leaves them with no access to what is left of their human instincts for they speak only to those who obey, or in order to force obedience ...

... It's quiet again when the children finish speaking, until the woman breaks into the silence. 

"Finally", she says, "I trust you now. I trust you with the bird that is not in your hands because you have truly caught it. Look. How lovely it is, this thing we have done - together."

(quotes from the Nobel Lecture)

(Transcript from the Nobel Lecture)



Louise Erdrich

"Do your best for this beautiful world." (from the 2009 commencement speech)

This all took some time to listen to.  It was worth the time.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Survival Against All Odds / Ohiyesa / The Great Mystery




The man who preserves his selfhood, ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence – not a leaf, as it were, astir on a tree; not a ripple upon the surface of shining pool – his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life. If you ask him: “What is silence?” he will answer: “It is the Great Mystery! The holy silence is its voice!” If you ask: “What are the fruits of silence?” he will say: “They are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity, and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character.”

-- Ohiyesa (1858-1939)

From the trailer:

"In incredible circumstances, he was able to retrieve his dignity and keep a sense that his people come first."

"Indigenous people today still live in the kind of world Ohiyesa lived in, where his population was disregarded.  We are forced to work within structures that are not our own."

Monday, July 23, 2018

Something Inside


The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The further you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me, you can decide
To turn your face away
No matter 'cause there's
Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you're doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There's something inside so strong
Oh, something inside so strong
The more you refuse to hear my voice (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)
The louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)
Your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time, you squander wealth that's mine
My light will shine so brightly it will blind you
Because there's
Something inside so strong, strong
I know that I can make it
Though you're doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There's something inside so strong
Oh, something inside so strong
Brothers and sisters
When they insist we're just not good enough
Well we know better
Just look him in his eyes and say
We're gonna do it anyway
We're gonna do it anyway
There's something inside so strong
And I know that I can make it
Though you're doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There's something inside so strong, oh
Something inside so strong
Brothers and sisters
When they insist we're just not good enough
Well we know better
Just look him in his eyes and say
We're gonna do it anyway
We're gonna do it anyway
We're gonna do it anyway
We're gonna do it anyway
Because there's
Something inside so strong, (something inside so strong)
I know that I can make it
Though you're doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no, oh no
There's something inside so strong
Something inside so strong (oh oh yeah)
I know that I can make it
Though you're doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no, oh no
There's something inside so strong
Oh oh, something inside so strong
Oh oh, something inside so strong
Oh oh, something inside so strong
Songwriters: Labi Siffre
(Something Inside) So Strong lyrics © 1990 Universal Music Publishing Group

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Spirit



Spirit of the water
Give us all the courage and the grace To make genius of this tragedy unfolding The genius to save this place. © 2007; Crazy Crow Music