Thursday, February 27, 2014

Yoga with the Camera and the Birds

The photos were taken during my morning yoga practice a few days ago.  For the last few weeks, because I was not feeling well, I did not spend any time on my yoga mat.  It felt good to be back on my yoga mat. While I was performing the asanas, the sun was rising, and I was unable to resist interrupting the asana practice in order to grab my camera from the table and take some photographs while standing on the yoga mat. The second photo was taken through one of my windows, using the zoom function.  I resumed my yoga practice.  Then the moment came when I couldn't resist leaving the yoga mat and going out on my porch to take some black and white photos.  This is the best of those photos:

Again I returned to the yoga mat, but soon a flock of bushtits arrived, and their wings were illuminated by the rising sun.  Once again, I reached for my camera as I stood on the yoga mat:

If you turn the sound up, you will hear something from "Chants of India," by Ravi Shankar and George Harrison.  My camera is part of my yoga practice this time of year when it is light enough in the early morning to see outside.  There is more and more early morning birdsong as spring approaches.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gathered From Coincidence On A Snowy Day

The Invisible Peak from Gary Yost on Vimeo.

A few days ago, I watched Werner Herzog's Little Dieter Needs To Fly after Dominic Rivron had mentioned it in a comment here on my blog.  Dieter Dengler lived on Mt. Tamalpais.  This morning after reading Sabine's thoughtful post, I moved on to the Doonesbury website and came across a video about the Coastal Miwok and their sacred mountain, Mt. Tamalpais.  If you don't have time to watch the entire video, go to the end of the video and listen to Sky Road Webb drumming and singing on the top of Mt. Tamalpais.

If you watch the entire video, look for Sacheen Littlefeather.

"If we take care of the mountain, the mountain will take care of us."
(from the credits at the end of "The Invisible Peak")

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Listening / Awake and Alive

Perry McClellan and Judith Gorman read the words of their son Orrin Gorman McClellan who penned these poems while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan in 2005-2006.  Orrin, who struggled with PTSD after returning home, took his own life in 2010.
(Paragraph quoted from here)

Most people have the option of forgetting.  It's a survival thing.  Artists do not have that option, and I think that may of us suffer from hypermnesia, an exceptionally exact and vivid memory and often associated with mental illness, but our whole act of creating ... depends on that memory.  The only way we can get rid of it is to put it down on paper.
(Allen Say)

Train wheels runnin' through the back of my memory.
(Bob Dylan)

I am always doing what I cannot do in order than I may learn from it.

May my silences become more accurate.
(Theodore Roethke)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Alive Alive-O

Many of you have seen this turtle drawing before.  It's from a letter written in Vietnam in 1970.  Something has been going on with me since last fall.  Both terrifying and exhilarating feelings, as opposed to memories, are returning from 1970-1971 and from the last few days of 2007 (when I learned that my old friend had sustained a brain stem stroke) through late April of 2008 when he died in a VA Hospital in California.

I feel more awake and alive than I have in years.  Looking forward to volunteering with the babies again next week after my bout with pink eye is over!  I'd thought I'd be back volunteering this week because the second head cold I've had since starting volunteering last October is now gone.  It's a dark windy rainy day here.  The first green tips of the golden day lily fronds are appearing in their planter on my porch.

Alive Alive-O.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Born in 1914 in Minnesota

My Dad would have been 100 years old today.

Any guesses as to how many months old he is in this photo?  I'm not sure what his exact age is in this photo but having been spending time volunteering in a daycare in recent months, helping out with a group of babies, I see him in an entirely new light this year.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Wild Blue Sky Of Day

Thanks to R. L. Bourges for the inspiration.

Sending all my love to my nephew and his girlfriend who
will be having a baby in May.


Awake and alert
As full and fragmented as the moon
Rising and reflecting
In a western sea
We hear night birds
Singing in the shadows
Mocking darkness
Mocking darkness
The moon asks an impossible question:
Do I control you
Or do you control me
In my circular journey
We ask the moon an impossible question:
Do we control you
Or do you control us
In our cyclical journey
We hear night words
We sing in the shadows
Mocking darkness
Mocking darkness
Imagine us at dawn
A nation of sleepless women with moon and birds
Just above the hills of childhood
Caught between impossible questions
And the wild blue sky of day.


Babies are like us
Except when they smile
Their eyes are so clear
They can see everything we have forgotten
At first they have nothing to say
We draw their attention
Away from holy light
To clocks and alphabets
Words like parallelogram
Make them laugh
They can’t tell time from applesauce
Yet they store words
With smooth stones and skinned knees
No one really knows where they come from
Or where they go
They would put the sun
In their mouths
If they could reach that high
Not knowing who we are
Still they trust us
We impress them
With our brave words
Our clever clocks

(poems and drawing, "The Wild Blue Sky of Day," by am from the early 1980s)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"No Time To Think" / "Bob Dylan goes to see us"

In death, you face life with a child and a wife
Who sleep-walks through your dreams into walls
You’re a soldier of mercy, you’re cold and you curse
“He who cannot be trusted must fall”
Loneliness, tenderness, high society, notoriety
You fight for the throne and you travel alone
Unknown as you slowly sink
And there’s no time to think
In the Federal City you been blown and shown pity
In secret, for pieces of change
The empress attracts you but oppression distracts you
And it makes you feel violent and strange
Memory, ecstasy, tyranny, hypocrisy
Betrayed by a kiss on a cool night of bliss
In the valley of the missing link
And you have no time to think
Judges will haunt you, the country priestess will want you
Her worst is better than best
I’ve seen all these decoys through a set of deep turquoise eyes
And I feel so depressed
China doll, alcohol, duality, mortality
Mercury rules you and destiny fools you
Like the plague, with a dangerous wink
And there’s no time to think
Your conscience betrayed you when some tyrant waylaid you
Where the lion lies down with the lamb
I’d have paid off the traitor and killed him much later
But that’s just the way that I am
Paradise, sacrifice, mortality, reality
But the magician is quicker and his game
Is much thicker than blood and blacker than ink
And there’s no time to think
Anger and jealousy’s all that he sells us
He’s content when you’re under his thumb
Madmen oppose him, but your kindness throws him
To survive it you play deaf and dumb
Equality, liberty, humility, simplicity
You glance through the mirror and there’s eyes staring clear
At the back of your head as you drink
And there’s no time to think
Warlords of sorrow and queens of tomorrow
Will offer their heads for a prayer
You can’t find no salvation, you have no expectations
Anytime, anyplace, anywhere
Mercury, gravity, nobility, humility
You know you can’t keep her and the water gets deeper
That is leading you onto the brink
But there’s no time to think
You’ve murdered your vanity, buried your sanity
For pleasure you must now resist
Lovers obey you but they cannot sway you
They’re not even sure you exist
Socialism, hypnotism, patriotism, materialism
Fools making laws for the breaking of jaws
And the sound of the keys as they clink
But there’s no time to think
The bridge that you travel on goes to the Babylon girl
With the rose in her hair
Starlight in the East and you’re finally released
You’re stranded but with nothing to share
Loyalty, unity, epitome, rigidity
You turn around for one real last glimpse of Camille
’Neath the moon shinin’ bloody and pink
And there’s no time to think
Bullets can harm you and death can disarm you
But no, you will not be deceived
Stripped of all virtue as you crawl through the dirt
You can give but you cannot receive
No time to choose when the truth must die
No time to lose or say goodbye
No time to prepare for the victim that’s there
No time to suffer or blink
And no time to think
What a woman who works the tunnel between the buses and the backstage area at an arena outside of Atlanta remembers about Dylan is not that she saw him; what she remembers is "I was not allowed to look at him."

He was, of course, on his way to the stage when he passed her averted eyes—on his way to be looked at and listened to. It sounds like a paradox typical of Bob Dylan, worthy of Bob Dylan, but it's really pretty straightforward as an exercise of star power. The crossed relationship between Bob Dylan and his audience is the most enduring one in all of rock 'n' roll, and it keeps going—and will keep going to the last breath—because from the start he laid down a simple and impossible rule:

We don't go to see Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan goes to see us.

(quoted from here)