Friday, October 31, 2014

Beloved Person in Bird Costume Crossing the Night River

From the Calendar Series, "Beloved Person in Bird Costume Crossing the Night River" -- a gouache and watercolor painting from the 1980s by am.

Watch the river flow, here and here. Thank you to Candy for the inspiration for this post.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bob Dylan The Welder and His Band / "Waiting For You"

              For the concert by Bob Dylan and His Band at the Paramount Theater in Seattle last night, I sat in Row Y Seat 4, very close to the beautiful ceiling of the Paramount Theater in Seattle:

As I was waiting for the concert to begin, a young man climbed down from Row Z and settled himself in the seat to my right.  He looked at me briefly and then stared straight ahead. He didn't say anything or clap until the intermission and then turned to me and asked if I liked the concert. I said, "Yes." I asked him if he was a Bob Dylan fan. He said, "Yes." I asked him if he had a favorite album. He didn't. I asked when he had first heard Bob Dylan. He said it was when he was in the 10th grade.  He said, "I grew up on Highway 61." I said that I did, too, thinking he was referring to the album "Highway 61 Revisited." Then I realized he meant that he grew up in Minnesota and had lived on Highway 61. I told him that I first started listening to Bob Dylan at the same age he had started listening. I told him I had seen Bob Dylan at the Paramount Theater in early 1980's and that I had first seen Bob Dylan in concert with The Band in Boston in 1974. He smiled tentatively. After the lights came on after the last song, I asked him if this was his first Bob Dylan concert. He said, "Yes." I told him he had chosen a good one. As he was walking down toward the exit, he turned and smiled and said, "Good to meet you. Have a good evening."

There is a feeling of fellowship among people who are drawn to the music of Bob Dylan. 

This was the set list for all three of the Seattle concerts, with the majority of the songs written since 1997:

Things Have Changed
She Belongs To Me
Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
Workingman's Blues #2

Happiness is just a state of mind
Anytime you want you can cross the state line

(Those lyrics are from "Waiting for You," by Bob Dylan, a song that I first heard during the credits for the movie "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood."  Apparently there is no official recording except in connection with that movie.)

Duquesne Whistle
Pay In Blood
Tangled Up In Blue
Love Sick
High Water (For Charley Patton)
Simple Twist of Fate
Early Roman Kings
Forgetful Heart
Spirit on the Water
Scarlet Town
Soon After Midnight
Long and Wasted Years

All Along the Watchtower
Blowin' In The Wind

Although I had gone to the concert with the thought that this might be Bob Dylan's last tour, I don't think that anymore. My sense was that his energy is better than ever. I didn't feel any sense of nostalgia at this concert. It was about right here, right now -- the present moment with its ups and down. This concert was so much better than the last one I saw in the late 1990's when there was a grinding weariness to the old songs, except when he sang "Girl From The North Country" as an encore. 

From what I saw last night, Bob Dylan is thriving at 73 years old, and that's how I hope to be when I'm 73. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Like a World Mandala

"Vi mot the gioi khong con bon min"

"The world without UXO," by Le Ho Huru Nghia - Che Lan Vien school

From PeaceTrees Vietnam:

Tran Thi Suong, a student at Gio Quang Secondary School in the Gio Linh district of Quang Tri province, wrote the following essay while attending PeaceTrees Vietnam's Mine Risk Education Summer Camp.

I remember a landmine accident in my village a few years ago. One afternoon, while working in a rice field, a farmer saw a small bomb. It was rusty and covered in soil. As he tried to use a hoe to throw it away it exploded. The farmer lost both of his arms. He went from being the bread winner in his family to being unable to work. The accident caused him and his family so many difficulties.

Although the war ended many years ago, its legacy is still present everywhere. In this peaceful time there are still many wives who have lost their husbands, children who have lost their fathers, and mothers who have lost their sons and daughters. There are many people who have been injured for life from landmine accidents.

To ensure safety for yourself and those around you, when you see landmines or UXO: 

  • Don't go near, hold, throw or play with them
  • Mark the dangerous area and tell an adult or the authorities   

Learn more about PeaceTrees Vietnam's work in mine risk education here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Coast Salish Day And Columbus Day Become One In Bellingham, Washington / Indigenous People's Day And Columbus Day Become One In Seattle, Washington

"Children from the Tulalip Tribes showing off their garments for a picture while taking in a view of downtown Seattle following a successful signing ceremony for Resolution No. 31538, honoring indigenous peoples by declaring the  second Monday in October "Indigenous People's Day," Monday, October 13, 2014, at Seattle City Hall. (SEATTLEPI.COM Jordan Stead-- AP Photo)"

See additional article in the Bellingham Herald:

"By a 6-0 vote, City Council officially recognized Coast Salish Day on the date federally recognized as Columbus Day at its regular Monday night meeting, Oct. 13."

Here is more information about the Coast Salish peoples.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Favorite Song Revisited / The Lonely Forest

This is my favorite song these days. I just came in from a walk in the lonely forest and will have to settle down and begin today's work on the retraining program that will give me another chance to find a job.

My eyes have been bothering me.  It's possible that I'm spending too much time looking at laptop screens.

This is my favorite quote for today:

Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.
(Henry David Thoreau, on November 11, 1854, referring to an 1849 dairyman's strike, during which there was suspicion of milk being watered down)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Birthday Totem Meditation: Roll On John / Watching the Wheels / Here and Now

I've always been struck by the fact that, in this song, John didn't say that he didn't believe in God.  What he did say was what he did believe in. He believed in himself. He believed in himself and Yoko. He believed in reality.

"All of us are apprenticed to the same teacher that the religious institutions originally worked with: reality."
(Gary Snyder)

I can't find any documentation for this, but my memory is that on the album where the song first appeared, John's song was titled "god" with a small "g."

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali begin with the word "atha" which could be translated either as referring to "God, the root of all things" (not in the Jewish or Christian or Muslim sense of the word, but in the Native American sense of a mystery at the root of all things) or which could be translated as "here and now."  My perception is that John was saying that he believed in "here and now."

Of interest to me is that, among many other spiritual traditions that John was curious about,  he looked into Hindu thought.  The song "Instant Karma" was a result of that.  "Karma" is a Sanskrit word meaning action, work or deed. Yep. There are consequences to our actions.

The concept of "wheel" or "turning" is contained in the word "chakra," a concept of Hindu thought that John was likely familiar with, although he chose not to align himself with any religious or spiritual tradition, which is also my choice and a choice that many of us make.

Born: October 9, 1940, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Happy Birthday, John!

You would have been 74 years old today. 

Thank you for singing about god/God so eloquently.

You were my favorite Beatle from the instant I first saw you singing on the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964 when I was 14 years old. You are dear to so many of our hearts.

"You burn so bright. Roll on John."
(Bob Dylan)

Here and now.

Addendum:  See October 10 at whiskey river!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Remembering fearless dreams

When I was in my 30s, I had a recurring dream of running at top speed from the top of one building to another in an unknown large city, performing astounding acrobatic feats. Someone was chasing me, but I knew they could never catch me. I was fearless.  What a revelation to see my younger dreamself in these young men flying through the air with such grace and landing on their feet with no loss of momentum.

Many thanks to Doonesbury's Featured Videos for another splendid offering!

That gouache and watercolor painting I did in the late 1980s is "Beloved Person in Bird Costume Crossing the Night River." Here is another one from those years.

Something of that old fearlessness is coming back to me in my 66th year. It comes and goes.

"How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
(Bob Dylan)

Monday, October 6, 2014

For the child that cries when innocence dies

"Working with Intuition and Three Angels," gouache and watercolor, painted by am in 1992

Suddenly, inexplicably, I'm wondering if I still can get a ticket to see Bob Dylan at the Paramount in Seattle on Sunday, October 19.

Yep. There are still tickets left. I'll be sitting a little bit closer to where my seat was for the first Bob Dylan concert I saw at the Paramount Theater in the early 1980s -- up near the roof in the second to the last row.

Until just now, I had decided not to go to another Bob Dylan concert. A baffling process. Working with intuition and three angels. As my father used to say, "We'll see what we will see."

This is what I wanted to post before I began this post:

"The universe came into being with us together; with us, all things are one."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mandala #4 -- Working with situations that used to baffle us

This mandala took on a life of its own much more than the previous ones. No matter what I did, I couldn't make it work the way I wanted it to. After I made a decision to fill in some of the background with the shade of green called "hedgerow" (the green that had originally been only a thin border line), the pencil kept breaking off. In the far distant past, having a drawing feel like a failure could bring me to tears. Years later, I learned that when it seems as if a drawing or painting is "ruined," I can keep going with it, letting the "ruined" part lead the way.  Below is an example of that phenomenon. "Self-Portrait with Brothers of Mercy and Night Falling From The Sky" was painted in gouache and watercolor in 1990 during the First Gulf War:

As I was working on this one, I left the room for a few minutes.  When I returned, the wet paint in the sky had dripped down into the ocean and the wave. After a moment of shock, I went with what had happened and turned the drips into the bars of a cage or prison bars. The painting had a life of its own. This is the painting that my mother asked if she could buy. I offered to give it to her. She insisted on paying for it. When one of my father's brothers saw it on a visit from Minnesota, he said, "Your daughter is a philosopher." Unless I said something, it never occurred to anyone that it had not been my intention for there to be bars between the three people and the ocean, but when faced with that dripping paint, I made a decision to use it.

With Mandala #4, I felt that "hedgerow" had taken over the mandala and "ruined" it.  Although "hedgerow" looked fine when used sparingly, I didn't at all like seeing so much of it. Suddenly it occurred to me to play with the colors using iPhoto, including seeing what the mandala would look like in black and white. When I arranged the black and white version with a version I preferred to the original version, I found that I liked the way that the three of them looked together. "Hedgerow" no longer looked so awful to me.

Still, I like the third version best.

Oboe remains noncommittal:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Remembering Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin and her music saved my life more than once.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Celebrating my 65th birthday today

Many years ago the thought came to me that we are all the same age -- all of us now and all of us who were ever born and all who will be born. We were just born at different times.

My first birthday:

Summer of 2014:

Working on mandala #4:

So happy just to be alive.