American Idyll

yes, the river knows

Friday, May 26, 2017

Whenever Life Gets You Down, Mrs. Brown


Whenever life
gets you down, Mrs. Brown,
and things seem hard or tough,
and people are stupid,
obnoxious or daft,
and you feel that
you've had quite enough,

just remember that you're standing
on a planet that's evolving
and revolving at 900 miles an hour.
It's orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned,
the sun that is the source of all our power.
now the sun, and you and me,
and all the stars that we can see,
are moving at a million miles a day,
in the outer spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour,
of a galaxy we call the Milky Way.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light-years side to side.
It bulges in the middle sixteen thousand light-years thick,
but out by us it's just three thousand light-years wide.
We're thirty thousand light-years from Galactic Central Point,
we go around every two hundred million years.
And our galaxy itself is one of millions of billions
in this amazing and expanding universe.

Our universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding,
in all of the directions it can whiz;
as fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
twelve million miles a minute
and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
how amazingly unlikely is your birth;
and pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
because there's bugger all down here on Earth.

Monty Python: The Galaxy Song

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Wise Silence

The progress of the sciences toward theories of fundamental unity, cosmic symmetry (as in the unified field theory) — how do such theories differ, in the end, from that unity which Plato called unspeakable and indiscribable, the holistic knowledge shared by so many peoples of the earth, Christians included, before the advent of the industrial revolution made new barbarians of the peoples of the West? In the United States, before spiritualist foolishness at the end of the last century confused mysticism with the occult and tarnished both, William James wrote a master work of metaphysics; Emerson spoke of the wise silence, the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal One . . .; Melville referred to that profound silence, that only voice of God; Walt Whitman celebrated the most ancient secret, that no God could be found more divine than yourself. And then, almost everywhere, a clear and subtle illumination that lent magnificence to life and peace to death was overwhelmed in the hard glare of technology. Yet that light is always present, like the stars of noon. Man must perceive it if he is to transcend his fear of meaninglessness, for no amount of progress can take its place. We have outsmarted ourselves,
like greedy monkeys, and now we are full of dread.

In another life — this isn’t what I know, but how I feel — these mountains were my home; there is a rising of forgotten knowledge, like a spring from hidden aquifers under the earth. To glimpse one’s own true nature is a kind of homegoing, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon — the homegoing that needs no home, like a waterfall that turns to mist before touching the earth and rises once again into the sky.

--Peter Matthiesson
The Snow Leopard

John Lennon: Instant Karma (We All Shine On)





Friday, May 19, 2017

Cooking As It Were Its Special Dish

Each volcano is an independent machine---nay, each vent and monticule is for the time being engaged in its own peculiar business, cooking as it were its special dish, which in due time is to be separately served. We have instances of vents within hailing distance of each other pouring out totally different kinds of lava, neither sympathizing with the other in any discernible manner
nor influencing others in any appreciable degree.
--Clarence Dutton
Report on the Geology of the High Plateaus of Utah

a forty year old Uncle John's Band ...5/19/77

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

All Around The Purple Heather

Joan Baez: Wild Mountain Thyme

If you have
a garden
and a library,
you have
you need.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lay Your Body Down

Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them. The animals had rights---the right of man's protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man's indebtedness. This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.
--Chief Luther Standing Bear

CSNY: Find the Cost of Freedom





Monday, May 08, 2017

You're Invisible When You Close Your Eyes

Marvin Gaye: Mercy Mercy Me

Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.
Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms
of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs
to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources;
what our economic model demands to avoid collapse
is unfettered expansion.
Only one of these sets of rules can be changed,
and it’s not the laws of nature.

So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us.

I think
the answer
is far
more simple
than many have
led us
to believe:
we have
not done
the things
that are
to lower
those things
conflict with
deregulated capitalism,
the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find
a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe---and would benefit the vast majority---are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has
a stranglehold over our economy, our political process,
and most of our major media outlets.

--Naomi Klein
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Breathe Underwater 'Til The End

Doors: Yes, The River Knows

I grow old …
I grow old …
I shall wear
the bottoms
of my trousers

Shall I part
my hair behind?
Do I dare
to eat a peach?
I shall wear
white flannel
and walk
upon the beach.
I have heard
the mermaids
singing each to each.

I do not think
that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us and we drown.

--T.S. Eliot
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Time's Winged Chariot

I grabbed
a pile of dust,
and holding it up,
foolishly asked for
as many birthdays
as the grains of dust,
I forgot to ask
that they be
years of youth.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Owls Are Not What They Seem

Angelo Badalamenti: Twin Peaks Theme

Log Lady : [voiceover]
Hello again. Can you see through a wall? Can you see through human skin? X-rays see through solid, or so-called solid objects. There are things in life that exist, and yet our eyes cannot see them. Have you ever seen something startling that others cannot see? Why are some things kept from our vision? Is life a puzzle? I am filled with questions. Sometimes my questions are answered. In my heart, I can tell if the answer is correct.
I am my own judge. In a dream, are all the characters really you? Different aspects of you? Do answers come in dreams?

Log Lady: [voiceover]
As above, so below. The human being finds himself, or herself, in the middle. There is as much space outside the human, proportionately, as inside. Stars, moons, and planets remind us of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Is there a bigger being walking with all the stars within? Does our thinking affect what goes on outside us, and what goes on inside us?
I think it does.

Log Lady : [voiceover]
There are clues everywhere — all around us. But the puzzle maker is clever. The clues, although surrounding us, are somehow mistaken for something else. And the something else — the wrong interpretation of the clues — we call our world. Our world is a magical smoke screen. How should we interpret the happy song of the meadowlark, or the robust flavor of a wild strawberry?

Log Lady: [voiceover]
And now, an ending.
Where there was once one,
there are now two.
Or were there always two?
What is a reflection?
A chance to see two?
When there are chances
for reflections,
there can always be two
-- or more.
Only when we are everywhere
will there be just one.
It has been a pleasure
speaking to you.

--Twin Peaks

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Babbling And Strewing Flowers

Grateful Dead: Weather Report Suite **

** 6/28/74

To what purpose, April,
do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
you can no longer
quiet me with the redness
of little leaves
opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck
as I observe
the spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent
that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground
are the brains of men
eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
is nothing,
an empty cup,
a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly,
down this hill,
April comes like an idiot,
babbling and strewing flowers.

--Edna St. Vincent Millay
Second April

Monday, April 17, 2017

There Is A Saying Of The Paiutes

Kate Wolf: Brother Warrior

There is a saying
of the Paiutes
that no man
should go far
in the desert
who cannot sleep in
the shade of his arrows,
but one must know
the desert as well
as the Paiutes
to understand it.
In all that country,
moon-white and misty blue,
burnt red and fading ochre,
naked to the sky,
it is possible for a man
to travel far
without suffering much
if only he keeps
his head in cover;
two hands' breadth of shadow between him and the smiting sun.
So if he has a quiver full of feathered arrows, winged with three slips of eagle feathers, he sticks them in the sand by their points, cloudy points of obsidian flaked at the edges, and lies down with his head in the shadow. This is mere hunter's craft, but the saying goes deeper.
When a man goes into the big wilderness, it is to meet perils of many things, against which, if he carries it not in himself, there is no defense: against death and perversions and terrors of madness, the shade of his arrows.
Knowing all that the land does to humans, one would go fearsomely except that the chiefest of its operations is to rob one finally of all fear.
--Mary Austin

Powered by Blogger