American Idyll

yes, the river knows

Friday, January 20, 2017

Resolve To Serve No More

From all these indignities, such as the very beasts of the field would not endure, you can deliver yourselves if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free. Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.
--Étienne de La Boétie
Discourse on Voluntary Servitude (1548)

Graham Parker: When I Was King

Sunday, January 15, 2017

May Your Mountains Rise Into And Above The Clouds

Heaven is home. Utopia is here. Nirvana is now. **

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am —
a reluctant enthusiast... a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards. **

Tom Russell: The Ballad of Edward Abbey

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets' towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottoes of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.

--Edward Abbey **


Saturday, January 07, 2017

We Found Things To Do In Stormy Weather

Go back? he thought. No good at all! Go sideways?
Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!

So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him
and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.
--J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit

Neil Young: Long May You Run


Monday, January 02, 2017

There Is Nothing I Am Wishing To Be Owning

Seldom Scene: Boots of Spanish Leather

Nanci Griffith: Boots of Spanish Leather

I had climbed but a short distance when I was overtaken by a young man on horseback, who soon showed that he intended to rob me if he should find the job worth while. After he had inquired where I came from, and where I was going, he offered to carry my bag.
I told him that it was so light that I did not feel it at all a burden; but he insisted and coaxed until I allowed him to carry it. As soon as he had gained possession I noticed that he gradually increased his speed, evidently trying to get far enough ahead of me to examine the contents without being observed. But I was too good a walker and runner for him to get far. At a turn of the road, after trotting his horse for about half an hour, and when he thought he was out of sight, I caught him rummaging my poor bag. Finding there only a comb, brush, towel, soap, a change of underclothing, a copy of Burn's poems, Milton's Paradise Lost, and a small New Testament, he waited for me, handed back my bag, and returned down the hill, saying that he had forgotten something.
--John Muir
Crossing the Cumberland Mountains

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Along The Road Forever

i would like to remind
the management
that the drinks
are watered
and the hat-check girl
has syphilis
and the band is
of former ss monsters
however since it is
new year's eve
and i have lip cancer
i will place
my paper hat
on my concussion
and dance

--leonard cohen

Christy Moore: January Man

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Now You And I Are Going By

Joan Baez: All The World Has Gone By

The surface of the Colorado River drops 17 feet in a quarter of a mile across Granite Rapid. By contrast, the drop across the half-mile stretch of the river above Granite Rapid is imperceptible. This coupling of a fairly flat, tranquil liquid tread with a steep, turbulent foaming riser is repeated 160 times along the course of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. these 160 rapids account for only a tenth of the length of the river from Lee's Ferry to Lake Mead but fully half of the 1886-foot drop in river-level. This staircase on the water surface does not mimic a staircase in the riverbed. the watery staircase is a hydraulic effect of constriction at the rapids. Virtually all the rapids in the Grand Canyon occur where the Colorado River is constricted by debris fans at the mouths of tributaries. Because they are much steeper, tributaries are competent to deliver to the riverbed individual boulders and aggregate debris flows too large for natural floods of the Colorado River (much less the post-Glen Canyon Dam discharge maxima) to clear readily. The debris fan of Monument Creek was augmented in 1984 by a debris flow a tenth of a cubic mile in volume. This debris flow, triggered by slope failure after heavy rain, took only two minutes to deliver boulders nine feet in diameter to the fan.
The rock of the Inner Gorge at Mile 93 is all Vishnu Schist except for the prominent light-colored band cutting the cliffs. This straight band is a highly differentiated igneous sill composed of Trinity Gneiss, intruded into the schist late in the Mazatzal compressive episode, 1.7 billion years ago.
Dana Butte, 2680 feet above us on the skyline, is composed of vertical-walled Mississippian Redwall Limestone over Cambrian Muav Limestone. The saddle connecting the knob of Redwall Limestone at the end of the butte is a lens of Devonian Temple Butte Limestone.
--Robert Hutchinson

Doug Honeyford: Granite Rapid

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Where The Winds Hit Heavy On The Borderline

if you're traveling in the north country fair
where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
remember me to one who lives there
she once was a true love of mine

Bob Dylan: Girl from the North Country

if you go when the snowflakes storm
when the rivers freeze and summer ends
please see she has a coat so warm
to keep her from the howling winds

see for me if her hair hangs long
if it rolls and flows all down her breast
please see for me if her hair hangs long
for that's the way i remember her best

i'm wondering if she remembers me at all
many times i've often prayed
in the darkness of my night
in the brightness of my day

Altan: Girl from the North Country

so if you're traveling in the north country fair
where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
remember me to one who lives there
she once was a true love of mine

--bob dylan

Friday, December 09, 2016

Each Thing Flows Into The Other

Loreena McKennitt: The Mask And The Mirror

We are accustomed to consider Winter the grave of the year, but it is not so in reality. In the stripped trees, the mute birds, the disconsolate gardens, the frosty ground, there is only an apparent cessation of Nature's activities. Winter is pause in music, but during the pause the musicians are privately tuning their strings, to prepare for the coming outburst. When the curtain falls on one piece at the theater, the people are busy behind the scenes making arrangements for that which is to follow. Winter is such pause, such fall of the curtain. Underground, beneath snow and frost, next spring and summer are secretly getting ready. The roses which young ladies will gather six months hence for hair or bosom, are already in hand. In Nature there is no such thing as paralysis. Each thing flows into the other, as movement into movement in graceful dances Nature's colors blend in imperceptible gradation all her notes are sequacious.
--Alexander Smith
Winter (1863)

Monday, December 05, 2016

Be Ye Not Lost Among Precepts Of Order **

Grateful Dead: 8/28/82

All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense. **

Before he became a hermit, Zarathud was a young priest, and took great delight in making fools of his opponents in front of his followers. One day Zarathud took his students to a pleasant pasture and there he confronted the Sacred Chao while She was contently grazing. Tell me, you dumb beast, demanded the Priest in his commanding voice, why don't you do something worthwhile? What is your Purpose in life, anyway? Munching the tasty grass, the Sacred Chao replied MU . Upon hearing this, absolutely nobody was enlightened. Primarily because no one could understand Chinese. **

Grateful Dead: 7/4/81

In the year 1166 B.C., a malcontented hunchbrain by the name of Greyface got it into his head that the universe was as humorless as he.
He began to teach that play was sinful because it contradicted the ways of Serious Order. Look at all that order about you, he said. And from that, he deluded honest men to believe that reality was a straightjacket affair and not the happy romance as men had known it.
It is not presently understood why men were so gullible at that particular time, for absolutely no one thought to observe all the DISORDER around them and conclude just the opposite. But anyway, Greyface and his followers took the game of playing at life more seriously than they took life itself and were not unknown even to destroy other living beings whose ways of life differed from their own.
The unfortunate result of this is that mankind has since been suffering from a psychological and spiritual imbalance. Imbalance causes frustration, and frustration causes fear. And fear makes a bad trip.
Man has been on a bad trip for a long time now.
It is called THE CURSE OF GREYFACE. **

Grateful Dead: 8/4/74

If you can
master nonsense
as well as you
have already learned
to master sense,
then each will
expose the other
for what it is:
From that moment
of illumination,
a man begins
to be free
of his surroundings.
He becomes free
to play order games
and change them
at will.
He becomes free
to play disorder games
just for the hell of it.
He becomes free to play neither or both. And as the master of his own games, he plays without fear, and therefore without frustration, and therefore with good will in his soul and love in his being.

--Principia Discordia **

Grateful Dead: 5/25/77

If organized religion is the opium of the masses, then disorganized religion
is the marijuana of the lunatic fringe. **

Grateful Dead: 10/17-19/74

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Cobra Snake For A Necktie

Quicksilver Messenger Service : Happy Trails

i walked
forty-seven miles
of barbed wire
i got a cobra snake
for a necktie
i got a brand new house
by the road side
made out of
rattlesnake hide
i got me a chimney
up on top
that's made
from a human skull
come on take a little
walk with me
now tell me
who do you love?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Anything Can Happen

desert wind

There was a desert wind
blowing that night.
It was one of those
hot dry Santa Anas
that come down
through the mountain passes
and curl your hair
and make your nerves jump
and your skin itch.
On nights like that
every booze party
ends in a fight.
Meek little wives
feel the edge
of the carving knife
and study
their husbands' necks.
Anything can happen.
You can even get
a full glass of beer
at a cocktail lounge.
--Raymond Chandler
Red Wind

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