Posts tagged as:

art and music

Blue Tug, Old Saybrook, CT

January 10, 2018

Brings to mind that old Michael Hurley tune, Blue Navigator. And while you’re at it, check out Wildegeeses, which is perhaps the better soundtrack for this photo. The man was making “Americana” music long before it became known as such. Truly an American original, both a wonderful musician and visual artist (those are his paintings on his album covers); all in all, a real treasure.

Long ago, I shared a stage with him, at Tuner’s Bar in St. Albans VT. He had asked, very politely, if he could go up on one of our breaks. He proceeded to wrap a sheet around his body and a towel around his head, and went off into ten minutes of something or other – I got to wondering if we would ever get the stage back. I happened to be standing next to a woman at the bar who turned out to be his girlfriend; she had some tomatoes and said “You know, I was supposed to throw these at him, but I don’t think I can do it.”

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Dragonfly, Old Saybrook, CT

January 6, 2018

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Multiculturalism, Pawlet, VT

October 19, 2017

Nice to see this Tricolored Taegeuk on the side of an old Yankee barn, deep in the heart of VT. It’s probably Korean, but derived from the earlier yin/yang symbol that has its origins in China and Taoism. The yellow, red and blue lobes (“pa” in Korean) represent humanity, earth and heaven respectively (which kinda covers it, no?).

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Angel, East Wallingford, VT

October 14, 2017

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These verses, found on an upstairs bedroom wall at an estate sale I was visiting, are apparently from a song by a local band.

“She’s quite a good musician too”, the mom said about her daughter, who’s gone off now – this bedroom for the world – perhaps with these words in tow.

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I remember that evening in the small one room cabin, probably an old sugaring house in another life. A wood stove kept us warm. It was late winter.

Four, maybe six of us, tucked into the “living room”, communing with spirits that rose up in the stories and songs and laughter we shared deep into the night.

We were young, and locked in tight to “being here now”. Who knew the season would pass? Who knew there would be other, different ones, to follow? Who knew back then there was a future?

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Fraying, Old Saybrook, CT

February 5, 2017

This photo was taken a year ago, but the fraying flag seems to have a different resonance now, given the political winds blowing through our homes and neighborhoods, all across the land.

If there’s any upside to the recent election results here, it’s that many of us are working out new paradigms for being a citizen – and a human being – in these challenging times. Digging deeper for inspiration and information,* and at the same time reaching for the longer view, if you will.

Unfortunately (spoiler alert), we’ve been here before. History is replete with profoundly difficult circumstances, no matter the time or culture.

Perhaps not altogether unrelated, I’ve found myself back in the 13th century with Genghis Khan and the beginnings of the Mongol Empire. It started rather innocuously;** my eye catching a new title on display in a local library, “Genghis Khan and the Quest for God” by Jack Weatherford, which explores the remarkable notion that Genghis Khan allowed freedom of worship to all those he conquered, AND that this approach to governance found its way to Europe and eventually the American colonies.

Then it was off to the races with the first three of Conn Iggulden’s five volume work of historical fiction on Genghis and his empire.

And finally the historian Frank McLynn’s amazing biography, Genghis Khan: His Conquests, His Empire and His Legacy, a remarkably detailed and sometimes overwhelming account of the man, with over 100 pages (!!!) of bibliography and footnotes and a wonderful photo of present day Mongolian horsemen by Rick Sammon worked onto the front cover.

Yes there is a rise and fall of civilizations, with remarkably similar stories. Explore any one and you’ll probably understand them all.

* The New Yorker has some suggestions here.

** Actually it started in high school; our athletic teams were nicknamed the “ Golden Horde”. I knew then it had something to do with the Mongols, but only recently understood the specifics: the Golden Horde was the name given to the successors of Genghis that ruled the northwestern most regions of the Mongol empire after his death.

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