Post-it List of Tasks Completed.
- Letter to Alysha
- E-mail to Alysha (written & sent)
- Poem for Heather (started)
- "About" for Amber (started)
- Sales Calls to Audubon, MassMutual, Prudential, J. Walter Thompson, Stein Rogan, Reader's Digest, Hachette
- Happy Birthday Call to Pat
- Bought New Shoes
- Ran on Treadmill
- Read New York Times and Wall Street Journal; on-line versions
- Read a poem in "Salt Water" by Andrew Motion and an essay in "Dianna & Nikon" by Janet Malcom to get in mood to write poem for Heather and Amber
- E-mail to Jenny Sunshine (sent)
- Walked Daisy (three times)
- Watched Cardinal in woods
- Watched crows at bird-feeder
- Prepared for NYC trip 2/28 & 3/1
- Made dinner
When I call Pat in New York City to wish him a Happy Birthday he says he remembers Danielle selling lemonade at the end of our driveway; it's been that long since we've seen each other--except for a brief encounter on the Ferry from New Jersey to New York a few years ago. We make plans to meet tomorrow for a drink. Pat's a movie music editor ("Cotton Club," ) and as often happens in his industry, out of work. "I'm doing what I did 20 years ago; sending out letters and resumes." Soon after we graduated from college, a friend, Bob Lewis, had a party at his rental house which was on a lake near RIT. It was summer. And there were 40-50 people here. The music (the Dead, Allman Brothers, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service) was loud. Kegs of beer and pot. I remember having to use the bathroom; there were four people (two guys, two girls) taking a shower. "C'mon on in," they said. And I did, not into the shower, but to pee and it was about this event which inspired me to write a silly poem for Pat.
Lists of Lists. Lists everywhere I look. Maybe because it is Monday, the beginning of a new week; no--the beginning of a new work-week or school-week. Vacation over. Daryl back from "Mineral Basin" at Snowbird; safe. Danielle back from her first visit to colleges and helping her team get into the playoffs by scoring three 3-pointers. To get started: Put First Things First and Begin with the End in Mind. Lists becomes poems:
Take of Gambage--2 oz
Labelia Seeds--1 oz
Cayenne pepper--2 drams
Raintree County, Ross Lockridge, Jr.
Things to Do Around a Lookout
Wrap up in a blanket in cold weather and just read.
Practice writing Chinese characters with a brush
Paint pictures of the mountains
Put salt out for deer
Bake coffee cake and biscuit in the iron oven
Hours off hunting twisty firewood, packing it all back up and chopping.
Rice out for the ptarmigan and the cronies
Mark well sunrise and sunset--drink lapsang soochong.
Mountians and Rivers Without End
Lily of the Field
On Monday I wore the red green purple & gold sectioned sweater
Tandy gave me...the pantaloons I made from the green velvet R
gave me...the green yellow orange & royal blue scarf Tessie
crotcheted for us last christmas...the red leather boots Lauren
bought me...the red blue black & yellow mirror cloth bag
Jan sent me from California...with plush red band I made from the
velvet I ripped off on first ave & the grey felt Charles Dickens
coat I got on Ave B for $1.50
Big Deal 5
The Poetry of Maureen Owen
- A is South America absolute & arriving, Avianca advance & Asuncion proud & holy, Argentina, asado, Arahuacaux, Antioquia, Andes, Aerocondor & aquila the eagle, arroz
- B cold Bogota & barrio & Borges, Baranquilla, bocadillo (a candy, banos, blusa bolsa bonita (pretty)
- C is ciudad is Cali is Catholic el correo el corazon comida con carne
- CH for chicharron
- D for dolorosa for dinero for diferenta, despacho, D.A.S., desafinado, diario, Decembre, drogueria $ dulce the sweet duro & Domingo
- E is Ecuador, empanada, Estados Unidos
- F is Fuera! (go away, leave me alone, I shout at men), ferroviario, feliz, frio, fuego, the fire, fumar......
Journals & Dreams
Poems by Anne Waldman
Soul continued; Be Intentional. A letter:
You ask, "Where do you rest a weary soul?"
Let's start by reading this poem, The Swan, by Mary Oliver:
Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air -
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music - like the rain pelting the trees - like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds -
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?
I read once that we exercise our spiritual self, our soul, if you will, through reading literature that inspires us, through meditation or prayer, and through spending time with nature.
Imagine this: you are
We missed you. My minister calls this afternoon to say he has missed me in church and will I read a poem one Sunday in April when it is National Poetry Month. Yes, I will. I can't explain why I haven't been to church the past few Sundays; I truly enjoy the time spend in church and look forward to it. Last Sunday I was sick--and Danielle had returned early Sunday morning from a sleepover in Amherst so that she could go with me; I was sleeping when she got home. I can't remember the Sunday before and the Sunday before that Daryl and I were at the X-Games. But this is what I'll read:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me
Soul. Time. Alysha asked:
We have comfy chairs and beds that you can rest a weary body in, but where do you rest a weary soul?
And Mitsu wondered:
We create time: waste time, think about time, worry about things happening in time, throw away time, hide time, pretend time isn't there, wish for more time, run out of time. Do we really need to live this way? What is the alternative to running out of time?
And as I was thinking about the Soul and Time I discovered this Emily Dickinson poem:
- "MORNING" mean "Milking" to the Farmer
- Dawn to the Apennines ---
- Dice to the Maid.
- "Morning" means just Chance to the Lover ---
- Just Revelation to the Beloved.
- Epicures date a breakfast by it!
- Heroes a battle,
- The Miller a flood,
- Faint-going eyes their lapse
- From sighing,
- Faith, the Experiment of our Lord!
I have spent considerable time thinking about time, studying time and, yes, wasting time. Augustine said, "I know what time is but if someone asks me, I cannot tell them." In the book Revolution In Time, the author, David S. Landes writes about THE song I sung thousands of times to Danielle and Daryl; he says:
The clock did not create an interest in time measurement; the interest in time measurement led to the invention of the clock. Where did this demand come from?......from the eleventh century on, and already before that there was an important timekeeping constituency. That was the Christian church, in particular the Roman branch. It is worth pausing a moment to consider this temporal discipline of Christianity, especially of Western Christianity, which distinguishes it sharply from the other monotheistic religions and has not been adequately examined in the literature on time measurement. In Judaism the worshiper is obliged to pray three times a day; but at no set times: in the morning (after daybreak), afternoon (before sunset), and evening (after dark)......Islam calls for five daily prayers: at dawn or just before sunrise, just after noon, before sunset, just after sunset, and after dark. Again, none of these requires a timepiece......Christianity, especially monastic Christianity, differs from both. The early Christians had no standard liturgy; the new faith was yet a church. Usage varied from place to place, and prayer was as much a function of opportunity as of obligation. Insofar as the Nazarenes were still Jews, they built on the practice of the older faith, with its morning and night recitations. But then they added their own devotions, in part to give expression to those praises and supplications that had no place in the Jewish service......By the early third century, Tertullian acknowledging the impracticality of ceaseless prayer, recommended daily prayers at set times: in addition to the morning and evening prayers prescribed by Law, there would be devotions at the third, sixth, and ninth hours.......The setting of prayer times by the clock was no small matter. It represented a first step toward a liturgy independent of the natural cycle......For hundreds of years there were no rules, only practices. Rules came with monasticism--with the formation of a regular clergy (that is, a clergy subject to a regula, or rule) whose vocation it was to pray and pray often......The innovator here was Pachomius in Upper Egypt in the early fourth century: against the prevailing eremitic individualism, his new order instituted a minute regulation of the collective praying, working, eating, and sleeping day......From Egypt the practice spread to Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Europe......It was in the West, in the Rule of Saint Benedict, that the new order of the offices found its first complete and detailed realization: six (later seven) daytime services (lauds, prime, tierce, sext, none, vespers, and compline) and one at night (vigils, later matins). As the very names indicate, most of these were designated and set in terms of clock hours......In the centuries that followed, the Bendictine rule was adopted by other orders......Why was punctuality so important? One reason was that lateness -- "God forbid!" -- might make it necessary to abridge an office, in partuclar matins......Another, I think, was that simultaneity was thought to enhance the potency of prayer......This religious concern for punctuality may seem foolish to rationalists of the twentieth century, but it was no small matter to a monk of the Middle Ages. We know for one thing, that time and the calendar were just about the only aspect of medieval science that moved ahead in this period......In large part this progress reflects the church's continuing concern to solve and systematize the dating of Easter and other so-called movable feasts. These dates were established in accordance with the lunar as well as the solar calendar--like the Jewish calendar, but different. The principles of calculation, the science known as the computus, were suffuciently complex to give rise to multiple solutions, which came eventually to divide different Christian rites from one another......Certain monasteries became centers of training and calculation and produced a substanial literature on the subject that was avidly copied elsewhere. .....Most of this literature deals with dating, but calendrical concerns invariably spilled over into the area of time measurement, and vice versa. Indeed, I would argue that it was precisely this that made European astronomy and the computus so different; the practioners were interested not only in the moon and the seasons, but in the day and its divisions. In particular, these same monks wanted to know the division of the day into light and darkness, the better to set the hours of the liturgy......Time mattered to (experts), but it also mattered to the ordinary monk, for whom getting up in the dark of night was perhaps the hardest aspect of monastic discipline......Missing matins was a serious matter, so serious that it has been immortalized for us by perhaps the best know of children's songs:
- Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques,
- Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
- Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines,
- Ding,ding, dong; ding, ding, dong.
Time, time, time: what is the alternative to running out of time? I find the following very helpful:
Begin with the end in mind means to begin each day or task with a clear understanding of your desired direction and destination. By keeping that end in mind you can make certain that whatever you do does not violate the criteria you have defined as supremely important. It's incredible easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the "busyness" of life, to work harder and harder climbing the ladder of sucess only to discover, upon reaching the top rung, that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. People often find themselves achieving victories that are empty--successes that have come at the expense of things they suddenly realize were far more valuable to them. If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster. Begin with the End in Mind is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There's a mental of first creation, and a physical or second creation. The second creation follows from the first, just as a building follows from a blueprint. In our personal lives, if we do not develop our own self-awareness and become responsible for first creations, we empower other people and circumstances to shape our lives by default. Habit 2 is based on imagination--the ability to envision, to see the potential, to create with our minds what we cannot see with our eyes; and conscience--the ability to detect our own uniqueness and the personal, moral, and ethical guideliness within which we can most happily find it. Leadership is the first creation. Management is the second creation. Management is effifiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the lader is leaning against the right wall. The most effective way we know to begin with the end in mind is to develop a personal mission statement, philosophy, or creed. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and do (contributions). Working in partnership with this habit is the habit of Putting First Things First--those things that you, personally, find most worth doing; identifying and working toward long-range goals, nurturing relationships, and obtaining regular physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional renewal.--from The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Steven Covey.
Buzz-Cut. Pam always cuts my hair at Bucci in downtown Northampton but Pam wasn't working today and I really wanted to get my hair cut today. I guess I wasn't very clear when I said to Emily, "I always have my hair cut with a #4 razor and #3 in back." (I forgot to mention how Pam uses scissors along much of the top and side.) Minutes later, when I take a good look at my head in the mirror all I see is one big bald head. I knew then that I should have brought my camera for it was a comical FOJM moment. "Wow, Emily, that sure is short," I say. "Guess I won't have to worry about it blowing in the wind." When I get home I take a few self-portraits for posterity and start to think that it kind of looks like a Bruce Willis haircut and that's exactly what I say to Danielle when she turns around from the kitchen table where she is studying for her SAT's, sees me, my head, and with eyes way wide-open says, "Whoa, Dad, that's pretty short." And I say "Yes, it is, but doesn't it kind of look like a Bruce Willis haircut?" And she says "Well, maybe, but it kind of makes you look shorter." Ouch. I forgive her though; she scores 13 points in her basketball game this afternoon--including three 3-pointers and helps lead her team to a very important win. Oh, and Betsy says she's going to call me "Curly" for now on.
(reminds me of Paul:) or Buddha. And when I come inside after walking Daisy in the snow and cold and say "Well, at least I don't have to worry about hat hair," Betsy replies "Pretty soon you won't have to worry about any hair."
Quick Trip to NYC.
Please Allow Me To Download.
Steady Pull. Thanks to an article in Friday's Wall Street Journal I've been listening to cuts from the new Jonatha Brooke CD while waiting for the first coat of paint to dry in our upstairs bathroom; while painting I'm listening to WRSI--memorable music today includes Fairport Covention's "Tam-Lin," Patty Griffin's "Flaming Red," and X's "Because I Do" to name a few. In 1991 Jonatha Brooke formed the acoustic folk-pop duo The Story with Jennifer Kimball. "I would love to sell a couple of million copies," she says, "but I have no illusions about competing with the 19-year-olds" who top the charts. "I have hope for everything, but I guess I hope it reaches a lot of people." She says she can count on sales of 75,000 to 100,000 discs, all bought by her loyal fans who came to her during The Story days and have stuck with her. She'll be promoting "Steady Pull" all by herself on a bare-bones tour of Borders bookstores through early March. Following that, she plans to take her band on tour. I am home alone. Daryl snowboarded today at Snowbird. Betsy and Danielle drove to Boston for two days to visit colleges. Daisy is lonely sitting by the front door looking out the window. I think it is time to take her for a walk; maybe she'll see her friend Molly, the Golden Retriever. The refrain from the title song, "Steady Pull," by Jonatha Brooke:
- The steady pull of things that I can't see
- And I like it
- I feel the steady pull of things that I can't see
- And I like it, I like it, I like it
And from "Linger," the opening cut and first single:
- I am walking past the sprinklers and the newly painted porches
- And the lemonade stand girls on a suburban afternoon
- I am leaving you cuz I love you, I am leaving you cuz I don't
- And I am hoping you will follow, and I'm praying that you won't
- Let me go
A Poem A Day. It is a goal I have yet achieved; writing a poem every day. Excluding last year, for the three or four years previously I was fairly successful at achieving this goal--and then at year's end I gave the culmination of this effort as a Christmas gift to my family and friends. What I wanted to achieve was, in a sense, write the same word, the same poem, every day, take the same photograph every day. The words, the poems, the photos seem to be about nothing, but it was, and is, my hope an education in seeing; in the daily recordings we'll find the endless variations of the physical and spirtual world. Isn't then impossible to look at something without changing it; in order to see we change the silence of seeing. Change is what we live for and what we run from. Today:
- Was it yesterday or last week
- Daryl was hugging Jori, kissing
- And Kaycee was coming off chemo
- And I had not yet found
- A new job but I read
- A Woman Of Passion
- One night at my Dad's apartment
- When she was a child
- She sang a song
- I looked out the window
- And counted the birds
- Five crows, six or seven
- Nuthatches, two cardinals
- I thought of the bear
- That came to the feeder
- And fed, I heard this
- Watching, waiting
- How we got here
- A light purple backpack
- In a corner of her room
- Daisy sleeping
- On the bed snoring
- I am not
- This morning
- Birch Lane
- I filled the birdfeeder last night
- Knowing this morning
- The birds would come
- Hungry and the dreams
- Strangely come I bend
- Pick up the blue egg
- Insects crack
- Through the shell, burrow
- Into my palm I want to cry
- It stings, later
- I will write
- With this hand
Amateur Physicists, Gliding Across Snow
From James Gorman writing in today's New York Times on-line edition, I learn if you venture outdoors to indulge in winter sports, you enter the realm of velocity, mass, speed and friction above all friction.
The question is, Just how free of friction do you want to be? For instance, do you want to be able to stop?
If you're young, like Daryl and Kyle out in Utah at Park City Mountain or The Canyons, with little fear and less tolerance for the securities of friction, you'll probably want to jump on a snowboard.
Dr. Colbeck, , who recently retired from the United States Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H.,has done numerous studies of exactly how and why snowboards slide and how the snowboard material, the temperature and the quality of the snow come into play. "I think it's safe to say he knows more about snow than Smilla," says The New York Times.
All snow and ice sports begin and end with friction. Take snowboarding . First, as the snowboard moves against the snow, the friction produces enough heat to melt a film of water about a millionth of a meter thick. That film allows the snowboarder to float along rather than scrape or shuffle. In a sense, all snowboarding is water skiing.In fact, Dr. Colbeck said that on a microscopic level the stickier waxes look like many tiny fingers extending into the snow.
Enough of friction, what snowboarders, what Daryl and Kyle really like to do is fly, is catch a lot of air:
Utah; Here He Comes. Daryl is combing his hair this morning and says, "I've been waiting one whole year to take this trip." And it's true. Last year when we went to Sunday River in Maine all he could talk about was how next year he'd be snowboarding in Utah. And now he's gone. I'll miss him. Who will I play late night pool with? Or tell to go to bed because it's getting late? But I'm happy for him. Let's pray he doesn't break his wrists; the most common snowboarding injury.
If The World Were 100 People. Something to think about:
Alternative Distribution. I had a mission today; to find alternative/underground art journals published in Canada and Amsterdam.
Please--No Last Names. And More on Thai Elephants.
I bought a dark blue tie with tiny white elephants on it today on the streets of New York City which made me think I needed to write more about elephants. Elephants are an important part of Thai culture and the Thai way of life. They are a traditional symbol of royal power, an essential feature of Buddhist art and architecture, an a spiritual mentor for people of all walks of life. In the early part of this century, elephants roamed freely and in multitude throughout Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Prior to the 18th century they were the main machine of Southeast Asian war, a Thai king of the late 17th century having had 20,000 war elephants trained for battle. Elephants in Thailand have always been a symbol of both power and peace. They have always performed the most exacting physical tasks. And they have always been well loved.
100 years ago there were at least 100,000 elephants in Thailand, now sadly, due to mainly habitat loss and degradation, that number has dropped to about 5,000 (2,000 in the wild and 3,000 in captivity) and the population is still estimated to be falling at over 3% a year.
The elephants in captivity live in elephant camps around the country where they learn to work in the forests and mountains and to entertain the hundreds of thousands of people who go to see them each year, and where they live, play and reproduce in a setting that is as close to the wild as possible.
50 years ago 60% of Thailand was covered by forest, that figure is now below 20% and is still falling due to illegal logging and encroachment. Wild elephants only survive in a fw national parks with limited genetic interchange. Conflicts with people often result in more elephant deaths; the seasonal migration routes of the elephants have been disrupted by new settlements and agriculture--when the elephants invade the crops there are violent clashes as people try to drive them away with fire, guns, and bombs.
The White Elephant has always been an important symbol of royal power in Thailand. It originated in ancient India, where the multi- headed elephant of the Vedic god was white and where, in one of the Buddhist Jataka Tales, Vessantara (Buddha) gave a white state elephant to a drought stricken people because it was believed to have the power to bring rain. In Southeast Asian kingdoms, the white elephant has traditionally represented divine royal power. The number of white elephants held by a king largely determined his power in the eyes of regional adversaries, and the white elephant was the featured emblem of the national flag of Siam until the name of the country was changed to Thailand.
For elephants in captivity there are very few traditional ways of earning a living, logging was banned in 1989. Elephants with their mahouts have taken to begging in the streets of major cities. Tourism helps but exploitation often results; because of the long years of infancy (elephants begin mating at age 20), when an elephant is not capable of work, it has been a custom to take wild elephants and train them rather than breed them from domesticated animals. Unfortuantely, crude capture methods have led to a high level of deaths.
The role of elephants in warfare was always of paramount importance in Siam and the older kingdoms of Southeast Asia. They were the main form of transport to and from the battlefield, and they constituted the main force of an army. Serving the same purpose as a horse cavalry in the west, the number of manned elephants for warfare often determined the ultimate winner of the war. This feature of War Elephants was most renowned in the 300-year-war between Burma and Thailand which resulted in Burma's sacking of Ayutthaya in 1767. Today, elephant war tactics are recreated at a number of Thailand's elephant training centers. Called the "Kraal Paniad", staged battles on elephant back are an astounding display of elephants' innate talent and ability to learn.
Elephants are slow and difficult to breed, only about 4-7 offspring in a life time. And poaching is a threat to survival: male Asian elephants have suffered from the ivory tade, like their African cousins, both male and female. Poaching for meat, hide, and bones occurs in some areas, including upper Burma. Hide is smuggled to Thailand, where it is turned into bags and shoes, and to China, where the ash is used to treat ulcers and wounds, and bone ash is prescribed for stomach problems.
Elephants often die needlessly due to accidents, injuries, illnesses, conflicts with man when they are shot instead of tranquillised. People experienced in looking after elephants are getting fewer and fewer every year. Well over 100 elephants will die this year in Thailand. Few people are aware how serious the situation is.
A "Mobile Elephant Clinic" with experienced veterinarians is one of the most efftice ways to Help Save The Elephants. It is easier to take a clinic to an elephant than to move a sick elephant. There are no government funds for this projects and a budget of US$50,000 is needed to put this project in operation and keep it running.
The project will be run by:
- Asian Elephant Foundation of Thailand
- 61/4 Soi Pibulwattana 5, Rama VI Rd.
- Samsennai, Phayathai
- Bangkok 10400
- Contact Khun Pittaya (02) 278-0924
Help Save Thai Elephants. These intelligent beasts of burden now living in the region of the world with the densest human population are begging for food in urban shopping centers and being worked to death by illegal loggers. The fragmented populations of wild elephants boxed into several dozen scattered national parks are under attack by poachers, woodcutters and land-grabbers. Conservationists and the Thai government are taking measures to stabilize the situation. Only time will tell...Donations of any amount are welcome and can alos be sent to the Asian Elephant Foundation of Thailand at Account # 209-020-1951, Bangkok Bank, Chatujack Branch, Bangkok, Thailand. For more information on elephants go here.
No Last Names: I had a number of stimulating and sustained conversations with people tonight: Linda, Michael, David, Amanda, Stephanie, Eric, Linda, Leslie, Bobbie, Marilyn; people I met at my new company's Valentine's Day Party at L'Etoille, East 56th Street, in New York City. What is unusual about this is that although I seem to be very out-going, I never function particularly well at large parties. As I wrote in the first few lines in a poem a long time ago ("Sun in Pisces, Moon in Leo"):
- I am a somewhat contradictory person
- Alternatively aggressive and reticent, and at all time
- Overcoming a fundamental timidity
- Which my rather expansive personality belies
- If I do not look below the surface. I have private fears
- Forebodings, and worries that do not find expression
- In my apparently fearless and competent manner.
I've tried at these kind of gatherings to always act like the host, even if I am not, but in this case I was, so maybe that made it a bit easier to meet and greet people--or maybe it was the glasses of wine.
Listening to NPR's "Morning Edition" this morning on my way early to New Hampshire I learn about the debut CD of the Thai Elephant Orchestra which was released this month.
From news stories by Sarah Strickland ( www.independent.co.uk ) and Eric Scigliano ( www.theage.com ), I learn that the band is the brainchild of Richard Lair, an American expatriate and elephant expert who has worked with elephants for 23 years and written and encyclopaedic UN study of Asia's captive elephants, and David Sulzer, a neurologist who heads Columbia University's Sulzer laboratory and works as a composer and producer under the alias Dave Soldier.
Together they organized six young recruits at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre, a former government logging camp near the town of Lampang in northern Thailand. According to Morning Edition, elephants are natural candidates for music-making as their hearing is much keener than their sight. Ancient Romans and Asian mahouts, or elephant handlers, have noted that elephants can distinguish melodies, and today's circus elephants follow musical cues.
In 1957, a german scientist, Bernard Rensch, reported in Scientific American that his test elephants could distinguish 12 musical tones and could remember simple melodies, even when played on different instruments.
The Thai Elephant Orchestra play sturdier versions of traditional Thai instruments -- slit drums, a gong hammered from a sawmill blade, a diddly-bow bass and, yes, harmonicas. Sulzer tells a story of once hearing (not seeing) the elephants far away, in the jungle, playing their harmonicas.
Sulzer explained that he and Lair merely showed the elephants how to make sounds, cued them to start and stop, and let them play as they wished. After five practice sessions, they started recording. The results, at once meditative and deliberate, challenging, full of subtleties and variations, delicate and insistent, might strike some as haunting, others as monotonous. Think Rhys Chatham, Glenna Brana and Sonic Youth as elephants. The proceeds from the CD will go to a milk bank for orphaned elephants and a school to improve mahout training at The Elephant Conservation Centre.
The Elephant Keyboard (9X3X3 ft. teak, computer, synthesizer and interface elctronics) is an interactive musical instrument which is designed to be played by the elephants. An elephant selects one of 8 vertical keys with its trunk by pulling it towards itself. This action is communicated to a computer which controls a synthesizer module that provides musical sequences. The specific sequence being played is determined by the key being pulled, the speed the key is pulled, and the duration the key is held. The resulting electronic music is played through a pair of speakers which are mounted on the instrument. The keyboard was designed to accommodate two elephants simultaneously. Listen to some cuts from their new release now!
What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
Crowfoot, Blackfoot Warrior & Orator, 1890
Three-Pointer. I missed Danielle's basketball game last night because Daryl needed a ride to and from his school's dance.
Life as it IS. There was a short but interesting story in Tuesday's New York Times; "A New Cast of Creatures At Steinbeck's Monterey Bay." A number of species abundant in the 1930's are disappearing from the bay today. And other species, rarely seen in the bay then, have settled in, in large numbers. Why? No one can say for sure, according to NYT. Overharvesting, human interference with habitat through jetty construction or other activities are possible culprits.
But in a study reported recently in Ecological Monographs, Raphael D. Sagarin, a graduate student at the University of California at Santa Barbara who has worked at the marine station, and other researchers. noted that the dimished species were predominantly cold-water creatures and that the newcomers seemed to have moved in from the south. This suggests that warmer water, possibly the result of human induced climate change, is responsible, at least in part.
The Ochre Sea Star; disappearing
The Strawberry Anemone; appearing
"There is no doubt that Homo sapiens is one of the most powerful organisms ever to reside on this planet," David W. Phillips wrote in the epilogue to the latest edition of Between Pacific Tides. "What remains to be discovered is what we will do with our power -- create a park or produce a cesspool -- for it is clear that not all our hopes for the shore are compatible.
The first and last paragraphs from the first chaper of Steinbeck's Cannery Row, published in 1945, the book focuses on the acceptance of life as it is; both the exuberance of community and the loneliness of the individual:
Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, "whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches," by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, "Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men," and he would have meant the same thing.
How can the poem and the stink and the grating noise -- the quality of light, the tone, the habit and the dream -- be set down alive? When you collect marine animals there are certain flat worms so delicate that they are almost imposible to capture whole, for they break and tatter under the touch. You must let them ooze and crawl of their own will onto a knife blade and then lift them gently into your bottle of sea water. And perhaps that might be the way to write this book -- to open the page and to let the stories crawl in by themselves.
Workspheres. The new exhibition at MOMA, which I saw today, examines the balance between work and life, and the important role designers play in devising effective solutions for our ever-changing work paradigms.
Workspheres presumes that while our work determines our lives, in the future our lives will be able to shape the way we work. This exhibition focuses on the work environment and the role of design in creating effective solutions for the near future. Design is first and formost about life -- it can mediate between technology and human beings, facilitating the tidal changes brought about by technology that affect the way people live.
Bennett Simpson, Senior Editor at ArtByte, writing on MOMA's web-page/photo essay about The World Office states:
We are constantly told that the information economy has made the product of our work more and more global. Thanks to the Internet and television, anyone can buy anything from anywhere. But what does this revolution in consumption mean for our local workplaces? Does a world marketplace effect an office in Bangkok the same as in an office in Bogota? Images, news, texts, trends, brands, and material goods may circulate in almost real time, but they come from somewhere and are made by someone --particularities consumers are rarely made aware of.
The New York Times writes:
These flashes of the Next take us to a place beyond myth. They represent a transformation of the environment as radical as any we've seen since the Renaissance, when Alberti and Brunelleschi recast interior space along the lines of single-point perspective.
I'm delighted that it falls within my worksphere to share the good news: modernity is back at the Modern, and Ms. Antonelli's got it.
"What's for dinner?" It's a question asked of me each and every day; sometimes in the morning when the day is still dark and the birds -- the crows, the nut-hatches, the grosbeaks, the cardinals, are just starting to arrive at the bird-feeder outside; sometimes midday on a Saturday or Sunday before indoor soccer or after church or after cleaning the house or after going to the dump; sometimes right before dinner when I'm contemplating serving Chicken "Saltimbocca" or Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Fresh Sage or maybe Grilled Salmon marinated in orange marmalade, fresh ginger, garlic and soy sauce or a simple fresh tomato sauce and pasta. And tonight, when Daryl asks, "What's for dinner?" And I answer Turkey Meat Loaf, he groans and says, "Can I have the left over pork tenderloin" which was marinated in soy sauce, orange juice, red wine, garlic, red wine vinegar, and some other things for two days, I say "No, don't worry, there's no onions in it." And you know what--he eats it and likes it.
Turkey Meat Loaf
1 Package Lean Ground Turkey
1 or 2 Carrots finely grated
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup catsup
1/2-3/4 cup salsa
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2-3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
some parsley and dash or two of marjoram
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Note: I like onions in this but Daryl doesn't like onions so I sneak them in as salsa. Grate carrot, add lightly beaten egg, then add all the other stuff and mix. Form as a loaf in a 8x4 inch loaf/baking pan (or whatever baking pan you have). If you like, put a few strips of bacon on top--or some catsup. Bake for about one hour, maybe a bit more; cut a slice off and make sure it is no longer pink in center. Hey, that's one of the fun things about being the cook; you get to taste everything first! Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and salad--and red wine. And music. And love.
It even happens sometimes the night before; I'm asked "What's for dinner tomorrow."
The Morning After. This morning, after the severe winter storm last night, I woke to a memory. I woke to big mounds of snow; people-high. I woke to white, and sun and wind. I woke to snow-suits and boots and snowmen and snowballs (Later in the day a girl knocked on my door with a bloody nose; she was hit with a snowball). I woke to snow shovels and snow trucks. Hot chocolate. And coffee. Bacon and eggs. I woke to a memory of how it always snowed when it snowed when I was a child and last night it snowed and snowed and snowed.
Brothers Dennis and Bruce, circa 1950's
And there at the end of Birch Lane on the eight-foot high snow bank was Daryl and Michael doing back flips down and off on to the snow covered street and I wondered as Danielle and I drove pass on the way to basketball practice if she remembered and then missed the carefree snow-days of yesterday when she and Jennifer played for hours and hours in the deep white snow.
And DATA Entry. I lost my database when I resigned from my job recently; oh, I had a hard copy but the e-mail attachment that I sent to myself simply won't open. So I've been searching for one that i could use on-line and found two: www.franklinplanner.com and www.sales.com.I prefer the sales.com as it is much easier to navigate and input DATA--it also produces a lot more reports, which I like; reports on contacts, activities, opportunities, etc.
Winter Storm Warning. I left Northampton, MA at 6:30 a.m. for Concord, NH so that I could spend a few hours there and then head back home, hopefully beating the winter storm. I barely did beat it; driving down Rt 91 from Brattelboro (just about two thirds of the way home), I ran into the snow. The highway was covered and I had to drive 35-40 and by the time I reached Northampton, traffic was almost at a stand-still. After dinner Daryl, and then Betsy, helped me shovel the snow off the driveway.
The X-Games. Daryl and I are on the road by 5:30 a.m. We reach Mt Snow at 7:00, eat, and stand in the cold on the mountain waiting for the Big Air event to begin (more to come)
Over-Flow. A few minutes before I should be leaving for Danielle's soccer game, a few minutes before I am ready to get off the computer, Daryl calls to me from upstairs; "Dad, the toliet is over-flowing." (more to come)
Growing Up Female. Looking through my bookcases early this morning, I discovered a photography book that I hadn't looked at in a long time; "Growing up Female," by Abigail Heyman. Published in 1974, the book (from the back cover) "is a journal of self-discovery. Here, in these few photographs, in this sparse text, is the sum and substance of the female experience---the conflicts and doubts, the challenge and growth in being a woman. Here is sharing and loneliness, tenderness and tedium. And here, too, are questions in search of solutions, women in search of themselves."
I'm not sure how many of the things I do are natural for women and how many culturally imposed. I'm not sure what to just accept and what to question. Having to question every mode of behavior and every expectation that I've grown up with is the best part and the scariest part of being a woman today.
I don't feel guilty anymore that I hate doing dishes and stuff like that, and I've gotten rid of feeeling that I'm crazy because I'm not content with what I'm supposed to be content with. I'm doing things I wanted to do before but I wasn't sure if wanting them was right.
Now I'm not afraid of being bright, or of not being beautiful, or of having an ego of my own. I'm not afraid to be assertive, or to take control of my life, or to consider myself important. I value women. I value myself. I don't reject being female anymore. I can become the women I want to be, and I can help to develop a new society that will value her.
Things change--slowly. And continue to change. At Danielle's basketball game tonight a woman sitting with Betsy and me talked about what it was like for girls and young women, for her, to play high school sports some 30 years ago. (more to follow; search on google=no Heyman photos)
Before bed, walking Daisy, in the dark and windy night, in the snow, we see four deer standing still watching us watching them.
A Poem for Judith. A woman, whose writing I greatly admire, and other people admire it, too, celebrated her 30th birthday the other day. And last night, while thinking about this woman, I remembered the essay, "Dear Art History Department," that I wrote in 1982 for my brother's journal, "Tamarisk, " and thought that she, too, would enjoy where the essay brought me, and and once there, what I heard---on the soft and green hills over-looking the Tappan Zee Bridge where a teacher recited to me a poem about turning 30.
"I remember a day in spring of 1974, a few days before my college graduation, when two friends and myself decided to have a picnic. We drove to Tarrytown, parked the car near a hill where we could hike and be left alone. The path was narrow; it went up green beyond our vision to an open field where we sat and spent the day talking, cracking jokes, telling stories and drinking till nightfall when the lights on the Tappan Zee Bridge came on, and for us, symbolizing a beautiful chain of possibilities that strethed from shore to shore."
One of those friends died years ago of AIDS and I can't now remember the other person's name--he was a teacher and as we sat there with all of our hopes, dreams, and visions in front of us he recited, from memory, this Dylan Thomas poem:It was my thirtieth year to heaven Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood And the mussel pooled and the heron Priested shore The morning beckon With water praying and call of seagull and rook And the knock of sailing boats on the webbed wall Myself to set foot That second In the still sleeping town and set forth. My birthday began with the water- Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name Above the farms and the white horses And I rose In a rainy autumn And walked abroad in shower of all my days High tide and the heron dived when I took the road Over the border And the gates Of the town closed as the town awoke. A springful of larks in a rolling Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling Blackbirds and the sun of October Summery On the hill's shoulder, Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly Come in the morning where I wandered and listened To the rain wringing Wind blow cold In the wood faraway under me. Pale rain over the dwindling harbour And over the sea wet church the size of a snail With its horns through mist and the castle Brown as owls But all the gardens Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud. There could I marvel My birthday Away but the weather turned around. It turned away from the blithe country And down the other air and the blue altered sky Streamed again a wonder of summer With apples Pears and red currants And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother Through the parables Of sunlight And the legends of the green chapels And the twice told fields of infancy That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine. These were the woods the river and the sea Where a boy In the listening Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide. And the mystery Sang alive Still in the water and singing birds. And there could I marvel my birthday Away but the weather turned around. And the true Joy of the long dead child sang burning In the sun. It was my thirtieth Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon Though the town below lay leaved with October blood. O may my heart's truth Still be sung On this high hill in a year's turning."Poem in October," by Dylan Thomas