Monday, October 30


It has been said that trees are imperfect men, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment rooted in the ground. But they never seem so to me. I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!

-- John Muir, in The Wilderness World of John Muir, ed. Edwin Way Teale

Friday, October 27

moveless soundings hailed

Through the bound cable strands, the arching path
Upward, veering with light, the flight of strings,—
Taut miles of shuttling moonlight syncopate
The whispered rush, telepathy of wires.
Up the index of night, granite and steel—
Transparent meshes—fleckless the gleaming staves—
Sibylline voices flicker, waveringly stream
As though a god were issue of the strings. . . .

And through that cordage, threading with its call
One arc synoptic of all tides below—
Their labyrinthine mouths of history
Pouring reply as though all ships at sea
Complighted in one vibrant breath made cry,—
"Make thy love sure—to weave whose song we ply!"
—From black embankments, moveless soundings hailed,
So seven oceans answer from their dream.

-- Hart Crane, from 'Atlantis,' final section of his long poem The Bridge

The Bridge

Thursday, October 26


The mysteries I was referring to in music are overtones; when you strike a note, it is actually made up of many notes and you hear one. When you repeat that note, or a melodic pattern, you begin to hear these overtones and they become more apparent. There are other acoustic phenomena; within a repeating pattern you may hear part of it as a separate pattern divorced from the primary one, especially when played against itself. It's only human that different people in the room might be focusing, let's say, on the higher notes within the pattern, while another group of people would be focusing on the lower notes. This might be analogous to looking at a LeWitt grid of the period, first seeing it in terms of an overall geometric figure and then as you walk around it seeing all kinds of different patterns that shift as you move.

-- Steve Reich, to Mark Godfrey, in 'Harmonious Life' Frieze 102

Steve Reich Website

Carnegie Hall's insights (via Alex Ross)

Tuesday, October 24

creativity is a meeting

Creativity is a meeting, a conversation. When you listen to a symphony by Mozart, that is a conversation with Mozart . . . In this conversation . . . there is much that is intuitive and not spoken.

-- Jean Renoir to Digby Diehl, in Jean Renoir Interviews, ed. Bert Cardullo

Friday, October 13

The Get Away ©Mark Barry
The Get Away by Mark Barry, oil on canvas, 38x34"

Mark Barry

Mark Barry on Gustave Courbet's landscapes

Tuesday, October 10

manifestation of love

In every living thing there is the desire for love, or for the relationship of unison with the rest of things. That a tree should desire to develop itself between the power of the sun, and the opposite pull of the earth's centre, and to balance itself between the four winds of heaven, and to unfold itself between the rain and the shine, to have roots and feelers in blue heaven and innermost earth, both, this is a manifestation of love: a knitting together of the diverse cosmos into a oneness, a tree.

-- D.H. Lawrence Phoenix II

Sunday, October 8

surrendering to the picture

They always talk of surrendering to nature. There is also such a thing as surrendering to the picture.

-- Pierre Bonnard, diary entry quoted in Bonnard by Timothy Hyman

Friday, October 6


Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there it sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops.

-- H.L. Mencken Minority Report, H.L. Mencken's Notebooks

Tuesday, October 3

circle of light

I lived in that circle of light, in great speed and utter silence. When the swans passed before the sun they were distant—two black threads, two live stitches. But they kept coming, smoothly, and the sky deepened to blue behind them and they took on light. They gathered dimension as they neared, and I could see their ardent, straining eyes. Then I could hear the brittle blur of their wings, the blur which faded as they circled on, and the sky brightened to yellow behind them and the swans flattened and darkened and diminished as they flew. Once I lost them behind the mountain ridge; when they emerged they were flying suddenly very high, and it was like music changing key.

-- Annie Dillard Teaching a Stone to Talk

Sunday, October 1

Jung's dream

I had dreamed once before the problem of the self and the ego. In that earlier dream I was on a hiking trip. I was walking along a little road through a hilly landscape; the sun was shining and I had a wide view in all directions. Then I came to a small wayside chapel. The door was ajar, and I went in. To my surprise there was no image of the Virgin on the altar, and no crucifix either, but only a wonderful flower arrangement. But then I saw that on the floor in front of the altar, facing me, sat a yogi—in lotus posture, in deep meditation. When I looked at him more closely, I realized that he had my face. I started in profound fright, and awoke with the thought: "Aha, so he is the one who is meditating me. He has a dream, and I am it." I knew that when he awakened, I would no longer be.

-- C.G. Jung Memories, Dreams, Reflections
Translated by Richard and Clara Winston