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June 2012

May 2012

Going deep

Root and stone

"Yet, no matter how deeply I go down into myself, my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots that drink in silence."  - Rainer Maria Rilke

Nattadon Woods

"Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final."   - Rilke

Woodland path

Tilly in woodland shadows

"Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, to where no one can go any further."  - Rilke

Woodland gateway

“The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.”  - Rilke

If we surrendered

Tree and hill

...If we surrendered

to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So like children, we begin again...

to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

— Rainer Maria Rilke (from the poem "How Sure Gravity's Law," published in Rilke’s Book of Hours, translated from the German by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

Tree, hill, and Tilly

Photos: Above, an old tree stands guard at the entrance to a neighbor's field, with Meldon Hill behind (or is it Middle-Earth?)  Below, Tilly in the field - surrendering to the intelligence of the dogs do so well.

Early morning mist. Stillness. Silence.




“Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, and yet a little way beyond the outworks of our divinings, perhaps we would endure our sadnesses with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.”  - Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)


Tunes for a Monday Morning

Eliza and Martin Carthy

This week, tunes from a British folk dynasty: Martin Carthy, his wife Norma Waterson (from the famous Waterson family of singers), and their daughter Eliza Carthy.

First, above, Martin and fiddler Dave Swarbrick perform the traditional folk ballad "Sovay" on Yorkshire tv, back in 1989.

Below, eighteen years later, Martin and Norma back up Eliza in a performance of "Raggle, Taggle Gypsies," accompanied by Tim van Eyken and Saul Rose. (The song is followed by a Victorian-era hymn, "Stars in my Crown," sung a capella.)


In the final video, below, father and daughter perform another traditional ballad, "Cold Haily Night," as members of  The Imagined Village.

The Imagine Village was formed in 2004 for the purpose "of exploring our musical roots and identity as English musicians and music makers....We are not trying to re-invent the wheel or for that matter re-invent the English folk tradition. What we are interested in is building an inclusive, creative community were we can engage in the debate passed down to us by the late Victorian collectors of English song, dance and stories spearheaded by Cecil Sharpe and his contemporaries and brought into contemporary resonance by Georgina Boyes in her book 'The Imagined Village', Billy Braggs recent works 'The Progressive Patriot', academics such as Paul Gilroys in 'After Empire Melancholia or Convivial Culture' and the commentaries of musicians such as Chris Wood, Eliza and Martin Carthy amongst others.

"We all walk in the footsteps of our Victorian song collecting ancestors but feel it is more relevant now than ever to question who decides what it is to be authentic and English and more importantly what it is that makes us proud to be English musicians."

Eliza Carthy used to play down here in Devon back in the '90s at a little dance club buried in the hedgerows near Ashburton (now gone, alas). I remember her as a young girl with brightly colored hair (usually red or blue), punk-romantic clothes, biker boots, and an absolutely wicked way with a fiddle, keeping the club heaving into the wee hours. Afterwards, my companions and I would drive home over the dark, mist-covered moor...slowy, slowy, edging the car around Dartmoor sheep sleeping on the road and wild ponies looming suddenly out of the dark, Eliza's music, or The Levellers or The Saw Doctors (who also played at that same club) on the tape deck. Sweet memories...

That's Chris Wood singing with Eliza on "Cold Haily Night," by the way. He was featured in a gypsy-themed "Monday Tunes" post last year (singing Ewan MacColl's "Moving On Song"), with a voice that makes me weakin the knees.

Eliza Carthy 1990s

Eliza Carthy, circa 1990s

Moments in a Devon spring

Bluebells and willowBluebells and willow

Orchids among the bluebellsWoodland orchids among the bluebells

Eric's old shedEric's old allotment shed at the edge of the woods

Spring flowers around the stone mushroomWildflowers around a stone mushroom

Nettles in the woodsNettles growing in the woods, with bluebells

Nettles 4Freshly picked nettle tips, with columbine

Nettles2Tilly, wildflowers, and a basket of nettles in the studio garden

SunlightGolden evening light out the kitchen window

Nettles 5Preparing nettle soup

Nettle soupThe soup is ready

Nettle soup for supperSoup for supper in the gold evening light...

The back patio at Bumblehill...watched over by Our Lady of Bumblehill (a statue made by Wendy Froud)

Garden statue by Wendy Froud

* If you look very, very closely in the "pot of soup" picture, you'll see the beginning pencil lines for a Bunny Girls mural on the wall above the kitchen hearth