Tunes for a Monday Morning
Time, space, inspiration

Work that matters

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter by Vermeer

From "Ode to Slowness" by Terry Tempest Williams (published in Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert):

"Is it possible to make a living by simply watching light? Monet did. Vermeer did. I believe Vincent did too. They painted light in order to witness the dance between revelation and concealment, exposure and darkness. Perhaps this is what I desire most, to sit and watch the shifting shadows cross the cliff face of sandstone or simply to walk parallel with a path of liquid light called the Colorado River. In the canyon country of southern Utah, these acts of attention are not merely the pastimes of artists, but daily work, work that matters to the whole community.

"This living would include becoming a caretaker of silence, a connoisseur of stillness, a listener of wind where each dialect is not only heard but understood."

Painting above: "Girl in Blue Reading a Letter" by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675)


Walking the Parallel Light

“To walk parallel with a path of liquid light. . .”
--Terry Tempest Williams


Each time I walk the dyke by the slow Connecticut
its parallel light reflecting blue sky, angry clouds,
I think of you in your dark ground, reflecting nothing
but my memories. I am no artist painting with light,
not a mad Vincent obsessed with pinwheels of stars,
not a careful Vermeer detailing home, not even a Jasper
grasping at the shape of the universe. I see light
as if I look through a kaliediscope of shifting marbles,
each turn a new memory, an old memory changed.
You are as near to me as invention, as far.


The mind is a canyon; some days memory,
like a river of pure light, floods through it.
Sometimes anger tumbles along its cliff ends.
Sometimes metaphor masks meaning.
I never know which it will be till it runs through me,
like that river, like that flood, like that rushing light.


Take my hand, show me how to draw.
Not the straight line, that realness I so distrust,
but the scattering of light, like stars.
Illuminate the chaos inside of me.
Teach me to paint the collision of planets
even though they are a million years away,
like my husband, like my mother,
like the two babies lost to me before
they ever had the chance to be born.


Each time I walk the parallel path
I remember you, I wonder if you
in your darkness remember me,
remember light, remember us.

©2012 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

Now that's simply stunning.

Silence IS my language of choice. Blessings

Well, goodness Jane. Each time, I think, "What will she write next...?" and then you do, and I am in wonder all again.

Lovely post Terry. Good work. I feel much the same about what we do. People think we are mask makers, but inside, I think we are naturalist, expressing ourselves through masks.

This brings to mind my favorite Gary Snyder poem.

The Uses of Light
~ Gary Snyder

It warms my bones
say the stones

I take it into me and grow
Say the trees
Leaves above
Roots below

A vast vague white
Draws me out of the night
Says the moth in his flight --

Some things I smell
Some things I hear
And I see things move
Says the deer --

A high tower
on a wide plain.
If you climb up
One floor
You'll see a thousand miles more.

Yes, stunning!

Thanks so much for that, Terri! I love this blog - it always provides food for thought, nourishment for the creative artist, and inspiration. I'm definitely going to make a point to find Terry Tempest Williams' books. And a gift for you, because I thought of you and this blog when I first saw it:

The wonderful band First Aid Kit, and their new song "Wolf"

Also, I forgot to mention in the post above: I commented once that I wish I "could make a career out of watching the sky". So the quote in the blog really resonated. As a photographer, I'd love to make a career out of following the light around.

Thank you, Jane. Thank you, Terri.This is work that matters.

You remind me of the conversation that made my day.
Small child in our reception class, whilst waiting to go into the toilets.
"I am sooo hungry....I want food....but I must be patient."
"How do you learn to be patient J.....a?"
"You go to big school and listen to the teacher."

When we remember that the earth is our big school and teacher, may be it is time we started listening.

The first multitouch painting
"The Starry Night" painted by Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most popular works in the world, and now became the subject of a modern project, which interact with the painting through multitouch technology.
The artist, Petros Vrellis, has combined the art and the technology and made from the ​​famous painting a multitouch masterpiece.
The project contains 80,000 particles that "float" in full HD, resolution of 1920 x 1080, at a speed of 30 frames per second.
and this - gigapixel Starry Night

I met a parallel walker one eve -

ShadowLord of Light

in silence when I looked upon a face
just curved beyond the light from fire's flare
I saw a landscape carved and soft in turn
and shadows dancing hiding in his hair

each mote of light in smiled lines to view
in thoughtful glance bent on a silent star
an indrawn breath caused ripples in a sea
of velvet cloak that traveled oceans far

that luminosity of private thought
so rich in depth in reaching of his dreams
and in that moment stunned I knew without
he traversed paths that few had ever seen

there in that darkened moment hooding eyes
yet bright with all the universe within
the soul of one who lives beyond a star
but others seeing, see the earthbound skin

oh quiet wanderer amongst the night
who much esteemed and loved by all who view
brings secrets to the fire at evening’s light
an otherglow that radiates to few

and in this guise about your life you go
poised fleet in touching life as crossbow quirled
and those who tread behind in earthen steps
might sense that something passed not of this world

Ohhhh...I don't know what else to say....!

Thank you for the link (I love First Aid Kit!), and for your very kind words about this blog. Good luck chasing light!


That's a charming story, and I totally agree.

Oh, the wonderful (and trickster-like) Gary Snyder. Thanks for bringing his words here.

Oh, I am a different sort of human being due to the words of Gary Snyder. Turtle Island is my home, and I even permanently inked a turtle on me as a marker of such. His craft is what first gave me a voice for my feelings of land. I found his poetry in my local library in middle school, and my place on the land shifted.

The comments to this entry are closed.