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February 2013

January 2013

Silence, 1

The Dreamer of Dreams by Edmund Dulac

"Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”

- Norton Juster (from The Phantom Toolbooth)

Blanket of Snow by Virginia Lee

The White Bear by Kay Nielsen

“After a time I found that I could almost listen to the silence, which had a dimension all of its own. I started to attend to its strange and beautiful texture, which of course, it was impossible to express in words. I discovered that I felt at home and alive in the silence, which compelled me to enter my interior world and around there. Without the distraction of constant conversation, the words on the page began to speak directly to my inner self. They were no long expressing ideas that were simply interesting intellectually, but were talking directly to my own yearning and perplexity.”

- Karen Armstrong

A Silence Like Intimacy by Jackie Morris

"I am obsessed by the idea of silence. I went through an entire library studying art, artists and their critics, philosophers, too, on the meaning and significance of the color white. I dreamed of white birds and white bears. I thought about the white pages of my mother’s journals. I became enthralled with John Cage and his work, 4’33”, his masterpiece of ambient sound. Rauschenberg, too. And then at some point I let go. What sticks to the soul is what gets placed on the page. Maybe that’s the unknown part, the mystery, the power of the empty page."

- Terry Tempest Williams 

The Night Before the Journey to England by Carl Larsson

“How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.”

- Virginia Woolf

Illustration by Arthur Rackham

Pictures:"The Dreamer of Dreams" by Edmund Dulac (1882-1953), "Blanket of Snow" by Virginia Lee, "The White Bear" (from East of the Sun, West of the Moon) by Kay Nielsen (1886-1957), "A Silence Like Intimacy" by Jackie Morris,  "The Night Before the Journey to England" by Carl Larsson (1853-1919), and a pen & ink skerch by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939). Words: The Terry Tempest Williams quote comes from a recent interview, On Writing as an Act of Living, which I highly recommend.

In the lull between storms

Snowmelt 1

From "Chronicles of Ice" by Gretel Erlich (Orion Magazine, 2004):

"All over the world the life of rocks, ice, mountains, snow, oceans, islands, albatross, sooty gulls, whales, crabs, limpets, and guanaco once flowed up into the bodies of the people who lived in small hunting groups and villages, and out came killer-whale prayers, condor chants, crab feasts, and guanaco songs.

Snowmelt 2

"Life went where there was food. Food occurred in places of great beauty, and the act of living directly fueled people’s movements, thoughts, and lives.

Snowmelt 3

"Everything spoke. Everything made a sound—birds, ghosts, animals, oceans, bogs, rocks, humans, trees, flowers, and rivers—and when they passed each other a third sound occurred.

Snowmelt 4

"That’s why weather, mountains, and each passing season were so noisy. Song and dance, sex and gratitude, were the season-sensitive ceremonies linking the human psyche to the larger, wild, weather-ridden world....

"When did we begin thinking that weather was something to be rescued from?"

John Bauer copy

These photos were snapped a couple of mornings ago, as Tilly and I rambled through snow-melt in the higher part of the woods; but since then we've had a fresh storm and the land is the Snow Queen's Realm once again. It's very beautiful....and disruptive of schedules, inconvenient for modern life, but that has its value too. Sometimes we just have to stop.


Stand in awe of the world we live in.

The illustration by the Swedish artist John Baeur (1882-1918)

The Book of Snow, 2

East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Kay Nielsen

The fairy tale journey

The Snow Queen by Charles Robinson

The animal guide

At woodland's edge

Snow White by Trina Schart Hyman

Beauty and the Beast by Angela Barrett

The gate into Story

“Love life first, then march through the gates of each season; go inside nature and develop the discipline to stop destructive behavior; learn tenderness toward experience, then make decisions based on creating biological wealth that includes all people, animals, cultures, currencies, languages, and the living things as yet undiscovered; listen to the truth the land will tell you; act accordingly.”  - Gretel Ehrlich (from The Future of Ice: A Journey into Cold)

“We keep each other alive with our stories. We need to share them, as much as we need to share food. We also require for our health the presence of good companions. One of the most extraordinary things about the land is that it knows this—and it compels language from some of us so that as a community we may converse about this or that place, and speak of the need.” ― Barry Lopez

Gerda by A.W. Bayes Fairy tale illustrations above: "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" by Kay Nielsen (1886-1957), "The Snow Queen" by Charles Robinson (1870-1937), "Snow White" by Trina Schart Hyman (1939-2004), "Beauty and the Beast" by Angela Barrett, and "The Snow Queen" by A.W. Bayes (1832-1909).

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Today's tunes come from two roots bands out of Colorado:  The Lumineers, from Denver, and Elephant Revival, from Nederland.

Above: The Lumineer's 2012 video for the song "Hey Ho."

Below:  Bob Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather" covered by The Lumineer's Wesley Schultz. There's more here, in a Liveset Session recorded in New Orelans.


Elephant Revival performs "Remembering a Beginning" at a Music Fog session in Nashville.

And last:

Elephant Revival's 2012 video for "Quill Pen Feather."