The Arts section of Orient Lodge

"I’m holding on to six years young for just another day"

In the beginning of “Remembrance of Things Past”, Proust writes about being in a borderland between sleep and wakefulness, “I had gone on thinking, while I was asleep, about what I had just been reading, but these thoughts had taken a rather peculiar turn”.

I often work on blog posts as I’m falling asleep and I have many dreamlike half written blog posts waiting in the wings. Today I have spent time with many of these blog posts as I sleep and fight some cold that is passing around our house.

The theme of remembrance has been kicking around in my head. My blog post about Bill Seeley and my reflections of childhood at his house brought a response:

“about preserving childhood and specifically preserving boy-hood, something my oldest son..managed to do with his best friend…It started at about age 7 while devouring the Redwall books by Brian Jacques. They spent a decade in the woods acting out chapters in the books - costumes, props, well developed story lines - decisions about high-tech vs. low tech games, capes were essential…[The parents] observed the lengths that the boys went to to keep their imaginative play secret (it was very uncool in an age of structured sports and competitive travel soccer for 3rd graders). I suspect the boyhood …[they] experienced is becoming entirely too rare.”

Another post I wrote back in July about Falcon Ridge noted Derek Aramburu’s rendition of John Prine's "Paradise" (Muhlenberg County). Derek wrote me a note about his new CD, “Where We Hide”. In his note, he highlights is cover of Leaving on a Jet Plane which he describes as “a very different type of arrangement”. It is very different from so many other covers I’ve heard, but I strongly encourage you to check it out. Also on this CD is “Home”, the other song that he played at Falcon Ridge.

In my post, Second Life Machinima, social change and other media links, Amy Jussel of Shaping Youth pointed out Librophiliac Love Letter: A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries

Everyone has some kind of place that makes them feel transported to a magical realm. For some people it's castles with their noble history and crumbling towers. For others it's abandoned factories, ivy choked, a sense of foreboding around every corner. For us here at Curious Expeditions, there has always been something about libraries. Row after row, shelf after shelf, there is nothing more magical than a beautiful old library.

The post continues on with a wonderful set of photographs of great libraries around the world. This too ties back to remembrances. For me, I worked in my high school library. My “special cup” is still a brown hand crafted ceramic coffee mug that I was given one summer that I worked at the library during inventory. The mug is over thirty years old. It has one chip taken out of it, but I still use it regularly.

As I spend time exploring other blogs, I stumbled across The Hamster Wheel, Eccentricities of a Surgical Resident. He has been putting up a series of posts remembering his experiences in New Orleans after Katrina hit. This blog is a must read. He talks about what it was like at the hospital when things we have taken for granted stop working and life is like it was in those days years ago before pagers.

Then, today, I received an email from Liz Dupont-Diehl. Liz and I worked together during the Lamont campaign, and she has started her blog, Parents on the Path. In her first post, she talks about the difficulty in finding time to meditate as a parent in this crazy world. It is all part of the same problem going back to the comment about preserving childhood.

As I read it, I thought of an old story from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. I can’t remember the details, nor can I find the story online. My copy of Zen Flesh, Zen Bones is still in an unpacked box somewhere, yet the thing that jumped out at me was the line about the monk attaining enlightenment when he had washed his dish. Perhaps that is where enlightenment occurs, in washing the dishes, getting the kids off to school, stopping at the library, working at the hospital during a crisis, or simply holding your daughter on your lap the day before she turns seven.

One of the other songs on Derek’s new CD, “You are in my heart” captures this very well. It is a love song to his daughter, the day before her seventh birthday, “and the world turns way to fast…you are in my heart and there you’ll forever stay… I’m holding on to six years young for just another day.”

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A Little Rabbit Mercy Now

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, or perhaps I should say Kaninchen, Lapin, Coniglio. It is an old superstition that if the first thing you say is Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit at the beginning of the month, you will have good luck all month. Add to this, that August 1st is Swiss National Day, I thought it might be a good day to say Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit in German, French and Italian.

Yesterday, we got thrown yet another curve as we try to downsize out of our current house. I won’t go into the details here. I’ll only say that the lawyers are handling it, and that there is even more uncertainty about where we’ll be living.

I’m not a big fan of trusting in luck. Recently, luck hasn’t seemed to be on my side. Also, too many people I know seem to be looking at luck as an ATM to bring a little prosperity into their lives.

My wandering around the Internet the other day brought this home. I like to start off with people who have visited my site via MyBlogLog. Then, I see who visited their sites, and go off on an Internet Walkabout. You often see interesting things.

Recently, I was visiting Mard’s Rants from the Great State of Maine. Having been born in Maine myself, I particularly like Mard’s site. As I wandered the links, I found my way to Beyond Zen’s discussion about non-attachment. This lead me to a site about which credit card sites have the best reward programs, and from there to sites about the Law of Attraction. The path lead on to sites to buy jewelry and perfume. This lead to sites written by ‘luxury travel companions’. At this point, I figured I’d traveled far enough on that path and started over again visiting some mommy blogger who had recently visited the site.

It lead me back the important questions. What are we looking for? Wealth? Power? Sex? Or something more important and more satisfying? On the Object Relations website, Object Relations is defined as ” a modern adaptation of psychoanalytic theory that places less emphasis on the drives of aggression and sexuality as motivational forces and more emphasis on human relationships as the primary motivational force in life.”

Perhaps that is why I like the community of mommy bloggers much more than so many of the political blogging and SEO blogging, or even the Law of Attraction blogs. They get to importance of human relationships. That is also why I like Falcon Ridge so much. Falcon Ridge isn’t about music carefully packaged by RIAA compliant corporations, music focused on wealth, power and sex. Falcon Ridge brings the music of human relationships.

Mary Gauthier has a great song about this. In “Mercy Now”, she sings about her father fading away with Alzheimer’s.

My father could use a little mercy now
The fruits of his labor
Fall and rot slowly on the ground
His work is almost over
It won't be long and he won't be around
I love my father, and he could use some mercy now

She expands on this through out the song, ending up with:

Every living thing could use a little mercy now
Only the hand of grace can end the race
Towards another mushroom cloud
People in power, well
They'll do anything to keep their crown
I love life, and life itself could use some mercy now

Yeah, we all could use a little mercy now
I know we don't deserve it
But we need it anyhow
We hang in the balance
Dangle 'tween hell and hallowed ground
Every single one of us could use some mercy now


I guess that captures some of the luck I hope to capture by saying Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, by trying to think positively and attracting good things, by trying to be in a place where I can experience some of God’s abundance. All I’m looking for is a way to feed and shelter my family while I try to bring a little more kindness into this world that could use a little mercy now.

The Falcon Ridge Spirit

How does one blog Falcon Ridge? I’ve been going to Falcon Ridge since 1994 and hadn’t really thought about that. Even in 2004 when I rushed off from Falcon Ridge to blog the Democratic National Convention, I didn’t think a lot about blogging Falcon Ridge. It is an event that takes place outside, in the mud, without a lot of computers around.

Yet as I wandered around Falcon Ridge, I saw the “Press Trailer” and I wondered, what sort of press releases were available. Did they have internet connectivity so people could file stories? I decided not to check it out and instead to enjoy the event and maybe send in a few pictures from my cellphone, or Twitter a few different thoughts.

On the one hand, Falcon Ridge is a music festival. I imagine that you could blog it by writing up reports of different performers and the songs they song. I’ll do a little bit of that. However, that doesn’t capture the spirit of Falcon Ridge.

There is the dance tent and the family tent. Some people attend Falcon Ridge and rarely leave the dance tent or family tent. I’ll touch on these as well.

Then, there is the midway. There are many food vendors there, and a good food writer could probably write a few blog posts about the food at Falcon Ridge. I’ll touch on that as well. Then, there is the other shopping. You can buy bumperstickers, tie died dresses, toys, musical instruments and much more. You can get a massage, get your face painted, or have a henna design draw on you. I’ll write less about the shopping aspect.

Yet all of this doesn’t come close to capturing what Falcon Ridge is really all about. On the midway, we ran into Dan Navarro. Fiona went up and told him that “Teacher, Teacher” was one of her favorite songs, and he sang a brief phrase from it for her.

No, to write about Falcon Ridge, you need to capture the sense of magic, community, empathy, and friendship that pervades the experience. Hopefully, I’ll be able to capture some of this as well.

Twenty times I’ve tried to tell you...

This blog has ALS. My techie friends may rush to Google to find out what the latest Web 2.0 TLA is. However, ALS isn’t a three-letter acronym for some new Web 2.0 protocol. It doesn’t fit in the same category as RSS, XML, RPC, API, IBM, ETC.

No, ALS is Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a progressive neuromuscular disease that weakens and eventually destroys motor neurons. For my more medically oriented friends, do not worry about me. I do not physically have ALS. Instead, it is this blog that has ALS.

Those who have been reading my political blog entries connectedness is an important issue for me. “We are all in this together.”

John Donne wrote, “If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

So, why am I writing about ALS this morning? Last night, Kim and I went to hear Lowen and Navarro at Acoustic Celebration in Ridgefield. We first heard them at Falcon Ridge.

At Falcon Ridge, Eric Lowen was walking with a cane. We didn’t think much about it. However, up in Ridgefield, he was using a walker. It turns out that he has ALS. He joked about the moment of the concert that would have the most drama in it was as he was helped up the two steps to get to his seat on the stage.

Acoustic Celebration takes place in St. Stephen’s Episcopal church. Kim and I were sitting in the front row. We were about twelve feet from Lowen and Navarro as they sang. As they started, it struck me that they are a good example about what blogs are really about.

We can spend our time talking about political blogs, marketing blogs, A-lists and long tails, but that isn’t really what blogs are about. Blogs are a place where we can have raw, real connections between people. Blogs are where we sit twelve feet from the performer and have a personal connection with them. Throughout the concert there were times you could hear people singing along in the audience. Between songs they talk with the audience and did a lot of requests.

At the end, everyone came up to the front and gathered around close as they sang, “We belong”. That is what good blogging is about. That is what good music is about. It is what good politics is about. “We belong to the thunder… We belong together…”

So, this blog has ALS, along with Eric. We belong together. Please check out the ALS organization. This blog has the longing of a military wife as her husband serves in Iraq. It has the long ordeal of a guy going through complications of heart surgery. It has the stories of people who help others, like a teacher in New Haven, or people that went to help with Katrina relief efforts.

We belong to the thunder, we belong to the sound of the words we've both fallen under... We belong, we belong, we belong together

Re: Where have all

Over in the Pease Garden Pax reiterates Glenda Holste's question, "Where Have All The Protest Songs Gone, Long Time Passing?"

Here is the comment I posted:

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