Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Loaves and Fishes by David Whyte

A charming purple house in Pescadero that I painted last week.

Loaves and Fishes

This is not

the age of information.

This is not

the age of information.

Forget the news,

and the radio,

and the blurred screen.

This is the time

of loaves

and fishes.

People are hungry

and one good word is bread

for a thousand.

-- David Whyte

from The House of Belonging

©1996 Many Rivers Press

Obamasize yourself . . .

Today's distraction from doing useful things is to Obamasize your own photo.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

In praise of real work . . .

The Sunday NYT Magazine has a thought provoking article this week on the value of physical work. In it a poem by Marge Piercy is referenced. I found the poem and love it. I can't help thinking of my wonderful husband, Ron. He is a champion of doing all things that are real and physical. There is nothing that I've found he cannot do. Here is the wonderful poem.

To be of use

by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best

jump into work head first

without dallying in the shallows

and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

They seem to become natives of that element,

the black sleek heads of seals

bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,

who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,

who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,

who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge

in the task, who go into the fields to harvest

and work in a row and pass the bags along,

who stand in the line and haul in their places,

who are not parlor generals and field deserters

but move in a common rhythm

when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.

Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.

But the thing worth doing well done

has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.

Greek amphoras for wine or oil,

Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums

but you know they were made to be used.

The pitcher cries for water to carry

and a person for work that is real.

"To be of use" by Marge Piercy © 1973, 1982.

From CIRCLES ON THE WATER © 1982 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and Middlemarsh, Inc.

First published in Lunch magazine.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

This photo was taken to accompany a feature article in the Richmond News Leader in 1959. It shows my mother, Virginia Louise Pittman Ryan and me (standing in a party dress) having a "typical family meal". Mother always wore an evening dress to dinner, of course. I think the main thing this tells us is something about the year 1959. In the bottom of the photo is my brother Michael and sister, Kathleen.

My mother was a beauty beyond compare. She was a high fashion model for a decade, wearing the couture of Oleg Casini, among others. But, as we wrote on her stone in the memorial rose garden: "More than her beauty, which was like the rose, was her goodness."

On Mother's Day I give thanks for the world's greatest mom. We were truly blessed. She died on Christmas day, 1998. Love to you, Mama.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Dragon's Gift - The Art of Bhutan

The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco is one of the nation's treasure houses of great art. This week an exceptional exhibition closes after a three month run here. Brought together by a team of Bhutan specialists, curators, monks and government officials this exhibit assembles 100 pieces that can only be described as breathtaking. The exhibit catalog, which also contains a DVD of the sacred dances of Bhutan (Cham)is stunning in its collection of photographs and articles about Bhutanese art and culture.

Ron and I went back one more time to bask in the energy of this collection on Friday. Tibetan monks roam the gallery chanting blessings twice a day.

Here is Ron in one of the masks used for sacred dance.