Friday, May 31, 2013

Vigil: Day V

Someone asked me today while I was taking a photo when it was coming down. I admitted I didn't know. But soon? He asked. I thought so, I replied.

"That was probably the last time Niggle's name ever came up in conversation. However, Atkins preserved the odd corner. Most of it crumbled; but one beautiful leaf remained intact. Atkins had it framed. Later he left it to the Town Museum, and for a long while "Leaf: by Niggle" hung there in a recess, and was noticed by a few eyes. But eventually the Museum was burnt down, and the leaf, and Niggle, were entirely forgotten in his old country." J.R.R. Tolkien Leaf by Niggle

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vigil: Day IV

The IT dept has stolen my matlab license administration rights, let our mathworks maintenance contract expire, and just departed on a two week vacation.

And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. Mark 8:24

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vigil: Day III

Nothing of a particularly evocative nature occurred today. I spent a great deal of time contemplating if a data file had been correctly embedded in a compiled matlab program (efforts were inconclusive, but the smart money says it was not), and saw my first lightning bug of the season...

How could I not?

How will the legend of the age of trees
Feel, when the last tree falls in England?
When the concrete spreads and the town conquers
The country’s heart; when contraceptive
Tarmac’s laid where farm has faded,
Tramline flows where slept a hamlet,
And shop-fronts, blazing without a stop from
Dover to Wrath, have glazed us over?
Simplest tales will then bewilder
The questioning children, “What was a chestnut?
Say what it means to climb a Beanstalk,
Tell me, grandfather, what an elm is.
What was Autumn? They never taught us.”
Then, told by teachers how once from mould
Came growing creatures of lower nature
Able to live and die, though neither
Beast nor man, and around them wreathing
Excellent clothing, breathing sunlight –
Half understanding, their ill-acquainted
Fancy will tint their wonder-paintings
Trees as men walking, wood-romances
Of goblins stalking in silky green,
Of milk-sheen froth upon the lace of hawthorn’s
Collar, pallor in the face of birchgirl.
So shall a homeless time, though dimly
Catch from afar (for soul is watchfull)
A sight of tree-delighted Eden.
C.S. Lewis, The Future of Forestry

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Vigil, Day II

Today, my friend's cat died and I read a great deal about the difficulty of rooting oak cuttings. The cat was not in good shape. It died all on its own. Conventional wisdom is that you put cats down. I doubt most people could articulate this, but the idea derives from the tradition that not being sentient, not having a soul, animals suffering is meaningless (they can't offer it as a sacrifice to God), and so there is no reason for them to endure it. I understand the thought, but it always felt too tidy, hollow, a religious scrim around the philosophy of a materialist who is going to try and sell you a casket, a headstone and likely a bigger and better cat tomorrow. The day after his more secular cousin will be selling the same story about you to your next of kin. I intend to poke him in the eye with my last breath. RIP Cripps.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth.
Psalm 8

Monday, May 27, 2013

Vigil, Day I

The first Memorial day weekend in years that I haven't done the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit in NYC.  The general sense of everything being out of control, and the additional layer of logistics and cost in needing to rent a van for four days was just too much for me. I miss it. An elderly eccentric from the Village that I often speak to for hours while standing there not selling art phoned tonight to ask if I was alright. Its nice to think you are missed, and remembered, when you devote your heart to something so futile. That statement applies equally to art and the discipline of trying to be nice to everyone.  The little kindness was appreciated, never let anyone say anything against New Yorkers, at least of the old school.  

Jerseyites I'm not feeling so charitable toward at the moment.

I don't know quite why this makes me think of Thoreau on the topic of shad, or if its truly the tree I'm thinking about, or egoist to the end like all artists, it's myself.

"Still patiently, almost pathetically, with instinct not to be discouraged, not to be reasoned with, revisiting their old haunts, as if their stern fates would relent, and still met by the corporation with its dam. Poor shad! where is thy redress? When Nature gave thee instinct, gave she thee the heart to bear thy fate?...
It will not be forgotten by some memory that we were contemporaries. Thou shalt erelong have thy way up the rivers, up all the rivers of the globe, if I am not mistaken. Yea, even thy dull watery dream shall be more than realized. If it were not so, but thou wert to be overlooked at first and at last, then would not I take their heaven."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Vintage Oak

Maybe just old. Can't resist old oak furniture as revealed by this shot of my shrinking office. Cubbies courtesy of Julia Richmond Educational Complex. Bent wood chair courtesy of 7th Regiment Armoury.