a man hears what he wants to hear

A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. Paul Simon

sparrow

True then, true now – a man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.

A sparrow lights on a branch outside my window, momentarily there, he looks up and down, in stoccatatic movements, he shakes his wings, he swings his gray-brown rump to and fro, like a man who is late to work and waiting for a bus, his head ever alert, wondering has he missed something; now thinking, where shall he go; the sky above is gray and white, a cold and bitter wind blows about him, about us all. See him and the image is stamped upon one’s mind. Now he is gone.

And yet, there he still is, forever on the branch, giving one pause to wonder endlessly where birds go in the rain and the snow.

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Tous les matins du monde sans retour

Tous les matins du monde is a 1991 novel by Pascal Quignard, which was simultaneously made into a French film. The film starred Gérard Depardieu as an aging viola player in the court of King Louis XIV, looking back on his life. The book is like a series of still life paintings, capturing successive moments in the life of composer Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe and his student Marin Marais.

Gentle reader, we struggle to make sense of life, to find meaning in its moments, looking for direction, a way forward.

Pascal deals with the subject of art. Can it be taught? Do words suffice to explain the art of the viola? Is not the music felt? It is an emotion, and therefore incapable of literary discription. Once notes are transcribed, Monsieur Saint-Colombe believes, they become like a painting, nature morte.

the five senses, Lugin Baugin,
the five senses, Lugin Baugin,

 

Nature Morte

The subject of still life (nature morte) paintings comes up in the book through Sainte-Colombe’s friendship with the painter Lugin Baugin. Saint-Colombe requests of his friend a painting of his room after the apparition of his dead wife comes to him. Gentle reader, is there not irony in the capture of nature in a painting, and the idea that nature though captured is dead to all the senses excepting the eye?

Tous les matins du monde

But it is not he death of nature I wish to discuss. Rather it is the enigmatic meaning of the title, Tous les matins du monde.

The phrase is not delivered in the book until Chapter 26, and then it is delivered by the author as a comment on the passage of time:

“Tous les matins du monde sont sans retour. Les annees etait passees.”

Gentle reader, though we are tempted to translate literally as “without returning,” the better meaning is never to return. Each morning, each moment passes, and is gone. A painting, a thought, real to the eye and the memory is still dead to the world.

pocket-watch-sand-2

 

Are You There?

newport-lighthouse-poster

The daily question the Wizard of Oz asks is, “Are you there?”

The question is directed at those who stumble across his blog and glance at a word or two before moving on. Where they are going and where they have been do not interest Oz because those places are unknowable. Oz is curious about the gentle reader who comes across his story and then moves on.

Are you there?

The search for intelligent life in the universe is an ongoing process that has yet to produce any results. Oz learned that SETI (the funded project) was suspended a few years back due to lack of funds, and, dare we say, interest?

All this reminds young Oz of the times when he traveled with dear old dad in the family car.

When he asked his father, “Are we there yet?” Dad would reply, “No, but we are here.” Dad could have replied, “Wherever you go, you are there.” No, he would leave that bit of nonsense to Buckaroo Banzai. For Dad lived in the moment. He was patient. He was kind and understanding. Now dad is gone and Oz is left with only the memory of an old man who liked to travel, who liked to walk here and there, who said many things a young Oz did not understand then, but does now.

And now Oz wants to know, “Dad, are you there?”

It is, at times like this, when Oz is melancholic that he pulls out an old and worn copy of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. On a dog eared page is the quote by the forever befuddled Arthur Dent:

You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”

“Why, what did she tell you?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t listen.”

Oz returns to his thoughts of his father, to the walks along the Oregon coast and the conversation.

‘I am listening,’ he wants to say to his father, ‘it is just that I don’t understand.’

signs-oregon

That ‘s the way the year ends

sparkler

“I don’t think…” then you shouldn’t talk, said the Hatter.” Just type and blog and pray it doesn’t matter.

Alice had a crazy thought. If she talks to herself, is that a conversation?

That’s the way the year ends, not with a bang but whisper. If thoughts turn into words then conversations never end. Hoping that it matters. Here’s to another 365 days of chatter!

Oz wishes you, my friend, a very happy new year.

evening-milky-way

From where I sit, it looks much the same. The world is a wild and wonderful place.

But I feel I am going round in a circle. Or, I wonder, is it circling me?

“That depends on where you sit, and what you see, and nothing else,” said Oz.

So, said the Mad Hatter: “In Wonderland, we only go around in circles, but we always end up where we started.”

The Lorax

Trufala Tree

 

Listen my children.
It’s a thing I’ve said
A million, a billion, no, a zillion times.
Listen closely to the beat of the drums…
You are the Lorax who speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues
You are the Lorax who speak for the generations yet to be.
What can I do, and what can I say?
Nothing, you say!

Then, catch!
Here is a seed, it’s the last of them all,
It once cost a penny, now it’s quite dear,
The seed of the Trufala tree.

Do what you want, you’re in charge.
But,
Do you know what you need?

Can you imagine, I am a fan of Dr. Seuss, but I’ve never read The Lorax. Nor did I know until now that it was made into a movie featuring the voices of Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, and Danny DeVito.

Now that I read it, and you can too, I am enthralled.

So, where can I find the seed of a Trufala tree? Should I look in a book, follow a bee, listen to the sound of a merry-go-round, full of children laughing with not a care in the world?

It is a kind world, or can be, if you just take the time and open your mind.

Purple wildflower Glacier National Park

Living in the Past

Within living memory, that is to say one hundred years ago, living in the Grand Cayman was quite different than today’s hectic world.

If you lived in the past, you would remember the Grand Cayman’s Georgetown when four or five Cayman schooners were being built at any one time, when there were but three small communities, Georgetown, Boddentown and West End, when communication with the outside world was by boat, when water to drink was caught in cisterns after a good night’s rain, when goats grazed in the grass where the courthouse now sits, you would see dock men loading giant turtles for ships in the same spot where cruise ships drop off tourists by the tens of thousands, you would see visitors with their cameras and back packs buying souvenirs in gift shops along the harbor in a shop that was once a small hut under a tin roof, selling salt fish to bananas, and shells and hats from thatched palm fronds, and believe it or not when only a half dozen taxis bounced along the sandy streets trying to avoid chickens, goats, and pigs.

It was not an easy life but it was serene and each Caymanian lived the dream.

It sounds delightful

gathered from the recollections of Aaron’s Booker Kohlman, 1920s

Red door, white brick

#11 Jan Miraelstraat

Behind a door is a home, with secrets untold and stories unknown, of people who live their lives far from our prying eyes, curious though we may be, we have no right to invade their privacy, it is not polite to stare or look inside, the only thing they will share, and all that can be found, is left in a bag of trash outside the door at night.

Bruges, Belgium

red-door-1