Martin Scorsese's recent documentary on George Harrison filled me with a deep spiritual satisfaction, both rare and beautiful. As I grapple with the deaths of my friend, Elana, and of my brother, Larry, near the 47th anniversary of my father's passing, I reach for the kind of solace Harrison exuded and Scorsese captured and illuminated in his exquisite film. I am reminded of the song and biblical sentiment, "All things must pass." Indeed. Grief is a mysterious thing. As I go through my daily activities, I find myself at once mourning my loss, as if a part of myself has died with those I love, and celebrating my incredible good fortune; I'm here! Life is sweet and tragic. The end of a short life is tragic while the end of suffering is sweet. Holding these thoughts and emotions in balance is my challenge, maybe the challenge. Many wonderful memories sustain me, as does the music of George Harrison. Who can't relate to the haunting lyrics and chords of "While my Guitar Gently Weeps," or the meditative chant of "My Sweet Lord?" My spiritual quest ebbs and flows like the poignant music of George Harrison. All things must pass is a bittersweet refrain. Time is precious, its passage inevitable. This is my last blog of the year, my last weekly blog, a bittersweet decision. Meantime, enjoy the moment. All things must pass.
You, Beloved, who are all the gardens I have ever gazed at, longing. An open window in a country house-- , and you almost stepped out, pensive, to meet me. Streets that I chanced upon,-- you had just walked down them and vanished. And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows? Perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us yesterday, separate, in the evening...
From 'Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke'
Strangest thing I heard on the radio, maybe you heard, too. The DJ took suggestions for the worst songs of the year and played them! Why would he do that?! Actually, I kind of liked the idea…One pick was Dave Matthew’s “Funny the Way It Is,” which is a song I really love. I was upset that someone would hate that song. It made me wonder about the person who chose it. He had such a strong negative reaction to the lyrics (not so much the music), I wished I could have asked him why. I love the song because it reflects my observer’s sensibility about the random nature of fate….the “there but for the grace…” aspect of life. I’m sure the guy was reacting to something personal; maybe he has a cushy life, or maybe a hard life, which might explain his aversion. Or, maybe he just didn’t like the lyrics?
when all through the cell,
The staff was all quiet
After another day in hell.
The paintings were hung
On the walls with great care,
In hopes that family
and friends would be there.
Nancy was typing away at her blog
With Garlia, Kira and Pat in a fog.
Alan arrived with a headache or two
Looking for Advil, he needed a few…
“Hello?” cried an innocent voice from below.
“Has Barbara arrived yet?”
“Uh, sorry, but no.
She should arrive shortly,
feel free to explore,
You’ll hear her as soon as
she comes through the door.”
The staff remained quiet
Before the arrival
Of gawking cheese-eaters
Who come for survival.
They came and they ate
the scant offerings with wine,
Considered the art
Before leaving it behind.
But wait! There’s a straggler
Who understand’s art:
The super-extra-ordinary kind…
From the heart.
“A sale, a sale, a sale!”
we cried. Barbara’s an artist,
it can’t be denied!!!
San Francisco, a perennial hub of activism, is currently represented by two artists of interest; one paints a picture of an unforgettable era, the other paints unforgettable pictures. The result of this dual display reminds us that history repeats in ever unpredictable permutations. This week's salon will explore the political parallels between two fascinating eras of protest.
Image: Chance of Showers - Barbara Silverman
Hunt, gather, shoot, purge, repeat
Our destiny, encoded in our ancestral genes is indelible, as if written in stone.
The proliferation of malls is no more than a call; civilization’s unapologetic answer to a primitive urge.
I hunt, I gather and armed (with a camera) I shoot, recognizing my feeble gesture as a holding on to what I must let go.
The photo, slim token, tiny ephemera, is the thing I use to preserve what I must purge.
“I could spend a day with a fire hydrant!” was the refrain drummed into me as a photo student. It was kind of a running joke in our class, but obsessive engagement with a subject is the ultimate ingredient for success with the craft. We learn to see when we focus, focus when we learn to see. While I love taking pictures, my secret truth is that I could not spend a day with a fire hydrant. My dogs, on the other hand…
Today Kira and I went to a competition. It was a competition for classical musicians. We were there to see Sybarite5, our artists in residence. Now, I hate competitions, but I love music. Before Syb5 appeared, we sat through another performance, an impressive violist displaying off-the-chart emotion and technique. I thought, “She’s amazing.” I leaned over to Kira and whispered, “Why do they have to compete? Why can’t everyone win?” I sat enthralled, firm in my belief that music can save the world. Then Syb5 rocked the house. I mean, the audience went wild! If you think you don’t like classical musical music, this group will change your mind. Their arrangements of work by bands like Radio Head and Led Zeppelin have the effect of mind-expanding drugs. Seriously. If music can save the world, this group is in the front line. We are thrilled to be presenting Sybarite5 this Saturday night. There is no other place I know of in this city where you can intimately experience top-notch performers for next to nothing. Please come! If your not blown away, we’ll refund your price of admission.
PS. They won!