Friday, October 30, 2009

SHELTER FROM THE STORM



As I was thinking about having heard my nephew sing "Woodstock" in an "American Rock" performance in Seattle last Sunday, these later lyrics by Joni Mitchell came to me.

"All we ever wanted was just to come in from the cold."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"THE VOICE OF MAHALIA JACKSON CAME THROUGH THE ETHER" (VAN MORRISON)



Sometime between 1954 and 1956, which was the year that I turned 7 years old, I was playing quietly in the living room of my family's rented home in Taft, California. The television was on, but I wasn't paying attention to it until I heard a powerful voice that moved my young heart and soul. I looked up, and there was Mahalia Jackson on the small black-and-white screen. Unforgettable.

"It is easy to be independent when you've got money. But to be independent when you haven't got a thing -- that's the Lord's test."
(Mahalia Jackson)

Monday, October 26, 2009

"I DON'T KNOW WHO I AM, BUT LIFE IS FOR LEARNING" / LEE BARRIENTOS



Yesterday afternoon I drove to Seattle to hear my 16-year-old (almost 17-year-old) nephew sing in a Vocalpoint! Seattle performance at the Broadway Performance Hall at Broadway and Pine. Imagine how moving it was to hear him sing "Woodstock" with the Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Taylor, Reeves musical accompaniment, with three other young men doing back-up vocals. My nephew's voice is strong and expressive. In another song I didn't recognize, he sang solo while everyone else from Vocalpoint! Seattle danced behind him. I understand that there will be a DVD of the performance. Maybe it will show up on YouTube!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

EIST / LISTEN



Brian Bowers sings this song on his CD titled "Bristlecone Pine." He refers to John Spillane in the liner notes. Keep listening until John Spillane sings (1:20).

Friday, October 23, 2009

42 years: a book of changes


















About a month ago, I had a limited edition of 25 copies of my book of art and poetry printed up. A few days ago, Bellingham's independent bookstore, Village Books, took three of my books on consignment, with a retail price of $14.95 per copy. I will not be making a profit on this limited edition but do want to make it available for those who are interested. For those readers who would like to purchase a copy and who live in the United States or Canada, try calling Village Books at 1-800-392-BOOK and asking for:

42 years: a book of changes
(by Amanda Wald Rachie)

If that doesn't work, email me at:

ellamuir@msn.com

For those who don't live in the United States or Canada, email me if you'd like to buy a copy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

OBAMA, CAN THIS REALLY BE THE END?

















"... We are at the end of the beginning, the hard work starts now ..."
(from President Obama's speech on October 20, 2009)





"An' here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Going through all these things twice

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again"

(Bob Dylan)

*

"What science finds to be nonexistent, we must accept as nonexistent, but what science merely does not find is a completely different matter.

... It is quite clear that there are many, many, mysterious things."

(Dalai Lama)

*

"Om, Mama, can this really be the end?"
(Margaret Hibbing aka Oboe)

Monday, October 19, 2009

"CHRISTMAS IN THE HEART" / "YOU LOSE YOURSELF, YOU REAPPEAR"


















Watch and listen to this song from 1965 by Bob Dylan, as he sung it about a year ago. The lyrics are here.

Bob Dylan's recently released "Christmas in the Heart" CD opens with "Here Comes Santa Claus" and closes with these words from "O Little Town of Bethlehem":

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

Reinhold Niebuhr said, "Humor is a prelude to faith and
Laughter is the beginning of prayer."

I laughed when I heard Bob Dylan singing "Here Comes Santa Claus" and laughed at various places throughout the CD. He is funny, and he knows it. He is also apparently a man of unconventional faith. The CD alternates between popular Christmas songs (many of which I have never liked, even in childhood, because they depressed me -- I still can smell alcohol on their breath and they make me wary of adults) and traditional Christmas hymms and ends with Bob Dylan singing a solemn "Amen," as is done at the end of prayers in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition.

Although I was raised as a Christian, I began to question what I had been taught at church at about the time I first heard Bob Dylan -- when I was 14 years old. I knew then that I wasn't alone with my questions. I am not a member of any organized religious or spiritual community, but I am still not alone with my questions either. As a woman of unconventional faith, I've got to say that I like Bob Dylan's Christmas CD. It's got heart, levity and gravity. It's not a sermon. He's not preaching. It's not that far from "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)," a song he continues to sing in concert:

"It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred"
(Bob Dylan, 1965)

He didn't say that nothing is sacred.

And you've got to hear him sing at the speed of light in "Must Be Santa":

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen
Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon
Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen
Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton

(Scroll down to my "Feeding America Christmas in the Heart" post and click on the triangle next to "Must be Santa" in the donation widget)

To my ears, "Christmas in the Heart" is a meditation on the oneness of the absurd and the sacred, which ends enigmatically in the manner of a prayer.

I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK














"You can only go halfway into the darkest forest; then you're coming out on the other side."

-- Chinese proverb

(from Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others)

Click here to learn more about a book well worth reading.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

BLACK ELK SAW A FLAMING RAINBOW

















From Black Elk Speaks:

Then they all stopped short, rearing, and were standing in a great hoop about their black chief at the center, and were still. And as they stood, four virgins, more beautiful than women of the earth can be, came through the circle, dressed in scarlet, one from each of the four quarters, and stood about the great black stallion in their places; and one held the wooden cup of water, and one the white wing, and one the pipe, and one the nation's hoop. All the universe was silent, listening; and then the great black stallion raised his voice and sang. The song he sang was this:


My horses, prancing they are coming.

My horses, neighing they are coming;

Prancing. they are coming.

All over the universe they come.

They will dance; may you behold them.

(4 times)

A horse nation, they will dance.

May you behold them. (4 times)


His voice was not loud, but it went all over the universe and filled it. There was nothing that did not hear, and it was more beautiful than anything can be. It was so beautiful that nothing anywhere could keep from dancing. The virgins danced, and all the circled horses. The leaves on the trees, the grasses on the hills and in the valleys, the water in the creeks and in the rivers and the lakes, the four-legged and the two-legged and the wings of the air--all danced together to the music of the stallion's song.

And when I looked down upon my people yonder, the cloud passed over, blessing them with friendly rain, and stood in the east with a flaming rainbow over it.

(Many thanks to the art farmer, who left me a phone message saying, "Look outside at the rainbow!")

Feeding America "Christmas In the Heart"



Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen
Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon
Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen
Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton

(From "Must Be Santa" -- new lyrics by Bob Dylan)

Click on "Must Be Santa" in the image above to hear the entire song

Then click on this quote:

"The SILENT NIGHT will shatter from the sounds inside my mind" -- Bob Dylan.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WELCOMED BY LIGHT

















Click on image to enlarge for full effect of light.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

IN THE BEGINNING, LONG TIME AGO






















Listen.

Update: The "Listen" link above was changed today due to copyright restrictions that weren't in place when I linked it yesterday.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

OBOE LISTENING TO A WINDY DAY IN EARLY OCTOBER

















Listen.

"She once walked right at my side. I'm sure she walked by you."
(Mimi Farina)

"Kiss the 21st century for me."
(what I heard Janis Joplin say in a dream I had in 1999)

Friday, October 2, 2009

BIRTHDAYS








Love is the strongest force the world possesses, and yet it is the humblest imaginable.

-- Mahatma Gandhi

Richard would have been 60 today.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY, TOO, YEAH



Today is my 60th birthday. Tomorrow would have been Richard's 60th birthday.

Yesterday morning in the middle of a long walk, I stopped to sit on a rock at Marine Park and was looking around at the land, water, sky and sea birds. The thought came to me, "Where are you, Richard?"

Within seconds, I heard Richard's playful voice saying, "I'm here."