Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mozart In the Morning!

Slightly before sunrise I put on Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, K.622, Concerto for Bassoon, K.191 with Richard Stoltzman and the English Chamber Orchestra.

Why is this important?  Yesterday I was able to hook up my Garrard turntable to my stereo tuner and for the first time in many years be able to play something from my classical collection. 

After moving into my manufactured home a month ago I have been in the process of unpacking and shelving my record albums and books.  With all my albums now accessible and finally having the ability to install my turntable in my entertainment system, I can once again enjoy music reminiscent of my days working at the Denver Symphony Orchestra in the late1980s.

I hope to soon be able to purchase some speakers that will do justice to the quality music I enjoy.  (Just began playing another Mozart favorite: Violin Concerto No. 4, K.218, with Pinchas Zukerman and the Saint Paul Orchestra.)  I cannot tell you how thoroughly satisfying this beginning to the day is!

I hope you can vicariously enjoy this morning with me, imagining the classics wafting through your own memories, if not actually through your own music system!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Boston Strong, Really?

By Daniel J Perin

Following the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing, it seemed all of Boston, all of the state and indeed, all of the country came together as one—Boston Strong!  The senseless killing and maiming of innocents was something we could not fathom.  In the moments of shock and disbelief bewilderment set in.  But as quickly as we were shocked, we also rose as ONE in support of each other in this country of freedom, opportunity and justice.

It seemed we were all on the same page and thus began the amazing process of identifying and tracking the two young men responsible for this tragedy.  In less than a week the perpetrators were found, one killed in a shoot out and the other seriously wounded, but alive; alive to ultimately begin the process of our coming to terms with what had happened.  At this writing we do not have all the answers, but we will have them and we will better understand how these young men became radicals striking out at the society they had apparently adopted as their own.

I was, like so many others, one with the Boston Strong!  I was shocked, saddened and filled with grief for and with the Boston community.

Then, today, I read the editorial by Leonard Pitts Jr. [1] in the Oregonian drawn from the Miami Herald.  It appears that we were not ALL joining in the Boston Strong!  Yes, I had heard some of the ridiculous statements made by members of Congress about refusing to admit Muslim students into the U.S. and the generalizing of hate for all Muslims, the vast majority of whom living in this country have found an harmonious blending of their faith with the freedom of religion and freedom of opportunity this country affords all who land upon its shores.

The article by Mr. Pitts is a must read as far as I am concerned because he deals with the much broader issues of hate that are currently dividing our country and bringing us to the brink of anarchy and chaos.  I do not believe this is over stated.  I believe we will overcome this hatred, but not until we clear our eyes enough to acknowledge it and take personal action to reverse the trend that is separating us politically, philosophically and spiritually.

Being Boston Strong, bonding with our citizens, feeling the distress of the fallout from the bombing, is something more than sympathy.  It is the comprehension that whatever happens to one of us in this free country is happening to all of us.  We can no longer allow ourselves remain aloof from the tensions that have been building.  We must reclaim the prudent practice of sensibility, of practicing democracy, taking part in the discussion and action that can bring about a greater harmony and the resolution of the issues that challenge us all.  Voices of reason must speak out.  This is one of the reasons I write for this blog.  While this blog is not a major market production, still it represents a voice speaking out.  I neither over estimate nor under estimate the value of one voice.  It is what it is.  Your voice is important as well.

I urge you to read Leonard Pitts Jr’s article, referenced below:  “Even In Tragedy, a Nation Divided.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Here are a few images from Falls City, a small, old lumber town, not far from where I now live in Dallas, OR.  The river and falls were running fast and deep due to spring rain and snow melt.  Felt like I was far away in the mountain forests!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Oh How I Love This Country!

Yes, of course, I mean the USA, but that isn’t what is on my mind right now.  This morning I headed off to the nearby town of Monmouth to deposit a couple of refund checks from utilities at my former apartment.  It was still a bit hazy from the good old Oregon humidity in the air as the sun tried to make its appearance on the eastern horizon.  I suddenly found myself saying out loud, “God, I love this country!”  The wonderful farms that stretched for miles, the nut orchards, vineyards and rolling hills—what’s not to love?

I took the long way back home just so I could experience new territory.  I affirmed that I eventually wanted to try all the back roads I could discover.  Dallas, Independence and Monmouth are historic early Oregon towns.   Monmouth hosts the Western Oregon University; an expanding campus that looked like it was heavily attended according to the parking lots.  It is a liberal arts college founded in 1856 by Oregon pioneers.  It has been a long time since I was in high school, but driving through these small towns brought back memories of studying Oregon history in school.  I had to wonder if such studies are even taught any more.  Seems like most of what I was taught in high school is no longer deemed important, like civics, American history, geography, etc.  Of course, they probably do still teach these things, but judging from my experience with students today, I am not sure many of them have retained the lessons.

But I digress!  When I returned home I put on my gardening clothes and took to the front flower garden, an area about 30 X 12 that has been unattended since the former owner left for Arizona nearly a year ago.  I worked for about two hours when it was again time for lunch and an end to the work out there for today.  I still have a good portion to clear of weeds.  I could not help but ponder why God had seemed to create weeds with interminably deep roots that made pulling them impossible, while at the same time giving our most beautiful flowers surface roots easily disturbed.  I am sure there is a plan and message in there somewhere!

I do love the Oregon country.  It is regrettable that there are those folks who find the often-gray skies and rainy times hard to take.  What we gain from our weather is the deepest greens, the brightest azaleas and rhododendrons, daffodils, roses and on and on!  Of course, a number of years ago an Oregon governor had to “dis-invite” Californians who were coming here in droves crowding our beaches and campsites.  I suppose it is a good thing that not everyone wants to live here or we would be too much like the east coast!

Come, take a drive with me through some of God’s most beautiful creation!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I’ve Found This Place At Last

I was looking through some articles that I had started writing over times past because a semi-formed idea struck that seemed to want to be expressed.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how one looks at it, the idea did not continue to develop so it was relegated to the general file with other ideas that experienced the same fate.

However, as I was looking through that file today and reading the lyrics of K.D. Lang’s  “Trail of Broken Hearts,” which was part of an unfinished article, I came across the words:

Broken trail so long
A long and tired past
An emptiness has gone
I've found this place at last
And here will remain
With only the aim
Of staying sure and fast
Leaving just a part
Down the trail of broken hearts.

Then it hit me.  I have found my place at last!  Some of you know that I recently bought a manufactured home after apartment living since selling my former mobile home in the Seattle area after retiring.  Though I enjoyed the apartment I never truly felt at home.  I had to put a number of things in storage, many of which I did not need, but some were things that I missed.  I had to get rid of all my major power tools, my garden tools and things that one needs if you are a homeowner.  If I needed or wanted to “fix” something, it usually called for a tool I couldn’t get to or no longer had; or maybe it was a particular nut, bolt or screw for some project that I thought I needed to take care of.

Now I have my shop mostly all set up again.  All the containers of nuts, bolts, washers, screws, etc. are nicely arranged on shelves ready for any project.  I already had to locate just the right bolts and nuts to replace ones missing from an adjustable bed frame kit I bought for my second bedroom.  (Darned Chinese can’t seem to get everything in the package that is supposed to be there! Don’t ask about the “instructions.”)  My mind is beginning to see a number of projects that I would like to take care of.  That doesn’t include all the things that NEED to be done in the yard—blah, blah, blah!

But, I have found this place at last, and here I will remain with only the aim of staying sure and fast . . . 

I was excited for the move and knew others could share the joy with me.  Most did, but of course, there were some who thought it was a stupid choice, saying, “For the life of me, I do not understand you or your choices now or in your past.” 

Some times one has to shake the dust from off his/her feet and travel on.  There is that place for each of us and it makes no difference whether anyone else sees it as we do or not.  In the right place there are new opportunities, new people and a new spirit, if one feels free to embrace them.  So I leave just a part down the trail of broken hearts, and move on.  I take all my great memories of the road leading me here along for the rest of the journey, and leave any broken heart memories where they belong—in the past!

[1]  Trail of Broken Hearts, K.d. lang/Ben Mink
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/k/kd_lang/trail_of_broken_hearts.html ]