Glory to the greatness of summer!
Books (actually, poems):
What is compassion? How do you define justice? When circumstances are murky, is there a “right” course of action?
Traveling through the Dark by William E. Stafford is a haunting poem. I initially read it in 1997 during my first semester in college and still cannot find the correct words to capture my feelings of hopelessness, pain, and futility. I have thought about it many times over the years, but particularly during my recent trip to Oregon. You see, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art curated the exhibit “Remember This: by Hung Liu“. It was gorgeous and moving, a tribute to humanity and a rebuff to those who photographed the Chinese people as ‘curiosities’ or ‘others’. With this exhibit, Hung Liu is refuting the idea that the Chinese people are part of the external scenery. By layering old photographs with resin and paint, Liu brilliantly portrays the indelible presence of the Chinese as people. In their land. With all the beauty and complexity that inherent ‘presence’ entails. One particular piece evoked images of the Stafford poem. Which of the pictures speaks to you?
Also this month, I met director Andrew Filippone Jr. He worked on the short film The Johnny Effect. This too, was a profound piece and directly related to a poem I wrote. Perhaps we can use this month to connect compassionately with others.
Beats and Barbells:
I went to the Thunderbird Powwow and met dancer Sal Aldaz. He is Mescalero Apache and was kind enough to allow this photograph.
If you have never had an opportunity to celebrate indigenous cultures in this way, I highly recommend looking at these upcoming events. It’s a fantastic combination of music, dance, and expression.
I love the way Enigma pays homage to the art of chanting in their song Return to Innocence and I fully support dance as a way to stay active, improve cognition, and build community as I have said on multiple occasions. Enjoy this presentation from the American Indian Dance Theater.
Peace and love,
Featured image from The Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Eugene, Oregon.