Sunday, June 19, 2016

Behold the fowls of the air:
for they sow not, neither do they reap,
nor gather into barns;
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much better than they?

Mourning Dove
Pastel Drawing
Kidist P. Asrat

It's been almost a year (a month and and day short - there must be some numerical significance to that number) since I posted on this blog. There are a few drafts (three to be exact), but I briefly resumed activity at Our Changing Landscape, and I started something I called Society for the Reclamation of Beauty (more on this later), but for the most part I have just been posting photos, and the occasional communications with other bloggers.

My silence was not a renunciation, but a way to revive my interest and general excitement when I start a new blog post.

For some reason, I felt tired, as though there was nothing more to say.

What an error in imagination! There is always something to say.

I think what I felt was that there was nothing positive left to say.

As I discussed with a friend, this nihilistic, apocalyptic view of the world is anti-Christian and anti-God.

Who am I to judge, and decide, when things are over?

Even in the midst of horror, God would wish us to live. Each step we take in life is a preparation for harder times, making us hardier and more resolute to keep our world and fight for our world. We are sure to meet our ultimate enemy some time. It is better that we harden ourselves now.

Yet, we should also wonder at the eternal cheerfulness of the little bird.

It is telling that got my earthly resolve back almost as soon as I participated in a "Birding With Experts" walk, a program organized by the Riverwood Conservancy, where we meet and greet (so we think!) or pesky little fowl friends, who may grace us with their song, although it is more often with their flight.

Here are some photos I took of some birds at my last visit, along with the woods now almost fully clothed with their green cloaks, all the more easier for our chirping chickadees to hide in.

The Mourning Dove, elusive and shy,
with its silhouette against the early morning sky,
makes that plaintive cry

I'm not sure what this is. I think it is a yellow warbler.
I will ask at our next meeting.

The Indigo Bunting. It was playing hide-and-seek with us, calling out with its song, announcing spring, until it appeared hight up on the bare branches, above us, and any danger (except for that hawk!).

A Red-Tailed Hawk, glancing at our intruding group. He is ready
to circle and pounce on the rodent he's just eyed

Luc Fazio, our steward, as the conservancy calls him. The pole holding the video camera acts as his staff with which to rescue wayward members. I have slight vertigo, even for elementary slopes. and he called out at one time, pushing the pole before me:
"Just hold on!"
"But you won't be able to pull me with that!"
"Just use the stick as a guide, don't cling onto it."
I did as bidden, barely touching the stick, and sure enough, I was out of my hole!

"It's all psychological," said our kind shephard. "I once had a women in my group in Brazil, who wouldn't do as I told her. She fell, lacerated her arm, and we had call for medical assistance."

God forbid that they would have had to call medical assistance for me!

The Credit River, flowing through Riverwood

[Photos By: KPA]
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"I Will Counsel You With My Loving Eye On You"

(Photo I took at the US/Canada border last April, 2015)

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Infused With Beauty

The last time went to the Fraunces Tavern Museum website (only about a week ago), I didn't notice this new acquisition:
Fraunces Tavern Museum is proud to announce the most recent acquisition, a terra cotta bust of George Washington. This bust is a 19th century draped a l ‘antique unsigned copy of the original bust made by Jean-Antoine Houdon in 1785.
I've written about this bust here and here. And, Larry Auster, whose admiration of the bust I shared, wrote about the bust, and made a post here on my commentary on the sculpture.

I wrote in the commentary Auster/Asrat: Interaction on Beauty:
Although Larry Auster didn't directly write about beauty, his work is infused with the desire to bring beauty back into our world.

One of the most memorable posts he did on art (and beauty) was his reaction to a bust of George Washington. The image of the bust he has posted is huge and takes up the whole screen, so that we, like him, can have as close a look at it as possible. [the rest of my post is here]
So, it is a nice surprise that a museum is bringing this piece into its collections.
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Friday, July 10, 2015

"Dogs, I Am Confident, Would Have Arranged
Many, Many Things Better Than We Do"

First, I Do An On-Line Search
Cartoon by Arnie Levin
Published in the New Yorker October 5, 1998

I went to my (second) favorite spot to read - the Whole Foods Market cafe - my newly acquired (for TEN dollars, down from FORTY EIGHT dollars!) book, The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs.

Here is what the reviewers say about it:
...the amused insouciance, the self-deprecation, the gentle unfolding of a structural irony, the skip and reveal of the final sentence, the knowledge of Not Too Much that seems intrinsic to the New Yorker. And cartoons.”—Edmund De Waal, The Spectator
But, above all, it's funny, in that canine way, where all things are about the dog.

Thurber Dog With Butterfly for Nora, 1937
Illustration by James Thurber
Dogs, I am confident, would have arranged many, many things better than we do. They would have in all probability averted the Depression, for they can go through lots tougher things than we and still think it's boom time. They demand very little of their heyday; a kind word is more to them than fame, a soup bone more than gold; they are perfectly contented with a warm fire and a good book to chew (preferably an autographed first edition lent by a friend).
James Thurber, from "Dogs I Have Scratched"
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


[Photos By: KPA]

Monday, June 29, 2015

America's the Greatest Land of All

Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Thursday, June 18, 2015

George Washington:
The World Historical Figure in the Quintessentially American Tradition

George Washington, 1780
Charles Willson Peale (American, 1741–1827)
Oil on canvas; 95 x 61 3/4 in.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Part of what makes his live story so gripping is that he shaped himself into the world-historical figure he became, in the quintessentially American tradition of men who spring, as F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, from their own Platonic conception of themselves. But his self-conception was extraordinary: it began as a worthy ideal and evolved into a magnificent one. In his fiercely ambitious youth, he sought to win acclaim for his for his heroism and savoir faire. In his maturity, he strove to be, in his own conscience even more than in the eyes of others, virtuous, public-spirited, and (although his ethic wouldn't allow him to claim the word (noble). He did hope, however, that posterity would recognize and honor the purity of his motives; and Americans, who owe him so much, do him but justice in understanding not only what he did for them but also what greatness of soul he achieved to do it.

From: The Founding Fathers at Home (p. 94)
By: Myron Magnet