(partial) Barnes birding list

(above, Common Yellowthroat)

A selection of birds identified and recorded as of 6/29/2006, at the Barnes Arboretum:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Northern Flicker
Red-eyed Vireo
Common Raven
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Gray Catbird
House Sparrow
American Goldfinch
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Yellowthroat
Blackburnian Warbler


Monday morning semiotics

"There's certainly luck involved, but maybe what you took for laziness was (and I'm going out on a limb here) a sort of divine relaxation.
When I write what I consider to be a good song, when I realize it's going to hang together, when I somehow manage to get it into the boat, so to speak, I invariably find myself looking upwards and thanking something or even, dare I say it, Someone...I believe in the power of inspiration, in the mysterious gift of creation -- creation with a small "c," that is -- creation as in one's work, hauling in the day's catch...mostly I'm happy, I think, because I've experienced a real mystery. I haven't the slightest idea how it happened or where or from whom or what it came. I'd prefer not to know."

-Loudon Wainwright III, singer-songwriter, on NPR's "This I Believe" series, Morning Edition, June 19th, 2006.

"...I confess that I prayed and strove with all my might that I might prove a Christian: not because Plato's teachings are contrary to Christ's, but because they are not in all respects identical with them: as is the case with the doctrines of the others, the Stoics, the poets, and the prose authors. For each, through his share in the divine generative Logos, spoke well, seeing what was akin to it; while those who contradict them on the more important matters clearly have not obtained the hidden wisdom and the irrefutable knowledge. Thus, whatever has been spoken aright by any men belongs to us Christians; for we worship and love, next to God, the Logos which is from the unbegotten and ineffable God...for all those writers were able, through the seed of the Logos implanted in them, to see reality darkly. For it is one thing to have the seed of a thing and to imitate it up to one's capacity; far different is the thing itself, shared and imitated in virtue of its own grace."

-Justin Martyr, early Christian father, died 165 C.E.

PS. Logos refers to Jesus the Messiah as the Divine Word, specifically as in John, chapter 1.


Tardy miscellany

GOOD GRIEF! No posts for two weeks; for shame. Well, I haven't been slacking otherwise, so I'll tell you about some of the things which have been keeping me activated:

Working on frames for my upcoming participation in a summer show at Gallery Siano, 3rd and Arch, Philadelphia. The frames, as of Tuesday, are done; and the paintings are ready to mount, as of 7:00 this AM. So, stay tune for that, coming up July 7th - August 26th. www.gallerysiano.com

Doing Barnes garden walks instead of eating lunch, has been very rewarding...I've always had a minor hobby of birdwatching, and entertained the desire to be an amateur naturalist and nature writer...so I've found a way to curry those passions, and it's been a wonderful experience. I am compiling a birder's list of all the birds I identify in the Barnes arboretum, and I'll be posting that list for those who might be interested...it's longer than you might think. I've been posting my list data on www.ebird.org Also, explore www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/

Reading when I get the chance: Early Christian Fathers by an Oxford don whose name I cannot recall, and Journey into Summer, by Edwin Way Teale. The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, is waiting in the flanks (July 4th weekend??).

Studying the book of Acts for my church's growth group training and upcoming small group program returning in October...very rewarding! As a group of leaders/potential leaders, we read through the book in its entirety, alternating chapters between us, in one evening...if you get a chance, do it with your family or some friends...it's amazing how you gain some new insights reading Scripture this way.

Researching mortgages, working on fixing furniture we found in the trash, and other various moving/house related duties...come August (Lord willing) we will be moving to our first house. When I become overwhelmed with speech of "escrow; PMI; Fannie Mae; amortization, etc.", and want to tear at my follicles, I repeat three times: "the first time is the hardest..."

Also, have been working at some short poems; a new painting based on my hard-fought search for a stylized grain-sheaf shape, and other various esoteric pursuits...stay tuned!

...And you're so right, Rubens; Jehovah, he is so good...


Spring has fled...

(Forsythia, latex on panel, 2006)

Spring has fled...if not by calendar, then pushed away by 90 degree temperatures. Here is a little painting I did in April, commemorating that most joyful of spring woody shrubs, the forsythia.

One grouping of three shrubs, in particular, that I admired on my morning commute, was the direct inspiration for this painting. I went to visit it one lunchtime; did some sketching to capture the wonderful shape that all three shrubs melting together made, and then transferred it to a painting. I also tried to capture that particular pink, which seemed to create its own aura this past spring; a flood of pink and yellow that one felt immersed in.

My uncle Mike said it well, last weekend, when he stated that it seemed to him this spring everything was more vibrant, and showy. I agreed, and then wondered if it's so much that this year was more spectacular, or if we just forget how the previous year was. I'd like to think that it's the former, but it might be (at least in my case) the latter: and there's something charming about that. A forgetting of splendor, so that it seems fresher and better every year: this reminds me of something about the gospel..."new every morning."

Some of you savvy folks may point to some influence of Fernando Colon-Gonzalez in this painting...I must humbly admit it to be so. See my previous post:


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