Monday, October 25, 2010

Who is Coleman Barks?

I had planned to leave a comment on the last post explaining the Coleman Barks link but found that, somehow, I was not able to comment - maybe that post was too long?  another downside of the computer world

I first heard him read at the Museum of Northwest Art's annual Poetry Festival in LaConner, Washington, several years ago.  I then had the opportunity to hear him again in San Francisco.  This man can read a poem in a way that takes your breath away.  He writes his own poetry but he is mostly known for reading and translating the poems of Rumi.

In the video in the post 'Sacred Mountains' below, Coleman is the narrator through most of it.  For me, it adds to the spiritual quality of the piece.  I hope you enjoyed it.

'Water From Your Spring'

What was that candle's light
that opened and consumed me so quickly?

Come back, my friend! The form of our love
is not a created form.

Nothing can help me but that beauty.
There was a dawn I remember

when my soul heard something
from your soul.  I drank water

from your spring and felt 
the current take me.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sacred Mountains

'Kulshan'  24x36" oil pastel; Kathleen Faulkner

      'In the olden days, so the old folks tell us, Kulshan was a fair and handsome youth who grew apace to man's estate and then espoused two wives. One of these wives fully equaled her husband in beauty — she was the favorite wife and her name was Duh-hwahk. She bore Kulshan three fine sons. The other wife was no match for Duh-hwahk, in beauty but she was very amiable, very kind and very attractive in manner. This wife was named Whaht-kway. Eventually it came about that the kindness and consideration of Whaht-kway so completely won over her husband that she supplanted Duh-hwahk in the affections of Kulshan.
      This, of course, aroused furious fires of jealousy and resentment in the breast of Duh-hwahk, who constantly kept the entire household in dissension and strife by means of her temper and her jealousy. Finally Duh-hwahk resolved to regain Kulshan by artifice. Relying confidently on her beauty and on her former firm sway over her husband she conceived the plan of feigning to desert him. So, one day, when it happened that by chance she found Kulshan in amiable and mellow mood and more pliant to her purpose, she complained to him of the coldness and harshness with which she, Duh-hwahk, had been treated in the household, even more by Whaht-kway than by Kulshan. She assured her husband that she loved him but that the burden was more than even her great love for him could bear her all of her possessions.
      Kulshan resolved to be master of his own household and without hesitation informed Duh-hwahk that she could go as soon as chose and as far as she liked. Duh-hwahk was dumbfounded by this unexpected reply. She felt that she must make things appear to him in a more serious light. She felt confident of his love and sure that at the last Kulshan would relent. Indeed she could not believe that he would really permit her thus to desert him. Founding her faith in this imagination, she gathered up her possessions and made ready to go at once. She prepared her pack thoroughly, putting therein plentiful supplies of berries, fruit, sweet bulbs and even of beautiful flowering plants of many varieties.
      Thus amply provided with all that she desired she then said farewell and fared forth, leaving her three children behind. The children bewailed the going of their mother and with many lamentations besought her to remain. This greatly pleased Duh-hwahk at heart for she now felt assured of melting the indifference of Kulshan. She was sure that he would call her back before she had been able to go any very great distance. With this in mind she managed to set forth on a course that would take her the longest way. So also she traveled down the valley between the mountain ranges so as to be always in the sight of Kulshan as long as possible, thinking to give him ample opportunity to recall her.
      She had not gone far, however, before she realized her mistake and richly repented her hasty action. So, as she went along, she would ever and anon look anxiously back. Her heart surged tumultuously with a fond hoping and a vain longing to see Kulshan wildly signal for her return — how she hoped that he would do so! Alas, she had gone too far for that, perhaps, and, besides, many little hills and valleys now intervened between her and home where she had left Kulshan and the weeping children. Therefore she must needs climb the knolls and pick out the highest hills from which to gaze back with longing eyes and sinking heart.
      Standing on the very summits of these hills she would strain with all her might, up to the very tips of her toes, seeking some sign from her loved husband. Sometimes she fancied she was not quite high enough and she would raise to her tip-toes and stretch forth her head in anxious gaze, yearning all the while and striving all the while to be just a little taller. This oft-repeated wish and effort soon began to have its effect upon her and she forthwith began to grow taller. At last she had gone so far that she must of necessity make camp. She selected for her stopping place one that seemed most satisfactory to her because from it she could have a clear view of her dear home so foolishly and uselessly abandoned. Here she removed her packs and cast the contents broadcast, blessing the place with all the stores of fruit, of berries, bulbs, tubers and beautiful flowering plants of many wonderful varieties, all of which she had taken away from Kulshan.
      There, looking ever and longingly northward, Duh-hwahk remains to this day and you may see her if you wish — look to the south and east — it is Mount Rainier. Therefore we know why all these beautiful things abound about Mount Rainier where Duh-hwahk took with her. Look to the north and you will see him, but the white man calls him Mount Baker, not Kulshan! All about Kulshan too you may see the deserted and weeping children.
      In time the faithful Whaht-kway felt the premonitory pangs of childbirth. She yearned for the comfort and company of her people, and especially the advice and assistance of her old mother. None other than that old mother could give the needed care in the hour of trial. Kulshan listened to the pleadings of his faithful wife and yielded to them. Full well he knew, however, that the journey would be a hard one for Whaht-kway if she had to climb the mountains and journey over all the intervening heights and valleys. Therefore Kulshan engaged all of the animals with paws, from the lion to the mouse, to dig a long ditch from his home down to tidewater. This was done until the flow of water from his place was at last sufficient to enable a good-sized canoe to float down in safety. This stream we now know as the Nooksack River — adown it softly floated the canoe of Whaht-kway in these olden days when the river itself was new.
      At last she reached her beloved Hwulch or Puget Sound, her own country. Down between the many islands the canoe made its way and in passing each of these islets Whaht-kway made sure to leave here and there certain edible things — where they may be found to this day. When Whaht-kway at last reached home her parents greeted her fondly and asked her what position she chose to assume. She remembered how the jealous Duh-hwahk had reared herself up, up, up into the air until she became a mountain peak. Whaht-kway would not do so. She chose to lie down so that coming people would be able to reach her head without great trouble or without climbing — with Duh-hwahk, alas, it is different. Whaht-kway is now an island low lying, to the north of San Juan Island. Whaht-kway is now better known by the name of Spieden Island [also spelled Speiden] and just a little north of it is the baby island which was born after Whaht-kway reached this place. At present all of the small islands between Kulshan and Whaht-kway bear the names of fish or some of the other edible things that Whaht-kway placed there as she passed by on the journey home. Many have cause to this day to remember with gratitude the generous thoughtfulness of Whaht-kway.
      During all this time Kulshan was lonely indeed. Instead of having two wives he found himself with none. All the while he kept straining upward to see if he might not catch occasional glimpses of his departed wives. The children saw him and did likewise, profiting by the example of Kulshan. Today Kulshan and Duh-hwahk are mountains and the children are the mountains south and east of their father Kulshan. We have told you what the word means — but what does Duh-hwahk mean? It means, and how fittingly, "clear sky." So too Whaht-kway means a maiden who has just reached womanhood.
      This is the story of Kulshan, his two wives and his many children, and of how they came to be what they are and where they are.'

Washington West of the Cascades, Herbert Hunt and Floyd C. Kaylor, 1917

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nectar of the Gods

'Gyokuro' neckpiece, 30x1.5" sterling silver, tea bag images, mica
Kathleen Faulkner

I live on green tea.  I drink it throughout the day, every day.  It is my one necessity.  I prefer Japanese green tea for it's flavor and since I buy my tea loose, I have to travel to Seattle when I start running low.

I buy my green tea from the asian grocery store in Chinatown.  Uwajimaya is a wonderful place to shop.  It is a bit of visual overload, at times, with all the color and activity and a lot of the food is unknown to me which makes the experience all the more interesting.  My first stop is always the tea aisle.

There are many different kinds and grades of green tea.  Prices can range from $3 to $20 and up per package of about 3 ounces.

Back in the boom times, I'd buy Gyokuro now and again.  It is the finest green tea and was my reward for finishing difficult projects.  These days, I stick to the lesser priced, but still good,  Sensha and  lately, I've also developed a taste for Machagenmai-cha.  This tea is blended with roasted brown rice giving it a roasted, slightly meaty flavor.  mmmm!

Time for another cup of tea.  Cheers!

image: washokofood.blogspot
In Japan, one can get a cup of tea from the vending machine!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why I wear a hat

'Owl' 5x1.5", sterling and fine silver, glass, plastic, snakeskin,
fossilized walrus ivory, printer's ink; Kathleen Faulkner

Anacortes is home to the amazing Forest Lands Area.  Many miles and many assets: a lake, beaver, hundreds of birds, deer, coyotes, raccoons, porcupine, owl and every other small creature one could imagine.  Trees, moss, mushrooms, you name it, the Forest Lands has it.

I love to walk there:  it's in the middle of town yet a world unto itself and a good place to decompress.

There is a particular owl that lives there who has made a name for itself.  This owl may be a tad bit 'off'.  It thinks hair is potential food and has been known to attack walker's heads.  I've seen this owl because it doesn't try to hide and makes no bones about being seen.  It sits and watches, ready to strike when the moment is right.

This is why I always wear a hat in the Forest Lands.

'Anacortes Forest Lands' digital photo; Kathleen Faulkner

Monday, October 11, 2010

John's Trees

'John's Trees' 17x17" mixed media; Kathleen Faulkner

We walked for hours.  It was a grey day; the ground beneath our feet was spongy, muddy, wet.  No sound but the slosh of our feet and birds, birds everywhere.  Lost in the thoughts of this place, smelling the salt, the mud, the sea,  breathing it in deep, feeling the healing.  
The week had been tough, filled with deadlines, overextended commitments, drama and worries.  I had been looking forward to this day. 

We stopped for a minute when David said, 'Those are John's trees. He planted them.  His energy is still here'. 'I can feel it', I said, and it was true.  The wind suddenly swept up through the trees singing a song of long, lost memories..    Then we continued on our way.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The business of staying alive

'Good Sound Quality' 21x23" oil pastel; Kathleen Faulkner

Here it is October and winter is close behind.  Time is slipping by.  I'm working constantly,  preparing for 'Arts Alive' coming up the first weekend in November with the opening on the evening of November 5th.

I am pleased to announce that I will be in the 'Emerging Artists Show' with my mixd media paintings and, new this year, the 'Jewelry Show' which I will be a part of, as well.
Shortly thereafter is Whatcom Museum's 'Art and All That Jazz' on November 12th.  Work for that is due the end of the month.
Then Christmas is right around the corner which means inventory for my galleries and a couple of Christmas shows.  whew.

I worry that I won't get it all finished. It's the same thing every year.  It's silly, really, since I always do manage to make it all work and I find that little breaks help.

'when it all gets too heavy I go down to the sea'

There is nothing better than spending some time near water.  It clears my mind, is inspiring and I leave feeling like I can actually manage things.  I will be needing to head that way for about an hour then back to the business of staying alive.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy to be home

'Sauk Mountain' 17x23" oil pastel; Kathleen Faulkner

When I travel away from the Pacific Northwest I am always happy to be home.  Don't get me wrong.  I miss the friends I visit, I miss the excitement of traveling but, something about our little corner of the world has me  forever.
Yes, the winters are cold, wet, foggy;  a damp cold that chills to the bone.  The summers, especially this summer, less than satisfying with temperatures that compete with the winter temps of California, northern, that is.

There is a reason we are called the Evergreen state:  it's called rain. 

Rain is my inspiration.  It can be depressing at times but it is also a big part of the reason I create.  Art is what I taught myself to do at a very young age to keep the demons away.  It works well.

In the woods above Issaquah
near a grey farmhouse
we pick plums in the rain.
Another day, on Sauk Mountain,
we lie in a meadow.   A bird
jolts a stalk of fireweed
so the light seeds drift over us
     and down the slope.
Far below,  the Skagit River
winds toward the sea, turning
     like a pattern in old jade.
At home you put some tomatoes
on the window sill to ripen,
and I think of jade again.
while a bird outside the window
begins to budge the night away
      with a single sound,
your breasts, your lips, your eyelids
are delicate as petals of
      winter poppies.
I don't know what happened,
One night, no use knocking on your door,
I stepped down from the front porch
as rain fell through big leaves and the grass woke up,
      and your face was
      a small round stone
      falling through dark water.

'In the Woods Above Issaquah'   Robert Sund