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The I Ching, or Book of Changes

The Blue Cliff Record

Moleskine Ruled Notebook

Vintage Cleveland Indians cap

Pilot G-2 extra fine point gel pen


Study at Villa No. 3

Still here, but just not posting. I am spending a lot of time in the room shown above, the study attached to room V (Villa) No. 3, writing Managing the Wild: Stories of People and Plants and Tropical Forests. The work is going well, and I am on Chapter 7. I still have two more weeks, but I have already started to get sad about leaving this beautiful – and extremely quiet – environment.  What a place.


Lake Como

Well, I made it to Bellagio, and this is the view of one of the arms of Lake Como visible from the balcony of my study at the Villa Serbelloni. Not my room, my study. I can't think of a more beautiful place to write a book.


Hmong Blouse

Another incredibly beautiful hand-loomed and vegetable-dyed textile from the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi (see Textiles). I especially like the necklace that goes with the blouse.  [NOTE: Heading to Italy, but missing Vietnam].



Sunday morning of sesshin at the Garrison Institute (see Fall Sesshin, among others). You spend hours sitting, reflecting, observing moment after moment. And then, there are always those times, frequently at the end of sesshin, when your thoughts turn toward "what happens next?"

That's kind of where I am today. Everything is pretty much together for my trip to Italy (see Bellagio) this weekend. And I pause to reflect on the writing project that I will be immersed in over the next six weeks. Not knowing is, indeed, most intimate. [NOTE: Photo by G. DeBrocky (thx, Glynn)]. 


Dendrology/Silviculture Section

Image above shows part of the Dendrology (e.g. Tree Flora of Malaya, The Bamboos of Sabah, Standard Nomenclature of Forest Plants in Burma) and Silviculture (e.g. Forest Stand Dynamics, Silvicultural Systems, Principles of Silviculture) section of the bookcase in my office. Notice the Wilhelm/Baynes (1950) translation of the I Ching sitting on top of the Tree Flora of Malaya. Always helps to bring as much information and insight as possible to every situation.

After taking the picture, I decided to throw the I Ching and post the hexagram that resulted. Didn't really have a question, but the I Ching always gives you something useful (and unexpected) to reflect on. My  six coin tosses produced hexagram 4, or Mêng (蒙)/Youthful Folly. The upper trigram is Kên/Keeping Still, Mountain; the bottom trigram is K'an/The Abysmal, Water.

From the commentaries: "The two trigrams show the way of overcoming the follies of youth. Water is something that of necessity flows on. When the spring gushes forth, it does not know at first where it will go. But its steady flow fills up the deep place blocking in progress, and success is atained". Not surprised that  youthful folly is playing a key role at this stage in my life. [NOTE: The really observant will notice that Red Pine's lovely translation of Guide to Capturing a Plum Blossom by Sung Po-jin also, for some reason, has a place in the Dendrology/Silviculture section (far left. second shelf)].  



Everyone should have one of these in their basement. A (more or less) fully-stocked workbench where you fix things that need mending (see Pre-Columbian Statue), make new stuff, e.g. a standing desk for Elysa's office or a couple of knife handles (see Knife Handles), or just have a seat, sip some tea, and look at all of your cool tools while your clothes are spinning in the dryer. [NOTE: I mean, really, look at that beautiful yellow DeWalt circular saw (lower left)].


AWVFTS+Nils Frahm at Royal Albert Hall


Something sublime for Friday. Nils Frahm (see Nils Frahm) and A Winged Victory for the Sullen (see Steep Hill of Vicodan Tears) join forces at Royal Albert Hall for BBC Proms 2015. Nice.


More Mỹ Sơn

Another image from the ruins of Mỹ Sơn in Central Vietnam (see Mỹ Sơn). The brickwork and statuary is so beautiful, and it had lasted 500 - 600 years and survived several dynasty changes – and then some fighter planes dropped bombs on it. Our planes. Wonder if the pilots aimed for the temples? Or even knew what was down there? Sigh.


La Catrina (The Elegant Lady)

In the early 1900's, the famous Mexican illustrator and engraver José Guadalupe Posada invented La Catrina (The Elegant Lady). She was created to mock the European-influenced ruling class of Mexico during the autocratic reign of Porfirio Díaz, who served seven terms as president of the country. La Catrina has become an iconic symbol of Día de los Muertos and has been re-invented in a number of forms. The life-sized statue of The Elegant Lady shown above is from the Oakland Museum of California. [NOTE: Love the hat, the feather boa, the lit cigarette – and the tiny, tiny waistline].  



Yoko Ono's Self-Portrait (1965) at the Musuem of Modern Art. Envelope with graphite and stamped ink, mirror with graphite inscription inside a small wooden box with a door you lift. That's Amy (see Amy and the Dolphin and World's Best Carrot Cake) on the left.