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The Book of Mu

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Friday
Feb272015

Ode to Plywood

Surprisingly lovely video from Tom Sachs about plywood. Plywood is such a basic and common feature of our life, yet there is a general lack of appreciation for this noble forest product. Truth be known, I've always kind of liked working with plywood. Something for Friday. [NOTE: I knew the video was going to be good when they referred to the plywood as "she"].

Thursday
Feb262015

Blue Dog Mu

George Rodrigue painting, Blue Dog at the Revel (thx, Jim and Jacque), hanging in the living room (see Reading). I sit in a chair across the room in front of this painting and read. And think. A lot.  

This from George Rodrigue:

"People say the dog keeps talking to them with the eyes, always saying something different. People who have seen a Blue Dog painting always remember it. They are really about life, about mankind searching for answers. The dog never changes position. He just stares at you. And you’re looking at him, looking for some answers, ‘Why are we here?,’ and he’s just looking back at you, wondering the same. The dog doesn’t know."

And this, from a teisho by Susan Murphy Roshi on the koan Mu (see Mu):

"So your job is not to resolve some questions about dogs. Dogs, like cats, are a settled matter. They don't have Buddha Nature, they are Buddha Nature–overflowing with it–and luckily we don't assume that we know what that is. It is experienced, but remains always alive and beyond attempted capture by the known."

As the Blue Dog has been trying to tell us. 

[NOTE: Reflections in the painting are from the side window, and I can make out the little jade plant sitting on the window sill].

Tuesday
Feb242015

Four Years Ago Today

Four years ago I was paused at the Washington Monument at Eakins Oval at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkaway in Philadelphia getting ready to go into the Philadelphia Museum of Art (see Bodhisattvas). The momument is crowned by a statue of a uniformed George Washington on his horse; I was more captivated by the decidedly stern, yet noble American indian depicted on the lower tier. [NOTE: Statue by the German sculptor, Rudolf Siemering]. 

Monday
Feb232015

More Sycamore

Another look (see Sycamore) at the sycamore tree behind the parking lot near my office at NYBG. Still majestic, still beautiful. Just different covered with snow.

"One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the trees crusted with snow"

Wallace Stevens
1954
The Snowman, The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens   

Friday
Feb202015

Tree On A Ruin

White limestone, white tree (probably a Ficus sp.), cloudless blue sky, and blazing sun. Thinking of this trip to Calakmul in Campeche years ago, and how hot and dry it was, and doing all that I can to ignore the fact that it is 3° F with blustery winds in New York this morning with a wind chill of -28° F.