Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Pinhole View of the Universe

We perceive only a tiny fraction of what is going on around and through us. 

Take, for instance, electromagnetic vibrations. We see a tiny swath visually, feel some waves as heat, harness others for radios. We hear a minute fraction of the sounds that weave around us and pass through our bodies every moment. 

A gnat pushes air away as it moves, like we shove aside water while swimming. The earth feels solid and unmoving but it's hurtling around the sun, spinning at angle. We can't feel the "elastic nature of space and time(1.)" -- it seems to us that time "marches on" steady and measurable, that space is space, not an expanding, incomprehensible mass of empty.

We know so little, see so little, feel so little. To even admit this is true stretches, annoys, terrifies us. It is also glorious. And the "physical" is just one aspect -- what about the relational, emotional, spiritual realities that we move through and in, that affect us and that we shape with our willing and our waiting, our actions and our ideas? These things too are mysterious, vast, uncharted, dangerous and beautiful -- like the cosmos we can imagine a mere fraction of.

"Whoever has ears, let them hear." -- Jesus

(Inspired in part by "First You Build A Cloud... and Other Reflections on Physics as a Way of Life" by KC Cole.)
(1.) (p.50. Einstein via Cole).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tiny Wings (a musical and visual tribute)

There's not much I can say about this, except "I apologize..."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Goode on Better Days

It's been seven plus years since I recorded Seconds to Sunrise. A few songs from that album continue to matter to people...

A college friend Michael Goode recently posted this about the song "Better Days":

"It is does not deserve to languish in obscurity... it's the last song I want to hear going out."

The rest of what he wrote I can't quote here because he took Dylan's name in vain and stretched the compliment beyond reason, past hyperbole.  It's an honor, though, to have had the privilege of writing something that resonated deeply with this intelligent and interesting character (he just got his PhD, works as a visiting asst. pro at UIC, specialized in colonial American history, etc, etc).

Here's a video of the tune from the farewell concert, featuring Anita Barahona and a stage full of other friends of JRL...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Robots on a Curve

As part of my (almost) daily regimen I do a bit of drawing (a few minutes a day) and some guitar improvisation using the loop station. Here's some recent work -- did the music this morning, the drawings over a series of months, a bit at at a time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

March in Time

I help fallen leaves to stand up
(In the cracks between planed and nailed harvested trees).
The sun swings, sending circles from tabletops
We march in time around a curved line.

- JR 11.03.2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Songs lodged deep, sung for the sleepers

A couple days ago a friend asked me to play a few hymns at her father's funeral which took place this afternoon in a beautiful, small, old Presbyterian church. I sat up front on an oak chair with arms, resting the guitar on my too-big boots during the service, popping up to sing "The Love of God" and "Be Thou My Vision." at the appropriate times. This kind of thing is scary for me, such a different context, but sad and beautiful and hopeful too, which is what I'm driving at most of the time with the songs I write.

I grew up with these hymns. They stayed and stay with. I am deeply thankful for them, as were a gaggle of parishioners, most of them well past their 60's, who came up afterwards to thank me and reminisce about the songs. It's a gift to know and share music that crosses generational lines.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Making minivans cool (I need a new website)

Since getting a smartphone I've begun to notice how websites are changing. They can do interesting things and can get things across on large or small screens (exhibit A, exhibit B). They can also make minivans cool which is a bit like changing water into wine, although Christa and I slept in one during our 2010 travels and it was cooler than I expected.

For these reasons and a slightly more important one* I need a new website. Lucky I know someone...

* describes a small part of what I actually do these days.