Wednesday, August 5, 2009

still-life


today marks the end of my fifty-second transit 'round the sun. i was born that long ago. i was born at 8:30 pm. it was a monday. a holiday! (but not for my mum, who was in labour off-and-on with me for two days!)

so i'd be grateful if those of you who have connections to people (whose understanding of the sun, the moon, and the stars is more refined and purposeful than mine) could squeeze them just enough
to have them come up with a chart or a sense of what might be.

i had a birth chart done many years ago.
i remember the words grand trine.
i remember the word conjunction.
but the chart has gone.

but hey!!!
don't run away!!!

find out if you will if i'm in for some goodness or if i should start stocking my mind's emergency-shelter!!!
~

anyhow.

thankyou bloggy friends for your many kindnesses. your comments, your own blogs, your incredible and often transformative insights, passions, acknowledgement of life passages, and celebrations that have contributed towards making this point in my journey so amazing!

thankyou for all that you are and do.

as walt whitman says . . .

"you have done such good to me,
i would do the same to you."

to celebrate, i've put together an imaginary walk to the seaside in the summer in impressionist france.
the text is a mixture of words written by famous and clever writers, alongside a few of my own.

have a peaceful day!

__________________________steven___________________________




early morning.
the air was warm and thick with dust and the buzzing of bees.

"i'll tell you how the sun rose, a ribbon at a time. the steeples swam in amethyst."
emily dickinson
(house in rueil edouard manet)

after dressing and sharing morning greetings,
we spent time in the garden gathering the best blooms.
(camille in the garden of the house in argenteuil monet)

flowers were gathered and then scattered in vases throughout the house.

"beloved, thou hast brought me many flowers,
plucked in the garden, all the summer through."
elizabeth barrett browning
(carnations and clematis in a crystal vase edouard manet)

i talk to my plants sometimes - and i certainly listen - i think they listen as well!

there was one that said:

"as i awaken i stare at the sun, which is the only eye of the day.
i drink dew for wine,
and hearken to the voices of the birds,
and dance to the rhythmic swaying of the grass.
but i look up high to see only the light,
and never look down to see my shadow.
this is wisdom which man must learn."
kahlil gibran

(two vases with chrysanthemums monet)

on this day,
breakfast was eaten on the veranda overlooking the distant hills.
it was decided that we would make our way to the coast.

(juan les pins monet)

our journey was to be slow and considered.
we packed a basket for lunch.
leaving the town behind i looked back.

"it was a lovely day. shires-long of pearled cloud under cloud,
with a grey stroke underneath marking each row;
beautiful blushing yellow in the straw of the uncut ryefields,
the wheat look white and all the ears making a delicate
and very true crisping along the top
and with just enough air stirring
for them to come and go gently."
gerard manley hopkins

(sentier ile saint-martin monet)

'cross golden fields buzzing with the sweetness of
sunwarmed clover and wild grasses. . .
i looked upwards to see ...

"an unbroken blue flooding the whole sky;
a single cloudlet upon it, half floating,
half fading away. windlessness, warmth ...
air like new milk!
larks are trilling; pouter-pigeons cooing;
noiselessly the swallows dart to and fro;
horses are neighing and munching;
the dogs do not bark and stand peaceably wagging their tails.
a smell of smoke and of hay, and a little of tar, too,
and a little of hides.
the hemp,
now in full bloom,
sheds its heavy, pleasant fragrance."
ivan turgenev

(poppy field in summer monet)

later, as we passed over a slight rise i saw ...

"a deep but sloping ravine.
along its sides willows in rows, with big heads above, trunks cleft below.
through the ravine runs a river;
the tiny pebbles at its bottom are all aquiver through its clear eddies.
in the distance, on the border-line between earth and heaven,
the bluish streak of a great river."
ivan turgenev

(a bend in the epte monet)

like a slow warm breeze . . .

"we go from house to house, from town to town,
and fill the distance full of smiles and words;
we take all pleasure that our strength affords
and care not if the sun be up or down."
william stanley braithwaite

(the road bridge, argenteuil monet)

"o the opal and the sapphire of that wandering western sea,
and the woman riding high above with bright hair flapping free-
the woman whom i loved so,
and who loyally loved me.
the pale mews plained below us,
and the waves seemed far away,
in a nether sky."
thomas hardy

(umbrella monet)

the sea wind was sharp and salty, tugging at our clothes.
yet we stopped to watch the sailboat's dance from wave to wave,
breeze to breeze . . .

"on this wondrous sea . . . sailing silently"
emily dickinson

(walk on the cliffs monet)

rounding the cliff's-edge we saw a small rough cottage below us . . .

"i inhale great draughts of space; the east and the west are mine,
and the north and the south are mine.
i am larger, better than i thought;
i did not know i held so much goodness.
all seems beautiful to me;
i can repeat over to men and women,
you have done such good to me,
i would do the same to you."
walt whitman

(fisherman's lodge at varengeville monet)

descending to the ocean side, we followed the beaches -
sometimes stony,
sometimes sandy,
sometimes a flooded cove -
until we reached our destination.

"brilliance of cloudless days,
with broad bellying sails they glide to the wind tossing green water from their sharp prows,
releasing,
making fast as they turn,
lean far over and having caught the wind again,
side by side, head for the mark.
they appear youthful,
rare as the light of a happy eye,
live with the grace of all that in the mind is fleckless,
free and naturally to be desired."
william carlos williams

(port of trouville monet)

like the afternoon,
we arrived rich and filled with warmth and light . . .

"the place i leave is beautiful: the sea repeats the winds’ far swell in its long sound,
and, there beside it, houses solemnly shine with the modest courage of the land,
while swimmers try the verge of what they see."
edgar bowers

(on the beach edouard manet)

soon it was time to return to our home. the breezes off the ocean turned chill.

"the night came quickly,
the hills turned purple and the valleys flooded with heavy shadow.
only the sky and ocean stayed alive,
running with immense streams of flame."

(sunset on the seine monet)

"light the first light of evening,
in which we rest and,
for small reason,
think,
the world imagined is the ultimate good.
out of this same light,
out of the central mind,
we make a dwelling in the evening air,
in which being there together is enough."
wallace stevens

(house in rueil edouard manet)

43 comments:

Alaine said...

That's very beautiful, Steven. And, Many Happy Returns!

Nathalie said...

Happy birthday to you, but it looks we are the ones getting showered with gifts. What a gorgeous walk you've taken us through!

Titus said...

Steven - Happy Birthday! And what a lot it says about you that you give us a gift to celebrate! Fine words, beautiful images, woven with care. Have a very lovely day.

Delwyn said...

Hello there Steven

Happy Happy days to you my friend.
I wish you a blessed fifty third circuit...with peace and love and good health...

I am pleased to have been able to get to know you over these few months and share our little walks and treasures.

You have truly outdone yourself as a birthday treat to us. This post is superb. It is going to require many readings. There is just too much to absorb at one reading through.
The images are all amazing and your prose and the passages you have assembled weave a story full of sensory pleasures...

and I love the perky portrait too...you have a rascally look about you here...

I hope that you have a most wonderful day today...

and for always,


Happy days

Tessa said...

Heavenly, Steven, just absolutely heavenly. I was transported...the paintings, your words and theirs combine in a magic potion of sheer loveliness. I come away feeling refreshed and renewed. Thank you so much for that most enchanting of journeys.

I'm not an astrologer, but I do have a certain insight and I'm of the conviction that you have much goodness coming your way. Happy, Happiest Birthday...and a million more happy days!

Dave King said...

First I thought you were out-Warholing Warhol, then I thought you were out-Maneting Manet. Then I woke up - but I guess all would have been allowed at such an auspicious time. Belated congratulations on your 52nd transit!

steven said...

hello alaine, thankyou and thankyou. i enjoyed creating this post a lot. i really enjoyed getting here!!! have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hi nathalie, thankyou! i wanted to show my thanks in the bloggy way for my blogpeeps out there!!! i'm so glad that you enjoyed the walk. have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hello titus, i'm very glad that you could come along for the walk! i had such a great time assembling this post for all my readers to enjoy with me. have a lovely day yourself!! steven

steven said...

hello delwyn, thanks for your lovely and thoughtful comments! i do love to have my fun - i'm ummmm known for that in my family, by my friends, and certainly when i'm teaching. i have been so very very fortunate to meet you and to learn from you delwyn. i know that you are shy about those kinds of comments (because i am much the same) so read it quickly and move on!!! i will have a lovely day and wish you the very same. steven

steven said...

hi tessa, thanks for your very generous and thoughtful words!!! i'm, so glad that this piece was so nice for you, honestly i am!! when i wa creating it i was absolutely transported by the words and the pictures and it was like i imagine carving a piece of wood, or making a piece of potter is like. gently, little bit by little bit until you are able to hold it in your hands and say - there you go - and give it to the world. have a swet day! steven

steven said...

hi dave - ha!! i hadn't thought about the jarring juxtaposition of the warhol next to all the softness of the impressionist work. oops!!!! i'm glad that you liked the journey and thankyou for your kind thoughts. have a peaceful day. steven

Eryl Shields said...

Happy birthday, and thank you for the lovely birthday trip.

willow said...

Thank you for sharing all this glorious artwork and wonderful quotes on this special occasion.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Hope you and yours enjoy the festivities. As you know, I adore the "you" collage. (hey, I'm 52, too, but not for long)

Enjoy your day. ~xo

steven said...

oh eryl thankyou! and you're welcome. have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hi willow, you're very welcome and thankyou. the collage was taken on a lunchmate's macbook as i devoured a spectacular meal in the very same seat as i was sitting yesterday with my 21 year old son! lucky me!!! have a peaceful day at the manor. steven

Martin said...

Hi Steven - Happy Birthday (& I love the Elizabeth Barrett Browning painting). Also thanks for your nice words on my blog.
Take care.

Dan Gurney said...

It's your birthday...and with this post you're giving us gifts!

Thank you, and may you be safe, well, and happy in your fifty-third year.

ellen abbott said...

Happy Birthday Steven. The 50s is a great decade. I'll be leaving it next year. I really love that first Monet of the trees.

Elizabeth said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

such a joyful visit in celebration
I had never seen the Monet of Trouville before.
It is lovely.
As for the collage.
loved it -what wonder one can do on the computer nowadays.

Leif Hagen said...

Very artsy blog - love it! Just discovered it this morning! Better art than basketball! Kind regards from EAGAN daily photo in Minnesota

Loren said...

Happy Birthday.

What a beautiful conjunction!

steven said...

hi dan, thankyou for your kind and generous wishes!!! i look forward to each day equally but i feel an emerging goodness that excites me!! have a peaceful day dan, steven

steven said...

hello ellen, thanks for the lovely comment and especially the optimism. i love my life and all that's in it! have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hello elizabeth, searching through the treasure trove that is impressionist art was a wonderful journey. yes computers do astonishing things and we have really only just begun!! have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hi leif, thanks for dropping by and thanks for the nice comments. i love preparing and sharing this blog and i'm glad that it resonated for you too!!! have a great day in minnesota. steven

steven said...

hi loren, thanks for dropping by and for the kind comment. i'm really hoping to find out what's in store for me this year. i'm a really fortunate person so i don't wish for more for myslef. i can't help thinking that as i become more comfortable reaching out to others that it'll be about helping others in some way. hmmmm. have a lovely day out west loren, steven

steven said...

hi martin, thanks for the kind words. your blog has something consistently beautiful on it every day. i'm so grateful for that!!! have a lovely day. steven

The Weaver of Grass said...

Happy Birthday Steven - what a way to celebrate - that lovely tour, those lovely Impressionists - thank you so much - I enjoyed every step of it.

Kay said...

Happy Birthday steven....thanks for taking me on you beautiful walk...I loved the painting of the lady on the beach with a veil around her head....is that to keep her bonnet on in the breeze or the sand out?....maybe both...also loved the dragonfly photo by your daughter....it is a wonderful gift to be able to 'see' the beauty in small things.

steven said...

oh hello weaver, thanks for your kind greetings!!!! i've had a lovely day with lunch with my mum and aunt and children. lots of lovely gifts and the company of the extraordinary blogging community i'm so fortunate to be a part of. have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

hello kay, thanks for dropping by!!! thanks also for your thoughtful comments. you know it's the strangest thing but i looked so carefully at each painting to match it to the text and i ignored that lady's veil. it seems to hide her from . . .the sun, the sand, the salt spray, the breeze . . . all of which would roughen her peaches and cream complexion. which simply wouldn't do!!!! it would ruin the effect of the walk. have a peaceful evening. steven

Emma said...

Happy Birthday Steven,
I adored your birthday post. Such thought and care...and and all for us! We are being spoilt. Should it not be the other way around?
Every word came to life with the gorgeous paintings. I just love Manet, and that still life is divine!
Have a happy day, filled with laughter, and love.
Emma

Margaret Pangert said...

Happy birthday, Steven! That's the most exquisite virtual trip I've ever seen! Perfect for a special day. I see it is now nightfall outside of Paris. A lovely, fanciful day. I love Wallace Stevens, too. For your birthday, I am inviting you to go to Tarot.com Horoscope which can give you many types of information. It even describes the effect the eclipse of the moon at 8:54 EST will have on you. Happy 52nd transit and thank you for the beauty you have shared, Steven.

Reya Mellicker said...

Happy birthday!! Boy I am so glad you were born and that you're out there (up there?) in Canada putting good vibrations out into the world.

I would be thrilled to cast your chart and give you a quick reading. What time were you born?

xx - Hope you kick up your heels and celebrate.

Reya Mellicker said...

Birth year, too, please. Thanks, doll.

Is that you times four in the first pic. What a beautiful face.

steven said...

hi emma, thankyou so much!! i really really loved making that trip. it was so fun and if i had the time and the energy flowed the way it did when i was inside the making of it i'd do this all the time. i've had a really lovely day and many of the pieces of my life that i know as blessings were there front and centre all around me. have a lvoely evening. steven

steven said...

hi reya, mmm hmmm. that's me times four in the first pic. i was sitting in a small belgian restaurant drinking a dutch trappist beer. in my head i heard words from long ago "putting my hand on your heart." so i did.

your words are so sweet reya.
i'm just me on this part of my journey.
i very much appreciate being appreciated so generously.

i was hoping in my heart that somebody would take me half seriously and line me up with someone. i'm just looking for a truthful insight into the future becoming present. i accept life as it is. i love beauty. grace. love. sometimes beauty love and grace look like something other.
so we'll see what we see through your heart and soul. i was born in 1957. august 5. 8:30 pm greenwich time. manchester, england.
have fun with this!!! steven

steven said...

hello margaret, thankyou so much for your kind comment!! i got to have lunch with a lady called margaret todat - my only aunt. yes i have one. but what an aunt. some time in the future of this blog i'll unpack her special role in helping me become so much of what i am. thaks also for the link. i'll be looking in on that. have a peaceful evening. steven

Barry said...

Happy Birthday.

And thank you for giving us such a wonderful gift!

You do know it's supposed to be the other way around?

steven said...

hi barry, thankyou and yes i do know that it's supposed to be the other way 'round! but i'm fliiping it over tot say thanyou to people like you who have enriched my life in ways that you might not have intended or predicted and so i am thanking you for that!!! have a lovely evening barry. steven

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Happy birthday dear steven!! August 5th is an auspicious date. My mother was born on this day as well. She died this past January (on my birthday).

I am overwhelmed by your generosity with words, thoughts, images - YOU should be the one receiving the gifts.

May you have a fulfilling new rotation around the sun. Planet Earth is blessed with your presence.

steven said...

hi bonnie, thankyou for your thoughtful comments. i receive gifts each day - gifts from people like yourself who bring themselves and their kindness and love to bear on the world each and every day. have a lovely evening. steven