Past Old to Abundant New

A homestead, a memory anchor, reminds of former times; its past informs our present.  Any of us can look at what is, what we now have and what we now do from the perspective of what was, what we haven’t had and what used to be done.  With realization, shift and tweak the historical becomes present. One attribute associated with progress is that current effort expended in the practice of living is reduced from former effort yielding smaller result. Transition to better practice comes through good understanding of the past. Such learning is usually associated with overcoming mistakes as well as obstacles. John O’Donohue, a former priest, talks of this process in conversion. For him, one’s walk is only possible by being faithful to one’s mistakes, those points of learning that forward you in your walk.

Similar practice is found in jazz as musicians work to add variation to melody and theme. They hear what works. They hear what does not work. While what does not work, the dissonant note or chord, points to what does work, often jazz players incorporate dissonance into music’s landscape; dissonance is heard and grappled with, creating yearning toward primary melody. The variation becomes one among many that takes the listener’s ear through landscape of the piece returning to primary melody alone.  Jacque Loussier works skillfully with Satie’s Gymnopedies Gnossiennes in creating such variations. Dave Brubeck does the same in all of his work; reminiscence here is drawn to those Saturday nights with my father working through Brubeck on his Heintzman grand piano in vertical form.  Songs included Blue Rondo a la Turk, Bru’s Boogie Woogie and Take Five, all the masterful, ingenious work of Dave Brubeck.

What was and what is, what works and what hasn’t are outcomes found in a Life richly lived.  Mistakes are a part of life; the poignant thing, here, is to let mistakes remain at play within us and to let them inform next action.  Here, in today’s photograph, a third rendering of the Donnelly homestead juxtaposes old homestead against abundant farm operation. I hadn’t thought of it until today, that in the visual memorial that this homestead is, it is in itself a wisdom text, something with story that informs us presently and it does so in the same way a photograph’s narrative will (if we let it).

Listening to – From Don Henley’s Inside Job songs standing out are Annabel, Inside Job, Goodbye to a River (in which he seems to forecast the recession) and For My Wedding; Jesse Cook has been at play with Vertigo, Red and Byzantium Underground from his album Vertigo; as well, Martyn Joseph’s live album, Don’t Talk about Love, has been on my mind with songs like Liberal Backslider, The Good in Me is Dead and Have an Angel Walk with Her.

Quote to Inspire – “For me the printing process is part of the magic of photography. It’s that magic that can be exciting, disappointing, rewarding and frustrating all in the same few moments in the darkroom.” – John Sexton

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