Learning from Dogs

Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Picture parade forty-seven.

with 8 comments

Nanosecond pictures.

Back to these photographs sent in by John H.

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More to come in a week’s time.

Meanwhile, you all take care out there.

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Written by Paul Handover

June 8, 2014 at 00:00

Lest we forget!

with 4 comments

Today is Memorial Day for all Americans that have died while serving their country.

Just a short preamble.

I was born in London six months to the day before the day on which the second world war ended.  On that day in early May, 1945 my mother breathed a sigh of relief and knew I was going to live!  The fact that I am writing this post does rather confirm that! ;-)

Not only is this the year of my seventieth birthday (but, PLEASE, don’t remind me!) but my mother is also still alive and well and is coming to see Jean and me in our Oregon home in ten weeks time.

I served as a Radio Operator in the Royal Naval Reserve between 1963 and 1968. That is the totality of my military experiences.  Ergo, I have been more than fortunate not to have experienced military conflict at any time in my life.

So today’s post is just something gentle to remind us all of the advantages of freedom for humans and animals alike.

The Bear

An orphan bear cub hooks up with an adult male as they try to dodge human hunters.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Writers: James Oliver Curwood (novel), Gérard Brach (screenplay)
Stars: Tchéky Karyo, Bart the Bear, Youk the Bear

See full cast and crew details here.

Sometimes less says more: a growl or a snarl can be worth a thousand words. Without any verbal dialogue, the raw emotions of the wilderness are vivid in this segment of The Bear, a film about the actions of animals in relation to humans. In this suspenseful part of the story, a cub is hunted by a mountain lion who shows no mercy. Without any verbal dialogue, the raw emotions of the wilderness shine through.

Film Reviews:

Storytelling doesn’t get much purer than this–a film with virtually no dialogue and not a minute that isn’t fascinating, either for the plot it pursues or the way director Jean-Jacques Annaud gets his ursine stars to do what he wants. The story deals with a young cub who, after his mother is killed in a landslide, bonds to a lumbering male Kodiak. The two of them then must cope with an invasion of hunters into their territory – and Annaud makes it clear whose side he’s on. Aside from stunning scenery, the film offers startlingly close-up looks at bear behavior. They say the best actors are the ones that let you see what they’re thinking, a trick Annaud manages with his big, furry stars. – Marshall Fine

The Bear has all the marks of a classic. Lauded by animal rights groups for its respect for the integrity of all species, it manages to speak out eloquently against the senseless hunting of wildlife without having to depict killing to make its point. Instead, it emphasizes the ties that bind the human and animal worlds together. – Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

May your day wherever you are in the world be a peaceful one.

Picture parade forty-five.

with 6 comments

Just a few this week for you that have caught my eye.

From Suzann:

A black deer – unbelievably gorgeous!

All three pictures taken by RJ Verge near Beamsville, Ontario, Canada. Black deer are more rare than albinos.

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For all animal lovers a rare and beautiful set of pictures.

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Now three ‘nanosecond’ pictures sent to me by John Hurlburt.

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More of these another Sunday.

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Finally, one from a great set that Dan Gomez sent me.

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More from Dan and John over the coming Sundays.

Written by Paul Handover

May 25, 2014 at 00:00

Saturday illusions, one.

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They say the camera never lies! H’mm!

(Sent on to me by Suzann.)

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There were a total of twenty-four of these wonderful photographs sent to me by Su.  Thus I am inclined to present them to you, dear reader, in a further two batches of eight over the next two weekends.

Written by Paul Handover

May 10, 2014 at 00:00

Creative reflections.

with 6 comments

The power of re-finding oneself.

Terry Hershey

If you do a search on Learning from Dogs for Terry Hershey you will find that his name comes up from time to time. Way back in March, 2011, I published a post announcing a visit by Terry to Payson, AZ where Jean and I were then living.  Having had the opportunity to listen to Terry speaking and to meet him in person, I have maintained a subscription to his weekly Sabbath Moment ever since.

Thus it was that last Sunday in came the regular missive from Terry.  They are always good but last Sunday’s was spectacularly good. In response to my request to publish the full Sabbath Moment here on Learning from Dogs, there was a prompt reply to the affirmative.

Thus with no further ado, here is Terry’s Sabbath Moment for May 5th, 2014, in full.

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Artists

May 5, 2014

Hershey moon

It seems that in the spiritual world, we do not really find something until we first lose it, ignore it, miss it, long for it, choose, it, and personally find it again–but now on a new level. Richard Rohr

Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise. Julia Cameron

I was born fragile, farther said. I was just born that way. He said I was a nervous baby. Just born like that. David Helfgott

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Michelangelo

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Lorraine Hunt Lieberson began her career as an accomplished viola player. While on tour in Europe (in the late 1980s), her viola was stolen. She could have replaced it. As would be imagined, the theft threw her into a state of feeling lost and uncertain. She stopped playing. After awhile, Lorraine began to work with only instrument she had, her voice.

When asked, Lorraine stresses that her decision to go into singing happened quite naturally. “There were a lot of encouragements along the way, but no individual, earth-shaking event that made me change,” she says. “But, back in 1988, when my viola was stolen, I took that as a sort of omen.” (And although she hasn’t yet replaced her stolen viola, she avows that “the viola is always with me in spirit when I sing.”)

Interestingly, Lorraine is shy about being interviewed; she has no press agent. But when she sings she is known for an ever-widening swath of ardor and awe that she leaves in her wake. An intensity. Her voice–her singing–touches hearts and lives. The irony is that the gift–the artistry–she has given us all, began when life turned left.

Ask any class of kindergarten students, “How many of you are artists?
How many raise their hands? Every single one of them.
Ask fourth graders. Maybe half.
Seventh graders. A handful.
Seniors in high school. Maybe one.
It’s quite the educational system we have created.
We begin with artists, and we slowly wean it out of them.

I do know this: it is easy to lose sight of that artist that resides inside of each one of us. Whether lost or buried or stuck or forgotten or dismissed or ignored… or “stolen.” (Whenever I lead a retreat, Crayolas are mandatory–because it is an unwritten spiritual principle that you cannot learn about life unless you color. It is curious then, how many–otherwise secure adults–will say, “I’m not very good at coloring.” I will say, “Who said anything about being ‘good’ at it?” Our mind has already morphed from play and wonder to mastery and proficiency.)

When we tag or label or describe ourselves, “artist” is seldom used. Where I was raised, artist was a phase you went through (a dream), you know, to grow out of, to, move on to something more useful and sensible–in order to get a real job.

Yes, of course we are all inner artists, but the cynical part of me tells me that it all sounds too much like a mantra meant to be chanted standing in a circle at a “be all you can be” conference. Sure, it all sounds good.

But I’m not sure what it really means.

In the opening scenes of Shine, we first meet the middle-aged David Helfgott (played by acclaimed Australian stage actor Geoffrey Rush), babbling to himself incessantly and wandering in the rain, in a state of transition. Behind him is the isolated existence as a child piano prodigy whose emotional turmoil led to a nervous breakdown, and a series of stays in various mental institutions. Ahead of him is his eventual reconnection with the world around him, guided by both love and his virtuoso talent that has been long abandoned. We witness the awakening of the artist. In the movie (and in real life), David eventually moves toward that which gives life.

So, what is this artist? It is the place in our spirit that births…

creativity,
enchantment,
imagination,
play,
risk
and wonder.

There is no doubt that we hide it. We don’t believe it. Or we judge it as inadequate.

But here’s the deal: The artist in David did not reside only in the talent or prodigy or genius, but in the spontaneity, vitality, innocence, passion and delight. And the artist in Lorraine wasn’t detoured by life’s unkindness.

For me, the tragedy is that (in the name of love) David’s father (Peter) squeezes the artist out of the prodigy. But in truth, it doesn’t always require a pathological “love” to hide or extinguish the light.

In the movie rendition, there is a scene that stops my heart. David and his father are walking home after a competition. David has placed second.
(In his father’s eyes, anything other that first is a failure.) The father is seething, and there is no hiding his disgust. David has lived his entire life absorbing his father’s pathology, doing his very best to make his Daddy happy. The father walks ahead, hurried, his spirit heavy. David follows. On the sidewalk, in chalk, there is a hopscotch pattern.The camera follows from behind, and we see young David unconsciously, intuitively, childlike, hopping and skipping and jumping – the joy and the light (and the artistry) of his childhood still alive.

I don’t want to lose sight of that childlike artistry inside of me. I’m home for a week or so, and the garden is abounding and teeming with life and color and enchantment. The peony buds profligate, the bearded iris blooms beguiling, the columbine exquisite. The branches of the Japanese Maple, heavy with spring rain, deferentially bow. I once asked my analyst why I was in therapy. He told me it would make me a better gardener. Gardening can be strong medicine–an elixir that nurtures and shapes the soul. For that reason, it is a tonic seldom taken straight with no ice. Gardening has way of seeping into your soul, and one day you find yourself, in the words of poet May Sarton, spending the first half hour of the morning “enjoying the air and watching for miracles,” the joy and the light still alive.

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I dip my pen in the blackest ink, because I’m not afraid of falling
into my inkpot. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Hope you all enjoyed this just as much as I did!

But I can’t close without mentioning something that struck me the very first time I read the essay. It is this.

That list that describes artistry: creativity, enchantment, imagination, play, risk and wonder.  It’s not a million miles from describing the way our younger dogs behave when we take them for a walk around the property most days after lunch.

Dogs playing without a care in the world!

Once again, Terry’s website is here.

Written by Paul Handover

May 7, 2014 at 00:00

Pas de deux

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The courage of sharing beautiful thoughts.

In a post published last Monday under the title of Having yourself as your best friend, I presented a poem from Kimberly that was published on her blog: Words4jp’s Blog.   As regular readers will recall that poem was an expression of personal sadness.

Then two days later, there was a further poem from Kimberly that just bowled me over with its beauty.  Kimberly generously allowed me to share it with you.

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a pas de deux



The tears of a rhapsody

glide slowly along the strings of a violin

as


He stands…

a single vision

under a dimly lit spot light


He waits…

for an essence of grace

to float by and awaken his spirit


He feels…

the melody

breathing life into his limbs


He hears…

the whisper of satin pointes wafting

from behind


He sees…

gossamer fingers embrace his hand

as



She leads…

him forth into a world which transcends reality.


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Stunningly beautiful.

Written by Paul Handover

May 3, 2014 at 00:00

Earth Day!

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Today is Earth Day 2014.

With some minor amendments, I have taken the liberty of reposting what was published for Earth Day 2013.

Like many others, I subscribe to Mother Nature Network.

Recently published on MNN were twelve stunningly beautiful photographs.  There are reproduced below, hopefully without infringing any copyrights.  I just wanted to share them with readers of Learning from Dogs.

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Earth Day photos: Celebrating the beauty of our planet

From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the surreal glacial formations of Patagonia, here are 12 stunning photos showcasing the diverse collection of landscapes found across the planet.

By: Catie Leary

Fri, Apr 19 2013 at 11:40 AM

Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon, Arizona, U.S.

Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon, Arizona, U.S.

 Photo: poorpoor/Flick

Snæfellsnes-og Hnappadalssýsla, Iceland

Snæfellsnes-og Hnappadalssýsla, Iceland

Photo: Greg Annandale/Flick

Hamilton Pool, Austin, Texas, U.S.

Hamilton Pool, Austin, Texas, U.S.

Photo: Stuck in Customs/Flickr

Glacier Grey, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Glacier Grey, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Photo: Dietmar Temps/Flickr

Pansarine, Tuscany, Italy

Pansarine, Tuscany, Italy

Photo: hippydreams/Flickr

Muir Woods, California, U.S.

Muir Woods, California, U.S.

Photo: kern.justin/Flickr

Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota, U.S.

Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota, U.S.

Photo: Mary JI/Flickr

Mount Blanc, France

Mount Blanc, France

Photo: OneEighteen/Flickr

Star Trails, Rio Negro, Argentina

Star Trails, Rio Negro, Argentina

Photo: lrargerich/Flickr

Sicily, Italy

Sicily, Italy

Photo: gnuckx/Flickr

Tereia Beach, Maupiti, Leeward Islands

Tereia Beach, Maupiti, Leeward Islands

Photo: SF Brit/Flickr

Namib Desert, Namibia

Namib Desert, Namibia

Photo: mariusz kluzniak/Flickr

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So wherever you are in the world please do something, however small, for the one and only planet that nourishes all the life of the world.

Planet Earth 1

Written by Paul Handover

April 22, 2014 at 00:00

For those of us embracing our senior years!

with 4 comments

Even millions of ‘juniors’ would struggle to match this!

On the basis that today, the Monday after Easter Sunday, is a holiday in many countries, it seemed very apt to keep the theme relaxed.

The following video was sent to me by our neighbours, Dordie and Bill, with the comment, “Paul and Jean, This is incredible….you must watch this on the big screen!

However, big screen or not, this video will have you gasping with admiration.

The Britain’s Got Talent website can be found here.

Written by Paul Handover

April 21, 2014 at 00:00

Picture parade forty.

with 13 comments

A very suitable set of pictures for today; Easter Sunday.

Thanks to Bob Derham for sending them to me.

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From Jean and me and all our animals, our Easter wishes for peace to you all.

Written by Paul Handover

April 20, 2014 at 00:00

Picture parade thirty-nine.

with 2 comments

The third and final set of photographs by Elena Shumilova.

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A MOTHER FROM RUSSIA TOOK THESE PICTURES AT HER FARM

ALONG WITH HER TWO SMALL BOYS, A CAT AND A DOG.

These wonderful photographs by Elena Shumilova plunge the viewer into a beautiful world that revolves around her two boys and their adorable dog, cat, duckling and rabbit friends.

Taking advantage of natural colors, weather conditions and her enchanting surroundings, the gifted Russian artist creates cozy and heartwarming photography that leaves you amazed. Elena said, “Children and animals – it’s my life. I’m a mom with two sons and we spend a lot of time on the farm.”

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Aren’t they stunningly beautiful!

If you missed the other sets of pictures, the first set is here and the second set is here.

Written by Paul Handover

April 13, 2014 at 00:00

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