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Monday
Aug062012

Alpine Scene 1865

 

Alpine Scene 1865
Oil on Canvas, 1865
Gustave Dore

 

"In the scent of those boards of pine is enclosed all the idea the tree could gather of the world of forest where it was reared. It speaks of many wild and bright but chiefly clean and rather cold things."

-George MacDonald from Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood

Saturday
Jul282012

Room in New York

 

Room in New York

Oil on Canvas, 1932

Edward Hopper

The Fall of the Nominal Christian

"1. They draw off their thoughts, all that they may, from the remembrance of God, death, and judgment to come.

2. Then they cast off by degrees private duties, as closet prayer, curbing their lusts, watching, sorrow for sin, and the like.

3. Then they shun the company of lively and warm Christians.

4. After that they grow cold to public duty, as hearing, reading, godly conference, and the like.

5. Then they begin to pick holes, as we say, in the coats of some of the godly; and that devilishly, that they may have a seeming colour to throw religion (for the sake of some infirmity they have espied in them) behind their backs.

6. Then they begin to adhere to, and associate themselves with, carnal, loose, and wanton men.

7. Then they give way to carnal and wanton discourses in secret; and glad are they if they can see such things in any that are counted honest, that they may the more boldly do it through their example.

8. After this they begin to play with little sins openly.

9. And then, being hardened, they show themselves as they are. Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, they everlastingly perish in their own deceivings."

 

--The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, 1678

Monday
Jul232012

The Traveller's Tale

 

The Traveller's Tale

Oil on Canvas, 1896-1939

Fritz Wagner
 

“One Autumn night, in Sudbury town,
Across the meadows bare and brown,
The windows of the wayside inn
Gleamed red with fire-light through the leaves
Of woodbine, hanging from the eaves
Their crimson curtains rent and thin.
As ancient is this hostelry
As any in the land may be,
Built in the old Colonial day,
When men lived in a grander way,
With ampler hospitality;
A kind of old Hobgoblin Hall,
Now somewhat fallen to decay,
With weather-stains upon the wall,
And stairways worn, and crazy doors,
And creaking and uneven floors,
And chimneys huge, and tiled and tall . . .
But from the parlor of the inn
A pleasant murmur smote the ear,
Like water rushing through a weir;
Oft interrupted by the din
Of laughter and of loud applause,
And, in each intervening pause,
The music of a violin.
The fire-light, shedding over all
The splendor of its ruddy glow,
Filled the whole parlor large and low;
It gleamed on wainscot and on wall . . .
Around the fireside at their ease
There sat a group of friends, entranced
With the delicious melodies;
Who from the far-off noisy town
Had to the wayside inn come down,
To rest beneath its old oak-trees.
The fire-light on their faces glanced,
Their shadows on the wainscot danced,
And, though of different lands and speech,
Each had his tale to tell, and each
Was anxious to be pleased and please . . .”

 

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, selections from "Prelude: The Wayside Inn" 

Friday
Jul132012

Journey in a Carriage

 

Journey in a Carriage

Oil on Canvas, 1890

Alfred Wierusz Kowalski

 

“Lo, beyond the River Blapp
The Carriage comes, the Carriage Black
By shadowed steed with shadowed tack
And shadowed driver driving

Child, pray the Maker let you sleep
When comes the Carriage down your street
Lest all your dreams be dreams of teeth
And Carriages arriving

To wrest you from your berth and bower
In deepest night and darkest hour
Across the sea to frozen tower
Where Gnag the Nameless pounds you

At Castle Throg across the span,
A world away from kith and clan
You’ll weep at how your woes began
The night the shadows bound you 

Away, beyond the River Blapp,
The Carriage came, the Carriage Black
By shadowed steed with shadowed tack
The night the Carriage found you.”

 

--Andrew Peterson, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Thursday
Jul122012

Starry Night over the Rhone

 

Starry Night over the Rhone

Oil on Canvas, 1888

Vincent Van Gogh

He remembered unpacking his bags at boarding school while his roommate watched. His roommate had asked him what the helmet was for, and Henry had suddenly had the suspicious sensation that he had been kept in the dark, that the world was off behaving in one way while he, Henry, wore a helmet. He had barely prevented himself from answering his roommate honestly. The words, “It’s a helmet my mom bought me to wear in PE” were replaced with, “It’s for racing. I don’t think I’ll need it here.”

            Whatever was going on inside the wall in his room was much bigger than finding out that other boys didn’t have to wear helmets. If there really were forgotten doors and secret cities, and maps and books to tell you how to find them, then he needed to know. He looked around at the tall, dew-chilly grass and for a moment didn’t see grass. Instead, he saw millions of slender green blades made of sunlight and air, thick on the ground and gently blowing, tickling his now damp feet, and all the while silently pulling life up out of the earth. Each was another kid without a helmet, a kid who knew how things were actually done.

            Above him, the stars twinkled with laughter. Galaxies looked. Nudged each other. Chuckled.

            “He didn’t know about secret cities,” Orion said. “His mother never told him.”

            The Great Bear smiled. “Did his dad tell him about forgotten doors?”

            “Never”

            “Journals?”

            “Only having to do with science projects or bicycle trips.”

            “Maps?”

            “Mostly topographic, or the kind that shade countries in different colors based on gross national product or primary exports.”

            “Nothing with ‘Here be dragons’ on the edges?”

            “Never.”

 

--N.D. Wilson, 100 Cupboards