Glencomeragh in August

Glencomeragh in August

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“Green Fire – Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic For Our Time”

Aldo Leopold died of a heart attack while battling a fire on a neighbour’s property on April 21, 1948. He is one of those literary figures better known and much more influential in America than on this side of the Atlantic – like Henry Adams, or to a certain degree Emerson or Thoreau. I first came across him when reading about solastalgia  , which lead me to A Sand County Almanac and the concept of the Land Ethic:

“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.”

“This sounds simple: do we not already sing our love for and obligation to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love? Certainly not the soil, which we are sending helter-skelter down river. Certainly not the waters, which we assume have no function except to turn turbines, float barges, and carry off sewage. Certainly not the plants, of which we exterminate whole communities without batting an eye. Certainly not the animals, of which we have already extirpated many of the largest and most beautiful species. A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these ‘resources,’ but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state. In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.

 

I have remarked before on some of the aspects of Leopold’s work which might strike one as dated – for instance his unself-conscious engagement in hunting, not seen as implacably opposed to conservation as it often is now (in Britain especially) . But by and large, Leopold’s work is all too relevant. Indeed, as the disappearance of species accelerates rather than slows down in our supposedly green-conscious age, the rediscovery of the Land Ethic looms larger than ever as an imperative rather than a luxury.

 


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/8669977″>Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user2926562″>Jeannine Richards</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Doon Mass Rock, Doon, Co. Donegal.

Doon Mass Rock, Doon, Co. Donegal.

While the Holy Well and the rock where the O’Donnell chieftain was inaugurated are better known, the site near Termon in Donegal features a well–preserved Mass Rock. These photos capture it from a few angles on a recent sunny day (haven’t they all been)

In recent years the muddy tracks which one had to follow to climb have been replaced by tarmac paths, not to everyone’s taste and I must say something has been lost while obviously a great deal of access has been gained. .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A resting blessing from the Carmina Gadelica

From Alexander Carmichael’s collection of the Scottish oral tradition Carmina Gadelica , a resting blessing

 

AN ainm an Tighearn Iosa,
Agus Spiorad ìocshlain aigh,
An ainm Athar Israil,
Sinim sios gu tamh.

Ma tha musal na dusal,
Na run air bith dhomh ’n dan,
Dhia fuasgail orm is cuartaich orm,
Is fuadaich uam mo namh.

An ainm Athar priseil,
Is Spiorad iocshlain aigh,
An ainm Tighearn Iosa,
Sinim sios gu tamh.
*         *         *         *
Dhia, cobhair mi is cuartaich mi,
O ’n uair ’s gu uair mo bhais.

 

IN name of the Lord Jesus,
And of the Spirit of healing balm,
In name of the Father of Israel,
I lay me down to rest.

If there be evil threat or quirk,
Or covert act intent on me,
God free me and encompass me,
And drive from me mine enemy.

In name of the Father precious,
And of the Spirit of healing balm,
In name of the Lord Jesus,
I lay me down to rest.
*         *         *         *
God, help me and encompass me,
From this hour till the hour of my death.

Non-Binary Review call for submissions on Dante’s Inferno (deadline 24th Oct 2018)

More info here:

NonBinary Review is a quarterly digital literary journal that joins poetry, fiction, essays, and art around each issue’s theme. We invite  authors to explore each theme in any way that speaks to them: re-write a  familiar story from a new point of view, mash genres together, give us a  personal essay about some aspect of our theme that has haunted you all  your life. We also invite art that will accompany the literature. All submissions must have a clear and obvious relationship to some specific aspect of the source text (a character, episode, or setting). Submissions only related by a vague, general, thematic similarity are unlikely to be accepted.

We are open to submissions which relate to Dante Alighieri’s 14-century epic poem The Inferno, which you can find herePlease bear in mind that we’re looking for pieces that relate to the BOOK ONLY. References movies or television shows will not be accepted.

Submissions which do not tie into the plots or make use of characters/settings from the book WILL NOT be considered–there needs to be a clear connection to the source material. 

We want language that makes us reach for a dictionary or a tissue or  both. Words in combinations and patterns that leave the faint of heart a  little dizzy.

Piano minimalism from 1880 – Liszt’s “Via Crucis”, Reinbert de Leeuw

Liszt’s piano setting of his late work Via Crucis (originally for  choir, soloists and organ) has many passages that sound extraordinarily like Satie or other much later exponents of minimalism. Wikipedia has this to say:

The work is a special case in the oeuvre of Liszt, especially because it is a work of great serenity. The work is also special because it reaches the limits of the till then prevailing tonality. The work combines unison songs (Stations I and XIV) with Lutheran chorales (Stations IV and XII), and chorales inspired by Bach‘s chorales (Station VI), whereas other stations consist of solo organ (or piano). Liszt self wanted to perform the work in the Colosseum, with accompaniment by harmonium.

Here is the Dutch conductor and pianist Reinbert de Leeuw:

Allmusic :

Known for its flashy virtuosity and high emotionalism, the keyboard music of Franz Liszt’s youth and early adulthood is easily recognized, though his somber, quasi-atonal late works have only gradually entered the piano repertoire. Instrumental in promoting the visionary compositions of Liszt’s last years is Reinbert de Leeuw, who has performed the Via Crucis regularly, and more generally has made the final works known to a growing audience. Via Crucis exists not only in the version for solo piano heard here, but also in arrangements for choir and organ, choir and harmonium, choir and piano, and piano duet. The work preoccupied Liszt for several years, and it was a breakthrough, insofar as Liszt had made a bold statement in his newly developed harmonic language, which had only been half-formed in his shorter pieces. De Leeuw immerses himself wholly in the music and maintains a nearly transcendental calm through its long passages of chant-like melodies and labored chromatic transitions. This work demands absolute concentration, which is evident in de Leeuw’s impeccable control and smooth gradations of timbres and dynamics.https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/4jzNkCw0kakdwKhcuA4oZ2

“But to simply withdraw does not provide the way forward, for we then take our hurt or tired self with us”

From ” “Dare to Journey–with Henri Nouwen (Designed for Influence)” by Charles Ringma”

We need to resist making unhelpful distinctions where we play off one thing against another. Prayer, for example, is not opposed to work; and the search for solitude is not opposed to active involvement in our world. These seeming opposites belong together. Prayer leads to work, and work needs to be done prayerfully. Similarly, solitude is not simply a withdrawal from the world in order to be renewed and refreshed. It is also finding a new center of inner quietness and certitude from which we act in the midst of a busy and demanding world.
Nouwen expresses the seeming paradox in this way: “The movement from loneliness to solitude is not a movement of growing withdrawal, but is instead it movement toward a deeper engagement in the burning issues of our time. This seeming contradiction finds its resolution in the fact that we can lose ourselves in our much-doing but cannot find ourselves simply through withdrawal.
In our much-doing we lose perspective, lose our energy, and more importantly, lose our creativity and sense of humor. We thus begin to carry the world on our shoulders and soon become overwhelmed or disillusioned. But to simply withdraw does not provide the way forward, for we then take our hurt or tired self with us. Rather, the movement to solitude is to find a renewed self, and from the center of being loved and nourished we can again enter our world with purposeful engagement and joyful detachment.