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Bob Marley to the rescue, again

The smoky air out here is thick, smelly, and shows no sign of going away. It poses yet another obstacle to our desire for human companionship and makes everybody sad and anxious. We worry now about the fires devastating our neighbors to the south and east, and we all wish mightily for rain.  Not only does the COVID-19 pandemic keep us from each other, we are now obliged to stay in with all the windows shut, lest we make ourselves sick by merely breathing the sooty air.  Sigh.

But we survive nonetheless; my way is to create, always to create. Sewing these bright and colorful Respect Quilts brings loving thoughts to mind and helps keep things in perspective. This will pass. Clear skies will return some day and new growth will recommence in those scorched forests. We just have to abide the present, while waiting for better times to come.

In honor of Bob Marley, whose music does so much to help us get by, each Respect Quilt will feature three squares with little birds on them. As the lyrics to Marley’s song, “Three Little Birds” go:

Rise up this mornin’

Smiled with the risin’ sun

Three little birds

Pitch by my doorstep

Singin’ sweet songs

Of melodies pure and true

Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou:”)

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing

‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing

‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Music heals. Put the music on, and forget your troubles for a while!

Lyrics courtesy of Last.fm Music | Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. / All rights reserved.

Image of Bob Marley album cover by Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15336841

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conflict creativity music nature work

day 37: happy / sad money stories, but “Never Grow Old”! (Toots and the Maytals bring happiness again)

view of downtown through the rain April 25 2020

Hi,

Since the rain is pouring down out here in West Seattle this morning, I’m giving myself a break: no walk. Instead, a couple thoughts on money topics that have been bugging me lately: the problem of using cash and the problem of using electronic money transfer apps.

  1. As mentioned in my day 35 post, earlier this week I was given a 20-dollar bill as payment for face masks, but the bill had a message in red ink on it, and the bank rejected it. (Grrr.  I was NOT happy.)  But the story has a happy ending!  After reading my email about the problem, the person who passed me the bill not only came by and exchanged it for a clean bill, she gave me a $10 tip! (She had done so initially also, since she only owed me $10.)  GOODNESS EXISTS!
  2. For all those who wonder why my face mask business only accepts cash or checks (which clearly bring a certain degree of risk), there is an illuminating article in today’s New York Times about the charges associated with the apps offering instant transfers. Lesson: Beware using Venmo or others as your go-to for purchases, until you know what charges they may be adding on….

The moral of the story is that capitalism poses problems for all of us, buyers and sellers. It is a fascinating topic! not my issue though… I’d rather work with my hands than delve into the tortured reasoning propping up “financial products,” right now…

But let’s remember that goodness exists!  as one of my inspiring neighbors and clients–a nurse–wrote yesterday:  “if we all pass it on we can bring kindness to this challenging time.”

___

And yesterday’s face mask production, fyi:

Masks made on April 24 2020

I’m changing my routine a little today–got to keep things moving! First up: the Maytals singing, “I’ll Never Grow Old”!

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art creativity design music quilts wisdom

On Marcus Aurelius, Toots and the Maytals, the Manet exhibit, and a new quilt in the making…

 

 

 

Last night at the Toots and the Maytals concert, I had an epiphany inspired by Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. Toots was the living spirit of benevolence. He played all the songs we wanted to hear, and even took off his sunglasses at one point to show us his smiling eyes, thus reaffirming what Marcus Aurelius wrote about 1,900 years ago: “The good and simple and benevolent show all these things in the eyes, and there is no mistaking it.” If you think singing in a reggae band, or attending a reggae concert and dancing along with the crowd, is a silly waste of time, think again. The community spirit ran deep among the music lovers at Benaroya Hall; people of all ages—babies to oldsters, and lots of folks in between—were smiling and bopping along with “Monkey Man” and “Funky Kingston” just like in the old days when Toots was a younger man.

All that groovin’ builds trust in the populace, which for Marcus Aurelius would be a capital virtue, I think. “Have I done something for the general interest? Well then I have had my reward,” he wrote, and: “Unity in a manner exists, as in the stars. Thus the ascent to a higher degree is able to produce a sympathy even in things that are separated.”

In that spirit, I’m sharing some photos of a creation taking place in my studio these days: a baby quilt for a child who lives in Spain. I’m calling the design “European Childhood.”  You’ll see why if you look closely at the squares-in-progress below: Paddington Bear is there from London, the dark blue fabric looks like night in a Spanish city, and another scene shows toddlers at the beach in a retro French style. Also visible are the season’s hottest colors—grey and yellow, as in a famous painting now on display at the Manet exhibit*—to suggest that this little guy is with it!

 

Over the next few days and weeks, I’ll post photos of this quilt as it progresses and thoughts on some books I’m reading. Since I spend most of my time alone in my studio working on projects like this, or silently practicing T’ai chi and Qigong in studios around town, I’m not that connected to people–colleagues and students–the way I used to be. And I realized at that concert that I still have much to offer the world. There probably are not that many bloggers reading Marcus Aurelius these days.  Yet, as the great man wrote, “Such are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.  Dye it then with a continuous series of thoughts such as these…  Revere that which is best in the universe; and this is that which makes use of all things and directs all things.  And in like manner also revere that which is best in yourself.” Day One of European quilt.jpg

Thanks for reading… and for living a good life.

  • In the Conservatory (1877-79) by Edouard Manet, features an attractive couple in an ambiguous conversation (note the wedding rings, yet their hands do not touch). The woman’s shimmery grey dress and spread-out pleats seem custom-made to reflect the yellow glints emanating from her gloves, hat, and parasol. Check out the intriguing review of this and other paintings by Manet in today’s New York Times!