Shchedryk Returns to Carnegie Hall for Centennial Performance; Revised Feb 26, 2023

I sing, therefore I am.

“A 1919 review of the Ukrainian Republic Choir in the Genevan journal La Patrie Suisse mused that the Ukrainian National Republic established its independence through the motto, ‘I sing, therefore I am.’  Ukraine continues to sing and continues to be.”  —Notes from Ukraine (carolofthebells100.org)

That choir performed for the first time in America in Carnegie Hall in 1922, during the war that ultimately led to Russia cramming Ukraine into the Soviet Union.  Ukraine had made itself an independent nation already, and was the most important Republic in the Union.  It became a democratic republic when it brought down the Soviet Union by rejecting it in favor of independence.

Ask the UN who were the first signatories to its charter in 1945.  One of them was the Soviet Republic of Ukraine, a nation by UN’s definition, as it was before it was trapped into the Soviet Union.  Ukraine was the first republic to break away from the Soviet Union, causing the collapse of that Union.  It absolutely could not survive without Ukraine.

One hundred years after that concert in 1922, on December 4, 2022, Ukraine returned to Carnegie Hall to bring us again the power of music during yet another Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, the third such attempt at the impossibility of destroying the nation and the culture of Ukraine.

“CULTURE UNDER THREAT” says the website of Notes from Ukraine (carolofthebells100.org), and then, that culture again exerts its centuries-old power to overcome the threat.  The website continues, with this inspiring statement:

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022, has purposefully sought to destroy Ukrainian culture as part of its aims. Cultural sites have repeatedly been the target of attacks including works by painter Maria Prymachenko at the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, the historic home and museum of Ukrainian poet and philosopher Hryhorii Skovoroda in the Kharkiv region, and the Theater of Music and Drama in Mariupol.

Just as in 1922, the Ukrainian National Republic used the soft power of music to preserve and promote Ukraine’s independence, Ukrainian artists today are once again turning to culture to communicate with the world. A 1919 review of the Ukrainian Republic Choir in the Genevan journal La Patrie Suisse mused that the Ukrainian National Republic established its independence through the motto, “I sing, therefore I am.” Ukraine continues to sing and continues to be.

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NHGS and Being One With Everything

If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet,
you’ll come to understand that you’re connected to everything.
–Alan watts

This is true.  However, it need not be a far, far forest.  It can be near.  In fact, it can be your backyard.

It reminds me of the joke where the Dalai Lama goes to a hot dog street vendor and says, “Make me one with everything.”

This photo was manipulated to resolve trouble with the output of the old 35mm film camera that shot this about 17 years ago, in not enough light as the sun was slipping away from the woods, but it is still true to the original, with perhaps an artsy touch.

I have always called it, “Reincarnation of a Birch,” but this fungus decoration is only one phase of the new world that will be created from this old gray birch stump.

It was in the campground at Taylor Pond, part of the Taylor Pond Wild Forest state land complex, which includes Taylor Pond Wild Forest, Terry Mountain State Forest, Burnt Hill State Forest and the Franklin Falls, Shell Rock and Black Brook Conservation Easement Tracts, a handful of my nearby nature immersion areas within 20 miles of Balsamea.

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Willa

Are her musical gifts enriched by color synesthesia?  Join me for an introduction to a new star born in our midst.
 
(Note: Willa Blog Post Review is a YouTube playlist of all 24 videos shown or linked in this blog post, in the order presented, including the music, news and interviews.  It is a one-stop source of all the video material presented here.)
 
I found Willa Amai while looking for covers of the 1993 song What’s Up by Linda Perry and 4 Non Blondes. It is a song that I would scream at the top of my lungs, as it says, if I could sing.  (Image above snipped from Willa’s music video of What’s Up.)

 



 
The song offers no solution.  Not a clue.  It just says how things feel, and how they don’t make sense, and how we ache because of it, trying to keep the faith, wanting to hope, despite the impenetrable insanity of the inhuman side of humanity.
 
The song cries out loud from the heart for revolution, the only solution.  As do I, at times in tears, wishing I knew how to start it, finding that all I have is a song short on hope.
 
It sings, “And I tried, oh my God did I try, I try all the time, in this institution.  And I pray, oh my God do I pray, I pray every single day for a revolution!”
 
The line demands a middle finger thrust to the sky in revolt.

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The Putin Circus and a child’s love of her homeland in song

Please share this funny Putin video if you like it.  That’s why I post them.  So you can share them.  This is the YouTube link to share: https://youtu.be/t-wFKNy0MZQ if you are not foolish enough to share the link to the blog post you are looking at.  Doesn’t matter.  I’ll never know.  But I do not mind at all being a fool for the glory of Ukraine, in silly ways and others.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you … below the comedy here, there’s also the April 24, 2022 world premier official music video of the Ukrainian very young lady Alicia Kishe, accompanied by her father Timothy, singing the song she wrote, “Ukraine is a World of Love” sung in Ukrainian (a language that gets more beautiful the more you hear it) with English subtitles.  I think some people will like it; fools like me and otherwise.  Please share it when you get done adoring it.  Then adore it some more.  Let Alicia be Ukraine to you for a while.

TURN ON CAPTIONS (CC AT THE BOTTOM OF THE VIDEO WINDOW) TO SEE THE ENGLISH SUBTITLES.  It works best if you watch it at the YouTube site.  For a special treat, run them in full screen mode.

Vladimir Putin – Putin, Putout (The Unofficial Russian Anthem) by Klemen Slakonja

[The name Vladimir means “ruler of the world” or “ruler of peace.”]



Enough of the funny stuff.  Now for the heart-melting beautiful stuff, what you always come here for, of course …

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We don’t know — Arctic methane says so

We don’t know how long we have.  The more we heat up the planet, the more we reach “tipping points,” where “positive feedback loops” that we set in motion become Earth’s way of consuming itself.  Our models for predicting effects of human-caused climate change do not — cannot — take into account the potential for the feedback loops running out of control, beyond reach of any mitigating efforts we may make.

So, what, then?

We have to simply stop feeding carbon into the air.  Just stop, in every way we can, as much as possible, everywhere, and punish those who resist.  They don’t call it “an existential threat” for nothing.  Why treat it as less?

Lesser efforts, lesser objectives, raise the risk beyond our ability to measure, as shown below in the new PBS Nova episode, “Arctic Sinkholes.”

As the authors explain, the craters look like sinkholes to the naked eye, but they are not sinkholes.  They are massive, explosive and incessant methane leaks from the arctic permafrost.

The rate of increase in the arctic temperature is twice that of the planetary average.  The permafrost — ground frozen continuously for at least two years, but also thousands of feet deep for millennia — is thawing, and opening big methane vents at alarming rates.

We don’t know how many there are, or will be.  We don’t know their ultimate effect.  We don’t know if our feeble efforts to stop killing our planet can begin to take into account the effects of thawing permafrost.

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Telling the Times; Carl Sagan and many others warned us of the shining city in a ditch.

Call this scribblement pessimistic if you must, but calling it so does not change anything.  Optimism begins with noticing, not with self-delusion.  It may begin with noticing self-delusion, too.  I want to point out some things we’ve been told about the soul of a nation and democracy in peril.  I want to tell of their telling, and tell of my seeking, and suggest yours.

If, however, a reader wants to use their idea of pessimism as an epithet, read on and enjoy your conviction.  Just give yourself the benefit of the doubt by reading.

Call this scribblement didactic if you want.  That doesn’t change anything either.  Try responding to something in it, optimistically.  Try acting on it, even if only in words.  That would be a change.

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Did Lockdown Spring Bring a Lasting Connection to Nature?

Some of this data confuses me, but the part that stands out as most important is the “noticing.”. I often refer to it as nature immersion, as opposed to nature visiting.

Finding Nature

A blog with Dr Carly Butler.

Many of us found a friend in nature during the first lockdown in Spring 2020 but new data suggests this was just a short-term relationship for some. The latest data from Natural England’s People and Nature Survey shows that levels of nature connectedness fell by 25% between April 2020 and April 2021, meaning fewer people reported feeling a part of nature.

It’s not that people have stopped visiting nature, as the proportion of people accessing green and natural spaces grew during lockdown and has stayed higher. As lockdowns eased, it’s likely that people took the opportunity to meet with others and engage in outdoor activities. But it seems that the boost to ‘noticing nature’ in the quiet times of April and May 2020 has diminished. The data shows a 13% drop in the percentage of people reporting they are taking time to notice and…

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Been Chickadeed

After the season’s last snow event in April, while pushing snow out of the path from the house to the shed, my attention was taken by several black-capped chickadees frolicking among the branches of the beech and maple trees straddling the wild blueberry patch.  My path goes through the patch, between those two trees.

black-capped chickadee e-bird site 200x150

Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Click the picture for the full screen image at e-bird.org, with their report on its natural history, sounds, habits, etc.

I had been dragging my feet, frustrated with something on my mind that I can’t remember now.  Doing “snow moving meditation” (or “snow clearing yoga”) was helpful, as usual, but this time it was challenged by weariness that slowed me down and made the frustration worse.

I took a break to watch these winged, chatty attention snatchers.  I rested one arm on top of the snow shovel handle, my hand extended away from me.  One of the birds flew close by.  I waited to see if they would grace me with a closer visit, having heard they will sometimes land on a person.  It never happened to me in all the times I spent with chickadees.

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Sixteen Years This Winter

For Nuala with gratitude

That’s Nuala’s Maple in the header image above.  (For those who missed it in an earlier post, Nuala is pronounced NOO-lah.)

Tuesday Afternoon (4:56) Link to video

Tuesday Afternoon
by The Moody Blues

Tuesday afternoon
I’m just beginning to see
Now I’m on my way
It doesn’t matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I’ve got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh

I’m looking at myself, reflections of my mind
It’s just the kind of day to leave myself behind
So gently swaying through the fairy-land of love
If you’ll just come with me and see the beauty of

Tuesday afternoon
Tuesday afternoon

Tuesday afternoon
I’m just beginning to see
Now I’m on my way
It doesn’t matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I’ve got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh


It’s one world NOW, huh?

“Dance” by Henri Matisse, 1909

I never paid much attention to this Matisse painting until recently when I added it to my screen saver collection. I now see that Matisse’s dancers are all women. Good. That’s the stuff of a one-world mind, because men are feudal. Women are the more evolved half of humanity. I’m not kidding.

In a pandemic, everyone is responsible for everyone else in the world. Everyone fights for everyone to win. If they don’t do it together, it cannot be done. The virus will continue to flourish. We walk and stand together or fall down together. Frankly, that’s a scary thought.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T ALL WASH OUR HANDS. Photo: Spencer Tunick Arrow To Washington, NYC, 1995

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