Posted by: Kristof | January 8, 2013

The Singing Tree

Fallen trees, more accurately, felled, brought to the ground, perhaps ahead of their time, perhaps just in time. Whatever the case, metallic teeth gnaw at a voracious pace spewing the wooden innards, still wet with life, across the floor and filling the air with the sweet scent of lumber. The jack rubs his calloused palm across the naked stump, and the sandy-grained tree dust softly succumbs and reveals the warm smoothness of the naked trunk. The rings that once concentrically pulsated to the rhythm of tree time now sing of life, and if it is a song of life, surely it is a song of death too. This helps to explain the celebratory and mournful sound released from this sandy-grained soul as it details the storms and rainbows, floods and droughts, and fires both terrestrial and heavenly, in the large landscape that is life and the myriad ways in which it becomes manifest.

“Empty” is the first song I ever remember hearing this tree sing. It left an impression on me, one which surfaced on a variety of levels and has haunted and comforted me with its beautiful sadness. The scarred beauty of this song draws forth a feeling of nostalgia, both familiar and foreign, through a sensuous use of imagery.

The familiarity of undressing a lover while the rain and the leaves softly applaud the gentle and quiet celebration of love being consecrated is so heart wrenchingly beautiful. I am reminded of loves celebrated and lost, and smile at the ones I have yet to discover.

The image of a beat-up car rusting in a field, sunken in the rain-soaked ground, and overgrown with the sinews of supple springtime grass is an image I cannot conjure up from my past, but this singing conifer effectively puts it there. The graininess of his voice brings textural life to the rough metal rusting under the elements. I can feel the warmth of the sun drenched car and the eroding metal through a weathered voice lamenting a love lost.

Sadness and despair help create the ambience in “Empty”; however, these two emotions are tempered by a joyful nostalgia and bravery. Wading in the memories of a lover dancing barefoot in the garden and stoking the flames of courage in the face of hurt and emotional turmoil become suffused with the seemingly endless sadness one is faced with when things that once were no longer are.

This intermingling of polar opposite feelings illuminates the true reality of perception and elicits an image of somebody who has loved, been hurt by love, fought through that hurt, and, with a proud calm, continues to walk forward in life smiling.

As a singer and a songwriter, Ray Lamontagne closely resembles this old fallen tree. In his music you can feel the joy of youth and love and hear the angst of heartache and despair. Everything about him is wooden: the strength of his emotions resemble a tree that has weathered the harshest of storms and remains standing, the way the firmness of his soul glimmers through the saw-dusty-sandy-grained texture of his voice, which is softened by the even smoothness of its cadence and elicits a very tactile and tangible sensation. Imagine brushing the sawdust from a freshly cut piece of lumber, barehanded, much like our friend the lumberjack did earlier in this post. This sensation is how Ray Lamontagne sounds when he sings. You can hear the smooth and solid wooden surface shining through the grainy-layered texture of sawdust on the tips of your fingers.

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Posted by: Kristof | January 6, 2013

Amongst Chaos…Beauty

What I saw, upon viewing a drawing from a dear friend, in a thousand words or less:

 

The order imposed upon Her has created chaos and yet, amidst all this chaos, Her beauty remains. It does not shine through the chaos, nor does it fade into it, rather, Her beauty remains clearly distinct in the subtle and tender manner she moves among weeping monuments, stone-cold convictions, and man-made imperfections. Beneath the searing sun of illumination, everything burns bright hot and ashes give way to the soaring phoenix released from Her prison-like sanctuary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Kristof | June 3, 2012

The Worried Farmer

I hear the restrained desire in her voice.

It fights against her strongest will, her weakness.

Afraid of uncertainty,

denial has become her protection.

Not even the solitary life is as lonely,

as cumbersome, and draining as this one.

Afraid to bear the fruits of her passion,

she starves herself.

Does she not see the strength that is to be?

Her desire is like the watermelon vine,

it grows and spreads.

It intermingles its sinewy tendrils among the other

plants around it; grows up them, uses them for

support and grows more because of thisintermingledsupport.

The fruit it bears are large refreshing

orbs that taste of sweet, like

the summer air the watermelon

flowers have perfumed.  And she is the farmer, she

will not grow it, for it would crowd her garden.

Posted by: Kristof | May 22, 2012

Just a Phase

What:

“Just a Phase”, by Incubus, is, in my opinion, their best song from, quite arguably, their best album.  No other album of theirs demonstrates the fluidity, completeness, and integration of sound and thought as Morning View does.

Why:

“Just a Phase”, not simply a recurring theme in life but the mainstay of existence… Within this song exist a variety of transitions or phases creating a full circle; its beginning, the sound of electronic vinyl sand paper introducing a procession of undulating rhythms that subdue a melancholic wailing whose meandering seamlessly flows into a texture painted verse that bubbles as it crescendos into a chorus crying to break free; a decorum of modest melodic manners keeps this boiling over in check, it recedes to its bubbly bouncing cadence simmering over musings about the nature of life, of karma, of sadness, of happiness, of success, of failure, of a PHASE until the chorus is brimming and can hold no more; it ruptures, releasing a torrent of pent up emotion, a catharsis, and in that way it ends, leaving the listener with the electronic whimpering of vinyl sand paper…

How:

If you don’t “know” the song, “YouTube” it, listen to it, and experience what a river must feel as some stubborn obstacle impedes its gentle yet determined path; patiently it begins to build, bourgeon, and finally burst forth in a non-exclamatory manner that even its restraint is ephemeral, when viewed from a bird’s eye.

Posted by: Kristof | February 23, 2012

Through the Looking Glass…

It is often said that the eyes are the windows to the soul…but how does one see vibration?  To our eyes the soul appears mystic and murky, teeming with a cloudy metaphysical incertitude, and at best, offers only a distorted and incomplete glimpse of a will, a will to celebrate life.  The eyes do, however, reveal emotion but emotion is not the soul; rather, it is the silty sentimental sediment that is often stirred up from the bed of soul.

The soul is not merely the seat of a divine and cosmic life force that permeates every living entity, it is also the meeting place where the secret collaborations of the heart and mind coalesce.  So how do we “see” the soul?  May I suggest that we look somewhere else other than they eyes?  If I truly want to see a person’s soul, perhaps I should use the hands as my looking glass, for they are the tools with which a person creates; and creation results when the will of the spirit combines with the passions of the heart.  The hands turn dreams into tangible treasures that leave marks upon the terrain of the universal self.  The hands, with their ten digits, fashion the comforts we enjoy, the pleasures we bask in, the security we depend on, the necessities we survive on, and affect the world we live in.  They transform what is ethereal, mystical, and elusive into something visible, palpable, and corporeal.

What is being described here is nothing short of alchemy, an alchemy of the soul.  So then…”Be by doing and, do by being.”

Posted by: Kristof | November 18, 2011

The Viscosity of Patience

Patience has been stirring within me.  Slowly and purposefully it pools around my feet and swallows my ankles, bathing them in calming tepid waters that surge forth rising higher up my body, consuming my limbs, swallowing my throat, opening my ears, deepening my vision, and expanding my thoughts.  Every inhale is like that, the roots of patience diving deeper into my being, and with every exhale my feet make meaningful contact with mother Earth, my legs swing with assuredness, my hands feel with openness, my eyes receive with tenderness, my ears listen with my heart, my mind embraces wholeheartedly, and my voice…my voice remains still, absorbing everything, waiting for the correct words to surface in the ocean of patience that moves within me.

Too often I have listened to only one of my responses and been too quick to react, affecting the direction and purpose of my vessel with a hasty and misunderstanding rudder.  How hard it is to change course once words have been spoken and deeds done.  And in hindsight, the thought, “if only I had waited…”

Letting patience seep into my life has shown me that sometimes the best response is to wait, feel, hear, and understand.  Too quick was I to leap into action, which usually resulted in judgment and/or shortcomings in my ability to affect positive change in my world.  Back to understanding…it has been my belief that judgment comes from a lack of understanding and how quick have I been to judge the person who cut me off on the freeway, had I only understood that she was rushing to see her daughter who was injured at school or he was rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital, I would have been less quick to judge and more in a hurry to move over and let them safely pass.  As I reflect on past circumstances when I had judged harshly or spoken too quickly the more openness I create within myself for patience and understanding to be the real and veritable influencing agents in my life.

Thank you for taking the time to read these thoughts, my attempt at a blog, and let them surface as they may, any comments, suggestions, and discussions that this thought might stimulate towards the surface of your buoyant heart.

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