Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bye Bye Trampoline

We have a leaky roof and had the insurance adjuster come to check for storm damage.  He was very friendly and asked many personal questions.  He told me what he took pictures of and how they determine
storm damage.  The next day, we received notice that our backyard trampoline was a violation of our homeowner's policy.  At some point, it would have been helpful to hear, "i took a picture of your trampoline as well, you receive notice of the violation tomorrow."

So today is the last day of operation.  It was fun while it lasted!

Oh, and there wasn't any storm damage.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Brief Shape Note History

The kids and i had to give a family presentation last week for Classical Conversations.  So we told our classmates a bit about shape note singing.

Shape note singing, also known as Sacred Harp, is an early American music that has roots in 16th century Europe.

The English used a four-note system centuries ago, but did not use different shapes.
When colonists came to America, they brought their traditions with them.
And soon, Shape Note Singing evolved and was being used to teach church congregations how to sing. Nearly everyone in early America, learned to read music using a system of shaped notes. Many well known hymns, were written as Shape Note Songs.
In the early 1800's, soon after our nation won its independence, Shape Note Singing was slowly driven from its first home in New England by people who considered it too raw and coarse, preferring refined European music.
But shape-note singing took root in the rural South and the lower Midwest, where it continued to flourish.

Many changes took place after the Civil War, and Shape Note Singing declined to the point of being considered extinct. But in 1935, it was revealed that thousands of traditional singers were still flourishing in the southern mountains.

In recent years, Shape Note Singing has enjoyed a revival in its old territories, including New England and Europe.

Sacred Harp music is divided into 4 parts: treble, alto, tenor, and bass. Singers sit in a hollow square with each part taking a side and facing the center.
The song leader stands in the center and beats time while facing the tenor section. The hand and arm motions are a traditional way of keeping time.
Everyone leads a song, and before singing the words to the song, we “sing the notes' by singing the syllables of the shapes.


And then we led 209 Evening Shade.  
But instead, i leave you with my outhouse video. During the Labor Day Sing, i came out of the outhouse and the sound seemed so beautiful wafting from the old windows.  So although the quality of camera and filming is poor, it adds to the "raw and coarse" sound that people either love or hate.  

Windridge and the 2 Henry's

What i should be doing is laundry.  Last week's laundry is still sitting in the chair, and this week's laundry is about to join it there.
But, instead i need to encourage myself by revisiting the silent retreat i took over the weekend. Being in a quiet, stress-free, beautiful place makes everything seem possible.  And then, it is back to the difficult and mundane cycle of life.
I read a book by Henri Nouwen, called Reaching Out: The Three Movements Of The Spiritual Life.
He starts out by talking about loneliness and keep in mind that this book was written in 1975.  That makes it ever more delightful.

"Loneliness is one the most universal human experiences, but our contemporary Western society has heightened the awareness of our loneliness to an unusual degree...
The contemporary society in which we find ourselves makes us acutely aware of our loneliness.  We become increasingly aware that we are living in a world where even the most intimate relationships have become part of competition and rivalry..."

He goes on to talk about the difference between loneliness and solitude and why solitude is important.

"Too often we will do everything possible to avoid the confrontation with the experience of being alone...
Our culture has become most sophisticated in the avoidance of pain, not only our physical pain, but our emotional and mental pain as well.  We have become so used to this state of anesthesia that we panic when there is nothing or nobody left to distract us, when we have no project to finish, no friend to visit, no book to read, no TV to watch, no record to play...
And when we are left all alone by ourselves we are brought so close to the revelation of our basic human aloneness and are so afraid of experiencing an all-pervasive sense of loneliness that we will do anything to get busy again and continue the game which makes us believe that everything is fine after all.  John Lennon says, 'Feel your own pain,' but how hard that is!"

Even in the 1800's, Henry David Thoreau understood the importance of solitude.  Sometimes we idealize times past as simpler, and in many ways they were.  But in the quote, he shows us how similar we all are and always have been.
He writes,

"When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation denigrates into mere gossip.  We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is that he has seen the newspaper or been out to tea, and we have not.  In proportion, as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post office.  You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters proud of his extensive correspondence has not heard from himself this long while."

Solitude is more than just being alone.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

First Egg

It has been happening for a few weeks now, but each morning is the same.  The kids squabble over who gets to open the egg door, take the egg out and carry it inside.
I am sure this will not carry into winter.

Cabin Goodbyes

We went down to the cabin to say goodbye to an old friend.  He always has an impossible story to tell that is true but never seems like it should be.
While we were there, the kids caught monster fish and we found monster black widows.  All in all a good but sad day.  We will miss Eric and Shirley in Missouri!

Michigan 2013

I know i have many readers out there that expect Real Time Powell News. I am sorry that i cannot provide that to you.
Several months ago, we went to Michigan and had a lovely time.  Thanks Mom and Dad!