Tuesday, July 30, 2013

7:30 BELLS: Bell Tower Down for Maintenance

The bell tower needed some work--a few bricks are loose, and some of the ropes that hold the bell are frayed.

But the repairs will  be complete by next Tuesday, and the bell--newly polished--will be ringing again. 

Thank you for listening--and keep ringing!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

7:30 BELLS: “Art is the Perfected Imperfection”

A sunset, an exotic location, the cast of light on water—all these beautiful things can make the bells ring. But this week the bells began to madly peal when I ran headlong into a beautiful idea.  Not my idea—someone else’s.

I was reading an article titled Music in your Ears by Adam Gopnik in the January 28, 2013 edition of The New Yorker. He writes about the combination of neuroscience and acoustical technology. When I read that scientists have found that “people like music played with a bit of, but not too much, expressiveness . . . the two expressive dimensions whose force in music Levitin had measured . . . were defections from precision. Vibrato is a way of not quite landing directly on the note: rubato is not quite keeping perfectly to the beat. Expressiveness is error . . . ” I sat straight up--connecting this concept to literature.

Then a few sentences on: “. . . Levitin could show” (measure scientifically) “that what really moves us in music is the vital sign of a human hand, in all its unsteady and broken grace. (Too much imperfection and it sounds like a madman playing: too little, and it sounds like a robot.) . . . The art is the perfected imperfection.” (italics mine)

I leaped from my chair because this is exactly what makes good writing and because the idea was so beautifully expressed. The bells are still ringing so loudly, that I’ve barely had time to follow all the many reverberations. But I do know that a good idea can ignite y mind and imagination, as vividly as the canals of Venice, and nothing makes me feel more alive than that.

LORE OF THE BELL: A beautifully expressed idea makes the bells ring.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

7:30 BELLS: Master of Wind and Wings

On a bluff above the wild Strait of Juan de Fuca, I learned what it really means to be a master of your craft. As I huddled against the wind on a second story deck of the house, an eagle hovered before me. His wings arched and hunched, his talons dangling, he floated slowly straight down and landed in the yard below. All this in a fierce, fierce wind. What a master of wind and wing!

I’ve watched eagles before, but have never seen this feat. How intimately he knew his element—the wind. Then for an encore, and, as if to prove this was no accident, he flew up, drifted twenty yards north, and then floated straight down again.

As a writer, I want to be  like the eagle.  To be so familiar with my craft that I can use all my power and skill to perform the most delicate landing in the most challenging conditions. I would like to live this way, too. In our lives we teeter on many precipices in  fierce winds. Like the eagle, I’d like to face any great task or challenge--a personal conflict, crisis—with the grace and skill to have a safe and beautiful landing.

LORE OF THE BELL:  Learn the Wind and the Bells will Ring.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

7:30 BELLS: How 30 Minutes Revealed Mystery and Magnificence in my Own Backyard

On Friday, I saw two new things that made the bells ring. The Grove of the Patriarchs and Silver Falls. And they were both in my own back yard.

For years my extended family has driven up over Chinook Pass near Mt. Rainier to camp at Lodgepole Campground. Last week, my husband and I took a short detour to visit The Grove of the Patriarchs-- something we had heard about but never visited. It’s a grove of magnificent old growth cedars and Douglas fir trees. I’d seen old trees before, but never so many together. What towering magnificence! What a sense, standing at the base with my neck craned back, that most of that magnificence was  hidden in the  green crowns above.

Then we saw a sign for Silver Falls,  a scant quarter mile hike away. The hugely unoriginal name gave no preview of the fall’s splendor.  A massive cataract tumbled into pool after pool. I stood on the foot bridge over the gorge and watched the river twist away into mystery.

Both of these wonders were a mere 30 minute detour out of the regular route to the campground. I could have enjoyed them many times over the years. This made me wonder. What else am I missing that makes the bells ring that would be so easy to add into my life? 

What haven’t you seen that's been there all along?


Take 30 minutes to seek out something new
and the bells will ring

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

7:30 BELLS How are You Danced by Unseen Currents?

Just as resonance lingers, my thoughts are lingering on last week’s 7:30 Bells post. I wrote that I want what I create to resonate on in the heart—like the loon’s call. But, although it’s lovely for other people to hear my call, I believe it’s more important to call than to be heard.  Writing a story or poem—or blog post—is more important than having it read by others.

This brings me to lily pads. During our vacation (where I heard the loons), I spent an afternoon up at Rock Lake, mesmerized by lily pads with tight yellow buds. The afternoon was still. But sometimes the lily pads danced, stirred by a deep-swimming fish or lifted by  breeze. The lily pads danced to unseen currents—unseen by the eye anyway. They resonated with the world that surrounded them, yet remain tethered to the lake bottom. I love this combination of being grounded and yet responsive to the world.
How are you danced by unseen currents?

Stay grounded while resonating with the world,
and the bells will ring.