Monday, March 7, 2016

ABC (arts, blackbirds, change)

Wallace Stevens' poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, includes the following stanza, which aptly describes how I think I feel today about Spring this year.
V
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

red-winged blackbird
red-winged blackbird announcing Spring's arrival
Photo by J. Harrington

Our blackbirds should be back any day now. Is the anticipated pleasure of seeing and hearing the neighbors return preferable to their once again settling in so we can again watch the kids grow and stretch their wings? Is the excitement of looking for the season's first ephemerals better, or just different than, actually seeing their fleeting beauty? Both can be, are, enjoyed equally. Comparisons are invidious, right? And yet, we each have preferences. I'm learning that most favorites reinforce their place in my life, while sometimes newcomers find their way onto the list and become old favorites. Life is change.

Climate change is going to both cause and require changes in our societies and our daily lives. New forms of energy generation, new (or new/old) systems for producing food and goods, new adaptations to more volatile weather will become our new normal. Learning to enjoy, or at least appreciate, change, rather than avoid it, is something we all need to become better at. Catalysts can help us change. Artists have been creating, causing and reflecting change since the beginning. Arts and artists have, I believe, major roles to play in helping us to create our new normal future. Mn Artists is a resource I'm coming to depend on more and more since they've revamped their web site and format. This morning I discovered Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability. I wanted to bring it to your attention even before I finished looking at it myself. We have some warmer days coming up. Now that you know about it, perhaps you can find a nice bench or chair, preferably outside, and read some different perspectives on arts, sustainability and resilience. We're likely to need them.

In keeping with today's themes of change and arts and blackbirds, enjoy Paul McCartney's rendition instead of the poem we normally put here.

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