Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Blind Swimmer

(The Blind Swimmer is a painting by Max Ernst from 1934. Again an exploration in technique suggesting a subconcious association. This is oil on canvas) 
 This morning, I took a drive down to Terrasson to do some shopping and kind of get the smell of the atmosphere. I am located in the real interior of rural France. Though there are strikes and shutdowns, this area is relatively unaffected...well...it is relative, because there were practically no cars on the roads. There is gas in the stations, because nobody is driving or buying while the prices are jacked up. Here, there is a traditionally peasant mentality. 
It was pleasant to be able to find a place to park in the center of Terrasson. Terrasson is not a very big place. It is the oldest continually inhabited spot in Europe with an 12th century bridge over the Vezere River built by the Benedictine Monks. The lower town sits on the river, but the cliffs are where humans have dwelt before recorded time. The town on top of the cliff is verticle, the streets become stairways leading to l'eglise de St. Sour at the top of the ramparts. looking down from the ramparts, you can see in the rooftops, a history of architecture that melds from century to century, from medieval to the 20th in a seamless organic flow.
I really felt a sense of peace. I think I experienced a true moment of now....where now became one with yesterday and the future. Is this Zen?
Here is some more Zen:




Zen is Right Here

A student asked in dokusan, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?”
Suzuki Roshi answered, “It doesn’t matter.”
***
One day at Tassajara, Suzuki Roshi and a group of students took some tools and walked up a hot, dusty trail to work on a project. When they got to the top, they discovered that they had forgotten a shovel, and the students began a discussion about who should return to get it. After the discussion had ended, they realized that Roshi wasn’t there. He was already halfway down the mountain trail, on his way to pick up the shovel.
for more Zen, click here!


11 comments:

lizzie said...

Love the Ernst drawing - and your story of peaceful contemplation in Terrason - bird's eye view of village.
The drawing is rather like a graphic version of a palindrome, those words that make sense when read backwards or forwards. Like a yin yang symbol. Appropriate for the Terrason experience, like a Taoist sense of things containing their opposites.
Interested to know how you can tell stories that are so compelling. Most people's online accounts of their activities are mindnumbingly banal. You don't seem to try hard, no showing off with this or that, but somehow those accounts hold real power and seem - authentic. Can that be...

mud_rake said...

I fully agree with Lizzie on your verbal-visual skill in presenting wonderfully clear descriptions of unique places in your area.

Regarding your statement, Here, there is a traditionally peasant mentality , could you expand on this briefly because I am unaware of any area in the U.S. to which I would attribute that phrase.

microdot said...

traditionally peasant, a Perigourdin mentality?
Here where wars, revolutions, peasant uprisings are what have shaped the ethos, the way the world is seen, to be a skinflint, to plan ahead, not to spend money is a normal thing. If gas is going to be scarce, well, then don't drive and make sure every jerry can is filled to the brim. Mine are.
Another peasant, Perigourdin skill is the ability to conduct a conversation with out revealing anything, but skillfully uncovering information abiut the person you are conversing with...
eh, bon?

mud_rake said...

Very interesting. My German Black Forest roots suggest austerity as does the Perigourdin, yet our conversations do not. We tell it like it is and let the chips fall as they may.

mud_rake said...

By the way, does your region speak the Limousin the dialect?

microdot said...

Well, being guarded in conversation is Perigoudin art and it took me years of being here to realize how profound it was, plus the opposite effect, being able to artfully draw out information with out offering any in return.
The truth is cloaked in layers of familiarity...I might tell you what I really think if I ;think I know you well enough....I actually have most of my village thinking that I am Irish...not that I have ever said it, but I have just never admitted to being an American to those I don't think need to know.
Many people here speak the regional version of Oc...
Perhaps that is what you refer to as Limousin? It is the pre French language of the country side.
There is Oc Radio from Perigueux, there are Oc Heavy Metal and Rap Group, there is a literature which celebrates the tongue, it is taught in schools again...it is a living tradition.
My very good friends, Claud and Mimi are real scholars...They play the music, organize and participate in cultural events and write and teach it.
Claud is a storyteller and he exercises his art on a daily basis. He tells great stories in the real tradition of animated expressive declamation. I have enough trouble following him in French, but he excells in Oc.
I love the traditional music...it is a tradition and language that evolved from it's pre latin celt roots,,,but, the latin influence gave it order and declension.
The name of the place I live in is called La Sechere, which is not really French, but it as always been called that....
My village is Badefols d'Ans. Badefols is translated in Oc as screaming idiot...
Of course, there is a story there.....

mud_rake said...

Bon! Some day when you have absolutely nothing to do, I offer you a historical trip of about 100 km.

Drive from Badefols d'Ans east to D901, south through Brive-da-Gaillarde on D901, to "Clermont-Ferrand/Ussel" on the D1089. Continue on the D1089 along the river, passing south of Tulle.

The D1089 then travels north, north-east until it reaches the village of Egletons. About 500 m into the village, turn left onto Avenue de Ventadour/D991. Within a few km make a slight left at D124. The ruins of the Moustier Ventadour are just ahead.

microdot said...

Interesting, I have lunch along the river beneath the ruined chateau a few years ago. I found that the chateau has a connection to Bertrand le Born, the warrior troubaduor who founded the
Chateau d'Hautefort, near here...Hautefort is our Chef de Commune or County Seat.
What is you connection to it? Were you there?
That part of the Correze is serious cheese country!
I did not visit Ventadour, but I saw it on top of its hill and marveled at it.

mud_rake said...

Ah, yes, the cheese! But, although i am a cheese-o-phile, it is not the amour du fromage but rather the castle that sadly lies in ruins. The troubadours, specifically who sang in that castle. I feel a special attraction to 'la musique du troubadour du ch√Ęteau.'

mud_rake said...

Oops, for got the troubadour: Bernard de Ventadour

mud_rake said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HDxDtcyNx0