Monday, October 25, 2010

Rock Well

Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy


 An excerpt from Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature (NY: Abrams, 1990)

"For me, looking, touching, material, place and form are all inseparable from the resulting work. It is difficult to say where one stops and another begins. Place is found by walking, direction determined by weather and season. I take opportunities each day offers: if it is snowing, I work with snow, at leaf-fall it will be with leaves; a blown-over tree becomes a source of twigs and branches.

"I stop at a place or pick up a material because I feel that there is something to be discovered. Here is where I can learn. I might have walked past or worked there many times. Some places I return to over and over again, going deeper -- a relationship made in layers over a long time. Staying in one place makes me more aware of change. I might give up after a while. My perception of a place is often frustratingly limiged. The best of my work, sometimes the result of much struggle when made, appears so obvious that it is incredible I didn't see it before. It was there all the time. 

"Movement, changes, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. I want to get under the surface. When I work with a leaf, rock, stick, it is not just that material in itself, it is an opening into the processes of life within and around it. When I leave, these processes continue."

Note: If you have never heard of this artist, we wanted to introduce you to Andy and one of his many excellent photographic art books, A Collaboration with Nature. 

Monday, October 18, 2010


The Winepress
A Sonnet
Prepara te ad pressuras, advised
Augustine, knowing well the way of strife,
‘Prepare yourself for pressures’, heed the wise,
By yielding heart and body, soul and life.
With clusters hanging heavy from the vine,
September’s sun sends sweetness to the lush,
While harvesters move slowly down the line,
In vats the grapes to gather and to crush.
Of old did Jesus trod by Galilee
In Cana changed the water into wine
The first unveiled sign of life divine
The winepress on the road to Calvary
'Let every one of you, your pressures fetch
Good liquor from the winepress so to catch’*
~by David Robinson, October 2007

The image of pressing grapes in a winepress was commonly used in the Middle Ages to describe the work of God in the lives of believers who were facing pressures and troubles. While the work of pressing grapes is an autumnal event in the northern hemisphere, in February, the vineyards are being pruned back in preparation for the growth of grapes for the fall harvest. Most of the European grape harvest was just completed a few weeks ago. In past years, as we've helped in the vineyard during harvest, I've thought of the hard labor of pruning the vines, which is usually done in January or February, in the cold, wet months of winter. As Jesus taught, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful" (John 15:1-2).
*quote in final couplet of sonnet from a Doctor of Ministry lecture by Dr. James Bradley on spiritual formation in the 17th century, Fuller Theological Seminary, October 2007. Photo by David Robinson, from vineyard overlooking Botzingen, Germany; Spat Burgunder grapes in early October.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rain on the Lake

One might consider this as level 10 rain - showers.


  1. Fog
  2. Light Mist
  3. Heavy Mist
  4. Mizzle
  5. Spit
  6. Drizzle
  7. Sprinkle
  8. Light Rain
  9. Rain
  10. Showers
  11. Squall
  12. Downpour
  13. Sheets
  14. Torrents
  15. Cats and Dogs
  16. Buckets
  17. Monsoon—“Frog-Choker”

Where we live, it rains plenty (average of over 6 feet per year). Rain falls in many patterns, so we've compiled a "Rain Scale", 17 stages of rain with "fog" the lightest form of rain. Some may question fog as a category of rain, but sitting in the thick fog all day in September on the High Divide in Olympic National Park, we were soaked!. Monsoon (aka "frog-choker") is what we're calling the heaviest rain. This is a work in progress, so feel free to comment and add your ideas. Also, check the Beaufort Rain Scale from the Brits (another rainy place) which breaks rain into a scale of 11. See the Beaufort Rain Scale.

Monday, October 4, 2010


The frog with lichened back and golden thigh
Sits still, almost invisible
On leafed and lichened stem,
Its sign of being at home
There in its given place, and well.

The warbler with its quivering striped throat
Would live almost beyond my sight,
Almost beyond belief,
But for its double note-
Among the high leaves a leaf,
At east, at home in the air and light.

And I, through woods and fields, through fallen days
Am passing to where I belong:
At home, at ease, and well,
In Sabbaths of this place
Almost invisible,
Toward which I go from song to song.
By Wendell Berry, from Sabbaths (North Point Press, 1987), pg. 32.