If There Is Much In The Window There Should Be More In The Room

Thursday, November 15, 2012

In Celebration of Dogs


In Celebration of DOGS  Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace. - Milan Kundera

In human affairs, despite power, fame and fortune, there exists a true unflinching love that cannot lie, a perfect passion worship fed, fidelity and companionship always available in the form of a dog. When you have a dog, you open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.
The hardest thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives.

Rudyard Kipling said:
“….When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear…”
Lord Byron puts it more eloquently than I ever could:
Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18, 1808.

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown by Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on – it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one – and here he lies.

This most profound perspective from Kahlil Gibran:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight…”

With the advent of writing, people began to set dog stories down on page. And, as happens when stories are retold, lines blur between fact and fancy, history and legend.
As a tribute to that enigmatic connection in the way human beings and dogs try to coordinate their confusing lives around each other, we consider some of the most stirring examples of Dog + Man throughout history.

Argos + Odysseus 

Argos Recognizes Odysseus,” Theodor van Thulden (1606 - 1669)
The first famous canine story dates from the 8th century B.C. In Homer’s “Odyssey,” the king of Ithaca returns home disguised as a beggar after 20 years. Two of King Odysseus’ old friends recognize him, his aged nurse and Argos, the only dog to whom Homer gave a name, and as such the first named dog in recorded history.
“As they talked, a dog that lay there lifted up his muzzle, pricked his ears … It was Argos, Odysseus’ long-enduring dog, he trained as a puppy… the moment he sensed Odysseus standing by he thumped his tail, muzzling low, and his ears dropped, though he had no strength to drag himself an inch toward his master.
Odysseus glanced to the side and flicked away a tear.” And with that, on his dung heap, Argos dies. While the story of the steadfast friend and the first recorded tear shed for an animal, may be mythic, the vignette of the faithful hound was a story that would be oft repeated.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Seven Years in Tibet - John Williams

This is a lovely soundtrack which enables you to tap in to the magic of the backdrop of Tibet and history.

Music from the 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet

John Williams wrote this evocative score, which also features the popular and highly talented cellist

Yo Yo Ma.

*original post Dec '08