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Art, Music, and Poetry

Strange Beautiful Wonderment

Last October I had the pleasure of being on Mackinac Island in northern Michigan for the first time. You probably remember that beautiful place and the majestic Grand Hotel from the 1980’s movie “Somewhere in Time.” Christopher Reeves plays the part of a playwright who falls in love with the picture of a beautiful woman and chooses to leave current time to go back to 1912 to be with her. If you have seen the movie, you remember the beautiful cliffs, the sparkling water of the Straits of Mackinac and the horses and carriages (which are still the only way to get around the island unless one walks. No cars allowed.)

One afternoon during my stay on the Island I was using a narrow dirt path to go from the West Bluff down through Marquette Park to the main street of the village. I had been up on the bluff admiring some of the wonderful old homes from the 19th century with their bay windows, unusual roof lines, and high wooden steps. As I began my walk back to the village the weather turned. What began as a sprinkle turned into a full-blown rain gale before I got back to the hotel. So I was both hurrying and being careful as I walked down the sloping path.

The Way You Hear It Is the Way You Sing It

Walking through the Mauritshuis museum in the Haag in the Netherlands a couple of years ago, I came upon this jovial painting by Jan Steen (1629-1679), a Dutch painter from the 1600s who is considered a national treasure in the Netherlands. I have enjoyed Steen’s paintings for years, especially his scenes of family life and household activities. There always seems to be a joke hovering somewhere around a Steen picture…but, interestingly enough, there is usually—if one looks closely enough to see it—a serious message offered to the viewer also. (more…)

May I Introduce…?

Elizabeth in China

This photograph brought back wonderful memories to me of my trip to Xinjiang a few years ago where I first learned about and met the beautiful Uighur people. (Uighur was pronounced “Wigger” by the Uighurs I met.) As you can see from the photo of me by the lake, this part of Central Asia is beautiful. Even the dusty city of Kashgar, where I was privileged to eat in a Uighur home and talk with Uighurs about their culture, religion, and history, has a beauty that is haunting in my memory. In the picture of the Uighur father and son, you can see the lovely meal my friends and I were served in this family’s home. (more…)

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