The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Can you guess where these photos were taken?

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My wise blog-friend Ann El Khoury sent along these gorgeous winter holiday photos, taken on the edge of a beautiful capital city. Study them carefully, and see if you can guess which city they’re from. The answer (no peeking!) is below, along with comments by Lew Rockwell.

clipped from www.lewrockwell.com

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Written by Monte

December 28, 2007 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Beauty, Politics

What I learned from church that didn’t ring true …

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Blog friend Glenn Hager invited me to synchro-blog with several others on the subject What I Learned From Church That Didn’t Ring True and What I Have Been Learning Lately. Check out other bloggers’ excellent thoughts via links at the end of this post (below). Thanks, Glenn, for including me. I’m two days post-synch, but my WILFCTDRT is (drum roll):

Eggshell by Susan LightJesus doesn’t matter much!

Before I explain, I should add that I also began un-learning this from church. For “church” means lots of things: a Sunday morning worship gathering, a collection of people, a huge institution, or the people we know who follow Jesus and show us the changes he brings in the heart. Watching Jesus work in friends’ lives has been pretty wonderful education; much of what follows came from that. And that’s “church,” too.

OK, deep breath, here goes:

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500 years of female portraits in Western art

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OK, no point to make here – I found this two-minute video over at Neo-resistance and was amazed. Thanks, Naj! An added benefit, to this old bass player: I suspect that is Yo-Yo Ma playing a Bach Cello Suite in the background.

Hope you enjoy it!


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Written by Monte

June 19, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Art, Beauty, Women

Robinson Jeffers, burnout and beauty

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My friend Honestpoet Robinson Jeffersencouraged me to look into the poetry of Robinson Jeffers. I looked for him in Wikipedia, and found some pretty compelling comments:

…Jeffers continued to explore the questions of how human beings could find their proper relationship (free of human egocentrism) with the divinity of the beauty of things.

Mankind was too self-centered, he complained, and too indifferent to the “astonishing beauty of things”.

In January of 2002 I had what we used to call a “nervous breakdown.” Utterly disabled, off work for months, I could feel almost nothing but loss.

Beauty was the path that opened the possibility of healing. It started with a counselor’s suggestion that I learn about delight (which, in those parched beginnings, meant a cup of coffee and a newspaper at the health-food co-op).  Eventually, I came to agree with Joan Chittister, who wrote, “A loss of commitment to beauty is the surest sign that we have lost our way to God.” (Illuminated Life: Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of God).

Much has happened since then. But as I read this poem of Jeffers this morning, I felt called again to the life of healing-by-beauty, thus permitting (what seems to me to be) one gentle, feather’s-weight sensitization to its inventor’s whispers.

Thanks, HP – you have helped me.

Love The Wild Swan
“I hate my verses, every line, every word.
Oh pale and brittle pencils ever to try
One grass-blade’s curve, or the throat of one bird
That clings to twig, ruffled against white sky.
Oh cracked and twilight mirrors ever to catch
One color, one glinting
Hash, of the splendor of things.
Unlucky hunter, Oh bullets of wax,
The lion beauty, the wild-swan wings, the storm of the wings.”
–This wild swan of a world is no hunter’s game.
Better bullets than yours would miss the white breast
Better mirrors than yours would crack in the flame.
Does it matter whether you hate your . . . self?
At least Love your eyes that can see, your mind that can
Hear the music, the thunder of the wings. Love the wild swan.
Robinson Jeffers


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Written by Monte

April 18, 2007 at 12:16 pm

Joy – just a quote

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fuelweek-people-1.JPG“The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.”

– Juliana of Norwich, quoted by Daniel Clendennin in Journey with Jesus

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Written by Monte

January 17, 2007 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Beauty

Just a quote: beauty

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More on this“A loss of commitment to beauty may be the clearest sign we have that we have lost our way to God.”

Joan Chittister: Illuminated Life, Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of God, p26

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Written by Monte

December 29, 2006 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Art, Beauty

First ice of the season

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Ice on viburnums

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Written by Monte

December 2, 2006 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Art, Beauty, Iowa, Washington IA