Monday, March 25, 2013

currents and coves



The snow is melting and I am thinking about rivers. I once saw a scroll by Ito Jakucho, one of a small group of Japanese artists known as The Eccentrics. Fond as I am of eccentricity I would have loved him for that alone, but the scroll, Happy Improvisations on a Riverboat Journey, captivated me.

In the spring of 1767 Jakucho and his friend Daiten Kenjo, a Zen monk, journeyed down the Yodo River, from Kyoto to Osaka; along the way Jakucho sketched and Kenjo wrote poetry. Jakucho created an enormous scroll (39 feet long!) of woodblock prints (unusual at the time) and Kenjo's poetry, capturing their journey. The process of this project, the languid journey, the way it unfurls in time and space, the two companions, is so moving.


Source: flickr.com via country on Pinterest


From ages 7 to 14 I lived on the Severn River in Maryland, a place of vital importance to who I am. I have a longing to see the river. So much of my adult life has been seduced by oceans, I forgot the power of rivers with their currents and coves.


Source: kiritz.jp via country on Pinterest


Jakuto is also known for his Colorful Realm of Living Beings, thirty scroll paintings made for a monastary in Kyoto. This painting of roosters feels very modern, considering it was painted in the 18th century.


Of course, rivers are never this color (are they?), but they have riverbanks, lives built along them, unique histories, cultures. So many rivers I've never seen--the Mississippi, Amazon, Nile, Ganges. (See beautiful river pictures here) However, I do feel like I know them, from novels I've read that bring them to life. Speaking of novels, I recently finished Matterhorn, and recommend it if you think it's the kind of book you might like. Now I'm reading A Suitable Boy, and loving it.

I'm considering adjusting my lifelong fantasy of a beach house to a river house. How 'bout you--ocean, river, lake, creek?

22 comments:

  1. Love the picture of the puss cats looking out of the window!!

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    1. That's their favorite place to hang out!

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  2. sometimes the story behind a piece is even better than the piece! thank you for sharing that one.

    i adore horizons, so tend to be drawn to the coast. but when it comes to the water, it's rivers for me. preferably smallish ones. they feel so vibrant and full of story, and yet intimate.

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    1. You say it so well! I feel the need for a riverboat journey...

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  3. River or lake would do, so long as I had birds, huge skies and wide horizons.

    Now off to look up Ito Jakucho.....

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    1. Something about the movement of a river...

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  4. Hello Jen, I think you already know my answer to your final question--I would like a house near a creek.

    By the way, the Suggestions at the end led me to your Museum of Bad Art post, which reminded me of the Bad Art Museum of Ohio, which you might enjoy browsing:
    http://badartmuseumofohio.blogspot.tw/

    It's hard to pick one favorite, but perhaps it's Still Life With Snoutless Dog.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Just amended my question to add creek! Can't wait to follow your link--I had a major fantasy of opening a bad art museum in the Catskills.

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  5. I have lived near one of the great lakes all my life. That is where we go when we head to the water (which is at least once a week) so that feels like home to me. I love the repetition of the waves on the shore and the way it is always varying in intensity. Sometimes it is overwhelming with the way it flies madly into the air against the light houses. But my soul longs for peace so I guess if I had to pick one kind of water, I would pick one of the smaller lakes. There are hundreds around us. It would have to be one situated so that I could watch the sunset over it. I love your sweet kitties in the window.

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    1. Someday I must visit your part of the country. I would love to see the great lakes and the lake lands of northern Michigan.

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  7. Well come and visit.The Severn is only about 45 minutes away. I grew up on a river and miss the sound of foghorns.

    Get a house on a river. I'll come and cook.

    xo Jane

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  8. What a lovely post, so soothing...like water I guess. Let's see, always wanted ocean but Sandy changed that big time. I do love rivers so I guess that would probably be it. Those kitties are adorable and a half.

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    1. I wonder how much Sandy has influenced people on this topic.

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  9. I forwarded your post to Gillian who is going to NYU's Asian Art program in the Fall. Have you seen the rivers of Slovenia?

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    1. Never been anywhere near Slovenia. Or Croatia. Or any of the -ia's. Are their rivers magical? The river journey scroll is at the Met. The Asia Art galleries there are quiet and wonderful. Full of wonder.

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  10. I would take whatever comes! I will never have the chance though! Well not here in Switzerland! It is absolutely expensive! However, I love lakes they are may favourites. Here in Berne we have river Aare but I am missing Lake Lucerne where I was born and bread! Thanks for you wonderful post! You are fantastic! (As always...) CHrista

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  11. PS. I wonder why this book is called Materhorn. Matterhorn is actually a very famous and beautiful mountain here in Switzerland. I think I have to look out for this book. Christa

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    1. The soldiers gave symbolic names to various hills they were occupying (or that the enemy was).

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  12. I'm definitely more of an ocean girl, but any water will do :) beautiful post xxo

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  13. I'm so glad to have discovered this wonderful blog! I love water me too.
    Regards

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Your comments make me happy. Thanks for taking the time.