20th Century, Americana, Art, authors, Boys, Culture, Entertainment, Faith, football, Girls, History, Humor, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, justice, Life, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Prayer, Uncategorized

Charles M. Schulz and Charlie Brown

Courtesy Charles M. Schulz Museum. “The New Yorker” October 22, 2007

1950

“St. Paul cartoonist Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” appears in papers and soon becomes the most popular comic strip in the United States. Clearly drawn from the “Li’l Folks” cartoons he penned for the St. Paul Pioneer Press between 1947 and 1950, Charlie Brown and company eventually take their adventures to books and television specials.” * 

Commencing on October 2, 1950 this comic strip’s first publishing marked the fulfillment of thirteen years of effort. Schulz endured and yet thrived through many challenges in this span. What can we learn about his life previous to this time that enabled him to create, perhaps, the greatest and most ubiquitous cartoon of all time?

Citing a few facts from the Charles M. Schulz Museum’s website, we find some insights. ***

1940- He decides to take correspondence courses from Federal Schools based on their emphasis on cartooning.

1942- At age 20, he is drafted into the United States Army and serves in World War II. (He observed later in his life that “The army taught me all I needed to know about loneliness.”)

1943- His mother, Dena, dies of cervical cancer shortly after his induction to the service.

1945- From February through July 1945, he served in Germany.

1946-1947- He lived with his dad above a barbershop in St. Paul, Minnesota, and gained employment through his former art school, now known as Art Instruction Schools, Inc. He corrected students’ work for the cartooning division of the school, and developed his tastes and talents as to what kind of work he most wanted to produce.

1947-1950- Charles scores his first round of success publishing work for magazines: ‘Collier’s’ and ‘The Saturday Evening Post’, and for newspapers in the ‘Minneapolis Tribune’, and the ‘Saint Paul Pioneer Press’.

Now we pivot to You; the Master Illustrator and Storyteller of the Universe. We remember the Messiah’s ability and use of parables to convey in emotional pictures the deep things of our hearts. Dear Holy Spirit, how we need You today, as everyday, to come and bring revelation. Will You let us erase strife and remember the eternal joys You hold out to us right now? What do You want to say about the everyday heroism of Mr. Schulz, and his beloved storytelling through the characters of “Peanuts”?

As we reflect on this chapter of history with You, we look for a root motive from its author. The main character of Peanuts is an ordinary boy, Charlie Brown, who never stops trying to succeed, but is often hampered with failure and humiliations. His observations about life range from the humorous to the serious. His nature is just like ours; simultaneously plagued with self-doubt and yet unquenchable hope that one day he will be victorious. Let’s go to the mind of the author and see what he had to say about, perhaps, the most beloved and known character of a story of the entire 20th century?

“Charlie Brown has to be the one who suffers, because he is a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than we are with winning.” Charles Schulz **

An omnipresent symbol for generations of readers is summed up in his interactions with Lucy playing football; she holds the ball, he does a tremendous run up for the kick, and at the last second, she pulls the ball away, and he goes flying landing flat on his back. Yet, he never gives up on the notion of making a huge kick-off. 

(Allow us an aside to pray this point, Sovereign Lord? Will You forgive the ways we have broken faith in You, ourselves, and others as children? Will You search our root arrogance and character deformations made in our childhood vows? Will You forever make Minnesota a place where the innocent beliefs and hopes of children are returned by their peers and communities? Will You make adults more visible and present in the lives of our future generations?)

Additionally, we see Charlie Brown living in a world of children and their pets. Adults, to my recollection, are never visible. “Peanuts” pulls back the curtain on the lives of his neighborhood kids, and demonstrates that even the very young have strong temperaments and unique character to their personalities. Maybe, this is part of what makes this story stand apart from legions of its competitors; even the small universe of a community or ordinary neighborhood is still a microcosm of our future?

So, we bring You adoration for Charles M. Schulz and the world of “Peanuts”. We thank You that he overcame so many times in the decade before his first publications and successes. He lost his mother, and yet dutifully went to the war. He, subsequently, lost his home, yet adapted to living with his father above a barbershop. He stoked the fires of his dream with commitment to his craft and desire for more for a decade. He shared what he learned with others. He believed in the characters of Peanuts, and we were blessed by his insights into their very small but exceedingly important world(s). 

As Minnesotans, we thank You for the fun and “5 cent Psychology” stand lessons of Peanuts! We thank You for a man who, like Charlie Brown, never broke faith on his dream to tell an Odyssey-sized story four cartoon panels at a time. Will You bless our artists, observers, and story-tellers to have the persistence of Schulz? One day, they will win, they will have a glorious kick-off because You are holding the football!

“1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2Jesus invited a little child to stand among them. 3“Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.” ***** Matthew 18:1-5 BSB

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm 

The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** Schulz, Charles M. “Peanuts Jubilee”. 1976. Penguin.

*** https://schulzmuseum.org/timeline/#!/1940

*** More things to do from the official page. https://www.peanuts.com

**** See some fun pictures of Schulz and “Lil Folks” and support a 10 year old blogger to boot! https://lainie10.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/the-wonderful-world-of-peanuts/

***** https://biblehub.com/bsb/matthew/18.html

Standard
20th Century, African American, Art, Black History, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history

Gordon Parks’ Career Begins

images

1938

“Gordon Parks had moved to St. Paul as a teenager and struggled through the depression working at odd jobs. One day he buys a camera in a pawn shop and in a matter of weeks has his first show at Eastman Kodak in Minneapolis. Thus begins a long, distinguished career as a photographer, composer, novelist, and filmmaker.” *

Ears that hear and eyes that see-the Lord has made them both. Proverbs 20:12

Gordon was born dead, or so the doctor thought, on November 30,1912 wrapped in a cloth and set aside. An observer had an idea to put the child in a tub of ice water, and gently rub ice over his body. Surprisingly, this homespun method worked, and he was revived! **

Parks was born the last child of fifteen to Andrew Jackson Parks and Sarah Ross. He worked on the family farm in Fort Scott, Kansas, and held a lifetime attachment to the land. Thought his youth, he wrestled with the dichotomy of a place that was legally free, yet socially informed by the south. He went to a segregated school, and was discouraged from applying to college by his high school advisor because blacks “were not college material.” ** Sadly, Parks did not finish high school, but it didn’t stop his momentum.

About 1927, his mother died, and he was sent to live with his older sister in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Though she cared for him, her husband was in constant conflict with him, and eventually he was turned out of their home at age fifteen. He struggled with homelessness and poverty in the frigid winters, but survived by doing odd jobs working as a: porter, snow shoveler, busboy, semi-pro basketball player, and piano player for a brothel.**

Eventually, his life stabilized by getting steady work as a server on a train. This job had the fringe benefit of exposing him to different people, cultures, and opportunities. Inspired by the art exhibits of Chicago, he bought his first camera, a Voightlander Brilliant, from a pawn shop and began taking pictures.

Mr. Parks recounted that day saying: “Eastman Kodak developed the first roll of film…. and when I went for the prints, one of the clerks complimented me on my first efforts. ‘Keep it up and we’ll give you a show.’ I didn’t take him seriously and he realized it. ‘I mean it,’ he said. ‘You’ve got a good eye.’” ** He continued shooting, and they did give him the show as promised. 

Spurred on by this success, Gordon went to the finest women’s clothing store in Saint Paul, Frank Murphy Fashions, and sought to demonstrate his skills in fashion photography. Though he double-exposed his first roll of film, the one photo that turned out was so elegant that they were willing to repeat the process.*** This began his acceptance in the world of fashion photography.

The success of his Murphy fashion shoots caught the eye of Marva Louis, the bride of the famed boxer Joe Louis. She inspired the Parks’ to consider moving to Chicago as there would be more fashion work for Gordon there. He ended up taking portraits of society women, but it opened the next door for them to move to Washington D.C.**ibid

In a strange turn of events, he was hired by the Farm Security Administration on the weight of an exhibition of his pictures of life on the life of city folks from Chicago’s South Side. Under the tutelage of Roy Stryker, he learned to tell stories in pictures that words could not convey. It was in this era that his most famous photo was born.**ibid

His first assignment given by Stryker was to buy and overcoat, get something to eat, and to catch a matinee. Thinking he had won the lottery, he went shopping, but the staff wouldn’t fit a black man. Next, he went to grab some lunch, but the diner refused to serve him unless he came to the back alley. He was shooed away from the theatre. 

The coin dropped for him; I can show the public what citizenship feels like as minority in the America of the 1940’s. He later struck up a conversation with Eva Watson, an African-American janitor in his building the same day. She was willing to have her picture taken by Parks in the lobby of the FSA building, and “American Gothic, Washington, D.C.” was born.**ibid

So here I am today, Lord, to watch and pray with You about Gordon Parks and his accomplishments in the arts. Let me reflect on how You are El Roi; the Strong One who Sees. You observe the events of time concurrently; past, present, and future. You see our externals, and our innermost thoughts and motivations.

I recall the promptings of the apostle Paul to the early church in Ephesus to use their hearts in “seeing”. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people…” Ephesians 1:18 NIV**** I don’t know much about the spiritual life of Mr. Parks, but it is clear that You have downloaded this gift into him.

We give You thanks for this dualistic vision of Gordon Parks; to see people, places, and things in the light of eternity. We thank You that he instinctively saw value and meaning and dignity in the lives of those to whom society was blind. In his own way, he saw through the eyes of Christ.

Will You bless the inheritance given to Minnesota and the United States through the camera lens of Gordon Parks? Will You bless his figurative and literal children to see with the eyes of their hearts? Will You make us soft and receptive to these images of pain, beauty, unrest, and exaltation?

Forgive us, sweet Holy Spirit, we are flooded with images each day through our vices and devices, but we are still thirsty for one glance that inspires. Our conscience has cataracts and we don’t acknowledge the pure, the real, the noble, or Your pure light beaming into our eyes radiating from the faces of our neighbor. Help us, like Mr. Parks, to see because we have truly listened to the human actors in the drama of each day!

Come and heal our blindness! Come and let us hear! Open the eyes of our hearts in Minnesota so we can perceive the messages You are constantly sending to us through others. Open the apertures of our consciences so that we can also see inwardly. Add to our personal and cultural memory; click the shutter so we remember the moments when catch a glimpse of the Immortal and Invisible!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** You Tube. “Half Past Autumn; The Life and Works of Gordon Parks”. Published by On the Road. February 8, 2017. Producer Craig Rice. Writer Lou Rother. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzeuL0d5Z_s

*** This photo can be viewed at the current website of Frank Murphy Fashions. http://www.frankmurphyfashions.com/about/history/

**** https://biblehub.com/ephesians/1-18.htm

 

 

Standard
19th Century, 20th Century, Art, History, Intercession, Native Americans, omnipresent history

Pipestone National Monument Established

catlin_pipestone-quarry-detl

“Pipestone Quarry on the Coteau des Prairies” George Catlin Oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum. 1985.66.337

August 25, 1937

“Congress establishes the state’s first national monument–Pipestone National Monument–in southwestern Minnesota.” *

Monuments typically are structures or markers that are placed to guide society to remember that something of significance. In this case, the item of importance is literally a type of stone specimens of a quality rarely found in elsewhere. Below is a brief excerpt, that gives us a little scientific footing to understand it.

 

“The Early Proterozoic Sioux Quartzite of southwestern Minnesota accumulated as sedimentary sand layers deposited by streams that flowed across an erosional surface developed on older Archean rocks. These deposits were metamorphosed by heat and pressure to produce the metamorphic layers of quartzite seen today. The thin 2 to 6 inch layers of reddish-brown catlinite – a metamorphic claystone argillite – is normally found sandwiched between layers of quartzite which is often found under an overburden of 10-15 feet. The catlinite deposits of southwestern Minnesota are estimated to be between 1.6 billion and 1.8 billion years old.” **

Most of the western world found out about Pipestone through snippets in the journals and writings of explorers like Lewis and Clark ca. 1814, or Philander Prescott ca. 1832.*** In 1836, American artist George Catlin – after whom Catlinite is named – recorded the Sioux legend of the origin of the pipestone as follows:

“At an ancient time the Great Spirit, in the form of a large bird, stood upon the wall of rock and called all the tribes around him. Taking out a piece of the red stone, he formed it into a pipe and smoked it, the smoke rolling over the whole multitude. He then told his red children that this red stone was their flesh, that they were made from it, that they must all smoke to him through it, that they must use it for nothing but pipes: and as it belonged alike to all the tribes, the ground was sacred, and no weapons must be used or brought upon it.”****

The mystery of this place was also recorded in the imagery of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poetry; “On the mountains of the Prairie, On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry…”.*****

However, those with the most memory of the place are those to whom it is most sacred; the Ihanktonwan Nation. This group of Sioux, a.k.a. the Council of the Seven Fires, are the sworn protectors of this holy ground, and the ritual pipes made from these stones.For what reason is pipe-smoking considered sacred and necessary for most tribal and family meetings, or at times of decision?******

The pipe ceremony is a sacred ritual for connecting physical and spiritual worlds. “The pipe is a link between the earth and the sky,” explains White Deer of Autumn. “Nothing is more sacred. The pipe is our prayers in physical form. Smoke becomes our words; it goes out, touches everything, and becomes a part of all there is. The fire in the pipe is the same fire in the sun, which is the source of life.” The reason why tobacco is used to connect the worlds is that the plant’s roots go deep into the earth, and its smoke rises high into the heavens.*******

So we turn to You in prayer, dear Father! We give You thanks for creating connections between the physical and spiritual worlds through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ! We thank You that the natural and supernatural is flawlessly joined in Your practical teachings and in the most sacred rituals proscribed in Your Word! You did not create and then negate; Your Spirit is with us, and guides our prayers and actions beyond the limitations of the present tense! You allow us to experience and connect with the great “I AM”!

We give You thanks for the creation of the Pipestone National Monument, and for its’ keepers; the Ihanktonwan Nation! We thank You for the protections offered by the states of Minnesota and South Dakota, indirectly, to the prayers of the Sioux Nations! We know that You remember the smoke of the Ochethi Sakowin, the Dakota, and the Lakota peoples through time.

We ask that You forgive the separations of these people groups, and the latter residents of Minnesota and South Dakota. Where we sinned against You in this place, will You forgive us? Where we have failed to recognize You, will You open our eyes and our hearts? Where we have cursed the grounds in war, or broken relationships, will You lift the curse? 

Sweet Holy Spirit, will You blow Your smoke over Pipestone, and connect us with our Messiah? Spread Your fragrance through us Jesus! You have carved Your Image into our lives, may we pass that image on!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** http://www.rocksandminerals.com/specimens/pipestonegeo.htm

*** http://www.lewis-clark.org/article/3161

**** http://www.rocksandminerals.com/specimens/pipestone.htm

***** https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/pipestone/rock.htm

****** https://www.yanktonsiouxtribe.net

******* https://www.native-americans-online.com/native-american-pipe-ceremony.html

Want more? Please read a primary source letter by Catlin regarding Pipestone. Catlin, George. “Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of North American Indians”.  Published London.1844. http://www.rocksandminerals.com/specimens/pipestonevisit.htm

 

 

Standard
19th Century, Art, authors, Culture, History, Intercession, Minnesota

Oscar Wilde Speaks in Twin Cities

images

“Hear no evil, speak no evil-and you’ll never be invited to a party.” Oscar Wilde

March 15, 1882

“The quotable Oscar Wilde takes his American lecture tour to the Twin Cites. The young Irish writer’s affected speech and knee breeches fail to impress local newspaper reporters who label him an “Ass-thete.” 

“Speaking at the Opera House, his subject “”was ‘art,’ consisting of a sort of lament that there was so little ‘art,’ especially in this country…. He was shocked by our buildings, by the mud in the streets, and especially by the rooms and furniture in the hotels…. 

The lecture was well worded, and at times quite poetical. It was certainly harmless and does not entitle Mr. Wilde to either abuse or ridicule. It was simply the smooth sentences of a languid poet, which strike the ear somewhat melodiously without arousing any overwhelming enthusiasm or creating sufficient excitement in the listener to cause him or her to burst a blood vessel.””

-St. Paul Daily Globe, March 17, 1882″ *

Lord, thank you for poetry and writing! Thanks for the “music of the spheres” and of the universe of words! Thank You for the talents of Oscar Wilde! 

We often love our heroes, perhaps even worship them, and then are disappointed when to find out they’re human. Was this the case when Wilde toured here? Lord, will You forgive the artists and writers of Minnesota any judgments of Mr. Wilde? Will You forgive his assessments of our state, art, and writers? 

Lord, I confess that we as a people love to put artists on a pedestal. We invest lots of time, energy, and treasure in those who move us. I believe You are the first artist, and that those who are talented in that arena move us because they wake our slumbering spirits. Jesus, we have made artistic brothers and sisters into gods. Will You forgive us this offense?  Will you bless the artists of this state, their generations, and their creations?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** Note: I once was a member of the much-beloved local band “Romantica”. Check out the link to hear their tribute to Oscar Wilde? https://romantica.bandcamp.com/track/oscar-wilde

Standard
19th Century, Art, Culture, History, Intercession, Minnesota, music, women

Schubert Club Formed 1882

pf047165

Marion Ramsey

Forty St. Paul Women form the Schubert Club (named for the Austrian composer) “to give concerts and teach people about the joys of music.”*

What a gift You have given this state in the joys of music! Thank You for the diligence of these women, and their heart to bless others! May we excel in our hearts first, the mastery of instruments second, and the expressions of the stories You place within third!

See what’s happened in the past 134 years? https://schubert.org

Learn about its namesake? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Schubert

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

Standard
19th Century, Art, Culture, education, History, Intercession, Minnesota, travel, University

First Female Professor (Maria Sanford) 1880

maria-sanford_thumb

1880

“Maria Sanford becomes the first female professor at the University of Minnesota. A legend to her students and an ambassador of learning to the entire state, she gives thousands of public lectures on history, art, and travel. Beneath a statue of her in the U.S. Capitol are the words “the best-known and best-loved woman in Minnesota.” 

In 1899, students at the U of M will nominate professor Sanford for the Minneapolis Journal’s “favorite-teacher” contest. She comes in third, but receives the first-prize trip to Europe after students convince the newspaper to let them make up the difference in cost.” * 

Thank You that our university chose to embrace knowledge whether housed in a male or female body. Thank You for the impact that this single woman created within the U of MN. Thanks that in Your eyes we are not limited by the cultural assessments of our gender. We are free to be Your man; Your woman!

Father, forgive us for any judgements as Your unique people of Minnesota that apply to gender from this time through the present. Forgive the brand of bitterness that holds all males captive for the sins of our fathers’. Forgive the type of bitterness that holds all women prisoner for the separations with our mothers’. 

We hate our fathers’ and their incomplete masculinity! We hate our mothers’ and objectify women. Rescue us from our ungracious and misinformed assessments of our parents. Will You make this state of Minnesota shine with the forgiveness of those who gave us life? Will You help all who wrestle with gender identity? Will You set in balance the influence of mother and father, maleness and femaleness, within all the children of Minnesota!?

Heal the ground below from the words we have spoken against our fathers’. Heal the water from the rejection of our mothers’. Heal the skies from the thoughts of vengeance we have entertained against them! Bring Your chesed, Messiah!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

Standard
19th Century, Art, Awe, Culture, History, Intercession, Minnesota

First Public Art Gallery in Northwest 1879

walker_salon1

1879

“Lumberman Thomas B. Walker attaches an art gallery to his house and opens it to the people of Minneapolis the first public art gallery in the Northwest.

He later deeds his collection and a building to house it to the city, thus laying the groundwork for the famous Walker Art Center.” *

Thank You, Lord, that You created beauty for all to enjoy! Additonally, You have gifted the human race with senses to perceive and receive the exquisite aesthetics of Your Creativity! Thanks for the receptivity to resplendence that Thomas B. Walker practiced throughout his life.

Again, thank You for giving him a generous heart to share his collection with the state of Minnesota. I’m still surprised to learn that the present Walker Art Center was started by a lumberman!?  In this era of our North Star past, most “self-made men” were astonishingly practical and concrete-thinkers. It is a pleasure to find Mr. Walker the exception to the prejudices of Minneapolitans!

Like my own my false assessments of him, our collective normalcy bias would not allow a “doer” the grace to also be an observer. It’s curious that Walker’s generosity seemed to be blocked or otherwise doomed to failure from his contemporaries; precisely those he intended to bless. The city of Minneapolis even refused the gift of his art, and donated land to build a public gallery?! **

Lord, will You soothe the pain of this rejection past, and make opportunities to give publicly smoother and easier in the present and the future? You’ve given authority to city and county government, but forgive our leaders their short sighted choices, and failures of pride. We, too often, have loved things, and used people. Have mercy!

Will You forgive the false assessments made of artists, and artistic movements in Minnesota through the years. Lord, I invite You to re-open the Walker. Holy Spirit will You reside there and make it a praise to You? Will You lead our minds higher and to more reality through visual art?

**You can quickly read a few more of Walker’s rejections at the following link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._B._Walker

Standard
19th Century, Art, authors, Culture, History, Intercession, Minnesota

Emerson Speaks 1867

Unknown-1

1867
“Ralph Waldo Emerson braves sub-zero weather in an open sleigh to lecture in Winona. The poet and essayist–known to many as “the wisest American”–gives four other speeches in Minnesota before returning to Massachusetts.” *

“Mr. Emerson leaves to the world no system of philosophy, no orderly presentation of new or great truths; but he has done a a great and usually salutary work by stimulating the thought of two generations and by helping courageously to clear away the intellectual rubbish which the centuries had gathered. . . He has done the needed work of the iconoclast in so kindly and decorous a way as to hurt as little as possible the enduring good.” ** Minneapolis Tribune April 28, 1882

Lord, I have not experienced much of Emerson’s wisdom, but I ask that You bless him, his generations, dwellings, and property in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! May we follow in his footsteps to do the intellectual work You have for us in this life. May we bless the future of Minnesota with “enduring good”!

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
** Cited by Hubert H. Hoeltje in “Emerson in Minnesota”

Click to access v11i02p145-159.pdf

Standard
19th Century, Art, authors, History, Indian, Intercession, Minnesota, Native Americans

“Song of Hiawatha” Published

images-8

November 10, 1855
“Henry Wadsworth Longfellow never visited Minnesota, but his epic poem The Song of Hiawatha immortalized the Minnesota forests, prairies, and waters he saw only in his imagination. Longfellow began Hiawatha on June 25, 1854, he completed it on March 29, 1855, and it was published November 10, 1855.” *
The famous story still attracts tourists from around the country to see, in the words of the poem,
“Where the Falls of Minnehaha
Flash and gleam among the oak-trees,
Laugh and leap into the valley.”

This poem could be revelatory of the best and worst aspects of pop culture…even if it was popular 160 years ago. A cynical synopsis? A man who never visited Minnesota or lived with the Ojibwe whose language he borrowed, wrote a pop lyric that morphed and mutated their culture with the East Coast Iroquois to the tune of the “Kalevela” of Finland?! Of course it became a smash hit, and the listeners accepted it as the truth!

I’m not a cynic, Jesus. So today I wish to focus on that which gives life in this poem by Longfellow. I want to practice seeing the potential in historical works, rather than judging their limitations according to the standards of the present.

Longfellow sought to learn real Indian languages, and wasn’t afraid to interact with real Indians. He invited Kahge-ga-gah-bowh, an Ojibwe Chief, to his home, and took the time to meet Blackhawk, Sac, and Fox Indians in Boston.

If the poet saw a connection between tribes of the East Coast of North America with those of the Midwest, can we forgive him? Artists are allowed to make connections where others do not see them. We can find fault in their “improper” labeling of a small branch of a larger concept, and stubbornly miss their heart.

As a drummer and percussionist, I seek to learn each new ethnic music from the ground up with great respect for its traditions. However, there is new life in breaking the rules once one knows them. If one hears a connection between Celtic music and samba, then merging them into a new style is natural.

Perhaps that is the explanation for Longfellow merging the sound and rhythms of Indians with the heartbeat of Finland? Maybe he borrowed an interesting “drumbeat” from Suomi poems to express what he felt about Native Americans? In any case:
“The Song of Hiawatha was written in trochaic tetrameter, the same meter as Kalevala, the Finnish epic compiled by Elias Lönnrot from fragments of folk poetry. Longfellow had learned some of the Finnish language while spending a summer in Sweden in 1835.” **

Father, will You bless Longfellow, Kahnge-ga-gah-bowh, and each Indian who shared his story? Will You continue to bless those who reach out to know a culture very different than their own? Will You honor those who see Your unyielding imagination expressed through all the families of nations?

Thank You for Longfellow’s example that we can create beauty beyond the confining aspects of our culture. Show us ways to “include, but not be limited to” the legalism of our traditions. Thank You, First Poet, for drawing the romance from hearts of stone! Thank You for the possibility of fusing peoples together when living under grace! May we never tire of creating, merging, or reaching to describe Your beauty mirrored in the faces of fellow humans! With this heart and mind, will You bless our state?

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** Calhoun, Charles C. (2004). Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life. Boston: Beacon Press.

 

Standard
19th Century, Art, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans

Seth Eastman arrives at Fort Snelling 1830

Seth Eastman comes to Fort Snelling as a captain. In his spare time, he learns the Dakota language and observes details of their lives. His subtle sketches, watercolors, and paintings become an invaluable record of the scenery and Indian life around the fort.*

Thanks for Seth Eastman! Thank you for the blessings of his art and observations. Use our talents, even hobbies, to be a blessing to future generations of Minnesotans!

Lord, thanks that painting takes time, and therefore Mr. Eastman actually spent time with the people, tribes,  and daily life he recorded. Thanks that he saw scenes that struck his heart as valuable to remember. this day will You do the same for us? Help us to truly interact with life around us, and remember it somehow!

Perhaps, our hobbies will someday become history too?!

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

 

selfportrait

Standard