20th Century, Awe, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history, zoo

Longfellow Gardens Opens 1906

Robert (Fish) Jones

1906

“City dwellers flock to the newly opened Longfellow Gardens Zoo near Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis to see the animals and the zoo’s colorful keeper, Robert “Fish” Jones. Dressed in his trademark Prince Albert coat and stovepipe hat, Jones is often accompanied around the park by his troupe of performing sea lions.” * 

“The zoo continued to prosper, although complaints from neighbors about noise and smell were perpetual. In 1930, Jones died. His family tried to keep his zoo open, but failed and the zoo had to be closed down. Many of the animals were sold or given the Como Zoo in St. Paul.” **

Why are we so inspired by zoos? Even the best of zoos are limited replications of  natural habitat. What is it about looking a fellow creature in the eyes, watching the way it moves, or catching its scent that is so perpetually thrilling? Is it simply that we are afforded an audience with one of Your masterpieces?

Why is it that even observation of creative acts impact us so? We read excellent literature, and we are there in spite of a dim reading light! We see a great film, and are transfixed by the story so much that we forget our annoyance at the sticky floor. We view a majestic piece of art, and are taken in past the limitation of the frame, the space, and the white noise!

While this may be true, will You forgive our human propensities to miss the meetings You ordained for Minnesotans past, present, or future? We want to experience Your nirvana, but despise the travail of travel to observe it! It does not register what a priceless experience it is to look on a wild animal when it comes at virtually no cost!

Elohim, Strong Creator, thank You for the gift of our fellow creatures! Thank You for putting the vision for Longfellow Gardens into the heart of businessman Robert Jones! Thank You also for his passion and commitment to see it through to fruition! May this state forever cherish a chance to interact with (Your) nature!

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

**Benidt, Bruce Weir (1984). The Library Book. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Public Library and Information Center. ISBN 0-9613716-0-9.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longfellow_Zoological_Gardens

*** Photo and 1907 newspaper article that encapsulates the spirit of Mr. Jones.       http://circusnospin.blogspot.com/2010_11_18_archive.html

 

 

Standard
19th Century, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, music, omnipresent history

Dvorak Composes at Falls

unknown

1893

“Antonin Dvorak, the renowned Czech composer, visits Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. Inspired by the beauty of the scene, he composes a melody on the spot, writing the music on his starched shirt cuff. The “Minnehaha Theme” is featured as a violin line in Dvorak’s Sonatina in G Major, opus 100.” * 

The first name You describe Yourself with in the scriptures is “Elohim”, which means something akin to “Artist” or “Strong Creator”. Your signature is in, around, and through all creation. You have created living art that is capable of reproduction, yet each “copy” is a unique masterpiece?! Whether we view the nano particle level through microscopes, observe with our own eyes, or with powerful telescopes, we are in awe of the Master’s handiwork!

It is no wonder that Dvorak saw an inspiring scene at Minnehaha Falls. It’s beauty has been renowned by Minnesotans for generations. What is a wonder is his response; that this beauty is so valued that it is worth recording immediately without thought to practicality or cost. Thank You that Antonin instantly responded to the beauty presented to him.

Will You bless him, his family, and the nation of the Czech Republic? Will You bless his indirect generations of artists, composers, writers, and simply those who listen and respond to greatness? Will You bless this place and those who visit it in perpetuity?

Will You forgive us the judgments we as a people make on those who follow instinct? Will You forgive our judgments of those who pursue their visions, no matter how absurd or irrational they may appear? I believe it was the Celts who likened the Holy Spirit to the wild goose. Will You give us wisdom and discernment to support those on “a wild goose chase”?

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

** Read more about Dvorak’s visit to these lovely falls? http://www.classicalmpr.org/story/2014/07/24/the-music-of-minnehaha-falls

*** Learn about a “wild goose chase”? http://thewildgooseisloose.com/why-wild-goose/

 

 

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