Thought and Memory

Wondrous animals abound in the tales of northern Europe: Fenrir, a malevolent wolf who devours the hand of one of the gods; Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged horse; and Jörmungand, the serpent that encircles the world and that ultimately kills Thor in the battle of Ragnarök, the defeat and death of the gods.

Perhaps because I have been studying crows and ravens for nearly forty years and feel they perch deservedly on the top branches of avian evolution, my favorite animals in the northern stories are two ravens, Hugin and Munin, Thought and Memory. Odin taught them how to speak and so every morning, they soar out into the world, returning at dusk to perch on his shoulders and advise him on what they have learned.

In my painting they appear to travel into both the past and the future. The knowledge they bring back to Odin gives him Awareness, but not, unfortunately, the power to change the course of events. In the universe of the northern gods, as well in our own world, nothing– not even our gods– is more powerful than Fate.

_Memory and Thought
Thought and Memory – oil/canvas – 24 x 36 inches

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With Malice Towards All…

… And Compassion For None (unless they are just like us).

The inanities and misinformation that inundate us from Washington D.C. about the immigration of foreigners into freedom’s land and bravery’s home is making all of us sick.

Unless we are the offspring of the indigenous peoples who inhabited this continent before the Europeans showed up, we’re all descendants of foreigners. So let’s take a moment to reflect on words from an anonymous writer in a community newspaper in Barcelona, as quoted by the Uruguayan writer, Eduardo Galeano, in Hunter of Stories, the last of his incomparable books:


Your god is Jewish, your music is African, your car is Japanese, your pizza is Italian, your gas is Algerian, your coffee is Brazilian, your democracy is Greek, your numbers are Arabic, your letters are Latin.

I am your neighbor. And you call me a foreigner?


Dark nights. Darker days.

In worlds older, wiser and saner than the ones we live in, our ancestors marked their days according to the angle of the light of the sun. Light that for a time blazed with great intensity and warmth, making wheat and barley, apples and corn grow, gradually seemed to wither. After the harvest, shadows lengthened, flocks of birds flew away to the south, nights grew longer and colder. The sun appeared less and less above the horizon and on one day it seemed to shrivel and its light almost disappeared.
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