Take Time to Listen

drawing ears

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Ours was simple and pretty great. After Ron and I visited my mom at St. Anthony Village, my son, daughter in law, grandson, daughter, Ron and I got together at Amy’s house in Portland. We played with the new kittens for awhile, took pictures and talked. Then we went out to dinner at The Rhinelander. Going out to dinner may sound kind of un-Thanksgiving like to some but we had a traditional dinner along with fondue, sausage and sauerkraut and had lots of time to spend together without cooking or washing dishes. It was nice. It was relaxing and most of us love eating German food. My grandmother used to cook kraut and schnitzel for Thanksgiving so I felt like we were honoring her and my favorite uncle at the same time. My son and his family came down from Seattle on the train. They say it’s the only way to travel. I’m going to have to try the train the next time I visit up there. It sounded comfortable and affordable.

After my last post where I shared with you information about Dr. Pam Wible, a person who I have come to admire, I was pleased and surprised to hear from Dr. Wible herself. Just as I thought… she was kind, informative and totally inspiring. I questioned her more about how her practice is run and found that she works about three days per week and sees an average of eight patients a day. She spends quality time with her patients and gives them the space and courage to question, talk and play a part in their own diagnosis and care. She kindly sent me two sites that some of you might like to visit. The first is a Spirituality and Health article she wrote that got Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama interested in her work and in doing a book on her new direction in medicine. http://www.idealmedicalpractice.org/docs/DreamClinicS&H.pdf The other site is a six minute radio interview from last week http://www.idealmedicalpractice.org/radio_interviews.php I hope you are as impressed by her as I was and will share the article with your own doctor or HMO.

nature's design

 What always seems to happen as soon as you open yourself to new ideas you find connecting ones all around you. Another article from The Sun popped out at me titled “The Sincerest Form of Flattery…Janine Benyus On the Virtues of Imitating Nature” by David Kupfer. Ms.Benyus is a biologist and science writer of Biomimicry:Innovation Inspired by Nature. I was fascinated as an artist by what she so clearly talks about in the book. As she explains,”Biomimicry is the practice of borrowing nature’s design principles to create more sustainable products and processes. When designers, engineers, architects, chemists, city planners, and so on have a problem to solve, I encourage them to ask, ‘What part of the natural world has already done what I’m trying to do?’” Benyus, as she was writing books and guides about the natural world, began to collect examples of how the natural world and our world can work in rhythm to solve hard problems in our society by watching and listening to nature. For example, if a company wanted to invent a new glue, naturalists and biologists could work with them by studying how geckos stick to walls or how mussels glue themselves to rocks underwater. The wood glue that is used to build most houses emits formaldehyde. With the help of scientists like Benyus, companies like Columbia Forest Products switched to glue that mimics the adhesive mussels use. They make it out of soy flour. Check out more on biomimicry at AskNature.org.

form follows function

 I was excited to hear that science is doing what artists have done for many years, looking to nature for inspiration. I remember finding a book by accident one day stuck in the very back of a cupboard in my classroom in Multnomah County. It looked as though it hadn’t been touched for years. I dusted it off and looked through it. The title is Nature as Designer: A Botanical Art Study by Bertel Bager. It is a black and white photo book with photos of seed pods, small leftovers of weeds and tiny beautiful natural things. The patterns and designs are fascinating and inspiring. Bager really took time to see pattern and listen to nature while preparing this book. The combination of form and function is perfect. First published in 1966 The book is out of print now as far as I know, but you can find copies floating through Powell’s Used Books from time to time. Wible, Benyus and Bager all have one major thing in common. They listen and observe with great care and concern. They take the time to do this. I hope taking time to become more observant will catch on in our society. We can’t continue to value money over time. To live our lives to the fullest…with the most meaning…we need to slow down and look and listen to nature and to each other. Only then can we find ways to be creative and to solve the big problems that face us. So thanks to these good people who are so innovative and inspiring to others. Pass it on, please. The nature photos in this article are from Nature as Designer:A Botanical Art Study by Bertel Bager.

from Nature as Designer

 I’d like to plug a place in Portland that has been around for awhile. I thought I was cool, but I had no idea this cool place existed until about a year ago. It’s called The Tidal Wave Book Store and it’s run by Multnomah County Library. They sell books, CD’s, magazines and videos that have been retired from the library for one reason or another at really cheap prices. It’s located on NE Knott Street right off of Martin Luther King Boulevard. If you are a book lover you have to go there. You’ll find lots and lots of great books for both children and adults. Amazing!

Remember the opening for my Dark Side Show is on Thursday, December third from six until nine pm. Costumes are encouraged but not necessary if you’re too shy. It’s going to be fun. Also congratulations to Nancy Rooper of The Dalles for her Mt. Hood Christmas Card image being used on the flyer for The Dalles Art Center Holiday Show. Nancy is a student of mine and is developing her talent very quickly.

4 thoughts on “Take Time to Listen

  1. Rod Richards

    Jerry, I am the manager of the Title Wave Used Bookstore. Thanks for the plug, note the clever play on words that goes into our name. It was chosen by my predecessor back in 1988 when the store opened. If you would like more details about the store, just email me. Thanks again for the plug.

    1. Jerry Fenter Post author

      Wow…I wasn’t thinking while working. I do get the play on words but seem to have lost my ability to write for a minute! To my readers…the name of the place is Title Wave! I am so happy to have found this place, Rod. Anything else you can send me about it’s origins would be appreciated. You do a great service to the community. My daughter is the one who turned me on to the store. I grew up in Portland but never knew it existed until she moved over near MLK Blvd. I apologize for the embarrassing mistake.


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