The Oregon Symphony had to cancel their NYC trip so they are offering some ‘local’ as a substitute: Classical Up Close!. Groups of musicians will be offering evening concerts at standard venues around Portland between May 6-12 (including Reed, May 6). They will also be performing ‘blitz’ concerts around the city during the day.
Just to whet your appetite, they posted this amazing video of Table Music by Thierry de Mey. My alternate title is “Percussion for 6 Hands & 3 Boards”. What’s yours?
I don’t have to tell Reedies about the magic of being underwater. After all, we invented underwater basket weaving. So here’s another underwater adventure (courtesy of Tricycle magazine) that might interest Reed’s aquatically inclined. (Note: it arrived in my Inbox yesterday, but I didn’t have a chance to look at it until this morning.)
Tricycle Hosts Special Underwater Retreat
Make a big splash at the Tricycle underwater retreat with us this summer! We’re excited to announce our participation in reviving the ancient Tibetan practice of Chu retreat, in which the entirety of the retreat is spent underwater. (The practice was commonly done in the lakes of Tibet beginning in the eighth century, but it had mostly died out by the fifteenth century, when it was officially banned by the aquaphobic second Dalai Lama.) Headed by professional diver and popular Tibetan Buddhist teacher Sloof Lirpa, this is one retreat you won’t want to miss. Tickets go on sale May 7. Click here for more information.
In order to reach maximum efficiency, windmills must be spaced far apart. This allows each rotor to capture ‘clean’ air moving across its blades. Unfortunately, arranging windmills for high efficiency means that wind farms must occupy a fairly large patch of land.
Prof. John Dabiri, Center for Bioinspired Engineering, Caltech, may have found another way. After noticing that schools of fish can often swim more efficiently than individual fish, he set out to find out why. The results led him to a new design for wind farms: relatively small vertical axis turbines mounted in tight clusters. These turbines can do something that standard airplane-like rotors cannot: efficiently convert ‘dirty’ air vortices generated by neighboring turbines into energy. Read more in the March/April 2013 issue of Sierra magazine.
A great article, Chasing the Higgs Boson, in the NY Times (Science, Mar 5) paints an elegant portrait of the ups-and-downs experienced by physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider over the past few years. Two large teams of physicists – more like ‘armies’ really – toiled over separate particle detectors so that they could be the first ones to find the Higgs, if it existed at all. (Two independent teams not only doubled the chances of detection, but it was also hoped that two sets of measurements would nail down the discovery once it was made.)
An interesting view of high profile, high $$$, high stakes science. I wonder what the LHC janitors think about when they go home at night?
A famous koan asks, What is this?
You can investigate this or just “be in the moment” every Thursday, 2:15-3:15, Reed Chapel. The Thursday silent meditation periods are being hosted by two Reed students, Molly Jackson-Nielsen and Rebecca Shafer.
Don’t have an entire hour? Molly says that’s OK. Join them for as long as you like.
Setting aside a few minutes to sit quietly, to meditate, to practice mindfulness, seems so at odds with our busy lives. Does anyone really have time to sit and do nothing? What could be the possible benefit?
By the time I arrived in Portland in 1989, one could take it for granted that the Oregon Symphony was a professional ensemble with a national reputation, but DePreist was the engine that made it happen. He took over a small part-time group of musicians in 1980 and, in just a few short years, moved them to a large new concert hall/practice space, transformed them into full-time professionals, led the group on its first out-of-state tour, and conducted the first recordings for a record label. If there was a genie inside Aladdin’s lamp who could grant all of your wishes, it was “Jimmy” DePreist.
My own wishes were fairly simple. I bought my first symphony subscription so that I could hear beautiful, stirring music on a regular basis. I wasn’t disappointed, but I immediately discovered something unexpected. The DePreist presence. It began the moment when he appeared behind the violins, and it built as he magisterially lumbered over to the conductor’s platform on his crutches, took his seat, and tapped his stand with the baton. Magic. Music. DePreist.
Curiously, my most vivid memory will always be a DePreist concert that I watched on TV. A few days after Sept 11, DePreist and the symphony gave a memorial concert to an overflowing concert hall (speakers were strung up outside on the South Park blocks so that the overflow could still listen). Our family gathered in the TV room and held each other as we listened to Samuel Barber’s Adagio, Dvorak’s New World, and more. Then the orchestra came to the finale: America, The Beautiful. I will never forget the sight and sound of what happened next. As the orchestra played and some members of the audience tentatively joined in, James DePreist turned to the hall, and with a facial expression that showed how much his own heart was breaking, cried out, “Sing!”
It was the kind of command that only he could give. We sang.
The racing mind is always dumping a fabricated reality on us: I’m late, I have a million things to do, I’m so far behind, what a screw-up I am, everyone knows. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just take a step back, take a deep breath, and really see this cloud of confusion for what it is?
Well, help is on the way.
Last week’s At Reed carried this announcement: Jay Stewart, who has been teaching contemplative meditation to students as part of Reed’s PE program will lead a weekly workshop in “secular/mindfulness”-based awareness. The workshop will meet for six Mondays, 12-1 PM, in the Sports Center mat room (2/11, 2/18, 2/25, 3/4, 3/11, 3/18). More information can be found At Reed.
Of course, whether you can find time to participate in this workshop or not, you are welcome to join me for a few minutes of peace and quiet whenever you want in the Reed Chapel, every Wednesday, anytime between 12:10-12:40.
I plan to return to the Chapel at noon tomorrow (Wed) for weekly silent meditation. All are welcome. There are no strong rules to follow: simply try to sustain an environment of silence and let the mental and physical chatter of your life do as it will. The first bell will be rung at 12:10 and the last one at 12:40, but please enter and leave as you like.
For those who would like a bit more guidance, here are meditation instructions given by Jon Kabat-Zinn (founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School) to a group at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley:
“OK. So what we know. We have a body, relatively speaking, and we’re here now. So let’s see if we can tune into now for no other reason than just for fun. OK? Just not to get anywhere, to be more relaxed, to become a great meditator, to break through, you know, some problems that you’re having, whatever it is, but to just see if you can hold this moment in awareness. You don’t even have to shift your posture; you just hold this moment in awareness.