I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me…

If you get curious, as I did, you can look in the Itunes store and find 606 versions of The Beatles’ song Norwegian Wood on offer.  First released on Rubber Soul in 1965, it is a simple and beautiful song on which the great George Harrison plays a sitar, the first time any rock band had done so.  Some argue that the song’s lyrics are trivial, but such was the case for most of the music of the day (and maybe for all days).  Lennon was the primary writer assisted by McCartney, and oddly enough it’s not about Norway at all…it’s about a girl Lennon was fooling around with who decorated her place using cheap Norwegian wood furnishings, which he lit on fire when he trashed the place at the end of the song!  Not a very kindly message for a song that is so gentle on the ears.  I stumbled across my favorite version of the song, literally, while checking out the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga with Sweetie a few years ago.  Dan Landrum was playing the song on his hammer dulcimer outside, busking for tips and CD sales; I bought one of everything he had.  If you’ve never heard anyone play a hammer dulcimer, I strongly suggest you start with Dan- a virtuoso at the top of his game.  The image below was shot on hike in the quiet and gentle Norwegian woods near Oslo, where Landrum’s hammer dulcimer would not be out of place.  (24 September, 2011 Sognsvann, Norway)

All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream…

Edgar Allan Poe might be best known for the raven that croaks “Nevermore”, but there was a lot more to the guy.  He was one of the first American authors to try to make a living from writing, but it didn’t work out any better for him than it has for the majority that followed.  Hunter Thompson called writing “the most hateful kind of work”, comparing it to sex: fun for amateurs, but not so much when it’s your paying gig (“Old whores don’t do much giggling”).  Known in life mostly as a critic of others’ writings, Poe also tried making it with journalism, poetry, and even invented the detective story genre with his character C. Auguste Dupin.  Sherlock Holmes’ creator Conan Doyle said of Poe “each [of his stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed…”  He married his 13 year-old cousin Virginia, got kicked out of West Point, was disowned by his semi-adoptive father, and died young after being found passed-out-drunk (maybe?) in a Baltimore gutter…one of the original bad boys of Western literature.  My title is from a poem in which he questions the reality of existence, while my image was shot on a dreamy summer afternoon biking the upper reaches of a placid Norwegian lake.  (8 August, 2011  Sognsvann, Oslo, Norway)