Bardic Journeys

Feelings From Around the World

I have recently been amusing myself by noting how some things are the same, yet very different when experienced ‘spatially’ separated.

Here are some of these:

cork fire

fire on the deck aus

Blazing fires in chimineas, one on the deck of my apartment in

Cork Ireland, the other on a friend’s deck in Avalon, Australia.


A sunset at a friend’s home in Eastern Washington State, USA,

and a sunrise from the bedroom of my apartment in Budapest.




The serenity of a long road to nowhere in particular in the northern reaches

of Australia, and the overwhelming peace of a cathedral in Hungary.



All simple things that we can easily take for granted.

© 2015 Photo Credits  Galen Dean Loven All Rights Reserved



Thank you ! I am glad you enjoyed the post.


I love this!! So beautiful & great point! Glad to have seen this!!

I Am A Negro

“I am a Negro:

Black as the night is black”

“Negro” by Langston Hughes (1920s)

I encountered this poem in high school English. Its dark resonance has trailed along in the recesses of my mind, often popping up in the most expected (such as walking in the woods on a moonless night), or unexpected times such as the other day when I was enjoying a mid-day walk along the Danube.

This time, I thought about whether the night is truly black. The answer, of course, is no. The night skies are filled with stars, moon light, reflected man-made light, and even lights generated by insects and animals. To the aware, this is a time of discernment, when the sights normally lost to the clutter of noisier, brighter or more intense illumination emerge. A good time for introspection and contemplation. I used to think of myself as ‘inhaling the night’.

We are often led astray by our own lazy thinking and the opinions of others. A good example is the above poem. Any color is a matter of perspective, relativity, and perception. I have known a lot of Africans from all over the continent. I cannot remember any one of them as being completely black, many not even approximating the color. The darkest of them were a rich blue-black.

I mention this as it relates to our perceptions of the world, and our own smaller world of existence. How difficult is it to imagine another culture, another history, and way of thinking if we have not had the opportunity or means to travel. Our world perception quickly becomes what we observe through the narrow, well filtered lens of media.

I have been blessed with the opportunity of travel and cultural immersion. I do not think I could be otherwise – it is in my nature and blood. For those of you who have not, you can experience a taste of truth by taking the time to talk to a neighbor or an acquaintance from another life style or culture, taking care to listen and understand, creating pictures in your mind of life as seen through other eyes. In other words, instead of saying ‘I can’t imagine’, step put of the pattern and imagine. It takes courage and desire. Try it sometime, you may be pleasantly astounded by what you experience.

© 2015 Galen Dean Loven All Rights Reserved



1936 photo by Carl Van Vechten


by Langston Hughes

I am a Negro:
Black as the night is black,
Black like the depths of my Africa.

I’ve been a slave:
Caesar told me to keep his door-steps clean.
I brushed the boots of Washington.

I’ve been a worker:
Under my hand the pyramids arose.
I made mortar for the Woolworth Building.

I’ve been a singer:
All the way from Africa to Georgia
I carried my sorrow songs.
I made ragtime.

I’ve been a victim:
The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo.
They lynch me still in Mississippi.

I am a Negro:
Black as the night is black,
Black like the depths of my Africa


You may find more works of Mr. Hughes through the Wikipedia link above.

My Hosts for the Lovely Night

Over the years I have watched with sadness the loss of social interaction in our meals. Radio, then television began erosion as meals were first hurried to catch a favorite program, then moved to the front of the television. Social media, the urgency of cell phone finished the transformation to what is now mostly just a process for putting calories into the body.

The art, joy and grace of an evening of conversation while eating has mostly disappeared, following the demise of a great favorite of mine – the dinner/dance evening.

So imagine my delight when I was treated to my first invitation to dinner here in Budapest. It was New Year’s eve. I arrived at 7 pm, spent what seemed like only a couple of hours at most with 3 women, of which 2 did not speak English, and my budding Hungarian still at the hello and thank you phase. Suddenly is was midnight, time to toast the New Year.

That was when I realized that the art of conversation, entertainment and eating was still alive and well in Hungary. Upon further questioning of my hosts, who had made a lovely effort of presenting a series of small courses throughout the night, I confirmed that this is the norm in this country. That people still make an effort to show appreciation and recognition of the guests, and that conversation and socializing is important.

It is something we could bring back to our own lives elsewhere. Turning off the T.V. and the phones, unplugging the internet, taking the time to enjoy the meal and the company. We might be surprised by how much we enjoy the experience.

© 2015 Galen Dean Loven All Rights Reserved

IMAG1718 (1) IMAG1721

A Trip To Haiti

About 9 years ago I took a crew from Vancouver, Canada to produce a documentary for a wonderful children’s charity and capture some original footage of life in Haiti as it really is including some of the religious aspect of Catholicism, and Voodoo. We were there for 10 days, and captured more than 40 hrs of compelling footage and interviews

IMAG1704 IMAG1705
These two pictures show how we got about, my crew of 2 cameramen, and a professional sound man, 2 security guards, our host/guide and myself. We were very careful to ensure everything was well marked with Canadian flags

It was usually around 100 F, and 100% humidity and although we could have booked into an American hotel, it would not have been either authentic nor effective, cutting us off from the regular people.  Still, we lived better than most

I had the executive suite.


My crew debunked next door.

The food, though plain, was surprising good and tasty. Here is the kitchen and a typical meal.



My crew ate a lot of power bars to keep their energy up.  They could not get enough calories from this simple fair

The shoot was highly successful. The space here is limited. I wish you to understand that reality is not what you see on the news.  Haitians are lovely people with tremendous self respect, regardless of their treatment by the ‘civilized’ world.  That we should be so full of grace.

© 2014 Galen Dean Loven All Rights Reserved

Hungarian Christmas


Holiday Greetings from Hungary …IMAG1604

In Hungary each day has a saint named for it  and every person has two birthdays. One of your birthdays is the day you were born. The  other is your NAME day. In other words, the day of your saint.

Saint Nicholas day is Dec 5,  the Santa Claus night.

That night everyone puts out their best, very well cleaned shoes, usually on a window sill.  Then, if they have been good, in the morning St. Nich has filled the shoes with treats,  if not, then a switch! And the 6th is the present giving day.
The 21st of December, also Winter Solstice, is thought be the real day  Jesus was born, at 7 p.m.  That night is a ceremony where 12 white candles are lit. Then on the 25th they have a family dinner celebration.
Pretty cool blend of the various traditions.

IMAG1602 IMAG1603

You can see that the jury was undecided about my shoes :-)

A lovely note from the travelling Bard himself a few days ago. to wish you all a Very Merry Holiday Season.

best wishes





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Connecting over 'Chai'

Some Small Solitude

Thinking, Writing, Talking

What Comes from Silence

Collected quotes

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