“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Confucius
The towering slit gongs of northern Vanuatu are among the largest freestanding musical instruments on earth. Found primarily on Ambrym, Malakula, and neighboring islands, they are carved from the trunks of large breadfruit trees, hollowed out to create a resonating chamber with a narrow slit-shaped aperture. The edges of the slit are struck with clublike wood beaters, producing deep, sonorous tones. A number of gongs, constituting an informal orchestra, stand on the village’s dancing ground. These gong orchestras are played at major social and ceremonial occasions such as initiations, dances, and funerals. Through carefully coordinated actions, the drummers in the gong ensemble produce rhythms of immense variety and complexity. via metmuseum.org
What comes to mind when you think of a trio/threes? We can imagine all sorts of things from the balance of heaven and earth; the sky above, life forms in the middle, and the earth that sustains us to fascinating art like these ritual musical gongs from Vanuatu. The Slit Gongs were part of an Oceanic exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum and had an impressive collection of towering pieces from the region. Some of the information I gathered from the museum website explains that the Slit Gong (Atingting Kon) were created mid– to late 1960s, commissioned by Tain Mal,and carved by Tin Mweleun (active 1960s). They can be found in Vanuatu, Ambrym Island, Fanla village. They are wood structures with decorative paintings and the tallest one in the exhibition stands at 14 feet (430 cm). Impressive. They were acquired through the Rogers Fund in 1975 and I would encourage you to go take a look sometime. There is more information above and below in blockquotes for your interest. For this assignment, I choose a few things in trios and some moving poetry.
The Peace of Wild Things By Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. Via Poetry Foundation
“Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Slit gongs are, or were, also used to communicate between villages. Under proper atmospheric conditions, their sound can carry for miles through the forest and, in rare instances, across the water to neighboring islands. A series of gong “languages” composed of beats and pauses enables highly specific messages to be sent. This slit gong from the village of Fanla on Ambrym Island was commissioned in the 1960s by the village chief Tain Mal, who was acknowledged as its creator. However, it was carved by Tin Mweleun, an artist from a neighboring village. The gong is made in the form of a stylized ancestor figure. The spiral motifs painted on the eyes represent metan galgal, the morning star. Small arms and spirals depicting sacred pig tusks appear on either side of the face, which is surrounded by projections representing hair. The long vertical slit represents the mouth, through which the ancestor’s “voice” emerges as sound whenever the gong is played. Via metmuseum.org
With all the turmoil going on in the world today, I found some solace in the beautiful poetry above and below. Wendell Berry’s evocative poem spoke to my heart and gave me some quiet comfort today. James Galvin’s philosophies of suffering resonated in my spirit, and Coleridge’s take on three types of friendships that make sense, summed it up for me with a touch of humor. I was feeling quite distressed after the news on Bamako hit the airwaves and as I flicked around on Instagram trying to find some cheer in photography, I stumbled across the Berry poem on @ecowarrior’s page. It was the perfect contemplative piece that addresses the turmoil.
We live in challenging times and it’s very important to feed our minds, bodies and spirits with healthy soul food. I hope the poems I included today will speak peace and balance to you as they did for me. The quotes I chose were also deliberate and it is my wish that we use our creativity for good. That said, as I sifted through my pictures for the appropriate selections, I found a few trio shots in my pile; there were shots of the deer that love to hang out in my backyard, and there were some Zoo shots of Mountain Goats and Nyala that made me smile. The Zoo shots were taken at the Bronx Zoo which takes enormous pride in creating environments for their animals that mimic life in the wild. They are not in cages and they are well cared for… we all need to care more for our world and for each other too.
Three Sonnets By James Galvin
Where I live distance is the primal fact
The world is mostly far away and small
Drifting along through cause and effect like sleep
As when the distance unlikeliest of stems
Bears the unlikely blossom of the wind
Engendering our only weather dry
Except in winter pine trees live on snow
So greedy pulling down these drifts that bury
The fences snap the trunks of smaller trees
If the forest wants to go somewhere it spreads
Like a prophecy its snow before it
Technology a distant windy cause
There is no philosophy of death where I live
Only philosophies of suffering via Poetry Foundation
“There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles.” Stephen Covey
Three is a very important, number in many circles, and it resonates with balance, creativity and peace. If you look at the ever popular Peace sign, you will notice that it is an inverted trident; a three pronged weapon of war turned upside down… I like that. We can add triangles, the holy trinity and the three arms of government to the mix and the number becomes imbued with tremendous meaning and reason. To mix things up, I added the three lit up deer above from last holiday season. They add a touch of whimsy to the choices. The holidays are drawing near and we might as well start celebrating them now. Enjoy! I hope you enjoyed my selections for this challenge. Stay Safe! Stay inspired. Have a Happy Weekend!
Fragment 10: The Three Sorts of Friends By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Though friendships differ endless in degree ,
The sorts , methinks, may be reduced to three.
Ac quaintance many, and Con quaintance few;
But for In quaintance I know only two—
The friend I’ve mourned with, and the maid I woo! Via Poetry Foundation
My fellow bloggers were equally creative with their selections. Check out how others interpreted the theme –TRIO – below.
This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Weekly Photo Challenge: TRIO For this challenge, share your own take on the week’s theme, trio. What comes in threes? Submit an image for this week’s photo theme, Trio
Positive Motivation Tip: Great things and balance come in threes… find your balance and relax in the knowledge
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos copyrighted and from my Personal Collection.