A Map of the World

Today was a sabbath day, a day for playing guitar.  Several years ago (1999) Pat Metheny contributed to the soundtrack for the film, “A Map of the World,” and the the title track evokes simplicity, depth, and transcendent beauty.  It plays like a prayer.

I have not been able to find the transcription for the guitar track, so I’ve learned and adapted it by ear.  Metheny performs this on a small scale steel string that is tuned a fifth higher than normal pitch on the guitar.  I think it works well for the classical guitar as well.  I spent the day working it up and recording it on my Logic setup.  Hope you enjoy it.


St. Francis and the Footprints of God

On the Feast of St. Francis, it is good to remember his love of the created world. For Francis, the world was an alternative Prayer Book where the Vestigia Dei, the footprints of God, could be found everywhere. Ian Cron’s wonderful book, Chasing Francis, quotes this passage from The Second Life of Saint Francis of Assisi by Thomas of Celano:

“In every work of the artist he praised the Artist; whatever he found in things made he referred to the Maker.  He rejoiced in all the works of the hands of the lord and saw behing things pleasant to behold their life-giving reason and cause.  In beautiful things he saw Beauty itself; all things were to him good.  “He who made us is the best” they cried out to him.”

He walked reverently upon stones, because of him who is called the Rock . . . He forbade the brothers to cut down the whole tree when they cut wood, so that it might have hope of sprouting again.  He commanded the gardener to leave the border around the garden undug, so that in their proper times the greenness of the grass and the beauty of flowers might announce the beauty of the Father in all things.”

Every year at this time, I like take a few moments to look back on the formative story of this “artistic” saint.  Francis had the gift of of helping people see in creation what had been there  from the beginning but had gone unnoticed in their humdrum everyday experience. This is why we need the sensitivity of creative artists in our midst. Like Francis, they help bring the created world into the light, so that we notice things as if for the first time. In that sense, Francis is clearly a saint that can speak to our post-modern age!