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In this episode Matthew explores a replica of an Etruscan drinking cup and how it connects to a more felt sense or embodied squatting culture and some of the implications of design that is emergent from table and chair and plate culture and connects that to Asian chopstick use. He also thinly recounts the Romani history with bears and ancestry and connects that to Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale and the famed stage direction from it "Exit, Pursued by a Bear"
Bees Wax | Episode 7

Bees Wax | Episode 7

2021-12-1644:16

In this episode Matthew skitters widely on folklore about bees and honey, false etymologies, real mythologies, and how the bee and its six-foldedness might connect the spirit world to the living one here on earth.
The Oxbow in this episode gets a reference to a specific episode from Stephen Jenkinson's book "Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time Of Trouble". But that inspires some considerations on the history of business cards and what that has meant for commerce and community. And then the language of the business card spurs thoughts on kennings, sideways poetic language, and the many-faced names of things through a reading from the Alvissmal.
Rocks | Episode 5

Rocks | Episode 5

2021-11-1831:31

In this episode of The Oxbow the suggestion from a postcard was "rocks." After a joking chastisement of the submitter for giving too specific a suggestion (The Lessons that rocks can teach us) some considerations of how rocks inspire the phrase "rock 'n roll" which brings in a discussion of oral and literate culture. Other reflections emerge on the elder function of ground up ceramics used as temper for new clay and of course the Central American goddess Chalchiuhtlicue.And the nature word of the day comes back!
In this episode of The Oxbow a Benegal Spice cinnamon tea teabag is the mailed-in suggestion. This ends up being a springboard for sourcing good spices, reflecting on offerings to the divine in texts like the Hymns of Orpheus and the Bible. And then the great tale of the emergence Sri NarasimhaDev, the lion man god of Vedic India somehow all comes up. Who is the animal that invokes the divine and summons culture? Some wonderings today at The Oxbow.
Speed | Episode 3

Speed | Episode 3

2021-11-0438:13

This episode's word is speed. Join me for reminiscing on questionable childhood gifts, walking with Thoreau, the time man spends with his automobile, and traveling at “human speed”. Contemplate the flexibility and utility of language, and how a word like “clang” can only exist in a world where that sound is made. Zoom is a word we all use with regularity but would you be surprised to find out that it's less than 100 years old, and for the record whooshes are slower than zooms. Is there a difference between a road and a trail, and which one do you want to travel on? What is the consequence of speed in our modern lives? “Underneath all the things that allow us to go fast, there might be something reminding us to go slow.”
Notional | Episode 2

Notional | Episode 2

2021-10-2837:35

The word is Notional.Notional leads to Casey Jones and then folk heroes. There's a kind of collapse that makes folk heroes. The loss, or the beginning of the loss of village or the fully lost qualities of village. Notional. Notional also makes me think of notational. And so...Notational. It makes me think about the history of calendars and writing. This episode goes on to touch on the origins of writing, the role of agriculture, why we need big numbers, and more. And the culture making connections are rich and ongoing. 
Brodo | Episode 1

Brodo | Episode 1

2021-10-2140:37

In the premier episode of his new podcast The Oxbow, Matthew Stillman sets the stage for a series of free-flow ruminations centered around a single word. This episode's word brodo inspires memories of the classic tortellini in brodo Matthew first tasted in Italy many years ago, and branches off on an examination of the domestication of animals, the writings of Marshall McLuhan, traveling in a land where you don’t speak the language, the value of silence and the art of listening.
Welcome to The Oxbow. The largely improvised podcast where one word suggestions mailed in from the audience are used as a point of departure to see how that word or phrase might inspire deeper wondering, worthy questions,   and reflections on nature and culture, etymology and  history, myth and place, and maybe the skill of human making - If we're lucky, let's see. I'm Matthew Stillman, and this is the Oxbow. Where the rich sediment of things that shaped this time and place slows to feed the verdant delta of culture
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