16 August 2013
26 July 2013
19 July 2013
Brian Eno: I'll Come Running
Another Green World, 1975
Françoise Hardy: Le temps de l'amour
The Yeh-Yeh Girl from Paris!, 1965
The Beach Boys: Girl Don't Tell Me
Summer Days, 1965
Linda Ronstadt: Baby, You've Been on My Mind
Hand Sown ... Home Grown, 1969
Johnny & June Cash: If I Were a Carpenter
Hello, I'm Johnny Cash, 1969
Lena Hughes: Pearly Dew
Queen of the Flat Top Guitar, early 1960s
Angel Olsen: Tiniest Seed
Half Way Home, 2012
The Instruments: Mountain Song
Dark Småland, 2008
Sleeping States: Contact Lunacy
There the Open Spaces, 2007
Peter Howe: I'm Alive
Morning of the Earth OST, 1971
Love: Mushroom Clouds
Idle I'm (Colorama Coloured in Remix)
Remix 7", 2011
Archie Fisher: Open the Door Softly
Archie Fisher, 1968
Emmanuelle Parrenin: Thibault et l'arbre d'or
Maison Rose, 1977
Kate Bush: Cloudbusting
Hounds of Love, 1985
Virginia Astley: A Summer Long Since Passed
Hope in a Darkened Heart, 1986
Jessica Pratt: Bushel Hyde
Jessica Pratt, 2012
Vetiver: No One Word
To Find Me Gone, 2006
The Clientele: Never Anyone But You
Bonfires on the Heath, 2009
John Cale: Paris 1919
Paris 1919, 1973
Thalia Zedek Band: Walk Away
Robert Frost: Nothing Gold Can Stay
For the faithful I might update the list with albums and dates but for now the music itself will fill all the holes.
Thanks to play it as it lathes for some bits of needed inspiration.
01 July 2013
Spring vanished into a blur of road trips and job applications. And now it's summer. And now the temperature approaches 100 degrees.
The end of April meant moving big black beasts to spring pasture on the desert. Two trucks and two trailers with the capacity to hold about twelve steers each; about 500 steers to move; and a total round-trip time from corral to desert of about 1.5 hours. You do the math.
kīpuka and a late season snow flurry.
The mighty Snake River poised to experience spring runoff from the mighty Tetons.
famous Virginian Hotel in the not-so-famous, one-horse town of Medicine Bow and had my first whisky in many, many years. When in Wyoming...
The Spanbauer rock barn and dance hall just outside of Twin Falls. It's for sale.
Leaving the Soldiers behind again.
02 May 2013
RIP Scott Miller
(04 April 1960 – 15 April 2013)
(04 April 1960 – 15 April 2013)
There are those who crumble empires with their music (see George Jones). Then there are others who with a simple chord change, hook, and melody make the heart flutter and quietly skip a beat. Scott Miller was in the latter camp and sometimes the last flutter of a butterfly's wings can change the direction of tides and cause rivers to run backwards.
01 May 2013
20 April 2013
15 April 2013
08 April 2013
Been busy. Trying to reestablish oneself in a new geography means shooting a lot of arrows straight into the sky and holding your breath to see which one hits something. So while waiting for arrows to reenter the atmosphere I've also been trying to maintain a semblance of myself.
The following is a semblance of myself:
Music. There is always music. In moving vehicles, in headphones, from a computer, from a portable radio, in my head. Sadly, not from a proper stereo yet. Among the many faves is this set from the wonderfully otherworldly Broadcast (RIP). It's a live "Black Session" from the Parisian radio station France Inter recorded in May 2000 and featuring the original band members supporting their first album The Noise Made By People. Incroyable et trop cool.
Friends. Friends are important during busy times. Hazel needed a friend and I suppose I did too. So we brought one home. Then we lost her even before we could become good friends. Fuck.
Books. Living the somewhat solitary life, there have been plenty of books blowing through these hollow walls. Sad to say, other than the hundredth or so re-read of Tom Spanbauer's The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon--mostly because I am back in Idaho and close to Craters of the Moon, and so is the book--very little has struck a chord. A few to mention:
Richard Francaviglia, Believing in Place: A Spiritual Geography of the Great Basin. I was hopeful but this 250 page book took me about three months to read. He even quotes a folklorist or two and uses some theoretical ideas steeped in folklore study but good-god-a-mighty the whole thing read like someone's PhD dissertation. No wonder no one reads those things.
Annie Proulx, Close Range: Wyoming Stories. For someone who is neither a Westerner nor a man, it's not bad. Seems like she wants us to believe she's both, though. Some stories are even worth reading again, though I haven't. Her use of Western dialect and inclusion of every tedious ranching work related detail becomes gratuitous and over the top soon enough. I mean, yeah, there are people out here named Leeland and Leecil, but not everyone. And some of those people even speak in complete and grammatically correct sentences. Overall, to me, it seems a good book for NPR loving Easterners who still marvel at black bears sorting through trash cans in Yellowstone.
Diane Josephy Peavey, Bitterbrush Country. Hmm. A book of very short, one to two page, pieces, many of which were read over the radio on, you guessed it, Boise's NPR affiliate station. Speaking of Connecticut Yankees in King Arthur's Court, if she had only run on that theme more often the book would have been interesting. It's when she tries to do what Annie Proulx beats you over the head with that you question whether or not you're living that NPR nightmare. And she's a nice person, and so is her husband, and they live just up the road from me.
Barry Lopez, About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory. The pieces I could finish were fantastic, the rest, well, I couldn't finish. Barry Lopez is a beautiful writer, that's for sure, and reading him makes you feel small and insignificant and sometimes, I think, that's good. But there is an 11 page story about his hands and, I'm sorry, that's just not acceptable and it makes me feel that Barry might be a little too aware of himself as a wonderful writer.
Wallace Stegner, Crossing to Safety. Still working on it. It's okay. For someone with a reputation as one of the preeminent Western writers this novel is about two couples wiggling their way around East Coast academic issues like not getting tenure and spending summers on tranquil lakes in Vermont. There are some nice bits and bobs, though (as they say in East Coast academic circles, don't they?). Like this:
What he'd probably like best of all would be to move up here the year around and write poems and dig in the local history and folklore and jot down in his journal when the Jack-in-the-pulpit and Calypso orchids come out, and how the crows get through the winter.
Yeah, me too. And especially this:
You can plan all you want to. You can lie in your morning bed and fill whole notebooks with schemes and intentions. But within a single afternoon, within hours or minutes, everything you plan and everything you have fought to make yourself can be undone as a slug is undone when salt is poured on him. And right up to the moment when you find yourself dissolving into foam you can still believe you are doing fine.
Food. We all gotta eat. I admit I was a little worried. I moved back to Idaho from Geneva where I did our weekly shopping just over the border in France. In France they take their weekly shopping seriously. To be in Boise is not a problem. The Boise Co-op is an institution and they have one of the best wine shops in the Territory and maybe even on the frontier. Living in the hinterlands, however, and most of Idaho could be considered the hinterlands, is a different issue. Living in the Eurozone, I fell in love with fennel and, yes, you can find it way out West though it is often something like $2.50 a pound. Ridicule!
On the other hand, between Sun Valley Grass Fed Beef and coddled 4-H steers I've been inundated with some of the best beef in the galaxy. That and the fact that Idaho rivers are legendary for the things that swim in them.
On occasion, though, usually at unpredictable times—say, driving a load of shingles to a landfill on a back road in a completely non-legal, ancient dump truck with an engine so loud you can't hear yourself think—that you might look up into the sky or across the sagebrush fields and disappear into a thought sublime and crystal clear. A hawk might bank itself into the thought or a series of delicate cloud patterns might focus themselves in your vision. Whatever happens, the effect is to jar you out of both a state of hard-driving purpose and a momentary lapse of attention. Between those two states is a perfect place, somewhere not quite real but a product of a very busy day-to-day existence. Within those rare moments of perfection I understand the victory of a Red-tailed Hawk and I know that in that moment there is no greater accomplishment than completing a given task.
(Smoky Dome, 10,095 ft. & North Smoky Dome, 9,937 ft.)
As someone who is particularly attached to giant mounds of earth nestled under frozen water it's hard to see their white spires every day off in the distance and know that I won't be able to visit them. It's equally difficult not knowing how one winter will evolve into a spring and then a summer and what all that will bring. It's hard when you know you have something to accomplish but you're not quite sure where to excavate the foundation. The uncertainties are often exciting, too, and encourage creativity, like climbing to the top of a familiar peak only to find your favorite couloir decimated by an avalanche. What to do now? Ten years ago, while I bemoaned the fact that I was spending a snowless winter in Mexico, a wise person said to me, "Don't worry, Steven, those mountains will still be there when you return." And he was right.
27 March 2013
23 March 2013
08 March 2013
Oh, it's spring alright. Other than a series of stupidly cold and subsequently dry weeks in January I'm not totally sure when and if winter ever started. In addition to a sprinkle here and there that was immediately blown into oblivion, what remains is still the same three feet of snow that dropped sometime late December and early January. That's okay; this is what you might call a "transitional period" in every sense and context imaginable. Just imagine.
Imagine digging your truck out after collapsing through a wind-buffed crust and spinning on ice on a dirt road on which you never should have considered driving. Imagine immaculate silence once you soaked your clothing and parked the truck safely and turned off the engine. Imagine bending a corner and scaring ancient gangly desert moose from their Quaking Aspen hiding. Imagine wandering into a snowy high desert landscape with nowhere to go. Imagine another day in the sun and the post-winter non-winter blues fade as quick as they come.
Goal #1: Find snow. Obvious maybe but in this year of winds blowing cold and fast and non-stop straight down from the top of the planet it is better to leave nothing assumed. Anyway, lava rock makes for good hiking.
On the long haul home I was introduced to the phrase, "rendered truth." I like that phrase.