Thursday, October 16, 2014

getting there

We leave later than planned, last minute
stop at the gas station, grocery store, 
water bottles filled, almonds and candycorn 
clutched in fists.

Facing north we start to sing - we know 
a few Halloween songs, 
wagon wheel, the circle game.

Our valley unfolds like a rumpled
bedsheet, the last stands of bright aspen,
cottonwood vibrate gold against the muted brown
of October farmland.  We follow the river north.

The wind
becomes a force like the highway itself- 
pushing back
as we move through it.

Bruised sky and sudden dash of rain 
against the windshield, the car quiets as the girls pull on 
headphones, drift off through time and space 
in a magic treehouse.

Near Deer Lodge the sky clears again,
sideways light of late afternoon turns semis
into magical beasts, each falling leaf caught
in the draft of traffic into pirates' gold.

I've been traveling these highways
all my life, they are familiar paths
to the places I love.  I have a story for 
every small town along they way; I know 

that my grandmother would order 
the grilled cheese at Trixie's Saloon
in Ovando,  I know the fishing access where my 7th grade
class stopped for lunch on a field trip,

my wonderful teacher reading us poetry as we sat beside
the Little Blackfoot.  I know the empty, rolling stretch
of highway where, at thirteen, my stepdad pulled over
and told me to switch seats with him so I could learn
to drive.

And I know the destination.  A place 
stitched into my soul- the smell
of glacial silt and lakewater, the mix
of mist and larch needles, and in October
the sound of geese
moving on.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

a million things to be: portraits 5/52

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"Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are..."

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

If you lived here, there are things you would know

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You'd know that when the February air
gets cold enough, much

much colder than zero, a wide halo
of crystals forms around the sun

glistening like a muted rainbow.  The sky, too
pales on the coldest days, thins

out into a breakable boneblue.
The buses don't run, fuel thickens

in the lines, but the secretary calls each
family to assure us that the school day

will proceed.  You'd know the morning voices
of the married couple who own the local AM

radio station.  Her laughing voice tries 
to steer him from politics, and she never forgets

a celebrity's birthday.  If you lived here
you'd know that the sound of a line of cattle

shuffling across a frozen white field 
is like the sound of running water,

a warm sound that makes you stop
in momentary confusion.

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You'd know the clipped sound of  axe blade
splitting a log of lodgepole,

the precise heft of a perfect
downward swing as you fill

the woodbox.  Or the fitting of burls
and knots together

like puzzle pieces in the body of the stove
to make it burn tight and hot.  You'd fight

frozen water lines only to a point
because by now you know that sometimes

it is just too goddamn cold to thaw.
On your morning commute, you'd watch

through your cracked windshield, 
the etched ridgeline of the Pioneer Mountains 

grow rosy with morning and know that,
for a moment,

you are peeking into some other 
wild and desolate world.
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Friday, January 31, 2014

a week in the desert - portraits 4/52

They love having bare legs in January.  photo 6e93d535-6e44-4859-9e1c-68655d34a7ab_zps84cc2a8b.jpg

                           *                                              *                                             *
And climbing trees in parking lots.  Always.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

outtakes, portraits 3/52

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Sometimes the outtakes tell the story best.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

new year: portraits 1/52

Once in awhile I get lucky behind my camera, and I take a picture of one of my girls that really captures some part of who she is.  I'm planning to post weekly portraits of each of them here.  
Fearless sledder.

Skeptical sledder.
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