THE PRESS OF MY FOOT

This past four weeks has seen that not-yet-spring | no-longer-winter weather come and go across the intermountain west. A high of 58˚F, low of 21˚F with a mean just below 40˚F day & night. The relative humidity has been about 74% more or less but that should change with daylight now more than 13½ hours. The trails are soft and muddy in places this time of year. It’s a new moon today. When was the last time your naked feet touched the earth ‽

“The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred affections.”

Walt Whitman

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SPRING EQUINOX

This morning was the spring equinox; day and night being equal . . . now daylight is longer than night and my snow piles are melting away.

“I’m so scared. I’m so scared of dying without ever being really seen. Can you understand?”

David Foster Wallace | Infinite Jest

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Spring Melt in the Alleyway at toMAKE™
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Morning Piece

EVERYTHING IS A MIRACLE

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Albert Einstein | Unconfirmed
“Geographer Gilbert F. White, according to his biographer in Living with Nature’s Extremes (2006), attributed this to Einstein in his Journal of France and Germany in 1942. Maybe so; but all he does is invoke “Albert Einstein said”. He says nothing about how he knows this, when or where it might have been said, whether he heard it directly or through a friend, or what the context may have been. With the preponderance of misattributions to Einstein being as large as it is, this is not a good sign. There is no striking reason to assert that Einstein couldn’t have said this; but there is also no striking reason to assert that he did.”

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Spring flow on Heron’s Island :: Clark’s Fork of the Columbia :: Downtown Missoula, Montana

NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR STRAVA TIME

SPRING INTO GOOD OPEN SPACE CONSERVATION LANDS PRACTICES

1. Be prepared for mud! Walkers/Runners - go through it down the center of the trail. This ensures our trails aren’t expanding and eroding conservation lands. Bikers – stay off muddy trails. Bikes leave ruts in the mud that will be there all season. Don’t want to get muddy – go in the morning when the ground is more solid or hit a trail in one of our parks
2. Be a responsible dog owner – spring means snow melt and lots of “presents” appear from the winter. Pick it up, toss it out. Bags on the side of the trail won’t walk themselves to the trash and are you really going to pick it up later?
3. Have awesome trail etiquette – hikers/runners and uphill traffic always have the right of way.

REALLY NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR STRAVA TIME BUT YOU.
Be aware – take an earbud out if you’re recreating with music. Look up, be alert, recreate in control, be kind, high five people on the trail. Our open space lands are our shared resource.

Missoula Parks & Recreation Open Space

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Missoula, Montana Open Space Lands

TO BE ALIVE

“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

Alan Watts

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AS LONG AS YOU'RE DANCING

This being ‘The Weather Report’ I thought I should address the weather in the toMake™ Missoula valley. During the past 12 months we saw a high of 100˚F and a low of -7.1˚F, approx. 20 in. of precipitation and some peak winds of 30+ knts. The most interesting was the summer; hot dry and smoky. There was 12 weeks where the weather was dominated by cloudless, but smokey (from nearby fires), noticeably low humidity, little change in the barometric pressure, and little or no rainfall. Remember to dance if you want to break the rules.

Three Things To Remember
As long as you’re dancing, you can break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just extending the rules.
Sometimes there are no rules.

Mary Oliver

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GOING SLOWLY

Never mind the weather; get up, get dressed and go out for a run. It was wet (a light but steady rain making the trails icy), cold (29 ˚F) and windy (10 knts from the canyon). Going slowly, I got in a 10km run followed by a warm bath.

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

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The view from the east window into the canyon.

THINGS THAT ARE UNKNOWN

“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”

Ray Manzarek | often attributed to Aldous Huxley

If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite.

William Blake | The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

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Old Man Lake [from the Dawson-Pitamakan loop trail] in the Dry Creek Valley headwaters, Two Medicine drainage
Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park

A STILLNESS IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS

I stop’d in at the Missoula Art Museum and did a walkabout. . . there was no boring art [“I will not make any more boring art”] that I could find therein or out.

“I feel that art has something to do with achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm…”

Saul Bellow

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The bulletin board in the alleyway at toMake™

CROSSING THE RIVER

Ten miles run and ten crossings of the Clark Fork River this morning. The challenge was to approach and cross each of the five bridges twice and from opposite directions with no backtracking. I had to make up a little plan prior to leaving. The only portion of this downtown run that I don’t care for is along West Broadway between Orange and California Streets. Otherwise three of the five bridges are foot bridges and most of the run is along riverfront trails. There are still icy sections and in the counting I did also cross a sixth bridge over Rattlesnake Creek. There are, or is, simpler route solutions but I wanted to get in ten miles!

“You must accept the fact that others don’t see what you do.”

Louise Bourgeois

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Crossing the River

Adding in Russell Street bridge is a possibility but the sidewalk there is narrow and close to fast traffic, still I might give it a try and make it six bridges and twelve crossings. I’ll have to redo the route plan not to backtrack across a bridge & cross each bridge from opposing directions. Here’s a possible plan:

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THE TREASURES THAT ARE HIDDEN


“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

Elizabeth Gilbert | Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

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Sunrise run along the ancient Glacier Lake Missoula shoreline above Missoula.

WINTER IN MISSOULA

Our life in the studio is cozy and sweet so, even tho it is winter in Missoula, we spend time out and about ! This is good; we all come back to our little black cat and cuddle up on the bed together.

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

Pablo Picasso

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out and about by the railroad tracks

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our Christmas tree this year

THE REASON THAT ART IS VALUABLE

It’s cold today -9˚F with a headwind, and it was cold on my run along the steaming river. Upstairs we note just one more winter share market until spring. While downstairs work on the lithograph “The Island” goes slow. We’re listening to carols today, Christmas Eve Day and wrapping a few last minute gifts for each other.

“The reason that art (writing, engaging, and all of it) is valuable is precisely why I can’t tell you how to do it. If there were a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map.”

Seth Godin

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Water Tusche on Stone Lithograph; inked and etched but not editioned

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Meena the Cat goes for the sun and goes out

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At the Saturday Winter Market; from our winter share



SO THIS IS WINTER

This week is the Winter Solstice, longest nights of the year. And it is also the Fourth Sunday of Advent [Love] tomorrow. The Equation of Time is 4min 17sec fast. The 2018 Calendar from toMake™ is in the works. We found all this new snow this morning. Along the river, after a bit, mine were the only tracks beside the deer, the rabbits and other small peoples . . . quiet/hushed all the way out to the gate by the railroad tracks; a snowy eight miles. ‘So this is winter’ with the sun now rising at 8:15 MST and days 8hrs 32min. long. Just two more winter share markets, but then comes spring!


“So this is winter – and what remains of the world now that autumn has left us, gone underground with the once luminous grasses and the husks and seeds of all the left-behinds. This is the cold season. Learn to endure it.”

Laura Lush | “Winter,” The First Day of Winter


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LONG NIGHTS

It was nice to see the ‘Made Faire’ with all the local vendors but I didn’t get anything, too cold and I was much the more interested in the Christmas Concert at the University Congregational Church with Judith in the choir. The two major attractions (inner story of the dark season and light, and the outer hustle of consumerism and appearances) here side by side. At church I do get a bit tired of the same readers all the time, making it appear that the church is more of a Junior HS in-group than it is in reality. And I shouldn’t complain because it was really nice concert with choir, orchestra and bells. I just feel more and more an outsider these days with so little success as an artist, declined entry in shows and residencies, and clearly excluded from the local art and environmental organizations . . . . Perhaps things will be different, passing through this dark season into that opportunity and presence the abundance of the world of Joy and Beauty brings to us. I like Advent, and this week marks the days of the Long Night Moon (days just 8hrs and 34min long) and the Earliest Sun Sets (4:47pm Missoula).


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THE WORKING CLASS

December’s market share … better we do not wait for our (white male 1% leadership) to pass universal health care, gun control, environmental-wilderness-open space protection, a fair electoral congress system, social and sexual equality and protection, infrastructure investment, medicare-social security . . . .


“The emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves."

Karl Marx | 1864 Preamble to General rules of the International Working Men's Association (aka: First International) or Communist Manifesto


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INTIMACY

“Intimacy requires courage because risk is inescapable. We cannot know at the outset how the relationship will affect us. Like a chemical mixture, if one of us is changed, both of us will be. Will we grow in self-actualization, or will it destroy us? The one thing we can be certain of is that if we let ourselves fully into the relationship for good or evil, we will not come out unaffected.”

Rollo May | The Courage to Create


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RESTORING MY SOUL

I go for a run this morning; dancing and stopping and restoring my soul.


“Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.”

Alice Walker


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SATURDAY at the MARKET

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LOVE ALL GODs CREATION

I just fill with joy and deLIGHT when I go to the market. Our winter market started yesterday, and it’s only a couple of blocks away, … and a nice walk to pick up our ‘winter share’ of weekly vegetables right from the hands of the growers! I just feel such gratitude for the growers, the seeds, the water and the earth.

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“Love all God’s creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky

'the blue of the always unpublished sky'

the 68th birthDAY trip . . . ‘my heart went to a church whose location it doesn't know’

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I'm writing on a Sunday, late morning, on a day filled with soft light, on which, above the rooftops of the interrupted city, the blue of the always unpublished sky closes the mysterious existence of stars in oblivion . . .
It's Sunday inside me as well . . . My heart is also going to a church whose location it doesn't know, and it goes dressed in a child's velveteen outfit, with its face red from the first impressions of smiling without sad eyes over its oversized collar.


Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) | The Book of Disquiet #68 [n.d.; after 1923]

SUNDAY BESIDE THE CREEK

We took our Sunday walk along the Rattlesnake Creek and it was slow, quiet, enveloping, the present moment ours. We had to stop and said nothing or what we said was forgotten in the creek corridor being washed downstream with the leaves and the rocks and the wind. On the way back it was cold in the early evening shade, days are shorter now; less than 11 hours of daylight and growing shorter every day.

“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.” Alan Watts


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the Image Gallery is online

A lot has happened since I last posted to this blog… too much recount but in coming days I’ll try. I’ve made some images available for friends in several folders. They tell the story of several memorable events and trips. The image gallery is located here.

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July 8th I completed the Beaverhead 55K Ultra run; a 35 miles adventure along the continental divide between Idaho and Montana.

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August 21st I drove to the Mount Borah trailhead in the Lost Creek Valley of Idaho to experience the total eclipse of the sun.

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September 28th I hiked the 22 mile Dawson-Pitamaken loop in Glacier-Waterton NP for my 68th birthday.

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October 6-7-8 we delighted in the wedding celebration of our son Nate and now daughter-in-law Ursula.


on the planet the winds are blowing

Beside, stop’d and listening . . . the river Flathead, waters sourced in the crown of the continent. June 17th traveling west. Using the Real-So-Subtle 6x6 120 format pinhole f/135 with RVP 100 film.

June 17 2017 West

“What else is going on right this minute while ground water creeps under my feet? The galaxy is careening in a slow, muffled widening. If a million solar systems are born every hour, then surely hundreds burst into being as I shift my weight to the other elbow. The sun’s surface is now exploding; other stars implode and vanish, heavy and black, out of sight. Meteorites are arcing to earth invisibly all day long. On the planet the winds are blowing: the polar easterlies, the westerlies, the northeast and southeast trades. Somewhere, someone under full sail is becalmed, in the horse latitudes, in the doldrums; in the northland, a trapper is maddened, crazed, by the eerie scent of the chinook, the sweater, a wind that can melt two feet of snow in a day. The pampero blows, and the tramontane, and the Boro, sirocco, levanter, mistral. Lick a finger: feel the now.”

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

My Astonishment

Stop’d while traveling east along Mont. highway 200 beside the river Flathead, watershed of the Columbia. Intentional stop to see, and observe and to experience my own astonishment; #34. Leonardo pinhole camera and weather gauge, RVP 4x5 in. iso100 film exposed 2 seconds f/250 up and down stream.

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“You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment. “The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one’s own most intimate sensitivity.” Anne Truitt, the sculptor, said this. Thoreau said it another way: know your own bone. “Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life… Know your own bone: gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw at it still.” Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case.”

Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

YA) the river

Monday, after Easter, I journey east with Meena the Cat, along that blue highway 200 and stop again along the Flathead River. For only a short time, put feet on the soft earth and walk off the highway down a small path overlooking the river. And for a moment everything stops and I stop and enter the place itSELF. YA) and all this disturbance, all that is unsettled and set in motion … is just. I move downstream with the river.

Flathead River April 17 2017

The Creek is Flooding

All this muddy rushing water in my (our) life right now. I know the cottonwoods thrive on this nutrient rich high water, likewise the flooded fields. Just look at the deLight in the colors dancing beside the creek I ran past earlier today. Stop’d to admire the flow. Our lives are rushing past, swept up in an inquisition of petty and malicious gossip, the true smallness of a small town. But all this water, a flooding in the basement, ruined books and the stench of mildew and mold … and the cottonwoods and willows dancing along the creeks’ high waters. YA) water; I am carried by this beauty. I fear not the smallness of this town, but it hurts nevertheless.

I am searching fragments of an old poem about a flood on the Mississippi River . . . but all I can recover are some missing water soaked pages from the book caught in the flooding.


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self and other

Snow, rain, hail and the wonders of weather blowing past greeted Meena the Cat and me as we made our way west along the beautiful Flathead River yesterday. Birds and swirling patterns of green water and the ubiquitous trash were in abundance.

“At root, there is simply no way of separating self from other, self-love from other-love. All knowledge of self is knowledge of other, and all knowledge of other knowledge of self. I begin to see that self and other, the familiar and the strange, the internal and the external, the predictable and the unpredictable imply each other. One is seek and the other is hide, and the more I become aware of their implying each other, the more I feel them to be one with each other.”
Alan Watts, The Joyous Cosmology

Flathead at Perma

Stop Acting So Small

When the snows melt and the temperatures warm the alley comes awake. Talking with neighbors becomes all the more frequent and out & about small delights emerge hidden all winter. I passed this small display today; the welcoming of smiles and perspectives made me stop and remember I am a participant in the great ecstatic motion.


“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.” Rumi (b. 1207)

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stopping; again

Driving west on the blue highway 200, Missoula to Chewelah for Ash Wednesday services, I stop’d, again, along the Flathead River nearby the Perma bridge to Hot Springs. The snow was wet walking down to the point and a strong, fierce wind was blowing upstream. I could hear the waters’ living surface dancing and leaping. I had just one slide of 5by7 in. film in the bag. I took 5 second exposures, one upstream and one down with the #65 camera. Back in Chewelah I read off the max/min temperatures for the past couple of weeks; low 6℉ - high 52℉ … spring is here. Still reading Thomas Merton.

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone." Thomas Merton from Thoughts in Solitude

Flathead River


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