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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MERIDIAN LINES

It’s Easter Sunday soon; it follows this week, from the 40 days of fasting or Lent that conclude on Maundy Thursday (Last Supper / Passover), followed by Good Friday & Holy Saturday . . .the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith.” wiki. And Easter is a moveable feast whose date is determined by the seasonal movements of the earth and sun . . . bringing in, here in the northern hemisphere anyway, spring, the Bunny and the eggs, those ancient symbols of new life and rebirth. They appeared in our backyard welcomed in the grass and changing light.
The moveable feast needed to be fixed to a date and so there are the Meridiana Lines and pinholes in the ceilings of churches like the Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice . . . light, the movements of the earth and sun, and spring. It was careful observation of a pinhole of light across a meridian line that allowed Johannes Kepler to understand that the planets in our solar system move in ellipses, not circles.

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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

MY GARDEN SEEDS

I take such pleasure in saving seeds from my garden harvests; folding in my hands the dried and mysterious code, and then the planting back into the composted soil in the spring. Little delights me more than this simple and economic act . . . to see the seeds return year after year. I hope to never be a criminal because of my garden seeds.

“Seeds have the power to preserve species, to enhance cultural as well as genetic diversity, to counter economic monopoly and to check the advance of conformity on all its many fronts.”

Michael Pollan | Second Nature: A Gardener's Education

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Corn Seeds 2017

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

THE #EarthToo MOVEMENT

The bulletin board in the alleyway got a facelift with the Year of the Brown Earth Dog cards (did you receive yours?) and some Bansky. Always more alley news to come. On my run this morning I saw the heron, so I too stop’d . . . just below Higgings Street bridge in a side channel . . . stop’d still and watching, listening, fishing, being stil.

‘OH, MY POLITICAL POSTS ARE ANNOYING YOU? Sorry, I assumed the future of THE EARTH was worth discussing.’

The Magna Carta Of American Environmental Law Is Under Siege . . . “Citizens need to stop being passive. They need to put pressure on their elected officials, letting them know they are aware that selfish interests and greedy gluttons are pushing an agenda that is not in their best interests or that of their children’s best interests and they are not going to stand for it anymore. What does America desperately need?  There needs to be a #MeToo movement started for the environment.” —Michael V. Finley

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The Bulletin board in the alleyway at toMake™ :: end of February

YEAR OF THE BROWN EARTH DOG

2018 is the Chinese Year of the Brown Earth Dog. This lunar New Year starts February 16th 2018 and ends on February 4th 2019. And Lent started this week (what is your Lenten practice?); as noted on the toMake™ calendar.
I’m on the letterpress printing Year of the Brown Earth Dog postcards. If you don’t get one in the mail shortly please be sure to eMail me with your current address and I’ll get one sent.

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Design, layout and photopolymer plate for letterpress printed postcards
Year of the Dog

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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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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ALLEY ACTIVITY

. . . and in the alley news :: Trump and the Triumph of Fear, the Future of the BLM?, Democracy on the Line, Fake News, the Rage of White Folk, the Succession Movement & Education, Taking a Knee, and and and Climate Denialism Kills.


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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.


practicing

When life presents the inevitable challenges and disruptions, as it is currently doing, it is the personal practice(s) that become so important. It is too late in the game to start, only the hopefully long and fully embedded practice(s) can help and help they do. I meditate & sit, do a morning piece and I run. This past weekend I managed a beautiful ten mile trail race on single track in Lolo with 2,000 of elevation up and then down. My legs got a bit tired on the downhill so I slowed carefully and took in beauty of a cold spring rain. I’m practicing still.



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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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Waters Beneath

The Parsonage, I am told on authority, has been experiencing an unusual amount of flooding in the basement. The Colville River (and the Chewelah Creek system), more or less a drainage ditch on behalf of the valley wheat farmers, is quite high. Water is really an amazing force; THE element that gets larger when colder. Think about this little detail for a minute. This expanding and contracting accounts for much of the dynamic forces that shape the planet, crushing rocks. One night when, as building and grounds manager in a Catskill resort, as a winter flooding was coming down the Panther Kill I was awoken by a deep low sound I’d never heard before. In the morning I discovered that massive boulders, some 20 and more feet tall, had been carried down the creek in the flooding. Well, water changes things. The basement flood at the Parsonage in Chewelah reminds me of the Derby Street community that sits atop a buried east bay creek in Berkeley. High waters bring flooding to their basements as well. Derby Street II Waters Beneath, a multi-matrix lithograph, is a response to the waters in motion beneath us.

Derby Street II Water Beneath

Equal but Slow

This morning, 3:19am MDT, was the Vernal Equinox, day and night being equal in length … a waxing gibbous moon and the EOT at -7:24 slow … the sun transiting toMake™ studio at 1:43pm MDT, rising at 7:38am and setting at 7:48pm … the meaninglessness of DST persisting. Melting snows and high turbulent waters. I am sad today about the ongoing loss and consumption of beauty and wildness.

"The most intimate thing we can do is to allow people we love most see us at our worst. At our lowest. At our weakest. True intimacy happens when nothing is perfect.” Amy Harmon, The Song of David

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between seasons

Between the seasons, I think that is where we are right now, somedays melting and raining and others snowing and cold … as I started to say, between brings up all the unsettled and unresolved. I was out and about and pass’d my old voice teacher, the most wonderful of radiant voices, and we got talking and spoke of the practice room. YA) the practice room. Returning again and again. What is it I have intended to do this lifetime ?

“…I seemed to do none of the things I intended to do — I didn’t seem to be quite present anywhere —” Georgia O’Keeffe, in a letter to Margaret Kiskadden

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snow moon

It’s the full moon; the full snow moon. And we have snow, lots of wet snow! The EOT is slow at -14min 15sec. … because we orbit round about the sun not in a circle but eclipse. Local noon today at the Parsonage is at 12:05 PST. The sun rises at 7:04 and sets at 5:07 with about 10 hrs and 3 minutes of daylight. Local noon today at toMAKE™ in Missoula is at 12:51 MST. The sun rises at 7:46 and sets at 5:55 with 10 hrs and 9 minutes of daylight. Missoula is so far west (36 minutes or 6 minutes into PST) of local mean time (MST) that it should be in the PST; this means that evenings in Missoula lat a long time in the summer.

“There are stars in your dark side brighter than the sun.” Andrea Gibson, Hook Line

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analemma for toMAKE™ February 10th ©steven r holloway