The Weather Report
All the Best in Gossip, News, and Weather :: a blog by Steven & Meena the Cat.

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.

Flathead Stop
Flathead Pinhole

“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

The Moon Is Alive

We’re spending the summer all together here in this northeastern Wash. valley; recovering, processing loss, wondering what the future for us holds. I miss my press, creative work-space & the river . . . but the present moment brings me here together and to say goodbye.

Meena and Me

“Under your skin the moon is alive.”

Pablo Neruda, “Ode to a Naked Beauty”

Live or Die

Every Event is a GIFT … however some events are challenging, difficult, involve suffering; most, perhaps. Get up, do my practice, run 10 miles in the early deLight, respond to a blank sheet of paper … take action, and live. Ann Sexton (1928-1974), in her most celebrated collection of poetry, Live or Die (1966), a fictionalized memoir of her recovery from mental illness, ends the sequence of poems with Live. I heard her read from ‘Live or Die’ and ‘Love Poems’ in the autumn of 1969 in Cleveland OH. This is what we need to do; live … but don’t poison everything.

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“With one long breath, caught and held
in his chest, he fought his sadness over
his solitary life. Don’t cry, you idiot!
Live or die, but don’t poison everything . . .”

from an early draft of Herzog by Saul Bellow

What the thunder has to say

I find, after all these years, I am a believer—
I believe what the thunder and lightning have to say;
I believe that dreams are real,
and that death has two reprisals;
I believe that dead leaves and black water fill my heart.

I shall die like a cloud, beautiful, white, full of nothingness.

The night sky is an ideogram,
a code card punched with holes.
It thinks it’s the word of what’s-to-come.
It thinks this, but it’s only The Library of Last Resort,
The reflected light of The Great Misunderstanding.

God is the fire my feet are held to.

by Charles Wright


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Edition #109 Generosity relief block proof on Kozo with flocking.

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Edition #109 Generosity relief block proof on Kozo printed in varnish on draft of print.

Again, the Song

A sunrise run in the north hills. YA) what places my feet take me. Again, the song. Shirt off but then the weather comes; cool and a light wind. Stopping, stepping, stillness into this wonderment of a day. I always try to go too far ….

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“Always go too far, because that’s where you’ll find the truth.”

Albert Camus

the Keep-Alive List

Meena the Cat has been keeping me company here at toMAKE™. To imagine that, as Amy Leach suggests In her “Memorandum to the Animals” and our current lifestyles indicate, there is no intention to find a place for Meena’s tribe in the Keep-Alive List … troubles me. After all she told me one night she had consciousness, whispering in my ear to wake me in the dark still silence; informing me of her place and importance. That our objects and vanity are more important than Meena’s tribe, or any other tribe, is to profane the miracle of life leaving ashes and toxins and little pieces of plastic everywhere. This essay of hers, the Keep-Alive List, the round revolving watery blue we inhabit … are you acquiring more objects that are displacing the other tribes from the Keep-Alive List ‽

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Sacred Space

I read somewhere that Calder worked every day in his studio. I wish I could say the same. Somedays I suffer such depression it is difficult … everything is difficult. I thought today that I would see the ‘divide litho’ run completed on the ‘Generosity’ print but I was slowed by a scumming plate and I stopped the run to re-etch the open areas. The first print went fine, just the plate scumming during subsequent inking.

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So I proceeded with the layout for my initial idea of a shimenawa; used to indicate a boundary to something sacred, thus there be a sacred space called Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park! This is indicated in a stylized manner on the companion print ‘The Way Across’.

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There are places, like this, that must be wrapped by shimenawa. We are such a selfish species. In her “Memorandum to the Animals” Amy Leach says “If you are concerned about the devastation of your genetic type and you do not see your name on the Keep-Alive List, you might think about clumping some vegetation together into rafts on which to rescue yourselves… Anyway, we need the space for our works and wonders. Many of you are being superannuated because we must give priority to our machinery, our televisions and computers and refrigerators and cars, trucks, airplanes, combination microwave/convection ovens with auto-time zone adjusters. We will still bring a few of you with us, especially those of you with rumps and ribs (please refer to the Keep-Alive List). But we are not going to waste time holloing for the bush babies, waiting for the mayflies to drift in and the kiwis to materialize. We are certainly not going to stand around until the tortoises figure out what’s going on.”

Mixing Ink

I spent some effort today mixing the ink for the continental divides matrix (I transferred the relief print onto a litho plate) on the ‘Generosity’ edition. I had anticipated flocking the wet ink but decided instead to use of stiff black, Graphic Chemical Crayon Black, mixed with Litho Varnish #5 and Hanco Master Palette Fire Red. I’ve got to stop this seemingly endless matrix making. Now I want to add a border to the edition as I am not using the ‘The Way Across’ border on this print. You can see the ink draw on the lower right on the mock-up below.

“It is not down in any map; true places never are.” Herman Melville | Moby Dick

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May 4th 1970 Kent State Massacre

Warm weather and working on several editions right now both maps and prints. I hope to get a complete font of lead type for the letterpress someday. It would be nice to start on the book of birthday poems book. I’ve yet to come up with the plan for the illustrations. A series of block prints would work well with the poems; maybe one each decade 20s 30s 40s 50s 60s … Meena the Cat and I have been spending together time. Aside from the head bumping, nibbling and kissing that happens around 5AM we are having a good time together. She stays close by. In 1970 I was nearby the Kent State Massacre; 13 seconds and four students murdered (Agnew’s words). This present moment changed it all for me.

May 4th 1970, The Kent State Massacre
An emotional Governor Rhodes, yelling and pounding his fists on his desk called the student protesters un-American, referring to them as revolutionaries ”…They're the worst type of people that we harbor in America. Now I want to say this. They are not going to take over [the] campus. I think that we're up against the strongest, well-trained, militant, revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America…..” and then the Kent State massacre … the shootings of unarmed college students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio …The shootings were ordered by members of the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970, agitated by an undercover FBI agent. Twenty-nine guardsmen fired approximately 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.


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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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An Uncertain Future

With spring announcing itself with a violence of weather, flooding, rain, snow, and a not altogether unexpected but nonetheless unwanted forced departure from Chewelah and the Parsonage, we look to an uncertain future. Meena the Cat and I went out in the blue sky sun today and watched a train make its way south past the meadow.
Just a few more times to run in the valley. I made a nice circumambulation this morning, 7 miles and stop’d to watch the mists lifting effortlessly off the fields and dance away. Mid-sixties with little savings and no jobs we are nevertheless blessed with many strengths, even a nice studio space, and faith that the Joy and deLight and the miracle of life and beauty will cary us on.

“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

Meena the Cat
train passing by

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.


Chewelah Creek

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

The World Which Actually Is

The bulletin board in the alleyway at toMake™. The world which actually is is a ‘race against time’ … ‘the road not taken’ … and a ‘climate changed’.

“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

bulletin board

We drink the same water

River Form” is a large relief matrix that I’ve yet to edition. Cut from Sentra a decade ago it depicts the Clark Fork meanders on Kelly Island west of Missoula, Mont. embedded in the ‘golden mean’ and irreverent property ownership. What remains of a place when it is defined by place names of dead white Europeans who never set foot, by pavement covering the soft earth underfoot, by lawns of strange grasses infested with poisons, by houses made from plastics and set on rectangular grids imposed on the land and fenced with signs saying PRIVATE … ? Ink selection trials, litho varnish, gold flocking and black, on Kozo and chine-collé. I have no love for the destruction currently being wrought of this beautiful earth. The earth is not private … we all drink the same water.

ink selection


“Water is good, so is thirst; … shadow is good, so is sun; … the honey from the rosemarys … and the honey of the bare fields.” Antonio Machado

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

gardeb statur

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)

Many Many Buddhas

Storytelling

A job on the press today; for the Reverend on her travels. Ink on paper. Mixed Red #32 and Reflex Blue and set type, made some changes, in Century 12 point. Basically the only serif font I have in a text weight. Ran 100 and cleaned up and oiled the 19th century Gordon press. Feels good doing this tactile stuff. I only wish I could have started earlier in life. I met Robert Bly back in the late 60s at Sigurd Olson’s place in Ely, Minn., one night over dinner; both of us having made a surprise visit to Elizabeth and Sig’s place. We became friends and exchanged poems and stories. Once, we fell asleep under a tree in the autumn in a park and later he sent me the most wonderful book I had ever seen. A small book, hand printed, letterpress, bound in a beautiful blue cover. Just one three line poem. I have kept it close now all these years because he told me a story that found its way inward and inward and is still traveling ….

“Storytelling, you know, has a real function. The process of the storytelling is itself a healing process, partly because you have someone there who is taking the time to tell you a story that has great meaning to them. They’re taking the time to do this because your life could use some help, but they don’t want to come over and just give advice. They want to give it to you in a form that becomes inseparable from your whole self. That’s what stories do. Stories differ from advice in that, once you get them, they become a fabric of your whole soul. That is why they heal you.” Alice Walker

type locked up in the chase

Sucking Wax

Saturday at the Parsonage is quiet. I did the laundry, took a long run with some hill work covering a good 8 miles, fed the cat, vacuumed the house …. but all along I’ve been thinking about different kinds of food. What comes to mind are summer trips into the backcountry of Glacier-Waterton International Peace Parks. It’s an amazing and generous place with all that rock, water, sky and the weather. It’s food. Not so far distant from oatmeal really. Because, as Ali Akbar Khan said about music, without this I die. AND, it being spring, between a long winter and summer and a lot of soft earth … I’m like Meena the Cat, dreaming of that summer paradise.

“When spring comes, go to the flowers — why keep on sucking wax?” Antonio Machado

Meena the Cat

snow and the robins

Later there were a dozen or more robins in the backyard but first there was the morning snow. Thick, big, soft and furious between 7 and 9. Snow that covered everything for a short while, covered as well the ice and made it very very slippery in places. As for me, I took a couple spills on my run; down to the hard ground. Now, a bit beat up tonight but not defeated, just sore.

“Love one another or you perish . . . . We have reached a decisive point in human evolution, at which the only way forward is in the direction of a common passion, a ‘conspiration.’” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

RR Snow

Saturday at the Parsonage

Saturday is laundry day and the blue sky said; ‘hang the cloths outside’. Running this morning was sloppy wet with all the melting but I did manage 8 miles. Last night the temperature remained above freezing so spring is indeed on the way. Lent began this week and so, once again, I’ll do forty days of running. I’ve also been re-reading Buddhist texts and deepening my practice. My legs and heart can use the effort of the running and likewise a deepening of my practice(s). Otherwise … it’s a quiet day at the Parsonage.

“I and all beings are of the same essential value.” Zhuang Zhou

Parsonage living room

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


camera bag

Love One Another

Lent begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday; the theme we (Chewelah UCC) are using to guide us is “Love One Another” taken from John 13:34. It’s a wonderful and a good reminder. I got on the letterpress and did a small run of cards to hand out to the congregation tomorrow evening. I also cleared off the bulletin board in the alleyway at the toMAKE™ studio … it feels good to start this spring season on a clean slate. If you’re wondering about that big inky splash on the board; that’s the ink clean-up from the run.

"Fear narrows the little entrance of our heart. It shrinks up our capacity to love. It freezes up our power to give ourselves." —Thomas Merton, from his essay, "Ash Wednesday"

Love One Another

Bullletin Board in the Alleyway

top soil

Speaking of practice … I do a morning piece. I’m sure a Jungian therapist would love to ‘read’ through the thousands of pieces I have done over the years. But no need, it is a practice in the morning to open my eyes to something more in the world, in me, in everyBody and everyBeing.

“Despite all our accomplishments we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.” Farm Equipment Assoc. of Minnesota & South Dakota

thursday morning piece

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

Three-Forks-Poster

atheists and lies

“Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.” Joseph Campbell


Dance Anywhere BAM