A Few Thousand Words about Summer

I was doing these on a month-to-month basis earlier this year, but stopped last May. So here’s an entire season’s worth in one post. It’s strange. At times, during the heat of it, it seemed like summer was never going to end. Now it’s over, and it seems like we hardly had one, and that nothing happened. And yet . . . everything did.

As always, click to see larger images.

One-Sentence Journal, Week Seventy-One

Two weeks in a row! There may be life in this old thing yet….

  1. 10/09/2016:  Like a headline pinned to a locker room bulletin board, a quote from a friend I’ve scrawled on the inside cover of my notebook urges me angrily back to its pages, both blank and scribbled on, again and again and again.
  2. 10/10/2016:  I will take a cool Autumn evening with a stiff breeze out of the north, the clatter of brittle leaves, and that magnificent golden light over anything summer has to offer.
  3. 10/11/2016:  Driving sleet accumulation, both on my windshield and beside the road during my early morning drive, reminds me that in Montana, October can hit us with winter any time it wants to.
  4. 10/12/2016:  If shiftlessly lolling about doing nothing can be a metaphor for “sharpening the saw,” then this afternoon has filed a positively vicious bite onto mine.
  5. 10/13/2016:  Slayer!
  6. 10/14/2016:  A raven perches on a fence post facing the corral, its beak working, while a horse a yard distant, teeth bared, tosses its head, and I wonder just what exactly they are talking about.
  7. 10/15/2016:  What’s the point in working for yourself if you can’t, on occasion, drop everything and answer to the rallying cry of friends in town?
SLAYER 10/13/2016, The Wilma Theater, Missoula, MT

Photo Finish Friday: The God Hates Us All Edition

There’s been a ton of talk lately over Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. I greet the news with a shrug. As I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve gained some appreciation for the man’s art. I still find him generally unlistenable, but as someone who appreciates the written word, I can understand why he’s such a big deal to so many people.

In my youth, though, I despised him. It is an aversion I have to overcome every time I think of him. He was one of those artists held up by a previous generation as an example of what was so much better, and more pure, about the artists of their time than those me and mine were drawn to. He was beloved (and still is) by all those ex-hippies who sold out, went to Wall Street, and proceeded to screw up the world.

Which brings me to . . . fuckin’ SLAYER.

This band headlined a near perfect triple bill of thrash metal awesomeness at the Wilma in Missoula last night, and I am still feeling ecstatic. I don’t care what anyone says. SLAYER is as iconic and important as any band America has ever produced. They’ve been sticking to their guns for 30+ years (their first record, Show No Mercy, was released in 1983). One of the original “Big Four” thrash metal bands — the name given to the pioneers of the genre, where they are joined by Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax (who also delivered the goods last night) — they’ve never had gigantic commercial success, yet everyone has heard of them. You either get what they do or you don’t. And if you don’t, they are probably terrifying to you. Which meant everything to a bunch of dorks who grew up in 80s Montana hating the world we were being presented. Metal was my tribe well into my twenties, until the 90s made it something else and I fell away. Watching the love that people expressed last night, for one of my era’s bands, made me miss loving anything so much as I loved music back before I got bitter and hateful. SLAYER, and Death Angel and Anthrax for that matter, washed all that away for several gleeful hours last night.

A few points I’ll close with:

  • There was quite a bit of security last night, but I suspect the Wilma is populated by more fight-starting meatheads at any given Fly Fishing Film Festival event than at the show last night.
  • I shared more smiles and grins with random, unknown people last night than at any event I’ve attended in recent memory. The kindred spirit among metalheads was alive and well in Missoula, and it made me proud.
  • There was one guy in the next aisle, his entire body just full of energy, on the front of his toes, a big smile on his face, his eyes lit up . . . he was in a state of joyous ecstasy that can’t be faked. I wish I’d photographed him.
  • Nothing in the limp world of “peaceful” music approaches the catharsis found in the raging environs of a metal show. I gleefully screamed, “I reject this fuckin’ race, I despise this fuckin’ place!” over and over with Tom Araya and a couple thousand other people and I smiled all the way and feel happy today because of it. Go figure.
  • Even the music played over the PA before and between bands was everything that made me love music in the first place. Maiden. Priest. Dio. AC/DC. Pure magic.

I could go on, but if you’ve stuck around you get the point. I loved it. Here’s a shitty cell phone picture taken from my seat front and center of the balcony. The Wilma posted some fantastic ones of their own. Dig those HERE.

I feel good today.

But I’m pretty sure it won’t last.


Homecoming: New Pete Fromm

I often feel a little weird sharing articles I wrote that “go live” online. It feels a little too, “Hey, look at me!” for my tastes. But not this time, damn it. Pete Fromm became one of my favorite writers way back when I first read Indian Creek Chronicles, and he deserves to be read and enjoyed by everybody. His new book, The Names of the Stars, is newly released, and I have a review in this week’s Independent. Here is an excerpt:

The main action in Stars revolves around Fromm’s return to the wilderness —  this time the Bob Marshall — in the spring of 2004 to babysit another batch of fish eggs. Unlike his previous experience, it’s only for a month, and Fromm is no longer a footloose young man. He’s pushing middle-age, is married and has two young sons. When he is first offered the job, he hopes to bring his sons out into the wilds with him, despite the Bob having the highest concentration of grizzly bears anywhere in the lower 48 states. Issues of liability and Forest Service bureaucracy prevent Fromm from taking them and he nearly decides not to go.

Check out the review HERE. I enjoyed the book very much. Definitely one of my favorite reads of the year.


Fromm reading at S&Co, Sept. 2014
Fromm reading at S&Co, Sept. 2014

One-Sentence Journal, Week Seventy

Haven’t done one of these since April. I’m trying to do better.

  1. 10/02/2016:  Some sun, some clouds, and much-needed quiet in company better than my own.
  2. 10/03/2016:  No hint of sunrise on the horizon for the 5:30 AM drive into yoga, when it seems that just a week or two ago the same trip was one made in the most glorious of golden light.
  3. 10/04/2016:  Full darkness of evening and the surrounding fields burst to life with the cries of at least a half-dozen prairie wolves, a song, experienced from my front porch, that moves me nearly to tears.
  4. 10/05/2016:  Lunch time: a cacophony of activity at the yard and bird feeders, the rooster in full voice a block or two away, and, against a puffy, gunmetal sky, three Vs of geese honking by overhead.
  5. 10/06/2016: On a power pole near the old mill at twilight an owl perches in silhouette, head thrust forward like a gargoyle, its entire body a twitch away from destruction.
  6. 10/07/2016:  Wherever I’ve gone, these last few days, I await my return.
  7. 10/08/2016:  A long day of intermittent rain and loneliness, then acute social anxiety, lead to a hasty retreat from evening plans to home and a solo late night iMac screening of The Legend of Tarzan.