One-Sentence Journal, Weeks Eighty-Five — Eighty-Nine

  1. 03/05/2017:  For every hour that seems to pass in a minute, there are four — like those this afternoon — that last an eternity.
  2. 03/06/2017:  Watching this year’s favorite bird, the Oregon Junco (in the Trunco) hop, skip, and jump across the snow, prospecting for seeds on the crust below my feeders.
  3. 03/07/2017:  Leaving the house in the morning with only $1 and no packed lunch, I wondered how the day would play out . . . and then the universe provided a surprise gift card for coffee and cookies, then a soda, then pizza for lunch, elk meat nachos in the evening, and finally late dinner and drinks bestowed on me by a generous employer.
  4. 03/08/2017:  Up from little sleep in the earliest light of morning, no glasses, no contacts, I can see fresh snow has been covering the trees, my porch, and my walkway, but the street out front — dark, gray, and wet — with its irregular banks of snow, looks instead like a cold river.
  5. 03/09/2017:  It’s just fancy rain that looks like snow that falls all day and  makes everything a sock soaking mush.
  6. 03/10/2017:  The verdict on Howard’s Pizza is that while being a satisfactory option for simple dining, it’s no lateral move replacement for my beloved, much-missed Tower Pizza.
  7. 03/11/2017:  The beginning of the day was warm and sunny, and for the first time I think I began to feel that eagerness for spring.
  8. 03/12/2017:  Up half the night with a cough, today was one of lethargy and  distinct disinterest in much interaction at all with anything other than a cool breeze on my face.
  9. 03/13/2017:  It would be a lot easier to stifle my morning soda addiction if there weren’t so much compelling, passive aggressive melodrama going on every day among the employees of my usual stopping place.
  10. 03/14/2017:  A single hen in the yard yesterday and roosters crowing somewhere in the park at sunrise today is a welcome herald of, hopefully, resumed regular yard visitations from the neighborhood flock.
  11. 03/15/2017:  “One good thing about daylight savings time is that the time on the stove is correct again!” is just one example of the never-ending cavalcade of laughs around here.
  12. 03/16/2017:  When the PBR plans dinner, one ends up having frozen pizza from the convenience store more often than not.
  13. 03/17/2017:  Gates open at Council Grove and the binoculars reveal that mama owl is back and hunkered down in her nest inside the big hollow snag.
  14. 03/18/2017:  A saunter through a little mud and across a little ice to the banks of a big, swollen brown river, with a light sprinkle of rain and mist against the hillsides to make things even lovelier.
  15. 03/19/2017:  Is that the beautiful song of the Western Meadowlark, Montana’s state bird, that I hear these two days in a row now in the fields nearby?
  16. 03/26/2017:  Kid hits culvert and is bucked off quad-runner which promptly rolls over him; before I can inquire as to his alright-ness, he gets up, clutches at his ribs, then mounts back up and takes off again.
  17. 03/27/2017:  Finally made it back to yoga class after being under the weather for over a week, and getting my ass handed to me never felt better.
  18. 03/28/2017:  Tundra swans in the neighborhood; a dozen-plus glide across the sky.
  19. 03/29/2017:  So strange those first moments of spring when I emerge from windowless indoors expecting anticipated darkness, only to find daylight holding strong.
  20. 03/30/2017:  Empire building rests on deadlines of many small projects and I’ve let several pile up on me.
  21. 03/31/2017:  It’s criminal how easily the concept of “Pay Day Pizza” was sold to me.
  22. 04/01/2017:  Turns out the strange bird lurking about the yard lately is a chukar.
  23. 04/02/2017:  I made delicious BBQ chicken pizza for the first time in years, and damn it if I won’t be hard-pressed to want to make it again tomorrow.
  24. 04/03/2017:  Driving storm covers the yard and bird feeders with snow that disappears just as quickly with the return of the sun, which arrives with two male/female pairs of evening grosbeaks, the first I’ve seen this year.
  25. 04/04/2017:  Fifty years old, old, old today.
  26. 04/05/2017:  4 AM on the front porch, no avian clamor from the trees, a faint whiff of skunk on the air, and a single rooster crows way off in the distance.
  27. 04/06/2017:  Thursdays are way better when they are my Friday.
  28. 04/07/2017:  So many people out on the streets downtown for First Friday, which I love, even though I just can’t bring myself to be out among them.
  29. 04/08/2017:  Started the day with four miles or so up the Rattlesnake, which was still pretty saturated after a deluge or rain the night before, and the highlight — besides the joy of just being out — was a long moment spent watching an American dipper playing midstream on a rock from a perch on a fallen log at, arguably, my favorite spot creekside.

One-Sentence Journal, Weeks Eighty-Two, Eighty-Three, and Eighty-Four

  1. 02/12/2017:  I thought I’d seen them a couple times recently, but this morning was the first confirmed sighting — and sounding — of red-winged blackbirds in my yard since last fall.
  2. 02/13/2017:  Dark gray sky in the morning and the rolling landscape of Grass Valley, the snowy hills shaped by wind, thaw, and re-freezing, actually looks like the still image of a restless ocean.
  3. 02/14/2017:  For once the delicious cooking smell in the neighborhood as I arrived home after dark was emanating from my house, courtesy of a crock pot that had been slowly about its business all day.
  4. 02/15/2017:  I’m certain the pristine condition of my shirts at the end of the day lately has more to do with my beard serving as catch-all than it does any graduation to civilized eating on my part.
  5. 02/16/2017:  The liberal moneyed class certainly keeps much of what I care about alive with their donations, but being in their presence — particularly large gatherings of them — trips most of my cultural alarms, and I’m at ease neither in their company nor in the company of my thoughts about them.
  6. 02/17/2017:  A couple hours spent with writer/biologist Doug Chadwick and I’m reminded all over again that I totally missed my calling.
  7. 02/18/2017:  Lamenting the current closure of my river stomping grounds, I nearly miss seeing a coyote out in the field if not for the quick eyes of a reliable companion in the passenger’s seat, and a quick u-turn saves the day.
  8. 02/19/2017:  Half a century of hard-earned wisdom and dignity, yet a well-recited fart story remains capable of nearly putting me to the floor in laughter.
  9. 02/20/2017:  An American Kestrel perches on a power line and tears bloody strips from the mouse dangling from its talons.
  10. 02/21/2017:  A day trip to the state capital to join the most righteous of unruly mobs, an event enjoyed, camera in hand, with an ear-to-ear grin.
  11. 02/22/2017:  Always seeming to be in one of only about three or four different places that comprise my world these days, I daydream about tossing a leather bag onto a motel bed, crossing a strange room to a window, and looking out onto an unfamiliar vista.
  12. 02/23/2017:  Hope may spring eternal, but pessimism rolls along like a  juggernaut.
  13. 02/24/2017:  One of those nights, at the deep-in-the-dark hour of 9:00 PM, where I nearly fall asleep in the time it takes my brain to send my hand something meaningful to write.
  14. 02/25/2017:  A day may come when reading a book where characters indulge at the table doesn’t inspire me to similar, ill-advised activity … but that day wasn’t today.
  15. 02/26/2017:  There are worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than hanging out in a bookstore.
  16. 02/27/2017:  In a miscalculation of epic proportions, I learned that yesterday was the final opportunity to feast at Tower Pizza, my favorite local pizza joint since I was a child, and I missed it.
  17. 02/28/2017:  I scanned the writing I’ve been doing the last couple days for inspiration to something pithy and meaningful, and this is what I came up with.
  18. 03/01/2017:  I’m pretty certain the thickness of one’s skin is directly proportional to the amount of rest one has acquired recently.
  19. 03/02/2017:  Two old friends with guitars in hand and really loud amplifiers, in a room together for no reason other than to drink a couple beers and write some rock n’ roll songs.
  20. 03/03/2017:  The things the body is able to produce and purge without slaying the host never cease to amaze me.
  21. 03/04/2017:  Snow, slush, water, mud, and pine needles were all welcome surfaces my feet sauntered across this afternoon, and my heart, lungs, and spirit cheered them on with abandon.

One-Sentence Journal, Weeks Eighty and Eighty-One

  1. 01/29/2017:  Awake early in the blackest of moods — why bother, nothing matters, etc. — only to be cheered by the multitudes of birds in the sunlight outside my window, and I’m reminded just what things truly are worth getting bloodied, emotionally or literally, for.
  2. 01/30/2017:  “Yeah,” the baked dude on the phone said, “if I write a triple-x rated sex book will you sell it?” and I said, “Man, if you write it first, I’ll see what I can do,” and he said, “Wow, alright . . . but I have to write it first?”
  3. 01/31/2017:  More wind, more ice, more snow, more fresh birdy little tracks zigzagging my yard.
  4. 02/01/2017:  On a bluebird morning I choose slow over fast to get where I am going and I’m rewarded with a view of the local bison herd up close to the fence; round backs covered with snow and frost, breath clouds of steam in the sunlight, and two young bulls circle and lunge at each other in a game of playful sparring.
  5. 02/02/2017:  A welcome side effect to taking on a few hours a week under the firm and frequent lash of an actual employer is the renewed joy of a couple days off.
  6. 02/03/2017:  Sun-breaking-through-the-clouds-moment while watching a short film featuring the iconic surfer and yogi Gerry Lopez — the first surfer I ever heard of on account of his role as Subotai in the original Conan the Barbarian — when he says, “Yoga comes into people’s lives exactly when it’s supposed to.”
  7. 02/04/2017:  I could happily close out my years living on a meager income in a hut somewhere in Mexico, eating tortillas and corn and beans and firing angry diatribes about the evils of gratuitous capitalism out into the world . . . if I could only find someone to pay me to do it.
  8. 02/05/2017:  Warming weather here in the valley has the snow on retreat, so I daydream of the North just three hours’ drive yonder where falling snow is still being measured in feet.
  9. 02/06/2017:  I was awake and energetic in the early hours before yoga class but after, in the wake of a particularly exhausting hour, it was all I could do to crawl back to my studio, strip off my soaked clothes, and collapse into my chair in front of the fan and doze for another hour.
  10. 02/07/2017:  A bonanza of books and other treasures in the mail today via friends stretching from Arizona to Oregon to Alaska reminds me how much gratitude I am actually capable of.
  11. 02/08/2017:  Wet snow falls on mushy roads; reports of traffic mayhem in all directions; a bearded guy with a tow truck pulls a gigantic SUV out of the ditch well off the road on a sharp sloping curve; and emergency vehicles scramble to points all across the valley, all in one afternoon’s drive home.
  12. 02/09/2017:  Night driving at an hour far later than normal through rain and huge lakes of slush and meltwater, my headlights barely able to push through thick patches of mist that gather about hood high on my truck.
  13. 02/10/2017:  I may try and spend a little more time in the company of wine but no way I’m turning my back on delicious beer.
  14. 02/11/2017:  The mind that collapses beneath the weather will go to some deep, dark places.


One-Sentence Journal, Weeks Seventy-Eight and Seventy-Nine

  1. 01/15/2017:  Ah, the season of rough hands and split open fingertips rolls on.
  2. 01/16/2017:  A deer stands broadside to the nearest edge of the road on my way home in the dark, and I have half a mind to stop, back up, and demand to know exactly WTF she is thinking.
  3. 01/17/2017:  A sixty minute span of awful food choices following 48 hours of good and now my body, delivering torments in waves of clenching and nausea, says, “Oh no, death would be too easy for you, lardass….”
  4. 01/18/2017:  I admire the three-years-and-counting commitment the neighbor’s dog has made to going apeshit with barking whenever she sees me arrive home, as if I were the first man she’s ever seen.
  5. 01/19/2017:  At what felt like nearly 40°, today saw the arrival of a slush-making heat wave.
  6. 01/20/2017:  Mist rises from the fields as I drive home in the waning light before nighttime and an owl appears out of the gloom to land atop a power pole.
  7. 01/21/2017:  Reviewing my various social media feeds that are blowing up with images from womens’ marches all over the country, I’m disappointed I didn’t figure out a way to get to Helena and back to part of it here … but I am reminded that this is only the beginning.
  8. 01/22/2017:  I am a fat, barely employable, middle-aged Native guy with a chip on his shoulder and no health insurance, living below the poverty line with huge love for much and many, and you can believe I have a stake in this.
  9. 01/23/2017:  I have never been strung out on a particular style or brand of beer before, but two nights in a row now without any Haybag Hefeweizen from Philipsburg Brewing Company and I find myself uncertain that I will survive the night, or find a reason to even want to.
  10. 01/24/2017:  A benefit of oversleeping and missing my first typical hour in darkness is that instead I was at my kitchen window making coffee at the first hints of silver light to the east, before the assault of reds and oranges, when the moving clouds were like the outlines of the states on a map, and the crescent-shaped moon hung brightly in the sky.
  11. 01/25/2017:  If there is anything to enjoy these few days, it’s the sight of federal agencies run by smart people rising up to oppose the will of our newly-inaugurated Commander in Lunacy.
  12. 01/26/2017:  As a person who has never struck anyone in anger, I find the desire to lash out in violent protest — and the wish to see a number of specific people dragged through the streets — most disturbing.
  13. 01/27/2016:  Never underestimate the emotional healing powers of a styrofoam tray heaped with cheap Chinese takeout.
  14. 01/28/2017:  To call the emotions of the past week anything other than despair would be an understatement.

One-Sentence Journal, Week Seventy-Seven

The “still not tired of winter” edition.

  1. 01/08/2017:  The eery skeleton of the old mill where my dad worked for 40+ years looks post-apocalyptic viewed during blizzard-like conditions, in the dark, windshield cloudy and coated with fragments of ice at its outer edges, snow falling through my high beams as I coast to a halt at the stop sign facing the old guard shack.
  2. 01/09/2017:  Arrived home in late evening, moonlight sparkling on snow sculpted by wind, then stood out under the stars for many deep breaths after filling the bird feeders by porch light.
  3. 01/10/2017:  File with favorite sounds of winter: the rattling clatter and rhythmic clang, like sleigh bells, of passing tires wrapped in chains.
  4. 01/11/2017:  I wish the adorable little Hungarian partridges who hang out and burrow through the snow under my bird feeders would understand they don’t need to panic and scramble madly away every time I open the front door, because I love having them and they are more than welcome.
  5. 01/12/2017:  By nightfall, an afternoon spent chewing up and swallowing words before they can wreak havoc tends to leave one thirsty, weary, and a little stomach upset.
  6. 01/13/2017:  An afternoon so sunny the snow reflects the blue of the cloudless sky, and the pieces of frost that trickle free of the treetops float and sparkle in the air so that the saunter up my front walkway is like a stroll through clouds of glitter.
  7. 01/14/2017:  Two young girls on a tobaggon are dragged madly down the snowy street by a pair of gangly, rambunctious dogs with wild grins on their faces.