Tuesday, February 11, 2014

a million things to be: portraits 5/52

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"Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are..."

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

If you lived here, there are things you would know


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You'd know that when the February air
gets cold enough, much

much colder than zero, a wide halo
of crystals forms around the sun

glistening like a muted rainbow.  The sky, too
pales on the coldest days, thins

out into a breakable boneblue.
The buses don't run, fuel thickens

in the lines, but the secretary calls each
family to assure us that the school day

will proceed.  You'd know the morning voices
of the married couple who own the local AM

radio station.  Her laughing voice tries 
to steer him from politics, and she never forgets

a celebrity's birthday.  If you lived here
you'd know that the sound of a line of cattle

shuffling across a frozen white field 
is like the sound of running water,

a warm sound that makes you stop
in momentary confusion.


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You'd know the clipped sound of  axe blade
splitting a log of lodgepole,

the precise heft of a perfect
downward swing as you fill

the woodbox.  Or the fitting of burls
and knots together

like puzzle pieces in the body of the stove
to make it burn tight and hot.  You'd fight

frozen water lines only to a point
because by now you know that sometimes

it is just too goddamn cold to thaw.
On your morning commute, you'd watch

through your cracked windshield, 
the etched ridgeline of the Pioneer Mountains 

grow rosy with morning and know that,
for a moment,

you are peeking into some other 
wild and desolate world.
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Friday, January 31, 2014

a week in the desert - portraits 4/52

They love having bare legs in January.  photo 6e93d535-6e44-4859-9e1c-68655d34a7ab_zps84cc2a8b.jpg

                           *                                              *                                             *
And climbing trees in parking lots.  Always.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

outtakes, portraits 3/52

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Sometimes the outtakes tell the story best.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

new year: portraits 1/52

Once in awhile I get lucky behind my camera, and I take a picture of one of my girls that really captures some part of who she is.  I'm planning to post weekly portraits of each of them here.  
Fearless sledder.

Skeptical sledder.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sorting cows on Christmas

Later, after the sky has changed
from silver 
with a rim of pink
lacing the Ruby Mountains

to a pale airy blue,
we shuffle from pajamas
into jeans and carhartts
and leave the warmth 


of the wood stove for the cold
bluegold of the day.  We sort
the three oldest calves 

into a new pen, leave them
with a bit of grain to ease
the transition.  They watch us

from behind long frosted lashes,
as we leave them 
to their new home.


For me, the day that follows
Christmas morning has never looked
quite like this.  As a child

my family went skiing after presents,
or my sister and i began to pack
for our cross-country flight

the next morning to visit our dad.
I still feel somewhat unaccustomed to
the life of a farmer, the serious

need of the animals waiting for you.
The responsibility of taking 
good care.  I am even less prepared

for my own willingness to trade in
my perceptions of what a perfect holiday
should look like, to walk through cold

sunny fields to do the work of a rancher
on Christmas.  But I am willing, and I 
continue to be surprised by my ability

to stretch 
and become someone
I never knew I could be. 
This  year I was very aware
of the fluidity of tradition.  
Most of our Christmas storage bins

stayed unopened in the basement.
Instead, simplicity.  Fewer decorations,
few gifts, less stuff.  More time


and space for the meaningful
bits of our days, the elemental.
Wood for warmth, candles for light,
meals grown and raised
entirely on our own land.

And I keep waiting for the let down,
the post-holiday low after 
so much anticipation.

But I'm starting to realize
it's not coming this year.
That I am ready to move forward

into the new year, into the heart 
of winter, with a new kind of trust
in the rightness of my days.

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