The hands that hold the ghost that holds the fitted sheet that is so hard to fold.
One year turns into another.
sounds by SHM and DBP
Photos taken by DBP
Growing up, I had a print in my bedroom:
As it turns out, this print comes from marginalia from a poem by Jack Spicer:
A white rabbit absolutely outlined in whiteness upon a black background
We can say or think about it is it stays.
In a closet we wear like a ring on our fingers
Ghost of them
Most of what we knew
Here is the note:
Rabbits do not know what they are. Ghosts are very similar.
They are frightened and do not know what they are,
but they can go where rabbits cannot. All the way to the heart.
I have become rather fascinated with this little poem. And it may be the fodder for a new body of work. I am embroidering rabbits, thinking about ghosts. Playing music on harmonium and flute for both creatures.
I have been thinking a lot about waiting. And, I found this image from years ago. I am so quickly impatient. But what about dwelling in the pause, savoring it. Waiting offers unexpected space for meaning to be held or unfolded that there was not otherwise time for. Mr. Rogers sings this delightful song about finding something to do. Anyways, in the meantime, I am trying to find the possibility in pausing and thinking about making things that have breaths and openings.
Studio vibes-- collections and little bits and pieces, little plants, little stitches.
I have been writing how-to poems. I think I am trying to transform prescribed or imposed answers into impossibly exquisite questions.
I have been playing the flute again, too. I think I am trying to find another kind of voice than words.
And, the mountains, they have been covering themselves in a blanket of snow. I think they are trying to protect their peaks with crystals.
The summer is manic up here: the constant sun, the possibility of wild adventure. And, as the summer months open up past solstice, bounty burgeons on the surface: spawning salmon, inky tundra blueberries. There is almost no coaxing me inside, except for rain.
And so, my art studio has been rather empty. I've had my boots on and my bearspray handy rather than my apron on and my needle in hand.
I spent the summer collecting a wide array of massive vegetables when not roaming vertically up mountainbacks:
And when I did finally step inside, I spent my time fermenting and dehydrating, creating stores, putting bounty away.
I have been keeping a kitchen rather than a studio. But now as the cold comes in, the studio offers up refuge from the cold, a quiet place for restoring after such intensity.
So, I have the intention for Open Wilds audio to resume with an intentional--though not strict-- frequency.
I'm getting back in it.
The weather has been volatile: hail, rainbows, riotous winds, and profoundly gorgeous sun-- all 19+ hours of it. One thing I have learned is that up here, the weatherman is definitely not to be trusted. There is a kind of recognition in the exquisite extremes, and an acceptance when caught in them. I find relief somehow in the opportunity to just be in a constant state unpredictability. Rain or sun? Valley or peak? Paved road or no trail at all? All of these could be just around the corner. And, somehow it feels just right for the moments to unfold, just as they are without knowing exactly what is next. It seems to me that this would only be possible in such a wild place, too powerful to be domesticated by human hands. Yet, in this unpredictability I have found a steadiness in myself, and a sense of place, which is perhaps a sense of home.
words, manipulated flute by SHM; hailstorm in Denali by nature
photos 1, 2, 5 by SHM; photos 3 & 4 by DBP
Buds are budding everywhere. In these impossibly long days. And, I am sucked into reading the stories of these plants that suddenly make their presence known after the melting of the snow. I have gathered --as honorarbly as I know how-- devil's club buds and fireweed shoots, and wintered Labrador tea. The world seems bursting with possibility.
I have been sharing this place and its bounty with others, and somehow it feels as if I am only just beginning to find this place.
All parts by SHM.
Pictures by SHM, and one by DBP, one by BK
Dusk comes so late now that days seem luxurious, to be sprawled into with every limb. All kinds of creatures are coming out of their lairs to see the sun. Myself included. Making has felt more like a practice of honoring the seasonal transition-- fermenting vegetables, cleaning, starting seeds, reading and writing in public. I had someone ask "Oh, are you writing poetry?" At first I wasn't sure how to answer because I never think of my text like a poem on a page. But it seemed easiest to just say "uh-huh" and close my notebook, feeling suddenly shy that they might read.
And the weeks have been full of all sorts of the unexpected. Bears climbing trees. Dressing 11 chickens as a part of a class that I was helping to facilitate. Neighborhood children with chalk and a whole street as a canvas. It feels like everyone is getting ready for something, and forgetting to sleep.
flute and text by SHM, with found sound
photos by SHM
Sometimes I can almost feel the spinning of what is beneath my feet. The uncanny sensation of being in movement even when still. Without need for string or rope, just spinning in the place where I am.
New sounds, all layers of SHM, some found sound from Hawaii, some experimenting with flute.
photos by SHM
Cold has arrived in the most crisp and magical way: frosted ferns on morning glass, frozen ponds for skating, moose eating snow in the front yard at two in the morning. The cold beckons us to come outside into the crisp, fresh air. But, after awhile, the warmth of a hearth and steaming mug of something delicious call us back inside. Here, cozy in practical socks, there is quieted time for rooted dreams: vivid (re)collection of whole possible worlds.
It has been some time since I have posted about the Northern adventures I am having. Life is full and rich, and sometimes just being in it feels like the only thing one can do.
Times now feel uncertain, with the swirling of change. One thing does feel certain, though: the place where I am now is full of magic. This is a powerful place where the land is abundant, and the community in which I make my path is diverse, vibrant. And, no matter what political persuasion it seems that folks here respect the environment that surrounds us, and have deep care for it.
I had the opportunity to perform recently at Babefest III held in Fairbanks-- an event celebrating . The piece 'Wolf Dreams' is available for download on Bandcamp. As a cisgender female, this work is about the process of finding the complexity of one's own identity and power. Finding the support for this process is something very much on my mind as uncertainty and vitriol swirl.
An audience member happened to film my performance.
Here are those 5 minute films (part 1, 2, 3).
Termination dust has caps the mountain peaks in the Chugach. And, the clouds warm with dusky alpenglow pink in the morning and the evening. The landscape transforms day to day, and the sense of awe at being in this most amazing place does not fade. Each moment opens up some other color or sensibility, nothing feels expected.
I performed a simple piece for harmonium, guitar, 35mm slides and mason jar the other day. Here is that soundwork.
The seasons are already starting to turn. Almost overnight leaves changed from verdant green to bright, vibrant yellow. There is talk of termination dust soon capping the Chugach. In the meantime, I am acquiring more massive vegetables from the farmer's market, scaling heights that take my breath away, exploring (with) abandon, and preparing for things to come. I am practicing finding just enough in what unfolds.
The light is profoundly radiant, and everything is bursting huge.
Two dollar bunches of kale are big enough to use for weeks. Moose wander in the neighborhood tearing down the tender shoots of trees profuse with growth.
Even still, each day holds about five minutes less daylight than the day before. So, in the midst of the abundance, one cannot help but feel the drive to store for a coming time that is darker, and scarcer.