saw the spout from afar, the sun glittering on the sea for the first time in weeks, whatever was off yesterday is erased in this drenched light, no sun for weeks, a humpback whale out in the harbor, see that spec? yes, larger than a bus. otherwise only overcast. light mist. now just light. fair light. clouds rolling in from juneau, whales underneath. a few boats. yesterday didn’t work out the way I planned. no microphones on account of whooping cough. different story. could’ve played unplugged and fought with the sounds from mainstage. navigational difficulties. directional sound. a busted up piano. cut fruit. green room wax hits. last piece of pizza. when are you playing? at the klondike, 4. we put our boots on and marched across the mud. carrying whiskey and a guitar. trim from an old hoodie duct taped as a strap. did it sound okay? are you sure? the first sunlight hit that guitar, those nylon strings shrink up and play detuned. the presence of a whale in the harbor means a pause in dredging up the small boat harbor. sunshine for all. I am having a good day. tell a joke and you’ve got em. says Jim. tell em’ a joke. we don’t need more news we need more humor. the whale breaths and leaves a rainbow in the sunshine for a moment. something like that into a microphone. punch line. the ferris wheel operator had a screw loose.
Reading and writing are considered wintertime activities. In summer, the sunlight blasts life into the hills and valleys in 18 hour concentrations, filling out all the scraggly branches with green. Wildflowers pop out of the earth like slow motion fireworks. The growing season is short. Broccoli bursts into flower. Kale does okay. Everyone has a garden or a temperature modulated greenhouse and everyone has varying success. There are awards given to the best legumes at State Fair. Produce is expensive here and comes once a week on a barge from Seattle and from somewhere else before Seattle. Bananas are browning on arrival. Avocados quite ready. So on.
Everything comes alive quick and ready in the summer. The sun is here. The sun is flooding this place with light. This is not the time for thoughtful leisure, they say. This is the time to hike and slide and jump and play and boat and fish and fill the freezer with things to eat in the dark months, the months we won’t yet mention. No one who lived here in the winter spends these sunny days reading or writing music. They are out, social, impelled by the peripheries of those forever looming dark days (haunting their mortgage) to go out and act like the foliage in these violent, swift seasons of growth.
Bonfires with homemade instruments. Shuttle buses for bushwhacking hikes up unnamed peaks. Ferry rides around the corner into the misty fjords. Biking to Canada. Watching bears behave as unpredictably as wind on the water’s surface. Big shaggy things. Alarmingly huge, even from a distance. I don’t want us to frighten each other on the trail, bear. I don’t want our heartrates to peak at the same time. I want what you want and I want to live. You are a good analogy to the natural rhythm of the people in tune with these seasons. Hibernate, binge, etc. I’ll admit I’ve never taken more naps in my life than while up here. Some somnolent daze keeps me out of more youthful energies I’ve known. Can no longer be so reckless, says the future. You are approaching 30 faster than you thought possible. I don’t know why I’m so sleepy still in this Alaskan summer. Some part of the mind is stuck idling on something nonessential, burning up energies without me taking a conscious part of this fuel transfer. What is it I am so fixated on to keep me inside?
Summer works as a boost of adrenaline only for those who know winter. It is beautiful. Snow covers everything. No tourists other than heli-skiers. You must snowshoe or ski or snowplow to work or to the bbq. Huddled over a cup of tea with the frozen whipping wind outside. This is the time to write and to read. Going on into the snowy dark to chop more kindling for a fire in the rattling cabin. A guitar near the fire. You are looking deeply into your only soul and you see it multiply and you are terrified. The winter reverses the summer light with darkness. Nearly 5 hours of sun in the dead of winter, but much less depending on the angle of the Chilkat mts. from your home. The dark is what people are most afraid of during this time. Dark night of the soul. The northern lights streak across the brightest constellations as green smoke. You wait in your cabin with your books.
“Do you live here?” a guest will ask.
“Yeah, for now.”
“Oh so where do you spend winter?”
“Not sure yet. I have not arranged an exit strategy.”
“I have misunderstood the process of making something cool as the process of making something to share.”
No. As the lady at a crafts booth told me, “You are an asshole if you don’t share your art.”
She had strewn about handmade keychains, picture frames, pastel block prints, planters.
This was 6 months ago. This is now.
I don’t know what I am doing. I am picking up equipment to record through the winter.
Here it is. Let’s go for it.
(dives into the water but makes no splashing sound)
Here it is. Let’s go for it.
(leaps back onto the bridge. runs to the garage with a sweater on).
“Here is a guy who everyone wanted to hang out with, but he did not want to hang out with very many people.”
How can this continue as such madness?
Become domesticated or share what you’ve made of your anxieties.
(with grace, if possible).
This was 10 months ago. Now I am entering music
into the S.E. Alaska State Fair songwriter competition,
though last years winner won with a song called “That’s my Mom!”
I have songs to share with you. (Mountain Lion. Profanity Peak. Northwestern Debris).
She had said, “You are an asshole if you don’t share your work.
You have no idea what kind of good it might do for someone
else. Maybe it inspires them to make art of their own. How god-damn
rewarding would that be to know you opened a stranger up
to the wonder and the joy of bringing new ideas into the world?”
Here it is. Let’s go for it.
this afternoon there was a large, evasive moth with red patterns on its wings. it was in the break room which is three doorways from the outside. I attempted to catch it and release it with a brown paper bag and a chipped pint glass… G. said, “I tried to do the same thing with a hummingbird. I kept trying to coax it outside but I was afraid I would kill it. So I left it alone and eventually it found its own way out.” I’m thinking of the moths I’ve tried to trap. There was cathedral music until it became Saturday and the secrecy enhanced itself beyond the story I meant to tell.
what I meant to say was there were choral vocals coming from the woods and I imagined them to be trees with different sexes, or microphones embedded into the heartwood of a cedar, the creekside trees fled something different, and what I still meant to say was I heard music come from the woods after reading about the elephants in the room, the elephants in the vistas, the elephants in the mason jars, intimate, extroverted, and close, too close, letting us ride this one out until a new kind of future is developed for us.
complaints haven’t gotten me anywhere in three years. what in the hell would I do with lakeside erosion control.
Two bats flew together over me in the garage as I spilled whiskey onto the carpet. This grey and thin carpet with the duct tape cross hatched over the burn holes from fallen hookah coals. One fell into my shoe once and burned its way out. “You make real friends quickly.” Settled into the self with a foxtrot. Finding a dried up pine needle in between my letters and numbers on my keyboard.
A big wooden table spreading farther than my arms can stretch if I were to put my chest and the left side of my face onto the middle somewhere, sits (wobbling without certainty) in front of the open screenless window. Moths come in and bang themselves against the light bulb. A bulb on a geometric stand with no lampshade. A bright murderer.