the Light of August

the light today. the light felt right. there was something in the quality of the light. something magic in the light which gave the birds, the mountains, the green fishing boats heading home to harbor, the irises of the guests, the hanging flowers, the shopwindows a positive identifier : the green ships were aware of how perfect their green hulls flowed greenly through the reflective mountainous hemlock forests who, enjoying their participation in the scene, reflected on other stages in their growth, back before they allowed green ships to pass through their wavery watery underworld.

even the clouds seemed proudly unashamed of what blue skies they concealed. the blue skies, blissfully unaware for the moment of the infinite void of cold, soundless space only a few miles further away from them and the green ships and the hemlocks, seemed happy to engage in the harmony of light concentrated on this first day of August, 2017, albeit intermittent.

the lake was moody when the brilliant blue skies picked out patches of spruce tips and hugged their sharp branches with a golden light. I felt a ripple forming.

the red salmon. the sockeye. the mispronunciation that stuck to the history books. (sock-eye is a kind of onomatopoeia for a Coastal Salish word suk Рkegh and the italics, of course, are a translation as well of a spoken-only language into the English alphabet).

the salmon seemed content in their retirement. their dehydrated red fins waving above the surface like flags of defeat. the swimming dead. the final phase change. the home stream. the magnetic influence. the biological impulse. the nutrients in the trees. the core samples. the this and the that about the salmon on this fine day. pick a metaphor and hold onto it.

the swimming dead. these fish fortunately are close to their home channel as they phase change and take on a negligent diet. however, once the circle is met, the spawning occurs, there is nothing in them to keep them alive. they must flip and flop around until death comes by claw or talon or net. their spirit warms the hibernation chambers of a female bear up above 3,000 feet, getting her ready for the birth of her litter of cubs. their spirit rides the thermals higher than the mountain peaks with an 8 times magnified binocular vision zooming in and out of the landscape and providing the energy to swoop in for another kill to feed the young. their spirit fuels a fistfight at the fisherman’s bar over a game of shuffleboard. beer spilled everywhere.

the light made everything aware of itself to me. everything seemed confident in it being what it was. today, the water and the mountains, the movements they make… occurred to me as a correspondence. a long, slow decision making process. the light opened a window into this exchange. the light led me astray in the perfect direction, the noted observations, the new realm of seeing, the opened mind in the light of its own opening, like an iris acutely aware of its height above the buttercups yet jealous of the yellow light emanating from them as reflected indirectly in the diffuse light of the jagged clouds. the clouds held the light back and handed it out liberally to everything I set my mind to today.

ten minutes unedited

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.

I am Not Considered a Local

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.”

Chopin & Vaporized Wine

At night, alive in the room, there’s a dark blue feeling coming over me – it is here I make myself overwhelmed. Oh, my. You still haven’t shared any of your photos of Friday Harbor with the Others. You’ve yet to share enough of yourself. You still haven’t opened. Listen to Chopin and cry your lower back out of alignment. Continue reading

Summer Studio. 2016. R.I.P.

DCIM100GOPRO
My childhood bedroom converted into a recording studio by a 24 year old college grad whose apprehension about how to move forward in life stalled him from producing the truthful music abundant somewhere inside of him. This perfect-looking studio, a year removed, pains me for I did not have the hustle required to kill this space and make it work for me. Looking back, it is a solid lesson in forming habits, scheduling, and hustling your ass off if you wish to produce something worthwhile. Now, the desk is dismantled. The keyboard is gone. The blue lights on the amp head and the interface are phased off. The plants are gone. The house is sold. The books were donated. The shadows cast by me will never cast again in this room. I think the weight of this, the weight of my youth, stifled me out of creating. Luckily, there is only moving forward now.