Montana Folk Festival in Butte, America

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I have written of my love for Butte a few times. Granted, I do not live there, but every time I drive over the winding passes to go there, I am delighted by the sheer amount of history. I am always tempted to buy a historic property and fix it up or somehow insert myself into Butte’s thread of history.

Butte has been hosting the Montana Folk Festival for quite a few years now. It was my second year going, and I was excited. I drove Ella’s coworker there in the trusty Subaru, and we had both packed rain jackets and beer. Butte has no open container law, a rarity these days. Kristin and Jon were taking their time getting back from Bozeman, so I met up with some of Ella’s other coworkers. It rained, hailed, and was windy on and off all day, but it didn’t dampen the good feelings that everybody had that day, even if we were all covered in specks of mud and cowering from hail hiding behind buildings. Montana weather is notorious for being mercurial and you must simply take it in stride.

The Folk Festival is 100% free, but volunteers walk around with donation buckets. You can put in as much or as little as you like. I put in $20, because the event is so well put together. We got to see incredible artists from all over- deep from the mountains of Kentucky, from as far as Brazil and Afghanistan, all there to do one thing: make music and share it with us in an old mining town.

We stayed very late. I was very tired when it came time to drive home, but satiated with sound and experiences. Although I am not sure where I will be next summer it would be wonderful to be back for the Festival, mud or rain or sunshine.

I hope you enjoy some of these frames- my camera actually is no longer functioning, and this was one of the last rolls of film it processed correctly without overlapping frames or not taking any images at all. I’ve since had to retire the poor workhorse of a Minolta, rest in peace dear little machine.

A hike near Hveragerði

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I took multiple rolls of film on this hike. It was impossible not to- the whole hike had such a varying degree of landscapes, lighting, and weather patterns. It was cloudy, then sunny, than rainy, then windy- or a mix of various parts of those. Emily and I hiked with our swimsuits packed, excited to see the naturally heated creek that gushed down the valley.

The soil on the hike varied in color, from burnt orange to hues of purple, deep grey, blue, and brown. I couldn’t put my camera down. I regretted not bringing my DSLR, but if I had I would have taken hundreds of images rather than less than 100 on film. Pacing myself, I tried to just revel in the landscape and in how lucky we were to be there. I was thankful Emily had driven us this far, because it was worth it. I was glad the weather held until almost the end of our day.

We found pits in the earth that gushed steam and gurgled water. We did not dare get too close to the edge of these pits, as the soil or earth might have been weakened. We saw few people- one group graciously pointed us to a hidden waterfall as they walked away from it. Everybody respected the fact that this was a place of extreme solitude and beauty. Emily and I wished we had a tent so we could just camp in a meadow. Such a beautiful place deserved more than a day of our attention, but sadly that’s all we could give it.

New Home

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Some frames of a short trip I took in the beginning of July to visit Victoria.

Victoria was gorgeous. Water taxis that looked like something out of Pixar ferried people around the harbor, oyster bars abounded, and forest fires nearby created eerie pink skies.

This will be my new home in exactly 2 weeks.

Musical palaver

19976521274_aa4551478f_b 20411117880_460930ed56_b 20411182350_4b561ae2e9_b 20414452689_f0e666694b_b 20572761906_7803a6dc31_b 20572882566_c5fa5bd558_b 20592121582_926d53295b_b 20592123412_fb45c1d9af_b 20605693261_1047bc6f6d_b 20605718121_9761ca738a_bIt was midnight on a Friday. Everett, Mary, and Ella were just about done setting up stands and plugging in amps. Chelsea and I voiced the question about the Logan’s large cardboard head and looked at one another: he needed to be there in whatever way was possible.

We literally sprinted out of Jester’s Bar and ran to the Subaru. “I bet it’ll take us…11 minutes”. We drove quickly to the garage, Chelsea fishing the large and almost absurd face out of the darkness. We drove, almost-three of us, to the bar, making it in 9 minutes there and back. Chelsea ran in from the dark, rain-covered streets, holding Logan’s cardboard, glaring face, which was then propped up in front of Ella’s keyboard. I cannot put into words how absurd it looked to have a giant face leering from the stage, but it also felt right having whatever version of the bassist there. Even if his face may have toppled over in the midst of playing a cover of Neil Young’s “Helpless” (symbolism?). If Surrealists ever had concerts in Montana dive bars, theirs would look somewhat similar.

The band was listed as Detta and the .45’s but there was a silently acknowledged truth among the artists that it was not truly Detta, as the bassist, whose enormous face on cardboard greeted all, was not in the country- not even in the continent. His face would have to do. Regardless, this new hybrid band played ferociously, with wonderful energy flowing from the stage. Everybody was in a good mood, joined together for what may be the last musical get together for some time. We reveled in our collective awareness of the beauty of the brief hour that music united us all, as it does for people everywhere. It was tinged on the edges with sadness and nostalgia but nonetheless was overwhelmingly gorgeous.

I haven’t posted in almost two months and part of it has been an avoidance of the reality- that soon I shall depart my weird, small, sometimes awful sometimes wondrous small town. Destined for the Pacific Northwest, to build a new life on Vancouver Island, I am saturated to the fullest extent with hope, excitement, and nervousness. However, if endings are as beautiful as these, there are worse things. We will all palaver again soon enough.

As of late

The most charming, murderous cat is currently in my care. His name is Max, and he’s quite the creature. He shows affection by bringing me dead baby bunnies or leaving them for me in odd places. Sometimes I only find feet or other bits, and I have to clean up the blood in the carpet. Max sees nothing wrong with his morbid surprises, and while he is proud of himself and very handsome, I do think that his blood lust could be quieted if he wore a bell.

Max and I tend the garden every morning before it gets too hot. He sits on the plants I need to water and meows plaintively. I try to water the flora with one hand and pet him with the other, and I gently scold him as he sits on his owner’s naturalia. He gives me a look with his pale green eyes that says “Call the cops. I don’t give a fuck”, and therein certifies that he is the quintessential cat.

My days consist of caring for this garden, going for long swims, and drinking lots of coffee. I am trying to get back into writing and I delete most of what I write, which I know I shouldn’t do. I bake and cook and do the dishes, listening to Neil Young and lots of Fleetwood Mac. It is a Fleetwood Mac summer, and if you ask me why I won’t have a proper explanation, it just is.

Getting back into swimming feels incredible, and with every lap and breath I feel myself returning to my partially water-centric self. I am at heart a swimmer, a lover of bodies of water, and a participant in the currents and tides that I find. My favorite places on earth have rivers, streams, oceans. I have little fear of drowning and find the smell of chlorine alluring. and there is a meditative, problem-solving, peace that I achieve while doing laps that is poetic, more than I can express in words.

I went to a baseball game this week, where we drank overpriced beer, bemoaned our local team’s dismal loss, and overall enjoyed the summer evening as it cooled down. Local baseball games are saturated with Americana in the most delightful ways, and baseball is always a great way to spend an evening.

Tonight is the women’s World Cup game, USA vs. China, and I will be watching it with with enthusiasm. Watching high-caliber female athletes kick ass always feels awesome, and if America can pull this off, it would be glorious! I will not claim to be a die-hard fan of soccer but the stamina and strategy and kinship and borderline telekinesis the players have with one another are addicting to watch.

I hope summer or winter or whatever season it is where you are is wonderful. I hope you feel contentment. I mean to do a post on why I prefer contentment over happiness…regardless, may you have good warm fuzziness in your life and be doing something or multiple worthwhile things. Worthwhile is subjective so if it’s sitting on your couch for 14 hours, go for it.

Tschüß folks!

Mourning for the possibilities

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My mind is too restless, so I feed it books and swim laps at the pool and tend to gardens, hoping to quiet it for a moment.

I’m in the midst of reading the Dark Tower series and it’s like my mind is a thinny- omnipresent, noisy, slowly overwhelming everything.

Image credit/sources (sorry for the unknown ones, I hate not giving credit where credit is due): Valentino Haute Couture 2014/Unknown/Morris Graves- Bird Singing in the Moonlight/Unknown/Unknown/Unknown/Unknown/Twin Peaks/The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 16th century Gothic Arch/Unknown/Front panels of Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights triptych