Craig and I weathered the weather, rain, hail, sun and wind together for a week. He furiously making art and me thinking about making. The studios did nearly grind to a halt for 36 hours of 45 mph winds blowing our brains out. The few birds we saw flying were low and taking cover to the backs of trees. The only thing to defy the constant heavy hand of wind bending everything to the east was the white tailed deer. Drawn to the tender leaves of fallen branches a few wandered into the neighbors yard in the afternoon. Earlier Craig and I speculated about animals hunkering down to wait out the storm but we were proven wrong. I counted a dozen does and bucks from the kitchen window; closer to dusk there were at least 18. Their agenda became unclear as there wasn't much left to forage. Was it refuge, or just a night in Two Dot when the residents had forsaken their lawnmowers and were safely held indoors.

In the morning the wind still made a rolling ocean of the pasture and wrapped the school house in an undercurrent of sound. Craig braved his camera and went out to record and I was seduced by the light raking across the hills outside and the comforter covering my feet. The familiar bright patches showed up on my studio walls and floor and I began to think about work.


first day of summer

I went on a walk to mail postcards and photograph the river swollen from record rains, but once out I was drawn further down Haymaker road. I was not lost, but was seeing what I had not seen before: wild iris blooming in the ditch, the way antelope tease and chase…always out of camera range, and a pair of birds inadvertently flushed out from the fence line. They made such a ruffle and squawk I couldn’t make out their makings to identify them in my new Introduction to Familiar Species: Montana Birds.

Sitting by the irrigation canal, putting my head back on the gravel for full horizontal sun exposure, I couldn't recall another spontaneous walk that ended in sitting still by water, alone and without book or journal or other devises to keep me from getting “lost.” Was it high school?

On the way back, I noticed a metal ring in the ditch. It looked like the top of a crock pot. Trash! was my first thought, but as I got closer, I saw that it was a hubcap...not trash! Pulling it from the mud that is so close under the dirt’s surface, I saw that it was a unblemished chrome moon…perfect for reflecting the sky. I carried it home, inspiring the one truck that passed to slow down…a hubcap break down?? The driver was dressed in perfect John Wayne western gear. As he pulled up he must have realized what I was carrying. “Just walking?” he asked. “Just walking,” I laughed back and he was off again leaving me with my own stated purpose.



The birds are singing and while it is chilly, it is worth having the windows open. The first morning here, a western meadowlark woke us at six. Since then we have seen pheasants, sand hill cranes, robins, magpies, flickers, and birds I have yet to identify. We are back in Two Dot and it is time for intakes of breath, for long-lasting gazes, for taking in before putting out.

I am reading Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost. She refers to a quote from Meno, “How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?” It doesn’t seem like a completely impossible task here. Reading about getting lost inspired me to consult my Visual Thesaurus subscription, a gift from Lynnette who also believes in the power of words and understanding their meanings. As all of the synonyms for lost circled into view I was surprised to realize I hadn’t thought of the Christian reference… a counter to being saved – unregenerate. But Solnit is interested in a type of being lost that removes the prefix “un”: unsaved, unredeemed, un-recoverable. All of these words suggest preferable states that cannot be achieved. In fact the thesaurus lists few references that don’t have a negative undertone but amongst the prefixes un, miss, dis. I found be…bemused, bewildered, befuddled. Be means completely, thoroughly, deeply absorbed in. I like the suggestion of humor in these three words. And I am wondering, can I be searching, getting lost, and amused all at the same time?



We returned via the Highwood Bar in Highwood, MT. Jim and Rosita celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary with all 5 children, 4 grandchildren, siblings and spouses. We were nearly interlopers, nearly cousins, but welcome just the same. A generous family. We stayed over night in Vaughn where Nels boards cows as well as overnight cousins. The cows were a menagerie of shapes and sizes including Annabelle a long horn. It was a circus collection.