between here and there


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The Distance Between

 

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I live in one of the wildest places that remain in North America. I did not say THE wildest, mind you. Its not Alaska, or the Yaak, or parts of Canada. But this place is Montana. Specifically up a canyon drainage and surrounded by Public Land, not far outside of Bozeman. I have had bears and mountain lion on the roof of my house. So of course they are walking the land around my house. But that does not mean I find their visits common. Nor am I so naive to believe that my 70 pound German Shepherd would be any match for one of these large creatures which is why she is not let out at night alone.

Tonight, just a few minutes before the curtain of night extinguished the remaining bit of light we took a walk around the house. Spring has arrived. Even early this year. But last night about two inches of snow fell on the ground. Nothing dramatic. But this is where it gets good, and where, no matter how many times I see the footprints in the snow around the house that are not hers, I am still impressed. Because the snow is new the tracks in the snow were distinguishable tonight, not the cacophony of prints that criss-crossed the land as the winter snow melted into the ground last week. As Noel followed whatever smells and tracks interested her I looked down to see some large melted spots not far from the entry of the house. The shape of the melt was not exactly recognizable, but it was not shaped like an Elk or Moose. I looked for others that were more distinct. And that is when I found them. There must have been a pair together in the early morning striding across the snow in front of the house. I checked the prints for size compared to Noel’s. My fist fits just nicely inside of hers. But these, these require two of my fists while the back pad of the foot that sits a bit up the leg was also impressed in the snow a good 4-5 inches behind the primary paw print. But the most amazing condition of the set of tracks was that there were four paw prints in a line very close to one another with a space of about four feet between each set of four. Each set of four taking about four feet, too.

If you cannot imagine this in your head, get out your sketch book and draw it. Two animals walking in-line, with one filling the gap between the first set of prints filling in the stride of the first animal for every other stride. The distance between a single stride being four feet, a large jump for me. I looked across the slope of the land where the prints emerged and then the other direction where they walked into Noel’s favorite place to visit when she was outside. Either a pack came across the land at one time, or this pair silently circumnavigated the land around the house making multiple passes and patterns. I will never know, but can only wonder and imagine.

Its dark now. Black outside, and we are inside. Until tomorrow. In the early morning we will again go check what remains of the snow for new stories, new reminders of the wildness I am lucky enough to live with.

 


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snow and fire

picstitch-1How do we come to know a place? Exploration, play, living.  I spent some time in the dwindling winter snow today, appreciating what remains. Hoping for more. And worrying about fire season this summer if more of the great white stuff doesn’t fall from the sky soon.


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Cold Feet?

IMG_6676Yes. I know! Its cold out there. Don’t be bashful, maybe put some shoes on first and join us in making your contribution to Earthly Instructable: Winter Edition.

 

Interested?……Keep Reading.

This is a creative challenge from Lori Ryker, founder of Artemis institute and Anna Taugher of IAMACOLLECTION.

 Anna and I have teamed up to create a challenge to get you to collaborate with nature and get your creative juices flowing this winter. We hope you will join us in the first installment of Earthly Instractable: an online community challenge.

At the core of our existence is the desire to create and make. Regardless of scale we create everyday. The act of creation, which is activity combined with positive intention, can be as simple as setting the table for breakfast or baking a cake, and as complex as architecture or composing a symphony. All of these creative acts provide a connection for who and how we are in the world. They set-up, set-aside, negotiate, and connect us to the world we live in.

To take the opportunity to respond to the world from our own point of view provides the time for contemplation, interaction, and experience with the pure joy of nature.

We have been wondering what would come about if many, many, people were to take a bit of time in nature and spend it in contemplation and creation. This is our Challenge, take some time for yourself to “be” in nature, collaborate with and create something wonderful, wonderous!

Follow these simple steps for your semi-permanent creation:

 

First –

Step 1: Walk some distance into a natural area, stop at a place you feel comfortable in.

Step 2: Gather material that is straight in nature.

Step 3: Place the material into a cylindrical to semi-spherical shape, finished scale is up to you.

Step 4: Intertwine, wind, and connect the material until it is stable in its final shape, adding material as needed. (don’t forget it’s winter, ice and snow can be a great material to use)

Step 5: Place yourself inside your structure, en-joy.

Next-

Have a photo made of you in your Winter Earthly Instructable and post to Instagram no later than midnight February 16 with the following hashtag #earthlyinstructable

 AND THE  WINNER IS !

A winner will be selected from the top three submissions based on likes and comments submitted by midnight February 16. The winner will receive the inspiring book My People’s Dreaming: An Aboriginal Elder Speaks on Life, Land, Spirit and Forgiveness, Written by Max Dulumunmun Harrison and Peter McConchie, provided by Artemis Institute.

The winner will be announced through Instagram, and also on : iamacollection.com, loriryker.com, and on Facebook as Artemis Institute.


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Earthly Instructable: Winter

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A creative challenge from Lori Ryker, founder of Artemis institute and Anna Taugher of IAMACOLLECTION.

 Anna and I have teamed up to create a challenge to get you to collaborate with nature and get your creative juices flowing this winter. We hope you will join us in the first installment of Earthly Instractable: an online community challenge.

At the core of our existence is the desire to create and make. Regardless of scale we create everyday. The act of creation, which is activity combined with positive intention, can be as simple as setting the table for breakfast or baking a cake, and as complex as architecture or composing a symphony. All of these creative acts provide a connection for who and how we are in the world. They set-up, set-aside, negotiate, and connect us to the world we live in.

To take the opportunity to respond to the world from our own point of view provides the time for contemplation, interaction, and experience with the pure joy of nature.

We have been wondering what would come about if many, many, people were to take a bit of time in nature and spend it in contemplation and creation. This is our Challenge, take some time for yourself to “be” in nature, collaborate with and create something wonderful, wonderous!

Follow these simple steps for your semi-permanent creation:

 

First –

Step 1: Walk some distance into a natural area, stop at a place you feel comfortable in.

Step 2: Gather material that is straight in nature.

Step 3: Place the material into a cylindrical to semi-spherical shape, finished scale is up to you.

Step 4: Intertwine, wind, and connect the material until it is stable in its final shape, adding material as needed. (don’t forget it’s winter, ice and snow can be a great material to use)

Step 5: Place yourself inside your structure, en-joy.

Next-

Have a photo made of you in your Winter Earthly Instructable and post to Instagram no later than midnight February 16 with the following hashtag #earthlyinstructable

 AND THE  WINNER IS !

A winner will be selected from the top three submissions based on likes and comments submitted by midnight February 16. The winner will receive the inspiring book My People’s Dreaming: An Aboriginal Elder Speaks on Life, Land, Spirit and Forgiveness, Written by Max Dulumunmun Harrison and Peter McConchie, provided by Artemis Institute.

The winner will be announced through Instagram, and also on : iamacollection.com, loriryker.com, and on Facebook as Artemis Institute.


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From drawing to earth

A few months ago I posted sketches for the new studio I am building next to my house. Today the work began. After a light snow the great whiteness was removed to expose the ground of winter.

Earth is dug out, boulders as big as a car hood are discovered. All earth is set to one side, while the snow pile is set to the other.

The process is all part of a larger practice. Practice of architecture, and imagining the future. A practice in faith that imbedding this idea for living with the land is a sound decision in this particular place.

Let the adventure begin !

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Winter Wolf


winterwolf

 

 

Years Ago, when I was still new to Montana and the Yellowstone Eco-system I had the opportunity to hear the wolves howl above us in the mountains while working on a Remote Studio project miles from a paved road. The experience was heartening, beautiful, and musical magic. Reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, the wolves have grown into families who expand across the Mountain West. They are a part of the West, this place is their home. They are the wildness that makes place for us and reminds us that we are a part of a larger community that we cannot always control, but simply honor. The wolves, like the bear and mountain lion are the creatures that bring alertness to our experiences in the wilderness. They are critical to the health of the eco-system, and bring magic and mystery to us everyday. This year I hope for peace and greater respect for all those that we do not quite understand, who challenge us, and may bring a bit of humility into our lives. Without them the World would be less beautiful.

 

“Winter Wolf” is the third piece in the Bear Canyon Series.


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Art for the Universe

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If you are driving between Island Park, ID and Ennis, MT keep a look out for art. This weekend I was in Jackson Hole to sketch . I made one small pastel on the trip.

The drive into Ennis was blustery and the landscape moody. I rolled down the passenger window to take a picture while driving (shhhh…) and that’s when I lost it. That pastel drawing was sucked right out the window !

A gift back to the landscape, I guess.

All that’s left of it is this one quick photo taken with my phone .

Honor the Universe.