Montana

The cottonwood leaves, like teenagers, can’t sleep. They rattle nervously and drop to the ground or simply hang in the breeze waiting for someone to blow through and lift them away.

Jupiter still lights the twilight with her constancy, bright against dark robed trees. The moon keeps low, almost hiding. I pause to take a photograph of the campfire. Behind me in the darkness, an elk skull sits in a tree, a memento mori placed by a previous visitor to this Forest Service cabin.
Continue reading Acceptable Blasphemies: Reflections on Opening Day

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If we have learned anything from the past year, we should have learned that we are plagued by a kind of dark age, an age of ignorance, an age of economic illiteracy…

We rely on the priests and the prophets who have unmediated access to the gods of commerce. They translate the dense, opaque, confusing world to the rest of us. And they wield enormous power. They are often referred to in otherworldly, nearly priestly terms. Warren Buffet is interchangeably the “Sage of Omaha” and the “Oracle of Omaha.”

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When we were kids growing up in the Bible Belt, my mother used to threaten to wash our mouths out with soap if we told dirty jokes. Like a lot of kids in that era, in that place, my older brother and I used to try and juke her out by using off-color biblical references that involved the hint of slightly naughty words.

my brother: “Hey punk, who was the the most flexible man in the Bible?”

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He wasn’t very large by bull moose standards, with a fairly small set of antlers. He didn’t look healthy in fact. He was standing ankle-deep in the river, watching us, not moving, almost unsteady on his legs. Something about the way he was standing didn’t seem “right.” Of all the animals I do not want to tangle with, a bull moose, particularly a sick one, ranks near the top.

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Stillwater River, inside the A-B boundary, on the trail to Sioux Charley

4:30 A.M. Pitch black. Deep winter. Nothing but darkness and cold. Jack Ballard and I are making time up the trail before first light for an end-of-the-season deer hunt. The light from my headlamp swings back and forth, making me dizzy. I turn it off and move silently up the canyon. We’re aiming for a spot about three miles up and across the river…Out of nowhere it hits us — a howl comes straight out of the darkness.

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