In darkness.


bristol head


Rotten snow and dirt on the road below the ranch.  The forecast says it’s far from over.  The white expanse of pasture before me confirms. Looks like winter, feels like spring.  Chicks in a box by the wood stove in our cabin making spring sounds, and the first robin on the open hill above the Rio.

Single digits when I wake and watch the passing of a magenta sky. A pink face on an otherwise white mountain peak outside my cabin window. Chances are it will be fifty degrees warmer by mid afternoon.

The boys are still sleeping – so much for new time. Give them another day or two to adjust. Can’t get much done in the dark anyway. Time carries little meaning here.

With fat parka and heavy boots I head out to feed the horses.  They count on my coming to feed by light in the sky. I see them  lined up along the fence, ready. Calmer now in the end of winter warming air.  They lie in the deep wet snow mid day and sleep with the soothing of the sun. They are ready for solid ground and shedding. They’re ready for attention and a good trim. They’re ready to work, as I am ready to ride, and still we both must wait.


view from ll


I remember the frogs in March under the willow tree on Barn Hill where it only barely froze and very rarely could Forrest sled down fresh snow in the early mornings before the NorCal mildness would melt it off by noon.  I could hear them at night when I stepped out to smoke.  Living now at ten thousand feet (and I’d like to say wisdom comes with age, but there are enough young readers out there who will be quick to tell me otherwise) I haven’t smoked in years.  (Yes, that’s a good sign when you no longer know how many years without thinking long and hard.)  Now I make an effort to go out with the dog every night, crunch over the snow up the little hill behind the cabin and stand at the edge of the trees while the dog waits for me, watches over while I do what appears to be nothing at all.  I look up at the stars and listen.  So deep, still and silent here.

A land as infinite as the stars, it seems at night.




In darkness.


And as quickly as

it came

it left

and I am left

to wonder, why.

In my dreams I am

underwater trying

to breathe

waking wide eyed

short of breath

and gasping and

then just like that

it is gone.

And I dance under the starry night skies once again.


spring and fall (smaller)


leaves in black and white


6 thoughts on “In darkness.

  1. The hillside is so barren without the pine needles of the blue spruce. And it’s everywhere. The beetle has transformed the mountain. I will get to see with my own eyes…it saddens me deeply. I can only imagine what you are feeling…

  2. Hi Gin, Just finished your new book and loved it! It’s as if you’re journaling and giving us a glimpse into your mind, your heart and your eyes! Thank you for being so transparent and “real”! Knowing the area you speak of helped me understand the mountains better. I too love them but not sure I could endure as you have! I really wish all the photo’s were in color….you should consider creating a book of your photography. You have the “eye”. Fondly, Connie

    • Thank you so much for reading, and taking the time to let me know your thoughts, Connie. I love to read that and it’s these things that make it so worth while!

  3. At my daughter’s choir concert this evening, and thought of my mountains with one of their pieces. How funny to read your words tonight…I thought you would appreciate the poetry in the piece which was titled ‘The Silence and the Song’ by Patterson. Maybe you’re familiar with it? (There are some youtube posts of various treble choirs should you care to listen.) The performance was lovely, but it wasn’t so much the song as the sentiment that caught my attention (no offense to the middle school girl’s choir tonight ;) )

    The Silence and the Song

    How bright the morning that warms the afternoon.

    How rich the evening whose cloak reveals the moon.

    How pure the darkness that greets the breaking dawn.

    How sweet the silence just before the song.

    In winter’s stillness the dance of spring begins.

    In summer’s twilight the autumn breeze blows in.

    To ev’ry season both peace and pulse belong

    So bound together, the silence and the song.

    Before the tender lullaby can soothe us with its sound,

    Before the finest symphony can swell with notes profound

    The silence must resound, the silence must resound.

    And so we listen in moments clear and calm

    To hear, with wonder the quiet strains prolong.

    So when we sing with voices pure and strong

    Both gifts surround us: the silence and the song.

    • Even the title moves me, Wendy – thank you so much for sharing. I did not know this – it is beautiful. This line stands above all others for me: “So bound together, the silence and the song.” Words I wish I wrote myself, for that is how I feel…

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