I went out to see Bill and we walked. We walked in the morning after feeding the horses, donkey, goats, chickens, ducks. It seemed like one of the goats might be going to die but then he didn’t, and in fact never required the shot we drove into town to get from the bartender. It wasn't clear why the bar had goat medicine in the first place, and I told Bill that only in his life does a sentence like, “We have to go down to the bar and get the goat medicine,” seem to come up.
We walked the adjacent section, post-holing where we had to, skirting the thin ice in the draws, following the fence lines in broad turns that boxed the compass and gave us the Crazies, Absarokas, and Bridgers, clothed in light and weather.
We walked again toward evening, following Chance, the youngish border collie who ran ahead sniffing out the snow-hidden labyrinths of the field mice, occasionally laying himself out in a dead run to no apparent purpose beyond joy. Once a crow flew just above him for a while, spilling wind to fall almost within reach as he jumped, then flapping up again at the last moment, each of them enjoying this game, two drops of black ink in a rust white field.
We drank our coffee with the lights off and the dawn creeping up the room like flood tide, or the moonrise ghosting the horses out to night pasture. We left out 9 guitars and played through some old songs, wrote others, split pine for daylight and cottonwood for nights. We talked about how love works, that we all more or less disappear in a few generations, and it’s only the love that we put into the world, drawn from the ones who loved us, and loved them, that has any purchase at all. We ate fried steaks and Portuguese stew, and told each other some stories we'd already heard in thousands of miles of travel.
One night an owl flashed briefly cruciform in the weak light from the west window, and sat up in the pine. It's a lone tree, grown up leaning into the wind, half burned when the house burned, stubbornly attached to the high desert earth, and to life. Bill said the owl called a long time after I went off to bed.
COLORADO - Late January into early February I'll tour Colorado, first with Erik Koskinen opening and backing me up on electric guitar, and then solo for a few nights. We'll start at the Downtown Artery in Fort Collins (1/31) then on to the Soiled Dove in Denver (2/1), and the Ivywild School in Colorado Springs (2/2). After a few days I'll head out solo to play Society Hall in Alamosa (2/5) and Steve's Guitars in Carbondale (2/6). It's worth noting that in my experience, Steve's has what might termed a mystical approach to the art of promotion, so if no one answers phone or email, and there's no ticket link, rest assured the show is still happening, and I will be there, and it will all be fine.
MASS - I have one show in Massachusetts in March, at the Second Shift Concert Series at the Charles River Museum in Waltham (3/21). You should come to it, because I'm going to be great.
OKC - The last time I played Oklahoma City there was an ice-storm that lacquered streets, tree branches, and windshields so thoroughly we could scarcely walk to dinner, and were naturally surprised when a handful of people managed to get to the show. At the end of March I'll return to a favorite old haunt and play the Blue Door (3/31) on my way to some fishing in the Driftless.
WISCONSIN - In April I'll tour the state of Wisconsin, the place where I grew up and learned to be reticent about my needs, playing everywhere from Wisconsin Rapids to Hayward, to Mineral Point. Details TBA. Some of these shows will be full band, and Erik Koskinen also opens that tour, joining the band.
MIDWEST - In May we'll return to the Midwest to play some of the parts of it that are not in Wisconsin, for instance SPACE in Evanston, Illinois (5/1), and the state of Ohio, where we'll play the Marathon Center for the Arts in Findlay (5/2), Natalie's in Columbus (5/4), before heading north to play The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI (5/5), and further shows TBA that next week in IL, IA, and MN. Erik Koskinen opens this tour as well, unless by then he has done something terrible and been dismissed for cause.
As the song goes, that's all there is, there ain't no more.