Monday, September 25, 2006



My nomadic travels between Wisconsin and Montana tend to wreak havoc with a daily blog post; once again I must suspend uploading for probably a week. In the long run, however, these delays create more variety on the blog than if I stayed in one place! My camera will be close by once again.

On another note, I'm experimenting with haiku in describing some of the photos I post. I've been thinking about satori, a Zen term crudely defined as "instant of awareness," which a good photograph can capture. Now I'm experimenting with word forms as well as picture forms in an effort to distill experience and memory. Bear with me!


A last russet glow

A last russet glow, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

deep in the brambles
a last russet glow
with pinpoints of decay

Taken in Madison, Wisconsin

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Gathering storm

Gathering storm, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

fields glow eerie green
gray shapes shift and billow
in curtains of wind and rain

Taken in Iowa County, Wisconsin

Friday, September 22, 2006



Pattern, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

each perfect white bloom
keeps its underwater secrets
leaving a poem of pattern

Thursday, September 21, 2006



Shy in the reeds, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

shy and alert
tense in the summer-green reeds
the light-dappled doe

Taken in western Montana's Swan Valley

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Layers of beauty

Layers of beauty, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

pristine trees and shore
lazy shadows in late afternoon
innocent of the coming chainsaw

Taken in western Montana's Swan Valley

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Misty morning

Misty morning, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

a misty visit
ghosts of my fathers swirling
soon burned away by sun

Taken in western Montana's Swan Valley

Monday, September 18, 2006


Tamarack twig

Tamarack twig, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

spot of sun on twig
of this valley's massed beauty
just one tiny part

taken in western Montana's Swan Valley

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Small hiatus...

From above, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

Just a note to say that I am taking a brief hiatus from blogging, probably until Monday. I'm in Philadelphia for a meeting, with very little time to think about my beloved bumpy topography. Being in an urban setting does, however, make me very grateful for the benign hills of Wisconsin and the brooding ranges of western Montana. It appears that the fire danger in the Swan Valley is decreasing with cooler weather, so...another point of gratitude.

I'm leaving you with a photo that is painful for me to look at. It's another "endangered species" picture. This is yet another view of a sliver of the Swan Valley in western Montana. All the land pictured and much, much more is privately owned by a timber company, which is gearing up to log and subdivide its property. On August 15, I posted a list of organizations that are dedicated to dealing with uncontrolled development. They deserve your support, as many open lands are under a great deal of development pressure.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Sagebrush country

Sagebrush country, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

It is amazing to me how quickly the topography and the the vegetation can change when you just go around a corner in Montana. This photo, taken in the Blackfoot Valley, is just around the bend from the previous lush scene. Montana is a land of endless contrast and sudden surprises.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Island jewel

Island jewel, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

Taken late in the afternoon in the Seeley-Swan region of western Montana.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Siren song

Siren song, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

This photo is dedicated to my beloved and besieged Swan Valley in western Montana, which has been threatened by wildfire for a couple of weeks now. I'd like to summon the gods of coolness and rain, which need to sweep in and put a stop to the relentless heat and dry lightning that continue to spread the fire and spark new blazes.

At one point last week, 13 fires were burning in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area on the other side of the Swan Range, the mountains I picture so frequently on this blog. And there's a stubborn fire threatening residences just a few miles north of the little old cabin my dad built so many years ago.

I'm back in Wisconsin with my family and monitoring these fires online. What a helpless feeling. No rain forecast in the area until Thursday. I'll be going back at the end of September and who knows what the situation will be.

All the photos I've been posting were taken in August, at a time when it did seem that fall was in the air and we might be able to dodge the wildfire bullet this year. Guess not.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Spot of blue on the forest floor

Crisp days and cool nights: summer's last stand. Oregon grapes just past their ripest stage. Taken in western Montana's Swan Valley.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Mission Mountains

Mission Mountains, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

Crisp days and cool nights: summer's last stand. A view of the Mission Mountains from western Montana's Swan Valley.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Poetry in green

Poetry in green, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

Crisp days and cool nights: summer's last stand. I love the subtlety of an evergreen forest, with its gradations of green and its elegant filtering of light.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Clouds of an afternoon

Clouds of an afternoon

Crisp days and cool nights: summer's last stand. My beloved Swan Range with a panorama of clouds. Eventually these coalesced into an afternoon rainshower.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Peeping paintbrush

Peeping paintbrush, originally uploaded by Bitterroot.

Crisp days and cooler nights: summer's last stand. Paintbrush and other wildflowers peeping from behind an evergreen twig, found in western Montana's Swan Valley.

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