yes | yes | ... yes.

::this moved me, oh it did...::

‎"But you children of space, you restless in rest, you shall not be trapped or tamed. Your house shall not be an anchor but a mast. It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye. You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors, nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling, nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down. You shall not dwell in tombs made by the dead for the living. And though of magnificence and splendor, your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing. For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and silences of the night."

~ Kahlil Gibran

this image felt like a nice pairing. it's a very close-up of a drawer in my kitchen. the drawer is an old bread drawer in a large, primitive, cabinet & holds the dried petals of every flower ever given to me, within it.

feel free to click and make it just a bit bigger. i think that's a sunflower i got a bit earlier in autumn (and therefore on the top of the very deep drawer ;)

ash x



happy november 1st. :)

snapped this, this am, during breakfast.

i hope you all are very well. i have a lot of writing coming your way, very soon.

ashtree, x


Medieval Villages & The Day of the Windstorm.

(**imagery, high resolution, on flickr)

july 2011 - ceyreste, france | a journal.

it started with a walk that began to pick up speed until i was running down a 1 car road. i ran down the hill and towards to the village.

i knew something had gone wrong when i found myself silently crying deep in a village alleyway alone in southern provence, my fingers trembling,

a dreamer's tears cascaded down my freckled cheeks, melting themselves to my speckled shoulders and watering the dusty road, a trembling chin trying to maintain its stillness, half failing. i sat in my mother's striped vintage jumper, the one she wore when she was pregnant with me; at least that's the story that her pictures seem to tell. she was always touching her stomach when she wore that jumper. it's amazing what you think of when you think, sometimes.

there i was - 28 years later, and so happy i was wearing it; a bit ironic.

an hour passed as i sat tucking into my knees, on ancient cobblestone, looking up at the village's medieval watchtower, silhouetting itself so perfectly in front of a dry and waning Mediterranean sun. i traced old engravings that lay beneath my feet, lovers professing their love in stone. in stone. when had it been written?

if it was in stone they must have meant it.
i pictured starcrossed lovers using miniature wooden chisels; i pictured them running away and laughing into the night, despite their parents. but, perhaps, that was too archaic or too romantic.

still... i hope.

i remember shutting my eyes over and over again, just to savor the smallest, most beautiful luxury: watching the entire spectrum crushing itself into my lashes, with every blink.
i told the sun, ''please renew me. you are the only one i know here.''
i said it aloud, maybe a whisper, maybe not.

i told myself to sit there however long it took, until i was strong enough to know i was strong enough, even if i became another statue on someone's historical tour. their tourist book would read: "to your right is a woman that sat so long in contemplation that she became a statue."

my breaths were so short, and offered only shallow exhalations, all trying to grow wings.

i could smell the wind bringing the sea air to me, so wildly untamed that they'd closed the mountain passes. it seemed invincible. i could taste the croissants i'd eaten for breakfast: one filled with chocolate, the other with apples. the bread was so cakey that half of every bite would float to the ground. i could hear a wild symphony of cicadas, hitting me like percussion. i remembered the little brother i'd played swords with, with broken sticks. he'd win every time, mustache painted on with big sister's eyeliner, chanting his victory in a foreign squeal. what a charming little Zorro. i thought about his father who was a mime, eating his morning baguettes, each drenched in bowls of coffee. i thought of his wife, who ate pie with her fingers, making motherhood and cooking look so elegant. i was all ears when she told me that she learned english during her time in ireland.

i picked every thought i had and replanted it, and began to see beauty in all of the un-sung cracks. i remembered just days before - the night of French Independence Day - watching a drunk woman dancing (flailing) to 'YMCA' in the village square. she was going all.out. i remember so wholeheartedly laughing as i meandered down old streets, meeting new people and never knowing, upon introductions, how many times i was supposed to kiss their cheeks. sometimes it was 2, sometimes three, and once it was even four. that night, a man gave us the entire oral history of his village, albeit in French, without us asking. i think i know a lot about that village, considering i didn't understand a word. he was just so passionate. the memory of that night has engraved itself into me. so much fervor.
it must have meant it.

as i continued to sit, i pulled lavender fronds from my pocket (a recent gift) and rubbed the flowers to my temples, to my wrists, below my nose. it was a faithful meditation, that rolled through my joints like a wave.
sometime shortly after, a lizard ran across my foot and i jumped just enough to be half funny, and so i let out a half laugh. i wondered if the sky saw any of this. the sky sees so much.

i was somewhere lost in the middle of 'figuring it all out' when a child came up to me and handed me a disheveled wildflower. he said a sentence i'll never know, but the message carried. in that moment, just for a moment, i felt as if i knew and understood everything there ever was to know about life. the past, present, future were in the eyes of a smiling child, his beautiful eyes reflecting the sun. the same sun that warms me, wherever i am.

i touched his cheek, hoping i wasn't breaking any sort of local custom, and smiled in relief. i said 'merci beaucoup' (sighing into my words and blushing) and touched my heart with both of my palms. i couldn't relay what a moment he'd broken up.

he giggled and bounced away with that vibrant, youthful zest i adore in humanity.

i said thank you to the sun, and promised myself that when i returned stateside i would take a photo recording the feeling of that day, that village, that particular moment.

the entire moment, that hour, was so completely existential.

when i returned home i put on a medieval nightdress (my personal homage to the starcrossed engraving i'd found) and pretended i was still looking up into the provencial sun or into the eyes of that little boy. i like to think, in some alternate reality, i still am.

this is that photo:

and some others:

living out of a suitcase and pleased as punch,


"Faerieland" | The Brownie Sequence

please enjoy this new character (and a few not posted anywhere else) and for behind the scenes, click here.

there are something like 6 new characters on the horizon & high res. will be on my website & flickr, within the hour, because blogspot just breaks. my. heart. w/ it's quality. ;)

ash x


journal 2 - day ? - chicago

"you're accustomed to sorrow. it's part of your makeup. you speak the language of hunger. so do i..." -A.P.


back home on the farmstead, the fields sweep like a thousand acre ballrooms. i stand at the windbreak and can watch a storm approaching for hours. it's a kind of perfection; the reverent silence that i call home.

but in this - also a waiting game. a waiting and waiting game - always hoping for things to come.

the road is different. it's a leaving game, and leading.
and, it rinses me out.

i drove from minneapolis to madison with one hand out the window and canon ball feet. we stopped in madison for a spell and watched the sunlight literally bleeding itself across the ugliness and undeniable pulse of so much industry, leaving us to night. it was all sort of a dirty excitement that gathered us for the next 72 hours.

hails and i arrived in chicago at 1 or 2 am, and within 10 minutes of arriving at Palmer House, i was reminded that city is not my first language, with my sister being nearly pickpocketed in the elevator to our room and both of us being chased around an endless city block by a man that didn't know more than the smell of liquor and need. we ran from him both laughing and terrified. i remember thinking upon seeing him giving up his chase and returning to the shadowy corner of a silent and sleeping city, that being homeless outweighed my fear enough to where i almost wanted to wander back out into the night and hear his story. this was the case over and over again, during my stay, no matter where i was - watching lovers tucked into the tiniest moments or while i sipped tea in millennium park, soaking up my first rays of sun in nearly 8 months or some such.

the hotel was one of the most beautiful i've ever been in if you don't count the clientele and the $6 bananas. but the life in our room was incredible and the days since have been the same.

the rest of the weekend was a whirlwind of everything i yearn for:


as i wandered into cafes and people watched; always filled with a desire to wander with a sort of vibrant energy that stayed with me into the nights when i sat at the hotel room window, looking out over a cityscape of lives and lights that lead the way.

but, you know the thing with me is that lights tend to lead me away, further and further away. one of these days i'll be 'leaving to stay' like the song said that dad use to play.

photo taken in my hotel room in just about pitch black lighting. i'm sorry for the low blogspot quality that pulls just about everything apart. ;)

a design studio across the street so quaint & cool, seeing all of the clothing being made by art students...

a quick snapshot of state street from my room...

i have a ton of polaroids accumulating as well and a behind the scenes from my first shoot of the season over on the business blog. i will continue shooting and try to journal as well as scanning in new snaps that aren't digital.

for now i can see the clock is 20 minutes away from my 28th birthday and all i can do is smile.



4.27.2011 -- 8:00 pm. | Journal 1 - "gypsy woes"

"gypsy woes"

in the last 20 minutes of ambient light - the heart of dusk, i sunk into the bath; melting myself to the scalding water and gentle push. it took me on like a champion. I, the weary warrior and fragile beacon; like the last leaf of november.

it's here i swear i could hear ghosts whisper & the earth talking in every bellow and resounding crack. it murmurs:
"ash, you have no patience anymore and winter was too hard on you; too long for the girl in dresses..."

the light is only silhouetting the window and the tips of my limbs.
i pull on this morning's washcloth with my toes, and move my legs
my hands
my mind
and to.that.point.
where it
drops off;

where i can
pretend that i'm a mermaid or a leaf and can float as free as either, though my body remains rooted and resolute - 8 days from it's 28th birthday.

and it's becoming quite apparent that i'm torn between almost everything, except the desire to break free with the simplicity of tomorrow's offering: heading east and onward on the dirty open road.

these letters will comprise the rambling & imagery of the next 30-some days. they either mean nothing or everything, and i've got my pen & polaroid folded like treasures into my backpack.
so, we'll see...

see you in chicago.

ash x

ps. to my retreat attendees: today i got each of you something over 100 years old. can't wait to give them to all of you.


.:: m y . s e c r e t . l i f e ::.

"The spirit
likes to dress up like this:

ten fingers,
ten toes.

plum rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs
the metaphor of the body..."

- Mary Oliver



{**blogspot mangles quality, especially of the low light imagery... so I will post to my flickr and other venues, later today. and if you venture over there, remember to turn your safe filter off to see the latest 'faerieland' piece, in my stream.} | ash | x


the boundary waters.

I remember the first time I visited the northern most stretch of Minnesota, when I was a young girl...

The deep forests were stark – full of pine & birch; a land full of canyon lined rivers and rugged boulders, covered in wet mosses and polished agate; deep green marshes knee deep in moose and loon, who called out by dawn and twilight; valleys full of gliding eagles whose shadows would linger in my wild, youthful eyes; fresh wolf and bear tracks lined the gravel back roads, each leading further into the wilderness - hinting that its first inhabitants were still abound if I wandered off the path; sometimes, even in midsummer there was a crispness in the air that I couldn’t shake no matter warm or cold; so rich it would permeate my skin; so thick & palpable, I could actually draw sustenance from it.

The shores of the great Lake Superior were rugged - born of rock & driftwoods; The horizon line, a gorgeous sweep of heavy blues that lulled my eyes further and further into its cold and ship wrecked waters; air tasting of minerals across my tongue.

And then came the night, with the warmth of a radiating campfire; popping like fireflies in and out of existence; the scent of evergreen and ash woods, burning away, and built from our own hands - cut only a stone’s throw from the woods that sheltered us. I would wrap in my sweaters as the night began to cool, and laugh with everyone who would also be wrapping themselves in their own sweaters; taking in the earned smiles on aging faces, whose aging hands would sometimes be wrapping the little crests and resting breaths of a sleeping child; everything in harmony with the night; living whole where we were. We’d all seemingly glance up at the same time, somewhere late into the hours - as we would endlessly talk in a thousand trailing conversations, that would weave in and out of each other, forming others; And our words would cease as the cosmos took the stage, like shimmering diamonds, every one of them visible against the darkest backdrop that only exists in the middle of nowhere; the sound in those nights – a pure silence, beyond the cascading waters and the wind that hummed from trembling branch to branch; a profound silence; the kind that offers up the deepest breaths and truest healing; and once every few years, when we’d wander the muddy trails to a nearby road – only as bits of echoes & laughter gathered by the night… the lot of us would lay down on the dirt road & look up to find the aurora borealis forming, for which (at 27 years of age, and many many many visits later) I’ve still no words to describe what it means to see it; To have been witness to the moment the earth reminded me that i was alive. None.

As morning would commence in its buttery, irrepeatable light, we’d peel ourselves from our warm beds, as the weather would suddenly turn from sun to fog to rain to sun to rain to fog in a matter of minutes, over the sweeping, unapologetic valley views and endless lakes the north woods are renowned for; everything so full of an irreverent and uninhibited beauty; repeating itself day after day, and forever.

[this is all i wanted to post over here | you may read the full - related article here - for which this was written]

- ash


things to come. | recording - 2.1.2011

Update: 2.9.2011 -- (see original post below)

my time in studio was amazingly fun & we wrote some prrrrty muse-ic. i'm planning on going back over there a few times in the coming week(s) to polish up what we wrote. it was a blast & we hope to share it here & a few other places by months end. i went to bed after recording into the earliest of morning's hours, totally immersed in new ideas. the only image i took from my weekend is this very low quality cell phone snap (since the big cam. is still in the shop). leave it to me to drive out of state, in -15 degree weather with ballerina flats & no socks... and the studio was very cold, so i had to borrow someone elses. ;)

in the meantime i'm writing like mad & awaiting the moment spring comes & wakes me from this slumber.

new words & imagery blog(s) here in the coming days. -ash



an old friend of mine is a musician & has a studio in the basement of his st. croix falls (wi) home; a pretty little home i use to live in that sits nearly on the banks of a giant, gorgeous river & backs up to a giant, gorgeous park. there is a giant dam that crashes now where the falls use to be & i use to be able to hear it in the mornings from my bedroom, with my window cracked.

he sings & plays every single instrument these days, it seems. and i thought, since i also sing quite a bit (and barely play guitar & piano, but own both) that we'd get together & record somethin' pretty, since we've been chatting about that idea for a spell, and since it's a good excuse to get out while my camera is in for repairs. not to mention, what girl doesn't feel amazing with a pick between her lips or fingertips.

so this weekend, we are giving that a go if the weather holds. it'll be a nice excuse to get out into the fresh air of a new place & into a small little artist town.

in the meantime, thought i'd post something beautiful in the style that i love just so much & probably along the route that i'll be recording in. you can be sure if we come up with anything pretty and get it down, i'll post it.

this is a cover of a dylan song that i adore. i love how these two collaborate, and this song is so sensual & moving & heavy & beautiful.

lyrics below the vid, with two of the most potent lines, ever. i'll let you find them.
ash | x

"boots of spanish leather"

Oh I'm sailin' away my own true love
I'm sailin' away in the morning
Is there something I can send you from across the sea
From the place that I'll be landing ?

No, there's nothin' you can send me, my own true love
There's nothin' I wish to be ownin'
Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled
From across that lonesome ocean.

Oh, but I just thought you might want something fine
Made of silver or of golden
Either from the mountains of Madrid
Or from the coast of Barcelona ?

Oh, but if I had the stars from the darkest night
And the diamonds from the deepest ocean
I'd forsake them all for your sweet kiss
For that's all I'm wishin' to be ownin'.

That I might be gone a long time
And it's only that I'm askin'
Is there something I can send you to remember me by
To make your time more easy passin' ?

Oh, how can, how can you ask me again
It only brings me sorrow
The same thing I want from you today
I would want again tomorrow.

I got a letter on a lonesome day
It was from her ship a-sailin'
Saying I don't know when I'll be comin' back again
It depends on how I'm a-feelin'.

Well, if you, my love, must think that-a-way
I'm sure your mind is roamin'
I'm sure your thoughts are not with me
But with the country to where you're goin'.

So take heed, take heed of the western wind
Take heed of the stormy weather
And yes, there's something you can send back to me
Spanish boots of Spanish leather.


dreams upon dreams.

self portraits taken yesterday, during a small break from building sets.
new writing & imagery coming within the next few days on here as well. promise.


for now, i must say:

if i had long hair...

i'd wear it blowing in the wind...

like a willow tree.


the novelty candle & the field.

"Letter 3" | 1.11.2011

"the novelty candle"

Mom swivels her chair w/ the stack of heaping christmas cards, peeling them open like promises, and reads aloud a solstice quote:

“The darkness can show us the light’ and it comes with a candle that someone far away had spun and sent in novelty. It’s the kind you can’t blow out.

The collective sentiment drips from everyone’s wagging, holiday tongues and then washes away with the sherry. Maybe that’s it, though. It’s been falling to dark so early these days; getting harder to see whats gone sleeping ---

And that’s when I knew what had happened.

The jolt hit me hard – dragging me back again - no mistaking the weight of that heavy heart of yours; melding me to the memories with mortar for its grooves…

Back to when I reeled in bed from the heartbreak that Winter; three whole months in the same vacant expression; chapping lips & sleepwalking about a mission bed; a whole season when I only awoke to the toll of those dreams, where all things shook tremendously, in a world crumbling; as I would teeter and dip amidst the burning ruins, deep in the trenches we found; where I held your pretty little forest fingers – vines for limbs, even bolder than mine; and the shifty hearth still churning the ashes of the aftermath; and catching my dress in that torrid wind that sentenced me to forever chase the last few fleeting, burning words, forever - never catching.

And the thought of it leads me to other questions now, like: ‘why do the fireplaces stay standing like that?’ If it was all just meant to burn as it did, why didn’t the whole place just go? Why do the pots still hang from their nothings?

I want flowers in those plots, cuz I could grow them to the moon, but I’ve got those old foundations and their fires just consume.

Are they a novelty candle?... cuz I’ve been sifting so long now and it’s all I can figure.


It reminds me of the old man I see when I drive that old backroad; stitched to his chair as he peers from rise to set, span to span, against that massive, lone tree in the oceans of wheat - commanding the winds like a beacon.

Father time wanders so close to his eyes that I bet that old man hears him breathing sometimes, and it always makes me wonder, with intensely heavy sighs as I bite my little lip... Had it happened to him too? Because I know he’d be there now. That man never moves.

If I shut my eyes long enough and revisited that place – where the beams still smolder; where your eyes still reside [and not a day older]… and if I took a trail or two I never had wandered, back when I wandered – would I meet him in a clearing - chasing his own last fleeting, burning words, forever, never catching?

Did he spend his life reeling in bed? Is he sleepwalking now, and brave enough to do it outside? Are these fields his ruins? And were they ever his heyday? Is this the aftermath or a holy consolation?

And my mind begins thinking of abstract things: Is HE a novelty candle? If I ever stopped my car, cracked the door and wandered over, would he be a man or a mannequin? Would he be another trail to the fever? If I stepped from that road and down that ditch, onto that giant heap of blowing wheat where time doesn’t move when the rest passes by it, would he melt into the wind and scream for me to follow?

Would HE be the last few fleeting, burning words, forever, never catching?


"The Field"


I hope you have been enjoying these letters.
plenty more to come.

- ash