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.