What Would You Tell Us?

 

If you could talk, what would you tell us?
About the day that they punched the highway past Powell
And about the people who came there and stayed in those cabins
Built so long ago

What would you tell us about the river
And what used to come and what no longer does
What would you tell us about the Nee-Me-Poo
Who may have come by you
On their way out of this country

If I could core you, how old would I find you to be?
Those fire scars
They tell me that you have been through a lot

Your bark is thick
And the flickrs and pileateds have dug at your base
To get those bugs
That are still trying to kill you

If you could talk what would you tell us?
about the men and women who came and stayed in these places
And the calk boots
And the fist fights
And the drinkin’
And the fires
And the music

And the young people who learned how to use a saw
Chain or crosscut
And an axe
And find their way in the wilderness

— Sandy Compton

Sawtooth Adventure (2017)

Over breakfast, Sandy Compton casually mentions that the distance to the Sawtooth summit is just 2.5 miles, as a swallow flies. So I figure, with my limited understanding of off-trail hiking, that our route should be no more than 4.5. We meet Kate, Celeste, Annie and Cary at 7:55am mountain time. We wait a while for two no-shows before driving… Read more →

Upper Ross Creek

Ode to Upper Ross Creek

My right knee is troubling me. I’ve gashes in my forearm. I lately closely inspected the Belt formation’s charms. A talus slope, a faulty set of my black Diamond pole. It sank a foot and I went down my head, not in a hole. But on a rock, ‘twas quite a sock, but I didn’t come up bleeding; at least… Read more →

Side Trips From Cowboy, by Sandy Compton

Regarding Surrendering: Step One

Surrender begins with Step One. When we admit our helplessness, even for a moment, we are letting go. We are surrendering something we may know not what, but it is imperative that we do. Here is an excerpt from Side Trips from Cowboy you might find helpful as you move toward surrender. Did you ever get on a carnival ride… Read more →

lewis & clark highway US 12

Winding Road, Next 99 Miles (8 am at Apgar)

I climb out of Montana only to fall into Idaho and a sign appears yellow and black in the late June gloom like a yellow-jacket warning flying by in the dark “Winding Road, Next 99 Miles”   US 12, Lewis and Clark Highway Lolo Pass to Kooskia (leave off the “a”) the longest continuous paved curve in Idaho I look… Read more →

Ranch Report 4.0: Rodentia

Warning: Contains graphic descriptions of violence against rodents. Now that I have your undivided attention . . . The cabin under reconstruction was built in three sections; 1930 (approximately), 1952-53, and 1960, and has been a haven for rodents since the day my grandfather nailed the last shake on the roof in 1930. My sis and I and several others… Read more →

Ranch Report V 3.0

I have been working on “remodeling” the house I grew up in for X number of years. I say “X” — or, more accurately, write “X” — because I have no idea how long I have been remodeling. Let’s just say it has been a long, long time. And for much of that time, I have been removing stuff, which… Read more →

A chapter from “Growing Up Wild”

Author’s note: Growing Up Wild has a book within the book entitled Alex’s Restaurant. This is an excerpt from the book inside the book. Big Dog’s mama didn’t really name him that. She named him after his two grandpappies, Brian O’Shannahan and David Broadwater, but neither name stuck as well as his initials did, because Brian David Broadwater grew up… Read more →

Surviving the Mother of All Overscheduled Weekends . . . and watering trees

Sandpoint, the nominal capitol of the vague state of Montaho was VERY busy last weekend. Hundreds of folks from as far away as Athol — heck, maybe even Spokane — strolled the streets with melting huckleberry ice cream running down their arms, because it was also hotter than a firecracker. I probably shouldn’t even say “firecracker.” We’ve been smelling smoke… Read more →

Photography is one of my great loves

And, some days photography even loves me. I took this picture at Nespelem, Washington, in the Nez Perce Cemetery on the Colville Indian Reservation. The tree is an ancient elm that arches over Chief Joseph’s grave. People have left many gifts hanging in that tree. Notice that the cross is accompanied by a coach’s or referee’s whistle, as well as… Read more →

The Girl Who Needed Glasses

There were four of us who arrived in Russia together; Gerald, Hazel, Eugene and I. We arrived in Moscow as most Americans do, dead tired and unprepared for the seemingly eternal phalanx of forms and uniforms one must pass through to enter the Mother Country. Time is already distorted for someone who has just flown half-way around the world, and… Read more →

God's Will — by Sandy Compton

God’s Will and Testament

God’s Will I, God, being of infinite mind and inscrutable body, do hereby declare My continuing Will and Testament, human edition. Planet Earth, I leave to its inhabitants, large and small, magnificent and mundane. The smarter should take care of the not-so-smart. I leave it to you to figure out who or what that might be. The rest of the… Read more →

Archer MacClehan & The Girl Who Wouldn't Stop Running

The Sanders County Ledger reviews Archer MacClehan

Readers following the exploits of Archer MacClehan had a to wait nine years, but author Sandy Compton of Heron says it won’t be as long for the third and fourth installments, both have already been started. Compton published the first novel of the series in 2005. That tale, Archer MacClehan and the Hungry Now relates an adventure through the wilds… Read more →

Twenty-sixteen — life is good and sweet

Twenty-sixteen. We’re gifted with a whole ’nother year to play with; 365 whole days. Oops. 366. It’s Leap Year! We get an extra. Hooray! I will try to use it wisely. Joyfully. Gracefully. Gratefully. I commend this to you as well. In spite of its travails — sometimes, even because of them — life is good and sweet. Results of… Read more →

Nadine’s Nose From A to Z or East Meets West

As it was, there was no way out of it, and even if there had been, Nadine would have done the same thing, no matter the crazy, trying circumstances nor the strident, screeching disapproval of Mother Sednick when Nadine called to tell her the plan and finally hung up shaking, crying and more determined than ever. Being in Montana made… Read more →

Twenty Questions

Twenty Questions Are you an addict? There is really only one person who can answer that question and that’s you. Others might be able to see it in you, and be convinced of it by your actions, and even take their own steps to obtain help for you or themselves. But you are the one who must decide whether you… Read more →

Step One

Step One “We admitted we were helpless over the problem — that our lives have become unmanageable.” So, let’s talk about addiction. I have already expressed that I think of it as cancer of the soul, a malignancy that begins growing in our spirit when we first indulge our addiction and eventually replaces maturity: growupus interruptus. I have already told… Read more →

Links to Recovery

One day at a time, you can get your life back through the Twelve Steps. Resource pages for addicts and addiction information are collected below in no particular order. We have  first included links to associations and twelve step programs that are open and free. If something is eating up your time and money, or providing a place to hide… Read more →

August 2015: Good Dog!

There’s a snowshoe hare living somewhere around my yard. I see her (him?) almost every day. Medium brown. Medium sized. Medium-length ears. Extra fast. Most often, I see it when I come home from somewhere, sitting sentinel in the yard. As soon as I drive in, it blitzes off into the brush. GC — my dog — has either not… Read more →

Sandy Compton

Growing Up Wild

When my mother was growing up and her children and her grandchildren, many of the kids living between Hope, Idaho, and Paradise, Montana, grew up wild, and they still do. Folks trying to get started in the Clark Fork valley often have to work so hard to plant themselves that there’s no time to cultivate the children, also. Instead, we… Read more →

Antigone

Following the message, a long, plaintive beeeeeeeeeeeep told Della that Mix hadn’t checked messages for some time. It was as if the machine was as lonely as she, also lamenting his neglect. She imagined it listening for his fumbling fingers at the door, praying he would get the key into the lock before it died of longing. When the phone… Read more →

The Trouble With Loving Angel

The trouble with loving someone like Angel is that sooner or later, it’s going to break your heart. Sooner or later, she will fade out of your life completely and leave you wondering whatever happened to that girl with the aversion to makeup, the perfect eyes, the smile that twisted left and the slightly whacked sense of humor. You don’t… Read more →