Tornado, June 1959, Droid Shots, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming, May 2016, photo © 2016 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

In June 1959, a tornado roared over the south rim of the canyon directly before you. Its path was along Granite Creek to your left and through what used to be Granite Creek Campground. One person was killed. The twister ripped up timber and laid it out in the pattern you see now.

While tornadoes usually occur on the plains, several have visited the Big Horn Mountains. Blowing down mountain timber at 10,000 feet above sea level, these tornadoes are among the highest on record. The Forest Service salvaged part of the downed timber, but the steepness made it difficult to retrieve trees from upper slopes. A road at the bottom of the blowdown area enabled some clearing and reseeding. Most of the scar has revegetated naturally.



Along the ride from South Dakota into Wyoming and on to Cody, it was quiet, except for the wind. Tornadoes in Minnesota at 830 feet; tornadoes in Wyoming at 10,000 feet. And what about the spelling? Is it Bighorn or Big Horn? I discovered this notation in a post by Emilene Ostlind at the Wyoming State Historical Society:

Note: The U.S. Geological Survey uses “Bighorn” as a single word to refer to natural geographic structures–Bighorn Basin, Bighorn River, Bighorn Canyon, Bighorn Lake, Bighorn Mountains – and “Big Horn” as two words to refer to human establishments such as the towns and counties named Big Horn in Wyoming and Montana. The U.S.G.S. also lists “Big Horn” as a variant spelling for geographic features, and both spellings are used on maps and other published materials. Growing up in the town of Big Horn I learned to write my address or refer to my school with two words, and to describe the mountains with one word: the Bighorns.

The discovery and joy of road tripping.

-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

imagePrehistoric, Droid Shots, Hill City, South Dakota, June 2016, photo © 2016 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


bone to bone they fly / 50 million years ago / ocean desert sky



Road trip across the country. A cairn at the Black Hills Institute in Hill City, South Dakota. Grateful for the gift of time.

-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, June 11, 2016


20160104_123655 - January ap textresize

January, Droid Shots, St.Paul, Minnesota, January 2016, photo © 2016 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Amor, 2006 by Robert Indiana, National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., Droid Shots, June 26th, 2014, photo © 2014 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Robert Indiana


I took this photograph of the sculpture AMOR by Robert Indiana on a visit to the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., June 26th, 2014. Exactly one year later, June 26th, 2015, Love Wins (OBERGEFELL ET AL . v . HODGES).

-posted on red Ravine, Friday, July 3rd, 2015

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Record Store Day Highlights, St. Paul & Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2015, photos © 2015 by QuoinMonkey & Liz Anne Schultz. All rights reserved.

We made a day of it for Record Store Day, venturing across the river to two stores in St. Paul we had not visited before: Agharta Records (named after the Miles Davis album) and Eclipse Records on Wabasha. One thing I miss about shopping for albums in brick and mortar stores is the camaraderie among fellow music lovers. Agharta did not disappoint. We struck up a conversation with one of the DJs about the documentary Searching for Sugar Man. It turned out he had interviewed Rodriguez and hung out with him for a day; we left the store with a great story and Cold Fact in vinyl.

Later we stopped by Hymie’s Vintage Records where we entered a packed house for Chastity Brown and caught Pennyroyal’s last gig. Our final stop was Mill City Sound in Hopkins, but they were closed for the day. We ended up at Nacho’s Supermercado where I consumed one of the best burritos I’ve ever had.

Vinyl is alive and well. And if you subscribe to Neil Young’s belief that current digital formats produce only about “5 percent” of the sound that vinyl records do because the data is so compressed, Record Store Day is a good time to start your vinyl collection again.

Broken Or Unbroken

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Broken & Unbroken, Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, Kansas City, Missouri, Canon Powershot G6, April 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

eight years to the day
broken or unbroken
she decided to stay


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

-Part of a yearly practice to write a short form poem in a Moleskine journal once a day for the next year. Related to post: haiku 4 (one a day) Meets renga 52

Happy Eostre. #spring

Happy Eostre. The Gift, Droid Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2013, photo © 2015 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

season of Eostre:
abundance lives
in the skillful art
of not placing all your eggs
in one basket


A few years ago, I was getting a haircut when a woman walked in bearing gifts. She carried a basket of hollow, elaborately decorated eggs and asked the patrons in the shop if they would like to choose one to take with them. I had seen pysanky (what we called Ukrainian Easter eggs) before, but had never taken part in the gift-giving ritual. It lit up my day. I took the oval-shaped treasure home and placed it in a raku bowl on my altar where it lived for many months.

There is a booklet produced by the American Folklife Center (1982, long out of print) that gives a brief description of European egg decorating traditions, and explains the techniques (complete with black and white photos) for producing elaborate designs. EggArt can be found in the online collections of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress (LINK). Here is an excerpt:

Egg Art Cover Image: Easter Eggs Decorated with Various Traditional Patterns. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer, 1982.

Egg Art Cover Image: Easter Eggs Decorated with Various Traditional Patterns. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer, 1982.

Traditionally, the egg, both plain and decorated, has been an object with strong mystical and symbolic force throughout the world. It has been associated with the myth of creation, with the concept of birth, and with the hope for abundance. Eggs have been sacrificed to sanctify the construction of dwellings, public buildings, and bridges in many lands. They are traditionally given at the birth of a son in China, and they have been used for fortune telling in the British Isles. In many Western cultures the egg has become an integral part of the complementary celebrations of the Easter season and of the renewal of life in spring.

It is in Eastern Europe, however, where Christian associations with the egg were grafted onto strong, pagan beliefs which connected the egg with sun worship, worship of the renewal of life in spring, and with rituals to maintain or restore health, that the rich traditions surrounding eggs have remained strongest. More secular traditions practiced in the spring by communities of European ancestry include egg tapping, egg gathering or hunting, egg rolling, and egg tossing contests.

It is said that the Venerable Bede, (672-735 CE), a Christian scholar and monk, first asserted in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre (or Eastre, the ancient word for spring). And that Eostre, the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people, Germanic Goddess of Spring, gave her name to the Christian festival of Easter. After the dark Midwest winter, I find it an uplifting season, and feel grounded in the timing still dictated by the Moon.

-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, April 4th, 2015

-Part of a yearly practice to write a short form piece of poetry in a Moleskine journal once a day for the next year. Related to post: haiku 4 (one a day) Meets renga 52