“There's a cathedral hush here. Perhaps the thick soft bark absorbs sound and creates silence. The trees rise straight up to zenith; there is no horizon. The dawn comes early and remains dawn until the sun is high. Then the green fernlike foliage so far up strains the sunlight to a green gold and distributes it in shafts or rather in stripes of light and shade. After the sun passes zenith it is afternoon and quickly evening with a whispering dusk as long as was the morning.
To me dawn and dusk are quiet times, and here in the redwoods nearly the whole of daylight is a quiet time. Birds move in the dim light or flash like sparks through the stripes of sun, but they make little sound. Underfoot is a mattress of needles deposited for over two thousand years. No sound of footsteps can be heard on this thick blanket.”
- John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley
Thank you for being here for the 24th installment of this newsletter.
» Before we get too far, tell me — where are you listening from, and/or what is something you’re looking forward to?
On my end, I’m really looking forward to soaking up these last few weeks of summer in the Pacific Northwest. Of all the seasons, I love autumn most, but my wife has helped me appreciate the sweetness of summer, which is made all the more precious in this part of the world because of its brevity.
🎵 This month’s piece is in B-flat minor.1
For this, the penultimate song of Volume II, I wanted to lean into some of the field recordings I’ve been gathering to help create a sense of the spaces where I have found inspiration and to demonstrate the hushed quality of the woods that Steinbeck describes above. And, while not the first time I’ve done this, nor, I expect, the last, I tucked some vocals into this one — I just felt like singing a little bit.
📷 This month’s photo is on film taken in Silver Falls State Park in Oregon.2
The perspective on this one called to mind Steinbeck’s reference to “cathedrals” in relation to the forest.
I invite you to sit with this month’s song, photo, and poem and make them a small part of your day, whether that’s your morning ritual, afternoon break, or your evening wind-down.
As always, if you feel like it, let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
Thank you again for being here.
In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver3
🔈 A reading (by me):
Look, the trees
their own bodies
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
the long tapers
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (Bookshop) (Thanks for letting me borrow your copy, Rick!)
To explore the books that have been shared in this newsletter, please visit Bookshop.org4
A Calf Born in Winter by Khruangbin (Listen)
Note: I put all the songs shared in the newsletter into this Spotify playlist
After A Summer Rain is now streaming.
Foggy merch — available now!
A new Spotify playlist:
Cathedral Hush in B-flat minor / Written and produced by Fog Chaser / Recorded in Logic Pro
Cathedral Hush / 35mm film (Fujifilm Superia / ISO 400) / Silver Falls State Park, Oregon, USA
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