Saturday, February 1, 2014


We went to climb Sugarloaf today, down there in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.

 This time of year we usually steer by the tar road to the summit that is closed off to traffic, but the roadway was blitzed with ice on its western side, so we thought the climbing was shutdown for at least today.

 Then we took a look up through the oak trees on the face of the mountain and all looked pretty clear, sunny. We headed up the foot trail and found, sure enough, things were fairly clear, and what's more — extensive trail work had taken place while we were away. Smart trail work, including new cut-ins for a better trail, at a more moderate climb, with built-in timber cribbing and steps right where the trail asked for these.

I didn't at all mind the moderate climb, at least for today, having smashed my tailbone while sledding a few days earlier.

 The trail held half ice, a little side snow, and even an early spring mud showed as we neared the summit. Someone choreographed the new part of the trail wisely, cutting it across the whole face of the mountain and taking advantage of the full day sun sliding east to west across the valley, the climber's back to the tobacco, corn and potato fields down below.

When we reached the summit, and more full sun, no one was around. We saw a few recent boot prints in the mud so someone had been around over the last few days. Just a snowman was waiting for us up there. Sticks for arms, eyes, nose, mouth, and one snow shaped ear had fallen off. So I reshaped a new ear and put it into place.

Everyone should have ears.

[ BA ]

malibu dress
photo © bob arnold


I was finishing up musician Charlie Louvin's autobiography when I had a letter from a friend speaking almost the exact same wish that Charlie Louvin had. It has to do with a Harley motorcycle.

Above is from the closing page of Louvin's book Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers.

Two good ol' boys from Alabama, Ira and Charlie Louvin's music influenced wide and mighty: from The Beatles, Everly Brothers, The Byrds, Emmylou Harris, Handsome Family, just for starters.

In 1964, Charlie split professionally with Ira and started a solo career. While traveling between solo engagements the following year, Ira was killed near Kansas City, Mo., when his car was struck by a drunk driver.

(Harper Collins 2012)

The same design on the book, and title, was used for the brothers 1959 Capitol Records release.
An album coveted by record collectors today.