MTPR

Arts & Culture

Author interviews, food, natural history, poetry, and more from "The Write Question", "The Food Guys", "Field Notes", "Home Ground Radio", "Front Row Center", and "Reflections West".

A black-capped chickadee feeds on mountain ash berries.
Flickr user La FoeZ' (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

Walking through many neighborhoods in Montana towns through the fall and winter, you’ll find yourself brushing past clusters of showy orange berries, hanging down from the limbs of mountain ash. By late winter many of the berries have spattered to the sidewalk, but through much of the drab months they provide a warm pop of color against the gray sky and white snow.

Set against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, "Love and Other Consolation Prizes" is an unforgettable story about the power of friendship, love and devotion in a world where everything and everyone is for sale.

Cottonwoods: Where Wildlife Take Refuge In Winter

Jan 29, 2018
Black Cottonwood in Winter.
USFWS Mountain Prairie

Thinking about plants in winter recently, I remembered a particular good-sized cottonwood I saw while walking along a riverbank. What was its story?

From James Halfpenny’s fascinating book “Winter:  An Ecological Handbook,” I learned that cottonwoods, like many northern trees, have very special adaptations to survive the long, cold winters. They begin their “hardening” process in the fall, as temperatures begin to drop and the amount of daylight decreases.  Leaves typically fall during this stage of hardening, but the process continues as winter settles in. 

"I always think every word or every new idea is either a firecracker or a pebble. If it’s a pebble, then it’s just sitting there doing its job of making it progress, but if it’s a firecracker, it could be an inspiration. It could send you in a different direction. One of the things about novels is that there’s an energy in the novel. If the energy is always pointing in one direction, toward the thing you planned, then it begins to dissipate. If you are feeling inspired by a whole bunch of things that are unexpected as you go along and then you can shape them and stick them in the novel, then the energy doesn’t dissipate, the energy keeps going because there’s a kind of a newness quality . . . and you yourself are jacked up about that, and so that energy that you feel gets into the narrative."  -- Jane Smiley 

The Bunch Grass Motel

Jan 23, 2018
Mary Beth Gloege

MUSING THE LOG CABIN

 

Some kitchen mornings

through time-warped window glass,

I saw mountain bluebirds

in their luminous coats

flutter and feed from post to post.

 

Living room afternoons

carried the whistles

and yeeps of robins,

harvesting fat earthworms

from fields of swaying grass.

 

Evenings above the cement stoop

held violet-green swallows,

darting swept-back wings

through the rising dark, rife

with star-shine and shadow.

 

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