February tornado (mid-winter dispatch) - 2.8.24

Is that… lightning? February lightning? I’d stopped at the record store to chat with record store Steve,
who ordered me the latest Whitehorse record, husband & wife Canadian duo. They have a cool
spaghetti western, noir kinda vibe but during the pandemic they started writing stuff influenced by
listening to classic 70s country records and drinking wine after their young daughter went to sleep, so
they explained at a show. That dude's tone is bar none- big ‘ol Gretsch hollow body with a Bigsby, old
Fender amp, and- pay attention kids- no effects.

Then I grabbed a refreshment around the corner for to meet the folks at a new joint hosting live music.
And upon leaving… lightning. Weird warm temps had earlier kicked up the first ever February tornado in
Wisconsin, just over the border outside Milwaukee. Did some damage. That morning pal Emily had sent
me a pic of winter aconite already blooming in her yard. Go back to sleep little flowers, it ain't morning
yet! Last week my friend Tom started tapping sap from his maples, which typically happens later in
March. He built a contraption for boiling it down and it’s a late night late winter rite to be tending that
fire with a whisky, all that smoky mapley sweetness swirling about.

We had some proper winter, near a foot of snow then subzero/single digits for a week. Frigid long
enough for some long walks down the frozen river, when you can see into mysterious places that you
normally can’t access. When it’s that cold I throw extra bird seed on the ground for the squirrels too,
normally my nemeses as they relentlessly try to breach the feeder, the Furry Wallendas.
Did you know that gray squirrels might bury around 10,000+ nuts a year for their winter caches? And
that they find upwards of 90% of them? And new evidence suggests their brains actually get larger
toward winter to help them remember where them nuts & seeds are stashed, then shrink back down in

And now, after days of warm temps and rain, there’s still some ice on the ponds and piles of shrinking
black snow scattered about, even if the dirty snowmen and women have receded back into the earth,
after falling from the sky. Full circle. I gazed at it all through the shatter hole in my windshield, right at
eye level, from a rock thrown by a bigger pickup passing me outside Denver on my way to a gig outside
Boulder. Man that was a beautiful summer day. Hot sunny mountain day. They’ll be back. In the
meantime it’s Fat Tuesday next week. Beguiling temptress.