September 23, 2009

Far away from these winter streets


Well, my summer is over with a bang and a strong gust. The wind outside has a wicked bite to it that chills down to the skin as if my layers weren’t even there. I don’t mind letting this gorgeous, whole summer slip off into memory — it was a good one, a summer where I grew my first (thriving) garden, spent time down in the rich damp soil with the crickets chirping around me at sunset, while I could often hear the bells from the college chapel tolling a reminder of where in the evening hours we found ourselves. It was a summer where I got back the gift of quiet contentment in the late, warm nights.

I read several wonderfully rich books over the summer as well, sometimes sitting out on my back porch with my feet on the railing while my kiddo ran and played with the other little people in our neighborhood, blazing past as a whir of lanky legs, bare feet, and often a collection of eew-inducingly-large bugs in his bug carrier. The two books I completed on the porch in these summer months that will stick with me are Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger. Both cast off sparks and loaned me great joy with their vocabulary and writing style, seamlessly knitting me into the worlds they created. Gilbert’s journey through a year of recovery and self-care in Italy, India, and Indonesia was a wellspring of simple strength and enjoyment on my bedside table, and Enger’s book consistently delighted me with unexpected beauty in the simplest turn of a sentence, weaving Cormac-McCarthy-worthy characters with a richer innocence. This summer, they nourished me.

I can smell smoke in the air tonight from a neighbor’s wood fire, out somewhere in this old neighborhood. I wrap the dense warmth of this sweater around me, and listen to this Marah song that has felt like a constant anthem of my last few winters. It’s a song with some thoughtful sadness in it, but also a solitude, a strength, and that wistfully warm harmonica that cuts through it and makes me think of driving over Highway 17 in California, towards the ocean on a clear October day.

Walt Whitman Bridge – Marah

Far away from these winter streets
On a cloudless day
Your memory, your memory
Your memory blows away from me…

[top image, Gustave Caillebotte]

Tagged with , .


  • That was beautiful, thank you.

    Mike — September 23, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

  • gotta love the marah. you know how to pick ‘em. if you haven’t, check out serge bielanko(of marah)’s blog @ that man can write like nobody’s business.

    Michael McCarty — September 23, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

  • “Walt Whitman Bridge” is such an amazing song. I think Marah are so wonderfully talented, and this song is just as you described – just changed Highway 17 in Cali to empty cornfields and country roads in Indiana, and you’ll be in my neck of the woods ;)

    Dustin — September 23, 2009 @ 5:43 pm

  • Great song.Love the harmonica.

    Nathan House — September 24, 2009 @ 5:25 am

  • I’ve dug that song since the first time I heard it ’05. I recently dug out an old mix it was on after not hearing it in a couple years. Still a great song

    tom — September 24, 2009 @ 8:31 am

  • my fav marah song of all, constantly winding up on playlists and mix cd’s (yes i still make them)

    ajs — September 24, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

  • It is a great season-changing song. I’m also going to check out the book rec.’s. Thanks

    spookycat — September 24, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

  • Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy this site (a friend recently
    recommended it)….a great place/space for a tried and true music fan.

    Mary — September 24, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

  • When on earth do you find time to garden and read? Heather, you must never sleep!

    ruralgurl — September 25, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  • Thank you! Such perfect timing on this one…

    Ed — September 28, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

  • Marah is coming to the Walnut Room next month.

    julio — September 28, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

  • oh, i shall gigbot the matter. thanks, julio! :)

    browneheather — September 28, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

  • ps – did you see how I did that? I made it a verb.

    browneheather — September 28, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

  • eat, pray, love is a wonderfully inspiring book, but i have to stay the author’s last name is gilbert not mitchell.


    cate — September 30, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

  • cate! i’m retarded! do you know who elizabeth mitchell is? Juliet on LOST. LoST is taking over my BRAIN. :)
    thanks so much for the catch. i KNEW that!!!

    browneheather — September 30, 2009 @ 11:21 pm

  • no problem!! your blog is my bible….thank you!!

    cate — October 4, 2009 @ 8:13 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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