October 11, 2009

goldenrod and the 4H stone


This morning my neighborhood is covered in a thin sheet of ice, each leaf coated and crackly frozen. After venturing outside to take this picture (and promptly slipping on the ice), I sit here with my coffee and warm up, cozy in my slippers and fuzzy clothes. As I read the newspaper it tells me that today is the anniversary of the death of Casimir Pulaski, a Polish gentleman I know nothing about other than that his day in March is the title of one of my favorite Sufjan Stevens songs. Something about this powdered-sugar dusting of snow seems eminently appropriate for listening to a lot of Sufjan all morning long, yeah? I’m in Sufjan mood lately.

The sadness in this song always gets me — painfully honest, and bitterly sweet. A girl he loves is diagnosed with bone cancer. The light from the window presses up against her shoulderblade and they pray over her at Bible study (but nothing ever happens). He wrestles, as many of us do.

I appreciate the difficult veracity in these lyrics, Job shaking his fists upwards. As Josh Ritter muses, perhaps “we need faith for the same reasons that it’s so hard to find.”

Casimir Pulaski Day (live on KCRW) – Sufjan Stevens

…In the morning when you finally go
And the nurse runs in with her head hung low
And the cardinal hits the window

In the morning in the winter shade
On the first of March, on the holiday
I thought I saw you breathing

All the glory that the Lord has made
And the complications when I see His face
In the morning in the window

All the glory when He took our place
But He took my shoulders and He shook my face
And He takes and He takes and He takes…

THE REST OF THE 2005 KCRW SET (good for snowy mornings)
The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts (live on KCRW)
Chicago (live on KCRW)
John Wayne Gacy Jr (live on KCRW)
A Good Man Is Hard To Find (live on KCRW)
Jacksonville (live on KCRW)



  • I’ve never been the biggest Sufjan fan, but this song has always hit me right – especially on a cold day. Good pick.

    Payton — October 11, 2009 @ 11:49 am

  • I too love Casmir Pulski & Sufjan! You did a great job explaining his essence. An icy day like that does seem appropriate for his soothing voice. :)

    Bernadette — October 11, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

  • I can’t wait to hear “John Wayne Gacy Jr”- I love that song. Thanks for this!

    Matt — October 11, 2009 @ 8:50 pm

  • Yeah this is basically my favorite song on this cd. Well played

    Benyamen Cronin — October 12, 2009 @ 12:43 am

  • I love the picture. I dabble in photography myself and you seem to have an eye for it. Also found Scavo through you so, thanks.

    spookycat — October 12, 2009 @ 8:32 am

  • Pearl Jam’s show in San Diego was nothing short of epic. I’ll email you the boot if you’d like ;)

    Pete — October 12, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  • Don’t feel bad, I grew up in Illinois and still don’t really know all that much of CP. But I do love the song!

    ruralgurl — October 14, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

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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

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