A Crinkly Wiggle of a Stick
A word from our Summer 2020 Editor-in-Chief, Clare Menzel.
Have you ever picked up a magical river stick I have. The first one I really remember was delicate and silky gray, with a spray of hairy frayed bark. Warped, but gracefully so. There’s a pointy, triangular rock wedged up in its armpit, cradled right there in the crook. I came upon it a few years ago while bikepacking in the Canadian headwaters of the North Fork Flathead, and I tenderly stowed it between the folds of the foam sleeping pad strapped on my bike and took it home.
Times being what they are, I recently began tying my river treasures together with string. I’m making kinetic art, sculptures that bob and float, propelled by air currents. They’re a lovely home for my prized river trinkets: fragile lumps of gnarled root, a scale of Ponderosa bark, a crinkly wiggle of a stick that looks like a question mark. To build a Calder-style mobile, you work from the bottom up, balancing each level before adding another, which is probably a brilliant metaphor for some dots I’m too frazzled to connect.
The making helps me wind my anxious brain down. It’s all intuition, all sensing. But the watching is just as good, just as nourishing. It’s best when there isn’t really a breeze at all. The dancing sculptures quietly turn, turn, turn, seemingly of their own bewitching volition.
Maybe your thing isn’t mobiles. It’s probably not mobiles. Still, I hope you have a thing, something niche and weird and skillful that brings you joy, something that keeps you keepin’ on. Someday, I want to hear about it. Those are the stories we adore at Go Local. When we put our plucky dream of a re-imagined and spunkier-than-ever publication out there, our pages filled up with work by so many talented people, about so many remarkable people, all here in the Flathead Valley. In this issue, we wanted to highlight some bright spots in our community. We’re proud to present what we think is a beautiful beam of sunshine. It makes me at least as happy as river sticks suspended in the solstice sunlight. Welcome, and thank you.
Go Local Summer 2020 Editor
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