Sunday, November 29, 2009

I have completed the planting of the prairie for the season. I had planted virtually everything a month ago, but I got a bit of Gentiana affinis seeds that had been collected by my friend Nancy Hegg and put that in yesterday in my wettest spots. Altogether around thirty species have gone in and now I wait to see what will actually come up. The photo above was taken at the end of August, my intention being to show the clean slate with which I began, the result of a significant onslaught of Roundup. Hopefully next year I will be able to take photos from the same vantage point for comparison. It is already more green than this, even at the end of November. I am sure some of the sprouts are undesirable, but I was surprised that eight Rocky Mountain Iris seeds that I had planted last year came up in the middle of that barren view several weeks after I took this photo, and other natives take advantage of the fall growing season, including grasses and an intriguing biennial called scarlet gilia (gilia aggregata). One thing I love to see is a plant contributed by the birds and it appears that they have put in a blue elderberry in a perfect spot, as well as a couple of other shrubs I couldn't yet identify.

In the studio I have at last dusted off my opera and confronted the least-worked-out piece from the original effort. Back in the late 1980s when I started, I had sought to create a few songs that could live outside the opera, and the clumsiest one of these was a sort-of "love song" that hung on in the back of my mind until this month when I realized that my characters had a whole lot more to say than that; in fact, they don't actually get along all that well. A few lines, part of one verse, survive in the new song, but even the basic instrumental texture of the song was transformed once I put the new vocal parts to it. Such a relief to have gotten back into this project again. At this point it looks a lot like the prairie--barren with a lot of potential, but hopefully by next Spring...

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