Silent Nature and A. J. Windless
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Close up of a pine cone covered with snow
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In a Cone
November 16, 1991  Film: Kodachrome 64
 I captured this photo in 1991 in southern Utah. A few years later as I was going through my images I began thinking about the seeds that were tucked away deeply inside of this cone protected from the snow, animals, and other destructive forces. Even after the cone falls to the ground the seeds cannot take root and grow until a forest fire comes through and burns the cone. I pondered this incredible phenomena and I became inspired to write a poem about how winter brings us closer together as we gather inside near the fireplace with our friends and family, sharing stories, hot drinks, and laughing. I could see that, like the seed inside the pine cone, we are best insulated from the destructive forces of stress by our circle of family and friends. I was working a day job, but outside of work, for the next month I became obsessed with writing this poem, spending every waking moment thinking about it, unable to sleep at night as thoughts for words continued to race through my head. As you read this poem you would never know it, the wording sounds so simple and reads so smoothly, but that was exactly the point, I wanted it to have perfect rhythm, strong rhyming, smooth flow, and to be very clear and precise. I paid a local printer to create two gift cards and printed the poem on wedding paper which I inserted into the cards, selling them from a number of gift shops across the Salt Lake Valley and even several stores in other states. Over the years I have tried setting this poem to music and came up with dozens of melodies, but none of them seemed fully worthy of these beautiful lyrics. Never really satisfied, about three years ago I sat down anew with my guitar and word by word began experimenting with which note would sound best next. I began recording this song a few months ago and about a week ago I got Athalie to come in and sing the lead vocal. This song makes a perfect Season's Greeting card, but it continues to be a great song to listen to throughout the year, both during the winter snows, and as a mental relief from the sweltering summer heat. (read the poem) (listen to the song)
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