Posts Tagged ‘Helena’


An Invite From CRAG

24 P Linda Sliding 4Linda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas — I was invited to speak at the September 24 meeting of the Caddo River Art Guild (CRAG), an avid group whose mission is promoting art and artists in south central Arkansas,  My mission of course is capital cities, so I talked about “art in the capital cities,” that is, the community’s support of the arts. How Art Thrives was my topic, leading with the question: What does it take to have a thriving arts community?

It takes four things, I proposed, to nods of agreement from around the room:

• Money
• Artists
• Volunteers
• Attitude

I selected five uniquely different cities to illustrate:
Santa Fe, New Mexico, Population 67, 947 (about 6 Arkadelphias) because it supports and focuses on the artist more than any other capital city.

Montpelier, Vermont, Population 7,855 (about 3/4 of 1 Arkadelphia!) because it’s the smallest capital city and has the 2nd most artists per capita and the biggest group of volunteers.

And Helena, Montana, Population 28,190 (about 3 Arkadelphias), Lincoln, Nebraska, Population 258,379 (about 24 Arkadelphias), and Indianapolis, Indiana, Population 820,444 (about 77 Arkadelphias) to show it’s not the size of the city that matters, it’s the attitude of its residents. » read more


A Joyce Kilmer Angst

04 iciclesLinda Burton Posting From Arkadelphia, Arkansas – Joyce Kilmer loved trees, and so do I. Remember that line “I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree…”? I’ve been worrying about my trees way too much of late, at complete odds with Mother Nature. She might as well have been an axman, sending all those February ice storms and breaking limbs all over town. What the ice didn’t get, the power company finished, whacking away every straggling branch that dared come anywhere near a power line and forevermore ruining the shape of every hackberry and pine tree that was unfortunate enough to get planted along the Entergy right of way.

I started back in January trying to clear off those choking “exotics” (meaning, non-native plants that will take over a yard if you aren’t careful) that some quick-grow gardener planted long ago. Turn the house into a rental and neglect the yard for a few years and you’ve got a mess on your hands. A mess of privet hedge ten feet tall and as scraggly as a witch’s hideaway, wrapped with wisteria vines that would support both Tarzan and Jane, all underpinned with sneaky English ivy, which is strong enough to grow right through a windowsill. It just wedges 01 Clearing Brushitself through the tiniest crack! You know what I mean. Back down in the ravine, a totally wild and woolly spot at the end of 9th Street, the wisteria has shimmied its way to the top of 60-foot oaks, with no plans to stop twisting and vining and taking over the world.

But not in my yard! Not with White’s Manicured Lawns in town. Quincy White and his brother Dante have chain saws and other devices designed to “stop the madness” and after a few hours in January managed to get a ten-foot area all around the house cleared away. After the February ice storms, their work tripled, this time sawing downed limbs and making huge stacks out front for the city pickup.

My greatest fear during the ice storm was for the giant camellia at the side of the house. » read more


What a Country!

My Pierre Friends Mel and Jason

Linda Burton posting from Denver, Colorado – It’s my last day in Denver, a day I’ll use to summarize. The Journey Across America is now thirty percent complete! That’s right; fifteen capital cities visited, enjoyed, and lived in. I’ve encountered some surprises that didn’t match my plan, such as temperatures over a hundred degrees – I thought I’d be far enough north to avoid that in August! But the Dakotas did me in: Bismarck 105, Pierre 103. And I didn’t plan for Alex Cat to nearly die on me, or to get sick myself, but hey, our bodies falter, every now and then; we’re better now. I had an interesting thought as I came east across the Continental Divide into Helena, Montana, capital city number eleven. It occurred to me that only nine capital cities lie west of the Divide, and I’ve now been to all of them. I’ve lived in Phoenix, Sacramento, Carson City, Salt Lake City, Boise, Salem, Honolulu, Olympia, and Juneau. And I’m amazed that so much of the land, and the resources, that make up our country is found in a rather small number of states. Think of it. » read more


Talent Is

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – “To have talent is no credit to its owner,” Charlie Russell said in 1925. “What man can’t help he should get neither credit nor blame for.” Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926) moved to Montana when he was sixteen, seeking the life of a cowboy. It wasn’t his talent, however; he was fired from his sheep-ranching job in just a few months. He followed Jake Hoover for a while, hunting and trapping; then hired on as a wrangler at a cattle ranch near Missoula. He was finally living the cowboy life, going on cattle drives; he continued this for seven years. He also spent a year with the Blackfoot Indians, learning their ceremonies, hunting methods, and tribal legends. He sketched and drew these things he experienced during a time of Montana’s vanishing frontier – the 1880’s and 1890’s. And Charlie Russell found his talent. He created more than 4,000 paintings, drawings, and sculptures in his lifetime, becoming one of the world’s best-known and most authentic western artists. Today his statue represents Montana in Statuary Hall in Washington, DC. As I read the story of this remarkable man, I see two significant marking points – in 1886 and in 1896 – when the talent he was so modest about began to be recognized. » read more


Going Wild

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – Montana is big. 94,109,542 acres big, to be precise. It is a state of riches, overflowing with nature’s generosity. And since the passage of the Wilderness Protection Act of 1964, signed into law by Lyndon Johnson, 3,443,038 acres of that land (about 3.7%) have become designated wilderness areas. Enthralled by the landscape around me, I’m getting information from the Montana Wilderness Association (MWA). Headquartered in Helena, the organization was founded in 1958 by Ken and Florence Baldwin; it was the nation’s first state organization concerned with wilderness preservation and the management of public lands. This nonprofit’s mission is “to protect Montana’s wilderness heritage, quiet beauty and outdoor traditions, now and for future generations.” The ensuing years have seen coalitions and controversies, lawsuits and victories. In 1964 some of Montana’s best-known wilderness areas were designated – Bob Marshall, Cabinet Mountains, Gates of the Mountains, Selway-Bitterroot, and Anaconda-Pintler. By 1978 the Lincoln-Scapegoat, Great Bear, Rattlesnake, Absaroka-Beartooth, Mission Mountains, Welcome Creek, UL Bend, Medicine Lake, and Red Rock Lakes areas were added; more campaigns continue. » read more


When The Bus Breaks

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – “Our bus broke down in Cheyenne,” she explained. “It was something about the compressor, and my husband drove to Denver to get the part. They didn’t have it either.” So Rory Block got to Helena by renting a car and driving 700 miles to sing for us tonight. “I kind of got into the groove for that Montana speed limit,” she confessed. Rory Block is sitting mid-stage in the Myrna Loy Center and I’m sitting 40 feet away in Seat #2, with a straight-line unobstructed view. She’d walked onstage precisely at 8 PM, a long, tall drink of water, in long legged slender slacks, long blond hair brushing the center of her back, some sparkly bracelets her only flash. This 5-time Blues Award Winner, heralded as “a living landmark,” “a national treasure” and “one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists” was here with us now, chatting to the house of 250 as though we were sharing our living room. The New York Times once declared of Rory “her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.” The evening took it one step more; she manages finicky sound systems and broken down buses with equal aplomb. » read more


She’s Here!

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – “I ate at my first Applebee’s on that trip,” Matthew reminisced during Tuesday’s final goodbyes before I headed for Helena. Grandson Matt was referring to our trip of 2001, when he was almost 10 and we went to three capital cities and three national parks in a three-week period. Helena, Bismarck, and Pierre were the capitals; Glacier, Yellowstone, and the Badlands were the parks. I chuckled that he remembered the Helena Applebee’s stop; he didn’t want to go to an unfamiliar place but I promised an oreo shake. He tried something new, and he loved it; the next day we visited the capitol. He loved that too. Little did we know that day just how it would affect our lives. Matt is 20 now; he’s studying Japanese with plans to head for Japan next year for more study; he plans to live there, and teach. Matt’s vision expanded under the wide-open skies of Montana; my vision expanded by watching a kid in a capitol. That’s why I’m here today. » read more


Helen Air

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – The Sleeping Giant was still snoozing when I woke up this morning. He’s straight across the valley from my hotel, a camera-zoom from my second-floor window revealed the details of his nose. The mountain goats that live in the Sleeping Giant Wilderness Area have been awake for a while, I figure,and the bighorn sheep and black bear; I imagine them roaming around looking for breakfast. I head downstairs in search of food myself. The coffee is ready in the sunny breakfast room; make your own waffles or choose sausage and eggs and biscuits and gravy; there are cheerios for the faint of heart. I slip an English muffin into the toaster and pick up the morning newspaper. “Welcome to Helena” is the header on Helena’s daily, the Independent Record; that’s . The cover sheet is a Daily Visitor Guide, how nice! “Downtown Helena is a place of riches,” I read. » read more


Rocky Mountain Roads

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – Just an ordinary day in the life of a cross-country traveler. I crossed Clark Fork sixteen times, was slowed by orange road-work cones seven times, stopped for gas two times, and observed a smashed-to-pieces motorhome one time. Actually I saw the smash-up twice – once on the freeway at the scene of the “incident” (as the Montana temporary highway markers defined it); later when stopped at the St Regis Travel Plaza (where they serve huckleberry shakes). A truck hauled a piece of it in; I shivered at the sight, a shambles of dangling wiring, a sink poised in the upper corner as it lay pitifully on its side. What happened to the people? What happened to their dishes? What happened to their plans? Were they headed cross-country like me, or did they just want to spend a week parked by the creek, fishing peacefully? I gave a pat to my sturdy Scion, thankful we were safe.  » read more