Tag Archives: Glenn Ohrlin

Hard To Believe

 

 

Kevin Martini-Fuller has been taking photographs of all the poets and performers at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering since its inception in 1985. Many portraits were exhibited this year in the Wiegand Gallery at the Pioneer Hotel, headquarters for the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada. I’m flattered to have been paired in the exhibit with Glenn Ohrlin (1926-2015), a NEA Fellow and friend.

I have been certainly blessed to have spent most of my life on this ranch, 31 years of which have also been associated with cowboy poetry and music, a fork in the road that has changed my life, acquainting me with many, many friends scattered across the West. Looking back, it’s hard to believe, but the emotional proof is among the hundreds of images on these gallery walls.

 

Button Willow

Cephalanthus occidentalis californica

Cephalanthus occidentalis californica

Cephalanthus occidentalis californica

Cephalanthus occidentalis californica

Aaron ‘Slick’ Sweeney spent a lifetime in this country before I came along fresh from college with only a few years of packing mules under my belt. He took me buck hunting for the first time when I was about eleven. He carried a broomstick and I my heavy British Enfield .303. We saw deer, but my eye wasn’t sophisticated enough to distinguish does from bucks on the run at a distance. I never shot.

‘Button willow’ is descriptive enough to know one when you see one, and when he asked me one day in the early ’70s about the ‘button willow spring’ in a certain pasture, I knew exactly where he was talking about. He explained to me at that time that there’s almost always water enough to develop for cattle where there is a button willow tree.

Cephalanthus occidentalis californica

Cephalanthus occidentalis californica

                    Chorus:

                    It’s home to your home, wherever you may be,
                    It’s home to your home, to your own country,
                    Where the oak and the ash and the button willow tree
                    And the lark sings gaily in his own country.

                                 – Glenn Ohrlin (“The Button Willow Tree”, 1989)

                                 courtesy: The Mudcat Café