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The Album Cover

I was walking our dog during a freeze-thaw cycle a few winters ago and noticed something in the wetlands.

The ice that had previously imprisoned the leaves and vegetation on the surface had thawed enough to release them again. The leaves, waterlogged, disappeared into the water below, but not before leaving the image of their ‘bones’ in the ice.

As the temperature fluctuated, the water level fell, leaving distinct layers of ice which had formed below the impression of the leaves.

When I observed this, the sun was just coming out, the water was rising, and it was evident that this strange, beautiful phenomena wouldn’t last more than a few minutes.

I went inside and told Nancy, who brought her camera and caught these ephemeral images before their momentary display ended.

I like the wintry photograph for the album’s title track, “December 32nd,” which is a song about New Year’s Eve from the perspective of those who aren’t in a position to believe in its inherent ability to renew.

The image also has resonance from the standpoint of my becoming old and having recorded these songs at this late date. I know that few people will hear them, and the songs will not, in all probability, survive me by much.

Nevertheless, I’m glad to have recorded them, happy that good friends helped me do so, at peace in the knowledge that whatever mark we make, it will become fragile and dissolve in time. Our work is no less beautiful for its transience.

Photos by Nancy Solo

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