Like a Player Piano – Guest Post by Steph Kilen

By Steph Kilen

When I get that feeling a friend calls “free floating angst” – that uneasiness you can’t pin on anything in particular, as if you’ve forgotten something important but don’t know what it is, that anxiety so common in our dreams, a burly thread weaving some sort of self-ridicule through your limbs – it used to be that I’d want to crawl into someone’s arms. But more and more, I just want to be here:

Mile Marker 339, 16x22


or here:

Mile Marker 362, 16x22


or in any of Chris’ work really. To be in touch with that part of me, like the landscape, that is open and breezy and not vulnerable because of it, but strong. That part of me that is undeniably Midwestern. (If you are Midwestern, you know what I mean and if you aren’t and have met Chris and Kyle, you’d know too.)


When we need comfort or inspiration it often helps to go back to what we know best. If you live in the Midwest, or have had the chance to have a good long drive through instead of fly over, these landscapes can spin in your soul like the roll of a player piano. Chis knows how to choose just the right notes in her images to remind you of the best parts of those songs. The plains and sky seem to go on forever, so that one might consider them ubiquitous, or even, boring, unless, like Chris, you know how to stop at just the right place to see the grace of it all.


The place where you can find your good humor if you’ve lost it, maybe just outside the shade shed by that tree. The place you can feel good about all the work you’ve done and look for nothing in particular in those clouds. The place where you can actually see enough air to fuel all the laughing, singing and sighing with delight you could possibly manage in a lifetime. And if someone’s arms could be at that mile marker, all the better.

If you happen to be from a desert, or mountain, hill or forest, or even city where everything green has been put there and the sky’s kinda hard to see, you can enjoy this heaven too. We Midwesterns are always happy to share and there’s more than enough room in that sky for your laughing and singing and delight. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chris had you in mind when she pulled out her camera, because that’s the kind of girl she is.


One Comment

  1. Erin June 20, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    I love the guest post! We’ll done. 🙂

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