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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