"What Lays Hidden" by Fletcher Tucker – an essay from the "Cold Spring" booklet

Cold Spring is the name of a high elevation camp that sits between the Big Sur front- and back-country – at the threshold of a heavily trafficked coast, and a virtually untrammeled wilderness. A smooth expanse of water lies to the west, endless thickets of brush, and cloud-shrouded peaks to the east. Many of the songs contained within this album were received in the area surrounding Cold Spring camp. Much has been revealed to me there; much more remains hidden.

My homeland is composed almost entirely of blurry borders. Habitat niches bump and scrape in close quarters, as temperate rainforest gives way to sand dunes, and oak savannah bows to chaparral. Fog flows between stony ridges, weaving together distant stands of redwoods with formless vapor.

A thin, hazy line is drawn between creation and destruction here. Mudslides uproot ancient trees, which become fertile nurseries for saplings and expansive kingdoms of moss. Rivers tear at boulders, freeing minerals from their stasis. The rising moon illuminates the valley, but obfuscates the stars.

Modern life is a lot like that moonrise. We seem to have gained so much, but great constellations of ancestral knowledge and experience are lost amidst the alluring gleam of modern living. I have tried, with these songs, to throw shadows across the glaring new-ways, so that we might catch sight of some of those neglected old-ways. The dreams, visions, and myths that only glitter in the fertile dark.

Unsurprisingly there is a cold spring that flows at Cold Spring camp. Diving into, or drinking deeply from, a truly cold spring can radically clarify the senses. It is like drawing the edge of blade across a whetstone. At times I have emerged feeling sharp enough to pierce all illusion with my gaze. But even moments of great clarity are fleeting, and are eventually subsumed by mystery. A veil remains. Fortunately, there are springs that bubble up from the unseen depths to offer us a glimpse of what lays hidden.