I met Jimmy Lange at one of Clark Hodge’s Labor Day Weekend “Hodge Podge” musical events. He helped organize the event that brought regional musicians to the mountains of Spring Gulch above Lyons. Paging through his book reminded me of those magical nights on the mountain, soaking in the mountainscapes and watching the sun slowly rest its fading colors on the wide-open spaces that surround Lyons. On those nights I often felt like I was the only one there, lost in my thoughts and being nuzzled by the music floating in the air. The book brought to me the same feeling of dreaminess, bringing back memories of hikes, and discoveries around each corner.
Jimmy first wrote a book about his travels with his faithful canine companion Miss Penny, which was named after her: “My Lucky Penny.” (Another delightful book for dog lovers.)
Jimmy spent a decade of off-trail adventures, exploring the mighty Grizzly Bear in Wyoming, snow graced Montana, and the lakes of British Columbia, Canada. I could feel that he too was “in the moment” when he captured the beautiful photographs and painted the landscape watercolors.
Rather than bogging down every page with volumes of musings, he leaves most images free to speak for themselves. Imagine a still pond, where you could see the bottom. The big boulders feel so inviting, that you wish you could sit on one and just “be.”
Jimmy was raised in the wide open prairies of central Nebraska, where he loved to ramble the countryside with his dog. His roaming took him throughout the West during the next few decades, gaining in both life and nature experiences. Along the way, he taught himself how to do watercolor and pastel pictures. The images are just detailed enough to feel real, and yet softly expressive, lending you to feel dreamy and wistful. He was honored to partake in numerous prestigious juried art shows, and that took his works into the homes of many private collectors.
His “Twelve Days of Peace” book contains some essays, and the titles tell you right off the bat what the subject matter will be. Some of the enticing essays are “Unquenchable Thirst,” “A Grizzly Fascination,” “Stepping Back,” and “Where God Lives.”
A brief summary of his essay “Stepping Back,” goes as follows: “The expansion of our technology in the last 100 years, especially within the last fifty, has been phenomenal…some might argue at a pace that has surpassed our ability to absorb it, as possibly evidenced by detrimental cultural shifts and an undeniable and increasing lack of connection to our natural world. And do we HONESTLY believe that all of this amazing “progress” has actually resulted in a better life for each of us?” He goes on to say that “there is still a hunter/gatherer…inside each of us…it may be sensed as a wild wariness…beyond merely the sensory…Often, I feel it still…And so, I will return…again and again…for as many years as God’s grace allow…to feel the ancient wildness run through me…And as I step forward, into that next unexplored corner of wilderness, I will remember that I am also stepping back.”
Jimmy uses a lot of pauses (dots) in his writing. The essays sometimes feel like poems. Or, streams of consciousness. Jimmy says in one essay, “People have told me, ‘I would LOVE to do what you do…if only I had the time!’…WE CAN make choices about HOW we use our precious, irreplaceable time, can’t we? …How will you spend yours?”
The hardcover book with all color pictures is available for $44.95. It makes a great coffee table book, and a good gift for the Nature Lover you know. Go to https://12dayspublishing.com/ for more information or to order.
The Lyons Recorder will be doing a review of special books for Gift Giving every week in December.