Posted by: Brad Nixon | November 4, 2012


Hello, and welcome back. Where have I been? One of the gifts of being a creative writer is that I have constructed an extensive list of explanations for the recent six-week hiatus, the longest publication gap since I began Under Western Skies: I was traveling through central Asia — Kurdistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan — on an assignment from the J. Peterman Company to collect groovy items for their Spring collection; I was finishing my novel; I was rereading A la recherche du temps perdu — in French; I was slumped on my couch eating Chee-tos and watching reruns of “The Rifleman;” I was holed-up in a mud hut in the Congo recovering from dengue fever contracted during an excavation of a previously unknown species of dinosaur; I was training for the (now-cancelled) New York City Marathon; I was preparing for my presentation at the annual World Zither Conference in Ljubljana; I was tired.

Your choice. Or, post a comment and let me know if you have a better excuse. I’m always open to creative alternatives.

It’s time again to begin again. This is an excellent date on which to rededicate ourselves to exploring the endless variety of experience that awaits us here under western skies. Today, November 4, marks the third anniversary since Under Western Skies first appeared in 2009. Since then, I’ve posted 325 articles, which have collected slightly more than 30,000 hits.

To those of you who have been our faithful readers during this journey, and who have taken the time to read the entries, post comments, and offer encouragement, I thank you, sincerely. There is no more gratifying experience than to write for an audience of smart, observant people, who take the time to read one’s work and give their attention and forbearance to the inevitable failings and faults that emerge when one has the nerve to commit word to print. This would have been an empty, pointless exercise without you. With you, it’s been a challenging and exciting exploration of new things. I’m always stimulated by having this opportunity to connect with you, and to get your reactions of what I see of this world, “So various, so beautiful, so new,” as ol’ Matt Arnold said, but without so much irony in it.

As I embark on Year Four, I have some excellent experiences to describe. I’ve just returned from exploring a part of the American West that was mostly unknown to me: Colorado, accompanied by my lifelong travel companion, my dad. Here’s a look ahead: Great Sand Dunes National Park:

Great Sand Dunes Brad Nixon 9866 (640x480)

Those are the tallest dunes in North America, over 700 feet high, viewed across the high plain with the Sangre de Christo mountains in the background. We saw those, and more, on our epic 1600 mile tour through Colorado.

Thank you very much for a delightful three years. I’ve only begun. Now, I have to get back to my zither.

© Brad Nixon 2012, 2017


  1. Great introduction to a promising new year — your excuses had me laughing out loud. I’m delighted to see you back!


  2. 325 posts in three years – I am impressed. Can’t be good for your progress on the zither though – I’d advocate picking one or the other. Particularly if you’re still spending any time on the harp…


    • Nick, that’s precisely the point of my presentation in Ljubljana: “Hither and Thither: Whither the Zither?”


  3. I was credulous until I saw “J. Peterman Company”, at which point I realised the treat I was in for. (Deep down I suspect there could be one real story among the other fantastic ones – why do I lean towards “The Rifleman”?)


    • Hmmm … a somewhat ungenerous comment from the IRISH-AUSTRALIAN TRUMPET section. Still thanks for your faithful readership. Be flat or be out of the horn section.


  4. Congrats on 4 years! I’m looking forward to this new 5th year, and your new adventures. Thanks for sharing your observations.


    • Donna, you’re welcome. Thanks for reading!


  5. Congrats on your anniversary. Looking forward to future posts.


  6. Have missed reading about your adventures, observations and thoughts, Brad. Glad you are back– can’t wait to see you play the zither at your next gig! 🙂 Congrats on your triennial….


  7. Well, I am sure happy to see this renewed effort Under Wester Skies. Or maybe it should be “at Under Western Skies”? See, your direction is greatly needed and appreciated.


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