Category Archives: Blogs

21 years ago today

Posted by on July 9, 2016

Jerry played his last show in the band. RIP. I saw GD twice on that final tour. While they certainly weren’t at their best in those shows,  especially Jerry, I’d love to see either show again and again.

Nothin left to do….

Total Solar Eclipse: Hawn State Park – August 21, 2017

Posted by on September 6, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017. A comfortable guest cabin in the serene Mark Twain National Forest complete with air conditioning and mountain views. 

 

Century-old working barns are common sights on county roads in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri.

 

A true master of his domain, my furry companion served as excellent guide across property stretching 100 acres.

 

 

My canine hiking partner and I encountered an igneous glade on the higher elevation carpeted in thick mats of sphagnum moss. 

 

Another common sight in the undisturbed portions of the St. Francois Mountains, Cup fungi and Reindeer lichen make their home in the open spaces of the glade among the dense sphagnum. 

 

Small cascading rock waterfalls along Marble Creek, known in the Ozarks as shut-ins, provide the perfect daytime meditative sanctuary. 

 

A fearless creature of the mountains, Moby navigated all terrain with unmatched skill.

 

 

After a month’s long preparation of spiritual cleansing, incense and sage burning, meditation, soul-searching, travel logistics, and hiking and photography plans for a once in-a-lifetime, transformative experience, nothing could prepare me for the sweltering August heat when the eclipse began mid-morning as I reached the high point of Hawn State Park. 

Things seemed to complete some kind of personal cycle, as the Grateful Dead’s welcome presence later in my life shaped a therapeutic path, allowing me to heal past wounds and begin a new identity. I began hiking places like the Missouri Ozarks after a traumatic health crisis in 2009 left me unable to work, enjoy any music or photography for an extended period of time. The Grateful Dead provided the musical backdrop for my outdoor adventures taking me deep into wilderness while capturing almost 20,000 images of rivers, creeks, bluffs, springs, caves, glades, ridges, hollows, sinkholes, natural bridges, natural tunnels, thick forests, open prairie, mountain valleys, canyons, old-growth trees, wildflowers, mosses, lichens, unique rock formations, waterfalls, old Ozark grain mills, insects, migratory birds, and all other kinds forest creatures including pests like seed ticks and the tortuous skin effects of chiggers; it was the only music I wanted to listen to and the only kind of music that seemed to fit the spirit of the outdoors, especially the Ozarks. 1500 hiking miles and many years later, I travelled a long country road to a favorite park with the satellite radio tuned on the Grateful Dead Channel 23 as the station celebrated the celestial day with non-stop tracks of Dark Star.

 

 

 

 

Daylight visibly begins to fade as the moon is seen overhead blocking half of the sun.

 

 

1:17 pm – Totality begins and the eclipse is safe to view with the naked eye for 2 minutes and 32 seconds as the sky darkens enough to see a few nearby stars and planets. 

 

1:19 pm – As eclipse totality approached, the surrounding mixed-pine forest became still, birds flew into trees, and complete silence enveloped the backcountry; an intense, motionless quiet in dark surroundings felt deep within burned a permanent place in my awestruck memory. 

 

Totality ends as ellipse-shaped shadows refract off the forest canopy above and cast luminous crescents across sandstone below. 

 

Darkness retreats as the land and author are reborn. 

 

 

 

thanks

-Ozark Matt

New Photography Position, Thanks

Posted by on August 31, 2017

Did she ever get her ticket to the last show on Sunday? We will never know. 

 

Today, I accepted a new position with a major photography company based on my contributions to sunshinedaydreamers.com. In over two years time, I drove thousands of miles, attended 14 concerts (including the unseen Meat Puppets w/Mike Watt), took thousands of photographs, and published 61 in-depth articles on everything Dead. My time spent working on this website long into the night was extremely important to me and I will never forget it.

Below is text of the very first post; it highlighted the Fare Thee Well 7.4.15 firework extravaganza at Soldier Field.

Thanks,

-Ozark Matt

 

…the firework show begins post concert Saturday night, July 4, 2015

I am a professional photographer and, even though I was not working, I chose to cover this historic event as if I was a paid photojournalist sent to Chicago for an extended weekend in what one might refer to as a Hunter Thomspsonesque thrill to obtain total coverage.

We travelled a round trip of nine-hundred miles, and returned from the show with nine-hundred high resolution moments in time crystallized on both digital format and my own trillions of personal neurons that continue my memory of a golden weekend where the music just won’t stop; the photos won’t stop, either.

Total Coverage provided so much material, I will release them on a mostly weekly basis with specific angles and stories that you will see future posted volumes focus on scenes like: miracles, the walk in, the show, after show, downtown Chicago, etc..  Enjoy.

…let the fusillade begin

…without proper warning, the lights were turned on and the show was over, but not the fun.
photographs and words copyright 2015 Ozark Matt

Hope you Daydreamers enjoyed,

-Ozark Matt

Dead & Company: Ozark Matt’s Pic Picks Vol. 8 – Wrigley Field, Chicago 7.1.17

Posted by on July 10, 2017

Saturday, July 1, 2017. The North Side Chicago neighborhood of Wrigleyville becomes the swirling vortex of the Grateful Dead Universe as Dead & Company perform their Summer Tour finale show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead & Company  Saturday, July 1, 2017 – Wrigley Field, Chicago

 

set one: Cold Rain and Snow, Jack Straw, Tennessee Jed, Ship of Fools, Dark Star (2nd verse), Friend of the Devil, Althea, Casey Jones

 

set two: Sugar Magnolia > Dancing in the Street > Playing in the Band > Comes a Time > Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain > drums > space > The Other One > Days Between > Not Fade Away

 

encore: Brokedown Palace > Sunshine Daydream

 

 

 

 

Dead & Company: Ozark Matt’s Pic Picks Vol. 7 – Wrigley Field, Chicago 6.30.17

Posted by on July 4, 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017. Two major American cultural institutions collide, as Baseball and Rock and Roll merge for consecutive shows during the final stop of Dead & Company’s 2017 Summer Tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead & Company  Friday June 30, 2017 – Wrigley Field, Chicago

 

set one: The Music Never Stopped, Bertha, Me and My Uncle, Sugaree, Let It Grow, Uncle John’s Band

 

set two: Shakedown Street > Dark Star (1st verse) > St. Stephen > China Doll > Terrapin Station > drums > space > Standing On The Moon > Help > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower

 

encore: Ripple

double encore: U.S. Blues

 

 

 

LiveNation ticket deal May 2nd!

Posted by on May 1, 2017

Howdy everybody!

In case you haven’t caught wind of this promo and are still waiting on tix for summer tour, Live Nation is running a promo tomorrow (May 2) with $20 tickets to a great big boatload of shows. Among the listings I discovered these tasty treats..

Dead & Company Ak-Chin Pavilion (Phoenix) 05/28/2017
Dead & Company Citi Field (Flushing) 06/24/2017
Dead & Company Fenway Park (Boston) 06/18/2017
Dead & Company Jiffy Lube Live (Bristow) 06/22/2017
Dead & Company KeyBank Pavilion (Burgettstown) 06/15/2017
Dead & Company Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Springs) 06/20/2017
Dead & Company Shoreline Amphitheatre (Mountain View) 06/04/2017
Dead & Company USANA Amphitheatre (Salt Lake City) 06/07/2017
Dead & Company Wrigley Field (Chicago) 06/30/2017

 

http://kickofftosummer.hvnlnna.com/

Offer valid for qualifying purchases between 8am local time on 5/2/17 and 11:59pm local time on 5/9/17 for participating shows only, while supplies last.

 

I’m going to Burgettstown for sure, and I’m going to grab a ticket for Fenway tomorrow and try to make all the other logistics fall into place.

Hope this helps, Peace to allYall!

Chris

 

Ozark Wildflower Report 4: Ha Ha Tonka State Park – 4.22.17

Posted by on April 29, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017.  Hundreds of Indian paintbrush wildflowers (Castilleja coccinea) bloom in an open portion of the Ha Ha Tonka Oak Woodland Natural Area, as light rain and overcast skies greeted visitors to popular Ha Ha Tonka State Park located in the Osage River Hills region of the Ozarks.

 

 

 

A massive natural bridge composed of Gunter Sandstone makes a dramatic entrance into a former collapsed cave, now a steep sided sinkhole, providing a microclimate refuge for rare plants.

 

 

Karst topography dominates the primordial Ozark landscape rich in caves and associated features like springs, sinkholes, losing streams, and natural bridges.

 

A member of the Phlox family, many delicate, pale violet colored petals of Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans) were present in the serene environs of Ha Ha Tonka Karst Natural Area.

 

Cream Wild Indigo (Baptista bracteata) is a low, bush-like plant easily identified for an asymmetrical bloom pattern. Echoing the ancient home continent of all flowering plants (angiosperms), the Missouri native resembles varieties associated with Southeast Asia.

 

 

False dandelion (Krigia biflora) was dispersed in single golden blooms.

 

The complex visual splendor of Horsemint (Mondara bradburiana), a shining pollinator forest beacon, is a common sight during Spring in the Ozarks. Horsemint’s dotted curvilinear petals and multitude of textures provide a focal point of wild American beauty; nurturing a quiet, meditative atmosphere.

 

The semi-transparent, purple glowing, trumpet-shaped blooms of Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne) appeared in sparse patches in only a few locations.

 

 

Returning from Lake of the Ozarks and Ha Ha Tonka State Parks, the Bluff View Trail at Meramec State Park was scanned for any new Spring wildflower species in bloom. Two or three of the rare white variety of the purple colored Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne) were present.

 

A member of the Lily family, a handful of weather damaged Wild hyacinth (Camissia scilloides) grew high above the Meramec River.

 

Natural, wild American beauty distilled into a single flower, the exquisite Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) was suspended over a river bluff, adorning the entrance of a newfound cave.

 

 

A member of the Figwort family, Foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) attracts hummingbirds.

 

A member of the Waterleaf family, large hillside swaths of Phacelia (Phacelia purshii) almost concealed the trail. Phacelia means “cluster” in Greek.

 

Ozark Wildflower Report 3: Cuivre River State Park – 4.15.17

Posted by on April 19, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017. Deep in the Northwoods Wild Area of Cuivre River State Park, a May apple (Polophyllum peltatum) bloom glows in the Northern Missouri midday sunlight.

 

Cuivre River is one of the largest state parks in Missouri and contains two separate designated Wild Areas and three distinct Natural Areas highlighting the different natural communities found in the state like woodlands, glades, prairie, hollows, and river/creek bottomlands. Home to two major waterways of the area, Cuivre River and Big Sugar Creek, the park is a favorite of expert naturalists, families seeking solitude on nice days, groups of horseback riders, and hardcore hikers with forty miles of backwoods trail system to navigate.

 

A primordial place with ancient vibration, Cuivre River State Park and surrounding area of the Lincoln Hills was never encapsulated in the eleven different Laurentide Ice Sheet glaciations that occurred over the last 2 million years. This was not only refuge for the flora and fauna from Canada during the last Ice Age, but also home to Paleo-Indian tribes who originally discovered and populated a continent during a time where large portions of North America were inaccessible due to massive glacial ice fields.

 

A woodland plant found growing in colonies derived from a single root, the umbrella-like form of May apple (Polophyllum peltatum) dominates the understory for miles.

 

 

With clover shaped leaves and pink petals, Violet wood sorrel (Oxalis violacea) provided early Spring splashes of color to the brightly lit forest floor.

 

 

May apple grows in abundance during Spring and Summer in the woodland areas of the Midwest. Parts of the forest seem almost a verdant buffet of vegetation where a survivalist could feast for months, but all parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and many animals.

 

 

 

 

Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) was widely dispersed throughout the park.

 

A member of the Crowfoot family, Rue Anenome (Anemonella thalictroides) means “little windflower” in Greek and is believed to be the longest flowering species of early Spring.

 

Another member of the Crowfoot family, Golden seal (Hydrastis canadensis) requires moist habitat.

 

 

The tiny wildflower bloom of Yellow violet (Viola pubescens) balanced the many purple Common violets seen everywhere in Missouri for weeks.

 

 

A handful of Pussytoes (Antennaria parlinii), also called Indian Tobacco, were found in a glade-like area above Big Sugar Creek.

 

At home on the acidic prairie, a few, small Yellow star grass (Hypoxis hirsuta) blooms were present in the upper woodlands.

 

The delicate and anthropormorphic form of a Bird’s-foot violet (Viola pedata) bloom is seen in an open area on a hillside next to large clumps of moss.

 

Also found growing on an open hillside, small specimens of Hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens) were seen basking in the sun.

 

 

Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata) glowing in the bottomlands near Big Sugar Creek.

 

A member of the Phlox family, Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans) was only in a few moist areas.

 

Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) was found low to the ground in thick, rich soils.

 

Only, maybe two Gaura (Gaura longiflora), also called Butterfly flower, were observed in miles of hiking.

 

The Little Frog, Harvey’s buttercup (Ranunculus harveyi) was thriving near the creek.

 

One of my all time favorite Spring blooms, twenty to thirty specimens of Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne) were found deep in the woods growing in a sandy creek bottom.

 

 

A rare sighting in the Missouri woods, a handful of the pure white variety of normally purple colored Common violet (Viola sororia) were also found in the thick, moist sandy soils of the creek area.

 

A member of the Carrot family, Golden Alexanders (Zizea aurea) bloom in complex geometric clusters.

 

Along the sandy banks of Big Sugar Creek in the Big Sugar Creek Wild Area were signs of Raccoon (Procyon lotor) and White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

 

Squaw-weed (Packera obovata) grows on sand bars in Big Sugar Creek.

 

A yet to bloom set of Trillium (Trillium sessile), also called Wake Robin, growing on a very steep hillside next to Big Sugar Creek.

 

An early Spring native wildflower, Dog’s-tooth violet (Althronium albidum), also called Trout lily, was in decline as the transition of early to mid-Spring blooms had visibly begun.

 

Wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis), a member of the Figwort family, grows on top of a hillside among the ever present Spring beauty.

 

An unconventional wildflower in shape and texture, Wood betony grew in sparse patches along our six mile wilderness trek. Images almost seemingly derived from television production material like ‘Star Trek’, ‘Lost in Space’ or ‘Dr. Who’, Wood betony could easily inspire the design of a mysterious alien race of intelligent plant beings in a future Sci-fi production.

 

A member of the Honeysuckle family, the sweet fragrance of Southern black haw (Viburnum rufidulum) in full bloom saturates the warm, Spring forest air. This wildflower grows into a beautiful understory, shade tolerant member of the Missouri woods beginning at shrub size and maturing into a small tree.

 

Southern black haw provides not only a crucial food resource to local pollinators, but also colorful Autumnal foliage as its leaves turn bright red during cooler weather.

 

 

We only saw a handful of Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) the entire day. With their gorgeous pink/purple blooms, these native Missouri wildflowers once played an important role in Native American medicinal compounds.

 

Ozark Wildflower Report 2: Washington State Park – 4.8.17

Posted by on April 12, 2017

Saturday, April 8, 2017. Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) petals glisten in the Springtime afternoon sunlight during an enchanting walk through the Washington State Park Hardwood Natural Area along the Big River on the 1000 Steps Trail.

 

Our trek for early Springtime Ozark wildflowers began in the high, dry glades above the Big River Valley among dolomite rock outcroppings and native prairie grasses.

 

As we entered the glade on foot, we passed a thunderbird petroglyph rock carving over one thousand years old.

 

An area rich in Native American shamanistic symbols of magic, warfare, fertility, weather, and animal spirits, Washington State Park was once host to a Mississippian mound-building culture known for innovation in shell tempered pottery, intricate carved jewelry, large community plazas centered around earthen pyramids, and a vast trading network across most of the continental United States.

 

Hummingbird and coiled snake petroglyphs, powerful symbols of the Missouri natural world past and present, were carved as rain elements in a compelling stone mural rich in tribal iconography.

 

These 1000 A.D. Mississippian culture elliptical, egg-shaped petroglyphs represent important concepts of mound-builder fertility shamanism.

 

Evenly dispersed throughout the glade, Bird’s-foot violet (Viola pedata) greeted us as the first native of our hike.

 

False garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve) also made an early appearance.

 

Freemont’s Leather Flower (Clematis fremontii) is a rare glade native of Missouri found in only two counties.

 

During our hike through several glade areas, we discovered a handful plants, only two of which had bloomed.

 

 

Based on strong intuition and past experience, our hike produced confirmation of Freemont’s Leather Flower blooming in the Missouri wild. During a chance conversation later in a different area of the park, the resident Washington State Park naturalist admitted neither he nor the Missouri Botanical Garden were aware of any Freemont’s Leather Flower already in bloom, or exactly where they might find them.

 

A member of the Lily family, Yellow-star grass (Hypoxis hirsuta) grows in acid soils of prairies and open glades.

 

Blue-star grass (Sisyrinchium campestre) is common throughout the park.

 

Squaw-weed (Packera obovata) bears the familiar shape and structure of most members of the Daisy family.

 

Common violet (Viola soria) is probably by far the most abundant wildflower in Missouri during early Spring.

 

A member of the Crowfoot family, Hepatica (Anemone americana) glows in the golden Ozark sunlight.

 

Typically found in the lower elevations and moister climates of the area, we were surprised to find Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora), another member of the Lily family, thriving in dry, open glade margins; an exciting and unexpected moment, this was only my second time observing Bellwort in the wild.

 

 

 

 

Hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens) was found simultaneously growing in small tufts and large bunches.

 

Because of its proximity to ancient volcano and lava fields once active over one billion years ago, Washington State Park lies in a quartz and geode rich region of the Missouri Ozarks.

 

The quintessential American prairie wildflower, Indian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea) of the yellow variety thrives in the drier, open areas like the glades of Jefferson County, Missouri.

 

 

 

 

Both varieties of red and yellow Indian paintbrush grow in even numbers in the same glade locations. A fickle plant in captivity, Indian paintbrush takes years to produce a flower from seed.

 

 

Another glade loving native, Ground plum (Astragalus crassicarpus) produces bunches of small fruit later in the year.

 

As we exited the glade and descended further into the Big River Valley, we noticed a small group of Pussy toes (Antennaria parlinii), also called Indian tobacco.

 

 

 

 

Dog’s-tooth violet (Erythronium albidum), also called Trout lily, grew in large bunches down by the Big River in the Washington State Park Hardwood Natural Area.

 

 

Bluebells (Mertensia viginica) grew in great swaths between the river and steep hillsides.

 

 

The translucent petals of Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) glisten in the afternoon sunlight.

 

A native Missouri wildflower mostly dependent on ants for seed dispersal and reproduction, Dutchman’s breeches is a small flower found low to the ground in moist areas.

 

Sparkling Spring beauty (Claytonia viginica) was found mixed in on the forest floor with the Dutchman’s breeches.

 

The noble Trillium (Trillium sessile), also called Wake robin, was found on steep hillsides.

 

 

Another member of the large Lily family, Trillium’s form maintains both simplicity and sophistication.

 

 

 

Harvey’s buttercup (Ranunculus harveyi) requires moist bottomland habitat.

 

Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsea verna) was in full bloom across great swaths of the understory in the verdant Washington State Park Hardwood Natural Area.

 

 

Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata) was at home in bloom in the Springtime Ozark woods.

 

 

The gorgeous and glowing Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) was found interspersed on steep hillsides along with Trillium.

 

With petal blooms around five to six inches in diameter, Celandine poppy was not only the largest wildflower of the day, but also by far the most luxurious, complex, and perfume-like in fragrance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ozark Wildflower Report: Meramec State Park – 4.1.17

Posted by on April 2, 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017. Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) in full bloom on the sandy banks of the spring fed Meramec River. Once home to a community of Osage Native Americans, this rolling, heavily forested Ozark terrain of rocky ridges of dolomite outcroppings and shadowy, moist bottomlands dotted with numerous caves and springs has been known for over eighty years as Meramec State Park. Originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps as a pine tree sapling nursery for use in combatting the devastating drought and wind erosion effects of the Dust Bowl ecological disaster of the 1930’s, hundreds of millions of trees were planted as a wind break in the central portion of the United States by an army of young men volunteers paid thirty dollars a month requiring they send twenty-five back home to their Depression Era families. The park is now a natural paradise of North American biodiversity where visitors are enthralled by American black bears, Bobcats, Bald eagles, and a dazzling Springtime wildflower display of continual, multi-colored blooms lasting months.

 

 

A member of the Poppy family once used by local Native Americans as a resource for dye, the early Spring white wildflower Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) takes shelter next to a rotting log on a steep hill above the river.

 

A common sight in the moist Ozark bottomlands near rivers, creeks, springs, and areas of poor drainage, the diminutive, waxy leaved Harvey’s Buttercup (Ranunculus harveyi) in Latin means “little frog”.

 

An early Ozark sign of Spring, delicate Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata), also called Wild Sweet William, grows in abundance throughout the region but seemed somewhat damaged by recent unseasonable weather and significant rapid temperature fluctuations.

 

Hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens) prefers dry, open uplands in glade-like environments comprised of acidic soils.

 

 

Rose verbena (Glandularia canadensis) grows high above the Meramec River from out of a crack in exposed Eminence Dolomite formed over four-hundred million years ago.

 

 

False garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve) sporadically blooms in small bouquets.

 

May apple (Podophyllum peltatum), also known as Mandrake, produces a fruit later in the season and is sometimes poached in the wild for a perceived medicinal property.

 

Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne) is a particular smaller species that does not grow in great swaths in its native territory like other early Spring arrivals as Bluebells and Spring Beauty. A delicate creation of nature underappreciated in our modern society, Dwarf larkspur is a gorgeous Missouri wildflower that makes a lasting impression for a lifetime.

 

 

A Dog’s-Tooth Violet (Erythronium albidum), also called Trout lily, basks in the warm Spring sunlight on a steep hillside half-way up from the river. This delicate, beautiful, and slow maturing Missouri native takes at least four long years to raise the flowering plant’s first bloom from seed.

 

Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) carpets the Ozark forest floor in a vivid display of high rates of reproduction.

 

 

 

Bird’s-foot violet (Viola pedata) is found in the higher, drier open areas of Ozark hillsides.

 

 

 

 

The petal color of Bluebells varies from pale white to an intense deep bluish-purple as they dominate the understory bottomland Ozark terrain in a spectacular botanical Springtime show of force for a few weeks each year.