Outlaw Life is Fragile


Spirit Art Glass

Daily Photo

“The thin mud holds the tracks of multiple vehicles where there should be only hers from this morning. At the gate, fear turns to panic. It is wide open, this gate is never left open. She stops, staring at it she roughly rubs her face with hands that shake and feel like ice. She turns and looks at the frightened faces of her children in the back seat. They are still silent, and looking at her, with worry clear on faces far too young for this. The possibilities roll through her mind.

Has their Father been arrested? She wishes she had been brave enough to look in the vehicles she’d passed. Had they left officers behind still investigating, or loading things up? She needs to know, but doesn’t want the children to see her get arrested. She gets out of the car and opens the back door. “I need you guys to do me a favor O.K.?” they both nod their agreement. She pulls off her watch and hands it to the oldest. An eleven year old who now seems very young and small. “Here take this. I want you guys to sit behind those bushes right there and not make a sound. If I’m not back here in fifteen minutes you run to neighbor Julia’s house & call Grandpa to come get you. All right?”
They nod together with their pale faces and large eyes…”

This is a quote from an eye opening new blog here in Humboldt. Life in the hills of Humboldt can be fragile and beautiful like the locally handblown glass vases of Spirit Art Glass.  This promising new blog catches whispers from our hills and gently expands the delicate tales with life.  SoHumBorn’s few pieces will make your heart ache and tell you much about the marijuana world and the outlaws who live in it–and the brittle reality that can underlie some of the romantic color and the regular day to day routine of the people who grow for a living.

If you read only one new blog this year, make SoHumBorn the one.



  • Great reading. Thanks for the link.

  • Great glass photography – glass is hard to photograph well. I’m a glass artist and it always frustrates me. Well done and thanks for the link.

    Congrats, you are the winner of the Christmas cards from the contest on my blog. Send me your address and I’ll maile them right out. 🙂

  • I’ll have to take a look at that link…..this one bit you offered is intriguing.

  • Kym.. A great new blog… Even 20 years ago, I remember how little kids were terrified of helicopters. I wonder how they feel now that they are adults. There were only two CAMP days in SoHum this year.

  • P.S…. That is a wonderful photograph. I’m sure that Michael and Sandy are very pleased.

  • I don’t see anything of merit in SoHumBorn’s writing. At best it’s a cheap shot. At worst –propaganda with an agenda.

  • Kym,
    I love the way the glass is lit in this photo! I have always been a huge fan of this glasswork. Whenever I have guests from out of the area I take them by the studio, many times we have been lucky enough to catch Michael with a piece in the fire. A real treat for guests, and something I never tire of.
    I’m really glad you like the blogg. Thanks so much for all you advice. I don’t know what to say. You’ve really inspired me.

  • Forkboy, I hope you enjoyed.

    Ben, I can remember when a helicopter landed at Salmon Creek school. The kids were terrified. Me, too, for no real reason. Thank you for the compliment Spirit Art does beautiful work.

    Pink, I think it is one truth about the marijuana culture. It isn’t the whole truth but it is a truth that needs to be addressed. I have heard the worries of mothers about this for years.

    Sohum, you’re welcome but you are the one who has so much to offer. Your writing is good. Keep going. You will get negative feedback but you will also tell a story that needs to be heard. You are right about the Spirit Art glass being a great place to take visitors to the area. The work is amazing and sometimes you get to watch it happen!

  • It isn’t the whole truth but it is a truth that needs to be addressed.

    It sounds like she’s proselytizing to me. I don’t believe it’s a “truth” in any sense of the word. It’s a subjective viewpoint.

  • Well, it sounds like a truth I’ve observed. What doesn’t work for you?

  • Although I don’t believe in the life she’s living, and I have my own strong personal beliefs regarding this sort of activity, I think it’s fascinating to hear about this “life” through someone who’s living it. It’s new and fresh and definately out of my comfort zone as a person who typically is a law abider.

  • Kym,” proselytizing” seems to be a common descriptive word used to straightarm any person carrying a possibly contagious “truth” away from a susceptible audience. Good writing is good writing. thanks. mark

  • Sandi, Interesting that you should say that. I’m not sure her story of the mother is her experience or the experience of someone she knows. My guess is that Pink thinks she is someone on the outside telling her view of what happens.

    Mark, I think you make a really good point. And her writing really draws you into how she sees aspects of the marijuana culture, doesn’t it? I love the culture in these hills but refusing to acknowledge some of the problems especially among children who are forced to keep secrets too large for their hearts is foolish in my opinion. Wherever mothers in the hills gather, they worry about these side effect on their children. There are many things that marijuana culture adds to the lives of people here but there are worries that shouldn’t be shoved under the table. No culture is perfect and pretending it is only makes problems worse.

  • Kym, that’s funny, I hadn’t even considered her not being the mom, from the way she wrote it. I guess it was because it seemed so personal and any momma bear can relate how she wanted to protect her kids. I guess I’ll need to keep reading in order to figure it out.

  • wow..

    Just a few glances through there was enough to make me uncomfortable. And to reinforce that I did the right thing getting my family out of that place.

    One of my main goals in moving back north was for my children to grow up without that crazy culture being what was “normal”. And in that, at least, I succeeded.


  • Sandi, I know I’m hooked on reading.

    Mark W.–I can understand that but I love this place and the independent thinking creative people who come here and grow up here. There are some bad points but, for me, there are many more beautiful ones.

  • Working at the local elementary school for over 30 years, brought me in contact with many families who were involved in the “business.” I saw so many children struggling with what to say and not say. I remember well one little girl who burst in to tears after she had slipped and told me something that she knew was a secret. It took me 15 minutes and many assurances that I would not tell anyone what she had just told me before she was able to return to class.
    Many of the parents of these children were wonderful assets to the school and gave many hours of volunteer time. I grew to really care of these people and still count them as friends. There were at least two times I was asked by parents to write letters to the courts verifying that they were good parents and they should be able to maintain custody of their children. After everything was settled in the courts, one of the fathers told me that he was moving his family out of the area because it was no longer “worth” putting his children through that traumatic experience ever again.
    If adults choose to be involved in the marijuana business, that is their choice. Most of them realize the chances they are taking. But our little ones shouldn’t have to be afraid they are going to give away family secrets or see their parents put in handcuffs. When we become parents, our child’s welfare should be #1 on our list of priorities.
    I never again want to hold a sobbing child in my arms because they have made a mistake and “Daddy is going to be very mad.”

    Kym – December 15, 2008 at 8:27 am

    • Fiance here:

      This is exactly what we have been yelling about! I can’t believe I missed this thread. My stepdaughter has the same reaction when she messes up and lets something slip. Her first instinct is to burst into tears, then she clams up and won’t say anything. I makes me so angry I can’t hardly stand it. It has totally screwed her up emotionally and I am sure that it the fear of her mothers anger that causes this. What can we do? We are 800 miles away and she refuses to admit the truth to anyone….she didn’t get moved there until she was 6 so its harder for her than the children raised there, prior to that she and her father had a very close relationship and she could and did tell him everything.

      I see the guilt in her eyes when she has to lie or gets caught lying and I know for a fact that she hates having to, it is not in her nature. She is torn between her parents because of this and it’s not doing any of us any good. Her only solution is to not talk to her father because its the only way she doesn’t have to lie to him. Even at 15 its tough on her and us. Apparently its not a problem for her mother, no matter how serious the toll on her dauthers psyche.

  • Well, it sounds like a truth I’ve observed. What doesn’t work for you?

    The whole thing doesn’t work. The undertone is mean spirited and not productive. And yes she’s trying to win people over to her side, ie proselytizing. Not to the truth, to her side. And there is a side to take because this issue has become very political recently. For some people “truth” is what they want to believe. Paul Simon said it best, “A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.” If she sees “her truth” and she wants to vent by dissing her neighbors that’s fine, but it is, like I said, merely a subjective viewpoint.

  • Kym,

    yeah, there is a little of that that I do miss. The landscape was just amazing, but I have an amazing landscape here too.

    And there were a lot of very cool people aggregated together around there. But that whole secret keeping, split personality thing was hard enough on many adults, and I didn’t want my kids to think that was the way things were.

    legalize it, already!

  • Some folks have been feeling very threatened by the “diesel dope” issue. I assume that is what Pink is talking about when he/she says it is a recent political issue. The writer fears for her own scene and certainly doe not “dis” her neighbors. Maybe I should read it again.

  • don’t even get me started about that diesel thing!

    ick, on all levels.

  • Hi Pink,
    I’m interested in what side you think I’m trying to win people over to? It seems as though I’ve touched a nerve for you.
    In no way am “dissing” my neighbors. I’m simply sharing stories from a life that isn’t always pretty.

  • Thanks for the link. I went there and liked what I saw! Seemed honest and insightful to me.

    Someday I’ll share some “grower” culture adventures I had back in 1977 when I first moved up here with my wife and two baby boys (the third came later – a product of Humboldt!)

    There was once this lawyer – who grew his own – who got caught but beat the rap because of semantics! He even wrote a book. But that’s a story for another day…and blog.

  • “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
    Henry David Thoreau

    Sorry to take so long to comment on this post. I was saddened and angered by Sohum Borns blog. I was also moved by her plight, and felt the frustration of having few choices. I should comment on her blog, but I have not been formally introduced, and I would feel like an intruder.

    I was raised with a comfortable and full stomach, thanks to my fathers willingness to put some “hillside salmon” on the table when I was growing up. And my grandfather was known to have a little “Shine” in the backroom at his service station in Laytonville during the prohibition. I’m not going to rat myself out, but my life was made easier by “living off the land” (Food, not grass) when I was a young man, so it’s hard for me to sit in judgment of anyone.

    I educated myself, and worked hard to become a contributing member of society. I take pride in making an honest living, but I will have to say that I have never shaken out a sack of money onto the kitchen table, and had fifty thousand dollars worth of cash scatter across it. Like I say I’m not judging. I’m not surrounded by luxury, but I am surrounded by good friends and the things that count to me in life.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is I pity Sohum Grown in many ways, and she has my sympathy, if that’s what she wants.

  • I’m not sure Sohumborn’s stories are fiction or true, hers or someone else’s but they tell a bit of the world that I have seen and I honor her for telling them.

  • ….and 100 years from now, these stories may well be the meat that feeds the “kitchen table talk” of our descendants.

  • Hi Pink, It seems as though I’ve touched a nerve for you.

    Hey, I was responding to mainly the stereotyping in the pinkcellphone tale. Things like that they were a satire of themselves is sort of a stale cliche way of putting someone down. eg Dissing the neighbors and or ‘winning people over’ etc. Do you see what I meant? … Just my hypersensitivity perhaps. Or, speaking of cliches, maybe I saw the glass as half empty instead of half full. I could go on picking, I suppose, not just with your subject matter and it’s treatment, but also the vibe of people like Kym’s critique. But it’s too petty too go on with here. Ok?

    So instead I went back and read it over and —it’s hilarious!! Sorry for being so oversensitive at first, but it is a touchy topic hereabouts.

    You have a lot of talent. I think the humor is a strong ally that can serve. You’ve ‘won me over’ 🙂

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