SolarSeries-  
 NUMEROLOGY, RETREATS, PUBLICATIONS, DANCE

SolarSeries
is dedicated to, and in memory of, bothers Michael Terry and David Bird Thomson. The Thomson brothers were writers and poets extraordinaire, who started a magazine together in the late 60's out of Minneapolis called, Metanoia, which roughly translates to 'change of heart'.


Recognizing the genius within each individual inevitably sparks a Remembrance of the Whole.
"Each unit has a perfect fit in the overall 
geometry and, if there is no resistance 
through the individual forms, the totality 
can function as one." 
Richard Rudd from Gene Keys

In Search of David Bird Thomson



Highlighted this summer is an essay written by Edward P. Harris who wrote to Solarseries about the influence that David Bird Thomson's book, 'In The Shining Mountains' had on his life.


IN THE SHINING MOUNTAINS, A Would-be Mountain Man in Search of Wilderness - Alfred A. Knopf, 1979

"A beautiful book, bold and clear. David Thomson writes from love, with passion and great heart. He is no trimmer, temporizer or sycophant, but a real hero of the word, a man who knows who the real enemy is and says so in plain English. I like that." 
Edward Abbey


Mystery in the Shining Mountains:
The Case of David Bird Thomson

Sometimes you read a book and it sinks into your soul so deep that it becomes a part of who you are before you turn the final page. I found such a book in 1982.…or maybe the book found me. I’d been an avid backpacker all my life, but when the weather got too miserable or time too short, I’d satisfy my craving for the outdoors by reading. My bookshelves grew heavy with field guides and exploration memoirs that served as a tolerable substitute for the woods whenever I couldn’t enjoy the real thing, though I never imagined I’d someday read something that managed to equal the thrill of actually being there. It was a paperback entitled In The Shining Mountains, by David Bird Thomson. When I first spotted it on a bookstore shelf, the cover summary promised “A tale of a would-be mountain man in search of the wilderness”. That description struck a cord in me, so I purchased the book at the cost of about four bucks. What I got in return was priceless.    


The author was born in 1947, came of age in the 60’s, and published his book in 1979. It is a first person account of his quest to find a piece of untamed wilderness in the Rockies where a person could build a cabin and live off the bounty of nature in a manner reminiscent of the original mountain men. What he found instead was overpriced real estate, pollution, greedy developers, and decimated wildlife. His reaction to this depressing state of affairs was to recapture the spiritual sense of the mountain man through a series of solo backpacking journeys into remote sections of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. This guy didn’t stick to groomed trails and prepared camping areas; he simply chose a compass bearing and plunged headlong into raw nature. He traveled with a light pack and supplemented his limited food reserves with edible plants, fish, and small game. The trips are described in such exquisite detail that I could swear I was hiking beside him. I could feel his hunger, his sore muscles, his loneliness, his fear and awe during a grizzly encounter, the cold, and the wet. But beyond all this, I could savor the intense freedom he enjoyed in those isolated regions, and rejoiced at the wonder of it. My own backpacking trips, which usually involved travel along established trails with a decent food supply, never reached the same level of pure adventure described in these solo pilgrimages. Reading his words I experienced a vicarious thrill that was nothing short of startling.   

I’ve reread In The Shining Mountains a few times over the years, and with each subsequent reading I always found new details to rekindle the excitement of my initial exposure. The mystery of this book deepened for me when I tried to locate other works by this same author. Even though Thomson introduced himself as a writer by trade in the first chapter of In the Shining Mountain, it was apparently the only book he ever published. I performed computer searches and scoured the stacks of book stores, but his name never surfaced again. My first reaction was to imagine his life had changed direction, and that maybe he had gotten caught up in a demanding job or family responsibilities that curtailed his writing. Then I speculated that perhaps he just grew tired of writing because the craft became too tedious for someone who craved the outdoors as much as him. Whatever the reason, In the Shining Mountains seemed to be his sole literary gift to the world. I just left it at that for awhile.


It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it was about Thomson’s tale that generated such an intense reaction in me, but somehow the book influenced my entire perception of man’s place in the natural world. It provided me with a feeling of total escape from civilization that I’ve never been able to replicate despite a lot of miles on the trail. When the book was first published, one of its reviewers described Thomson as “A Thoreau for the 1980’s”.  I couldn’t agree more.  


This past spring, 30 years after I first read his book, I had a notion to look up Thomson’s name once again, hoping perhaps he had resumed writing after a long hiatus. As before, a computer search returned nothing new in the way of publications. However, further down on the search list I was stunned to see references to web sites for missing persons, and there I saw his name featured prominently among folks who vanished without a trace. His disappearance dates to July of 1979, the same year In the Shinning Mountains was published. I doubt Thomson even have a chance to collect his royalties from the sales. The police bulletins explained he was last spotted in
Minnetonka MN, hitchhiking along the side of a highway with his pack on his back. There are records that he held jobs briefly in Denver CO and Casper WY later that same year, after which all clues dry up. He was simply gone at age 32.

Gone where? Retracing his steps from Minnesota to Colorado to Wyoming, it seems obvious he was headed back towards the mountains he loved. I’d like to imagine he finally found a remote patch of wilderness to call his own and is living there still in splendid isolation. I refuse to dwell on less romantic possibilities for his disappearance.      


I know David Bird Thomson must have family and friends who love him and miss him. The uncertainty surrounding his disappearance must be a difficult burden to bear. In the event that any of them ever happen to read this article, they should find solace in knowing he left a very powerful mark on the world with his written word (but, I’m sure they know that already). As for David himself, if he is indeed alive and somehow manages to read this while relaxing in his hidden mountain sanctuary, I want to simply thank him with all my heart for writing In The Shining Mountains.    

Edward P. Walsh

5/21/12

John Nichols:
"In The Shining Mountains is a poignant, angry and beautiful portrait of some of the last wild areas in our country. As the book gains momentum, it becomes an achingly lyrical and powerful hymn to the wilderness spirit. 

David Thomson's odyssey in the dangerous and fragile high country of our rapidly pizzifying nation makes us recall that tragic cry from Look Homeward,Angel: "Oh lost, and by the wind, grieved ghost, come back again." There are moments when the writing becomes so pure and lucid that the Shining Mountains seem almost to swell out of the book, and the swirling winds and wonderful weather of the Northern Rockies leap up to take your breath away." 

References:

A)      Thomson, David. In the Shining Mountains (1st edition). Alfred A Knopf,        New York, 1979

B)      Thomson, David. In the Shining Mountains (paperback edition). Bantan        Books, 1981.

C)      www.coldsplinters.com/2010/02/david-bird-thomson/

D)      publicsafety.utah.gov/bci/UTAHmissingpersons.html

============================================================================================================
........................................................................................................................................................................................................................

 David Bird Thomson
Featuring author of The Solar Kid and 
In the Shining Mountains
Missing since 1979

                                THE SOLAR KID 
                               by David Bird Thomson- Outskirts Press, 2008
The Solar Kid is a fiction manuscript David left behind in 1979, published by his sister in 2008.
David writes through the eyes of a disillusioned young man longing to get away from his midwestern town. The 'Kid', as he's called by others, hops a train heading West. He is looking for answers to his vivid daydream hallucinations of cities on fire and futuristic solar societies. He runs into eclectic fellow travelers along the way who join him in his search. A theme of  solar energy vs nuclear power emerges within the group and they set out together to expose greedy corporations and governmental figures from their misuse of power, financial appetite for nuclear power and their plans for huge financial profits for use of the sun. The Kid is perplexed and awed as he shifts from the past, to present, to future dimensions without warning with the help of an illusive wizard. Traveling with a band of misfits, he heads to a nuclear power celebration in Denver where all hell breaks loose.

                                            






QUOTES by...
John Casey:
"In the Shining Mountains is an exciting, funny, angry, and lovely book. It is close kin to two books I admire a lot- Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey and Sailing Around the World by Joshua Slocum"

Edward Abbey:
"Thomson is the the Thoreau for the eighties." 

John Nichols:
"In The Shining Mountains is a poignant, angry and beautiful portrait of some of the last wild areas in our country. As the book gains momentum, it becomes an achingly lyrical and powerful hymn to the wilderness spirit. 

David Thomson's odyssey in the dangerous and fragile high country of our rapidly pizzifying nation makes us recall that tragic cry from Look Homeward, Angel: "Oh lost, and by the wind, grieved ghost, come back again." There are moments when the writing becomes so pure and lucid that the Shining Mountains seem almost to swell out of the book, and the swirling winds and wonderful weather of the Northern Rockies leap up to take your breath away. 

It's a long time since anyone has managed to write something this focused into an intimate, meaningful mood. Sad, haunting, and very lovely, this book will make you want to put on a back pack and head for the hills in hopes of experiencing at least one last significant moment of the almost forgotten American past before it is all over. 

In The Shining Mountains is a requiem for a way of life. Yet, in making it absolutely clear how close our wilderness spirit is to extinction, Thomson adds his voice to the growing number of distinguished citizens determined to salvage those last breathless vestiges of our frontier heritage. There is much in this book to treasure and reread often."

In The Shining Mountains excerpt:
Page 242
"And I thought to myself: Maybe there are currents in the earth which are only explainable in terms of spirit. Maybe there are certain psychic connections between humans and the earth which can only be explained in terms of spirit. Currents as indefinable as the threads that weave their way into love. It struck me that that was what I had felt that morning the ridge had turned ultraviolet and the gold sun had risen off the mountains. I had felt, without even realizing that I loved it, that it was more beautiful than anything I could ever do or make, that it moved me to the heights of my being. And I felt that burning anger at the lies they were telling about energy in the seventies, about how they were doing everything they could and it had to go to coal and strip-mining before it could go to solar and wind. That was the biggest lie. I had thought there was some anger in Crow Mountains at what was happening to the land in this decade, but it had been MY anger, subconsciously projected into the range." 

For more information about missing persons go to:
namus.gov 
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