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A Photo is Worth 1000 Songs – Never Summer

A weekly series exploring photos, words, and songs.
Photos: Arik Solberg
Words: Dave Shiffman
Songs: ♫ on Spotify


It’s still summer, but there’s snow on the ground. Your legs burn and your feet ache after hiking up the rocky slope for the last several hours.

You deserve a rest before trekking further so you find a convenient place to hang a hammock. You throw your hat aside, kick off your boots and lay back, swinging gently, far above sea level.

The sun feels warm on your face, yet the breeze refreshes you as it rolls over your brow, damp with sweat. You could use a little nap, but you can’t take your eyes off the magnificent vista. Gazing down the mountain, front and center lies a midnight blue glacier lake. On one side, a bald face inclines steeply up to the clouds. Across from the monolith, towering pines reach for the sky as if they’ve been shot out of the ground with a cannon.

Your dog thinks she’s a mountain goat as she does a little exploring of her own. Her nonchalance toward the dangerous terrain concerns you a bit, but after a drink from a clear mountain stream she returns and curls up under your hammock.

It feels like you can reach out, grab a handful of cloud and watch it dissolve in your hand like a dandelion seed head in a pond. Your proximity to the heavens coupled with the pure natural beauty surrounding you helps you feel a stronger connection to God and the universe. You feel thankful for this, and for all that is good in life.

You reach down and stroke your dog, and she returns the affection with a lick of your hand. You both rest, on top of the world.



SONGS: ♫ on Spotify

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Ever since becoming deeply moved and then essentially obsessed with reggae music as a teenager, Dave has always strove to learn as much as possible about the history and culture of reggae music, Jamaica and Rastafari, the ideology and lifestyle intertwined with reggae. 

Over the years, he has interviewed many personalities throughout the reggae world including Ziggy Marley, Burning Spear, Lucky Dube, Bradley Nowell and many artists in the progressive roots scene.

Dave has also written and published a novel, “The Cosmic Burrito,” a tale of two friends who drive across the USA in search of the ultimate burrito. He plays ice hockey weekly for a recreational team he founded and manages, Team Rasta.

Reggae music has filled his life with a richness for which he will forever be grateful, and he gives thanks to musicians far and wide, past and present, whether they perform roots, dub, dancehall, skinhead, rocksteady or ska, whether their tools are analog or digital, as well as the producers, promoters, soundsystems, selectors and the reggae massive at large who comprise the international reggae community.

You can follow Dave on Instagram at @rootsdude and Twitter at @ElCosmicBurrito.

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