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  • Writer's pictureThistle Pettersen

Painting with Words: Featuring the Song 'Austin'

Our bikes while on a break on the side of the road on my first cross country bike tour.

Hello! Thank you for reading this blog post after I took a long hiatus from this site. The plan is for me to create a new blog post about once a week that spotlights an original song of mine.

This week, I am spotlighting the song Austin from my cross country bicycle years (2003-2006). The song comes from the urge to create an artful sound painting of all I was seeing and experiencing through my five senses living off my bike after landing in Austin Texas. We stayed in Austin for a year doing odd jobs and building our own structure to live in at an urban organic farm in exchange for helping the farmer with the harvest. We worked at Barton Springs for the Save Our Springs Alliance, collecting signatures outside this refreshing pool where the people of Austin would gather. This way we made a little cash to support ourselves while helping out with a good cause.

The Beautiful Barton Springs.

The song is a painting of a typical day and the heavily scented romance needed to sleep on a mattress made of rosemary bushes the farmer told us we could do whatever we wanted with.

We slept on that bed for only one night, waking up to itchy skin and irritated eyes. Rosemary is a powerful plant to take to bed with you!

But the joy and exuberance we felt at having ridden our bicycles all the way down to Austin from Madison, Wisconsin, is evident in the song. There is the joy of being alive on an adventure in the midst of urban decay and tragic drownings. The "dead bodies" reference in the song comes from waking up a couple of times on the land to the police searching a certain spot in the river for the bodies of over indulgent drinkers who fell in up stream.

View from an adobe structure in the bicycle village we lived at on the edge of Austin.

Thank you for playing the song Austin while enjoying the story of where it came from and viewing these pics. If you like what you are hearing, please consider purchasing my original music by visiting the Shop tab at

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