The Freeflow Podcast

a media project of Freeflow Institute


David James Duncan (part two): On holding birds close to your heart


In this second half of their conversation, the pileated woodpecker follows producer Rick White and David James Duncan to the banks of the Bitterroot River. They meander and dip into discussion of great teachers, the spiritual life of literary characters, the endeavor to illuminate truth, and David’s new novel as an “asshole free zone.” David reads his ethereal essay, “Cherish This Ecstasy,” and birds of all sorts – ravens, Canada geese, and vultures among them – visit Rick and David during their talk. As a bonus – and as an antidote to the gravity of quotidian life – on this episode of the Podcast, we hear David James Duncan make loon, raven, and falcon sounds. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Get on the river with David James Duncan in 2022.

There are a few spaces left in his Salmon River Workshop, a literary journey he’s entitled “Streams Cascading Empty” – a six-day celebration of magical Pacific Northwest salmon, ecological and cultural connectivity, and a vanishing legacy.


Our theme music is by Nate Hegyi and Wartime Blues.

The Freeflow Podcast is made possible by generous contributions from The Prop Foundation, the Montana Arts Council, and Western Cider Co.

Would your organization or brand like to support The Freeflow Podcast? Get in touch. We are excited to explore new and innovative partnerships.

Rick White is a writer and producer of The Freeflow Podcast. His work has been published in The A.V. ClubHigh Desert JournalWestword, and Camas, and was recently nominated for Best American Essays. He likes stories that are rich in mischief, especially the misadventures of lovable losers on impossible quests. 

Stephanie Maltarich, a producer at The Freeflow Podcast,is an independent audio producer based in Gunnison, Colorado. She’s reported and produced radio stories for NPR, Colorado Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio. She’s contributed to the Out There Podcast and written scripts for Duolingo’s language learning podcast. She discovered her love for audio storytelling while completing a Master’s degree at the University of Montana. 

The Freeflow Podcast is made with love in Montana, near the storied Blackfoot River.

Arlo, on the banks of the Blackfoot, during the summer months when weathered sticks, sunshine, and warm, flat rocks define his days.