Somewhere back in time, I was a mountain dweller. Maybe in another life. Maybe I was really raised in the wilderness. Maybe it’s the gypsy in me.
Whatever it might be, the call of the wind and the smell of the sage speak louder to my heart than the lights of any city could ever hope to. My head is right at home under the roof of the unending sky.
As I’m guided by the trio of the bear, the bison, and the coyote, I gravitate West. The bear calls for open spaces, room to roam, lovely flowers to smell, meadows to play in, and the bounty of the mountains to support me, physically and spiritually. The bison leads me to the open spaces from the anthills of cities, calmly shows the strength to stand up to the odds and believe that whatever the goal, it can be achieved. And the coyote reminds me to sing and laugh and dance at every opportunity.
And so they are good companions, travelling with me in all my journeys.
And so it is that every year, my Western tour is a highlight of my year. And it will be, until that fateful day when the mountains swallow me up, and I will occasionally set out on a Midwest Tour. And that day will come. It’s creeping around every corner. I can feel its breath, and hear the click clack of its boots now and again.
Speaking of swallowing up – whilst in Wyoming the National Museum of Wildlife Art (which my aunt helped to start) had a wonderful exhibit of Maurice Sendack’s drawings. To see up close one of his final drawings from Where the Wild Things Are was such a moment. As with most children growing up between the 70s and 90s, that book was a huge part of my childhood. The imagination of the books really caught everything it was to be a kid. And then to standing face to face with a real final drawing from the book was pretty special.
The first part of the tour went smoothly, despite me attempting to kick a scratchy throat/ sinus infection that took hold the day I left. However, as I took every chance to sleep or rest, I watched Unmistakable Child, a documentary about a Buddhist monks search for his reincarnated teacher, a renowned Lama. Shot in brilliant colours and in the otherworldly natural scenery of the region it is visually pretty arresting and intense. The real interesting part though is that the majority of the process on how the Lamas search for a child who is the reincarnated master. And in the end, it seemed pretty compelling to me that they found the right one. This little boy rightly picks out the masters possessions and takes naturally to the priestly things they have him do. I recommend this.
I really enjoyed Athens, Georgia. Having never been there before, I was looking forward to the 2 days I got to stay and play there. Plus, I was feeling much better by then. It was nice to have a minute before I needed to get to my house concert venue that I could walk around the downtown. The shops and restaurants are all quaint and some are pretty cool. The have the famous double barrel cannon – that was never fired because it did not work. Apparently it’s impossible to have a double barreled cannon as a functional piece of weaponry. But it is a nice lawn ornament. And I feel that if we turned things of violence into lawn ornaments more often, we might begin to see the rays of peace.
Another of my favourites of Athens was the “Tree that owns itself.” A man deeded the land around this tree to the tree, so that it would never be cut down. Now, the tree is partitioned off with a nice little fence around it; its leaves are full and happy, and it is in control of its own destiny. I loved this! What if more of us would do this? Seriously, its like making our own National Parks, albeit on a much, much smaller scale. But how cool?!
Veronica and her husband Chris hosted my shows in Athens. Very cool folks, and cool musicians in their own right. They took me around the town, introducing me to the local Co Op, (which rocked!) the Junkman’s Daughter (which I’d been to in Atlanta – think Big Fun but bigger – they got me a sign that says “Vegans Welcome” from there), and the Grit.
Veg places are so perfectly funky and cool. They had marvelous food, and had cakes and desserts, too! I didn’t get to have any of those, but my mouth watered uncontrollably for a good day after seeing them! Go to this place. Well worth it.
Really enjoyed the house concert I did in Athens on that Saturday. It was a nice collection of folks, including this fun couple who were neighbors, heard the music and stopped by. An interesting couple, him from Germany, and her from Australia! And both wonderfully sweet to boot! There was another couple there, and I’ve been told that the next day he proposed, since they were both so inspired from the show and my music – he felt that was the right time! And I am deeply honored. Congrats Fain & Addy!
Part II: The rest of the South… Coming soon!