PLUMB EXHALE TOUR JOURNAL: 3
October 14, 2015
Thursday. I’m writing from the top of a large rock in a wooded Raleigh park I’ve never explored til now. I decided this morning to pack my books, journal & laptop & spend some time at the library after getting the kids to school. Didn’t need to check out any more books, just needed a space to not risk interruption or distraction. The library chatter is impersonal to me, and I got so lost in the white noise and reflections of Christian Wiman’s My Great Abyss (still slowly, slowly meandering through this amazing book) that I lost track of time and almost dozed off at one point (or two).
Hunger eventually propelled me home but only long enough to pack a lunch and head back out.
I don’t do this every day. Most days have too many appointments, tasks, errands. Always everything is in tiny windows, too small to follow a long train of thought to its outpost or complete work without watching the clock or being yanked out of the flow.
But tomorrow I’ll be flying back to Nashville and climbing onto the bus for another weekend of music with Plumb’s Exhale Tour & today I need this. Not a “break,” not time to “veg out.” Today I heed the call of my mind/soul/body to be fed well. To be more (or less) than a worker bee. I think we identify so strongly with our roles of responsibility to family, community and work that we forget our responsibility to tend our minds/souls (yes, I did write a whole album related to this).
After hours and days in the company of humans (beautiful, wondrous humans), something absolutely begs to get lost. If it’s weird to weep for happiness at the sight of a people-less wood, break into grin when you turn the corner onto a sun-filtered path, or greet the trees with an audible “hello, friends,” then okay, I’ll be weird.
I watched the film Maleficent for the first time last night. Pretty great. In the moment when young Aurora first encounters the fairy swirling with color and light around her, she turns her face upward, beaming, and lifts her arms in delight, and that is exactly how I feel out here.
I’m getting weirder by the minute, I know, but I’ve always felt this way about the natural world. Not science-minded, not super curious about the way things work. I don’t want to know all about it; I just want to be IN it.
So I’ve taken this great rabbit trail, but the reason I’ve chased it down is because touring these past weeks has helped me see it more clearly…
Last weekend was our longest ride, with four shows (three in NC, one in TN). We met beautiful people and found the folks in Kill Devil Hills and Lexington, NC, especially enthusiastic about live music coming to town, and that energy was contagious. We shook a lot of hands and made new friends and heard a lot of stories at the merch table. All of this I love.
There were a few mishaps along the way, including losing the tires on the trailer, which was not a small deal for the hard-working production guys. They had to drive a U-Haul behind the bus the rest of the weekend and still managed to keep smiling. But it was stressful.
By the time we were loaded and back on the bus Sunday night, I found myself suddenly teary-eyed and couldn’t articulate why. Too many feelings connected to too many thoughts plus fatigue. I took a few minutes in the back of the bus alone and then returned to the front for the comic relief of nine guys playing air guitar and singing to Toto and Celine Dionne (a highlight of the tour).
I arrived home Monday morning only wanting sleep & solitude, and so the dots began to connect. How you can thrive on deep human connection, but find the fuel to connect by being alone in the natural world. Recognizing this consciously will be useful going forward.
There is also the issue of transition for all of us, and I have newfound sympathy for people who travel regularly (more than my normal) like this. It takes a couple of days to fully settle back in to life at home, and if your turnaround time is not much more than that, it can be pretty tough (for the traveler & the family).
None of this is complaint. Hope it doesn’t sound that way. It’s just a process of discovery, and I’m enjoying the journey so much that I imagine there will be grief at being done in a couple of weeks.
Before I embarked on this walk, I texted Toby and said, "In case I go missing, here's where I am."
"Love it. But why?" he asked.
"Because I can. And I must."
And that's the truth.
Hamster update: Tufts of fur making reappearance. Hope in sight.