plumb

Plumb Exhale Tour Journal: 4

  IMG_0353

29 Oct 2015

I’ve been home for three days, hanging with the kids and realizing autumn somehow breezed in while I wasn’t looking and set up camp. Carolina is looking fine in gold & bronze, and even this cold-weather hater is smiling about it. And about the butternut squash soup I made last night and will eat again tonight.

I didn’t post a journal last week. Monday was an early travel day, which left me wanting only sleep & cuddles. Tuesday was prep for youngest daughter’s birthday. Wednesday, family day. We kept the kids home from school (unexcused! Gasp!) and headed to the state fair, which was EXACTLY the right call. So much fun. Thursday I was back to Nashville and climbing on the bus for our last weekend of the tour!

IMG_2898

Several bus mates were ill over the weekend, leaving everyone a bit wary of picking something up. Would have made a very interesting finale! Plumb was recovering from bronchitis, and I was amazed by how she powered through. When your body is your instrument and it breaks…it’s a pretty stressful predicament. It would be for any of us, but especially when you have larger audiences and a busload of musicians depending on you to not cancel.

Connecting with people at the Food for the Hungry table.

 

IMG_2868

Anyway, the show went on & we loved every minute. Apparently pranks are common on last days of tours, and the best prank of all was the fact that Geoff Duncan & Brad Dring had me prepared (as in, nervous wreck) to be pranked during my last set and then DIDN’T. Exhale.

What we did do is scavenge some costuming backstage and rush the Rapture Ruckus set during Mister Roboto for a (somewhat) impromptu dance party. I guess they knew we were coming, but they didn’t know we’d come in style. It was incredible.

plumbtourwigs

I soaked up every late night conversation and listening session, knowing this was a special moment in life. I felt ready to be at the end of this stretch and home again, but not ready to let go of the people I’ve come to love & admire. I mean, you can’t brush your teeth with a bottle of water next to someone for five weeks and not feel pretty tight. It’s a strange temporary reality that I think resulted in permanent relationships. They are good people, every one.

 

Tiffany and I have lives that have circled back together over the years, and I love that. So grateful she took a chance and invited me to be a part of this journey. And overwhelmingly thankful to my Raleigh family & friends who cared for me & my family in so many ways. I wouldn't have been able to be present on the road if you weren't present at home. Thank you.

Cheers to new adventures & new friends & each of us doing the work we were made to do.

Love,

christa

 

Plumb Exhale Tour Journal: 3

IMG_4693  

 

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.

FullSizeRender-1

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.

FullSizeRender-2

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.

FullSizeRender-4

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.

christa

Hamster update: Tufts of fur making reappearance. Hope in sight.

 

Plumb Exhale Tour Journal: 2

PHOTO CREDIT: Edwin & Joyce Ormeo 7 October 2015

Late Monday night, I arrived home and was greeted by my Mom, who had been with the children since I left last Thursday. She loves being with her grand babies & holds up amazingly well, considering how much she gives on so little sleep. All were alive and well & seemed to have had plenty of fun in my absence.

Going into the second weekend of tour was a whole lot less stressful & I enjoyed feeling more established, sliding back into the rhythms & routine of sleeping, unloading, setting up, sound checking, playing, etc.  The people I'm sharing space with are really, really enjoyable humans - funny, kind, intelligent, thoughtful, sincere - which makes it very hard to force myself to go to bed at the end of the day. I keep asking them to please stop having fun so I can get some rest, but they don't listen.

People at all three shows (Indiana & Ohio) were gracious & as always, I loved seeing the unique personality of each one. Sunday night we played in the Gloria Theater, an old movie theater in the small town of Urbana, OH. The vibe was special there & the sound felt really great, for the solo opener especially. :)

Got off the bus Monday morning, used Uber for the first time ever (easy, successful), and spent the afternoon writing with Nicole Witt & Ellie Holcomb, two of my favorite soul-sisters, before heading home.

Reading...

On the flight home, I finally finished The Alchemist, which was such a provocative read that I wish I had read it in a less interrupted way. Also, it was a library book, so I refrained from highlighting, but there was so much I'd like to hold onto and ponder regarding the way we perceive God and our purpose in the world and how we journey.  It's deep and is a good companion to another book I was handed recently, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (Barbara Brown Taylor). Still wading through that one. May have to purchase The Alchemist and go through it again.

But yesterday I stumbled on The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles at the library & am already sucked in. I say "stumbled," but in truth I lean heavily on staff recommendations (at libraries and restaurants) and found that someone named "Emil" and I have very similar tastes.

Another book that has consumed my thoughts lately is The Enneagram Made Easy by Elizabeth Wagele. I brought it on tour to loan to Tiff (Plumb) and now she's hooked, too. You might roll your eyes and think, like my husband, that people should simply BE the way they are and not worry with WHY they are the way they are. Maybe you're right. But I am finding it immensely helpful in a. connecting better with my loved ones and b. connecting the dots of my own person and past.

Oh, and I'm also continuing to work on Peter Enns' The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It. It's another provocative book and I'm trying to take it in thoughtfully and weight it all out in my own mind, form my own opinions. (If you have opinions about him & his perspective, I'd prefer not to have them in the comments here. Thanks!)

Listening...

One thing I have found interesting on the road the past couple weekends is how great a divide there is between the world of mainstream Christian music and the world of independent music by Christian artists. I'd like to see more consumers and artists aware of the great work being made outside of CCM/radio.  It goes both ways, of course. I have an unusual vantage point, being involved with both communities. Many in my  indie tribe are unfamiliar with CCM's artists, just as many of those artists have never heard of Josh Garrels.

Anyway, I'm enjoying getting acquainted with new work being released by Sara Groves (Floodplain), Giants & Pilgrims (Becoming), Elle Michelle (Coming of Age), & Nick Flora (Futureboy), friends who have either just released or are preparing to release albums.

Alright, better get to laundry and repacking. Heading out to Kill Devil Hills in the morning. This weekend's shows are close to home in NC!

christa

p.s. Update on Charlie the Hairless Hamster: a bad case of mites. Getting his second treatment tomorrow...hopefully returning to a state of hamster normalcy soon. Apparently, while I was away, he did have a minor setback when he took a tumble down the stairs in his hamster ball. It's not easy being a small rodent. Thanks for your prayers. ;)