“Wait Jen, you have something in your hair.”
We were about to get on stage when my bandmate Donna reached toward my head.
“Oh,” she said, pulling it out “it’s just a dead bug.”
That about sums it up. My life, straddling the line between music and farm.
I bring the farm with me on stage in the form of dead bugs in my hair and dirt, ground into my keyboard fingers.
photo by BDL Photography
And on Monday morning my ears are still ringing and my body aches in ways I don’t understand because I hadn’t shoveled dirt or hauled ten wheelbarrows worth of weeds -only played music which doesn’t seem as filled with effort and vigor, except that it is: hauling gear, and standing, standing, standing. Performing: projecting your heart and your thoughts and your voice with all of your being, over and over and over again. Then walking and talking and shaking hands. Hands that on Monday I stick back into the dirt. On Monday I’m left only with the sound of the orioles singing in the pear trees. And it simultaneously feels so good and so deflating. So simplified and so sad. I’m geared up and ready to play a weeks worth of shows, but instead I’ll sing to the birds and flowers and trees.
I was outside clipping flowers. Daffodils. Lilac. Crab apple. To stick in a jar for my kitchen table. Just incase the frost was going to burn them up. Across the creek on the other side of the street I heard a group of children, shouting, over and over:
“Have a nice day!”
They yelled each time a car drove by, 35 miles an hour, up the hill, down the hill.
On their way home, to appointments, the grocery store.
band photo by @laurakeets
It seemed so futile: Doppler effect. Cold and windy with the windows up.
But they kept at it. And it was probably the most important thing they would do all week. Both for them, and for the few motorists who happened to make out what they were shouting, and for me, who listened over and over to this spontaneous act of good will. This random expression of joy and well wishing.
Music is like this, and so is the farm, and the fragile combination of the two. Spontaneous acts of life that some people catch, some people notice. Others drive by with the windows up, maybe turn their head and wonder. But the ones who dig in, the ones who pay attention and are moved…they honk their horns, the children squeal, the motorists smile. And they start all over again with no expectations, just joy in the act of doing.