JOY

Good morning, dad!

I woke up this morning, and before opening my eyes all the way, opened a book of Mary Oliver’s poetry.  She reminds me of the miracle of all that is life.  Of all that is present in my world….whether it’s dead or alive.  And then I put the book down and look at the view from my bed and I see the mountains and tattered prayer flags and snow and sage brush.  I am myself for the first time in eight months.  I sleep again.  I’m in Taos. You know how much I love it here.

So I woke up and read Mary Oliver and had a spectacular view of the mountains and prayer flags, and got out of bed and put the kettle on for tea.  It’s early.  Lucy is with me, and she’s frolicking in the snow.  I think she feels like herself for the first time in eight months, too.  Daily walks into the hills across the street from where I’m staying.  And just being with me.  She’s happy. And there’s nothing like being with a happy dog.

I’m spending three weeks here.  It’s a solo writers retreat. I’m surrounded by beauty.  My best friend and her husband live in the main house and I have a little apartment just next door.  The light is beautiful.  And when the sun starts on it’s way down, the glow on the mountains makes my heart jump.  And then it’s night time.  And the stars are unbelievable.  There’s no light pollution here.  Just stars. And the howling of the animals of the night.  And I go to sleep early.

I spend my days writing.  Mostly working on songs, but the occasional journal entry, too.  I’ve spent very little time on business stuff. Keeping my brain clear for the writing I want to do.  For the longest time, I’ve felt bad for not having new material.  I mean, it’s been years.  But now, I just remember who I am.  I’m pretty slow when it comes to writing songs.  I’m not one of those people that can wake up in the middle of a tour and whip out a song.  I’m not inspired on the road.  I’m tired and disconnected on the road.  Except during the actual show, when I come alive for a few hours.  But then the anxiety creeps in.  And I have to face the people.  It is my choice to put myself out there to the world.  To be vulnerable.  It’s who I am.  But with that comes a lot of chatting after a show, and while I so rarely feel anything but love toward people at any particular moment, it’s the end of the night, after talking with 5o or more people, that I feel like there’s nothing left to give.  I have nothing left for myself.  So I sit up in bed, anxious and missing home. It’s just the way the road is.  I think a lot of musicians feel it.  I think a lot of musicians probably don’t.  I also think it’s important to pay attention to this stuff and make life decisions based on how we spend the majority of our time.  This brings me to my next point….

Dad, I’ve decided, after April, to take most of 2016 off from the road.  I want to create and connect with home.  I want to have a garden and I want to sew and make my own dresses and have time with Miss Lucy into her old age.  I want to be more relaxed about all our fertility stuff.  I want to have a home life with Danny. I want to have quality time with people.  Not panicked time.  I want to ease back into my relationships and not feel like I’m rushed to see everyone at a particular time while I’m home.  I just want to be home.  And I want my friends to know I’m home.  So I can be helpful in their lives. I want to volunteer at hospice.  I want to take care of my body and eat food that I make for myself.  And sometimes, I want to sit on the couch and watch romantic comedies all day long.  And I want to record a new album.  I’m so excited to release new work to the world come 2017.

My heart is so open right now and I am full of joy.   When I’m in Taos, I’m taken back to when I was 25.  SO FREE! (and so broke).   But reminded of how lucky I am to have experienced such a strangely beautiful place for a few years.  And now I come back and feel grounded and inspired.  My friends here have made beautiful lives for themselves.  I’m in awe of the quality of their existence.  They chose to push through here.  To be survivalists until they became settled.  And then they became home owners and found partners and many of them had children and those children are the most adventurous kids I’ve ever met.  They spend their lives on the river and on skis and in the woods hunting rattle snakes, and camping and hiking.  They spend their lives like their parents do.  With a true connection to this earth.  It’s just what Mary Oliver talks about in her poems.  It fills me with gratitude and makes me thankful for everything I have been given in this life.  I’m so glad you were my dad.  I believe you looked at the world through miracle glasses.  And while a day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss you so badly it hurts, there’s also not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for all the years we had together.

Tonight I will raise a glass of milk to you.  Because that’s what we do for you.  And it makes me smile so big it hurts.

I love you, dad. And I am healing.  Thank you for teaching me about joy.

A few photos from Taos:

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