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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7 thoughts on “JOY

  1. What an incredible place, love those views. Also love your dog! I hope you enjoy your year off. Best wishes from a snowy Scotland. Take care. X

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  2. Love you Carrie. So glad to hear that you are sleeping well and surrounded by beauty. I’m excited for you to have some time at home doing a different kind of work. I hope we get to do some of it together! Much much love, ~becca

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  3. You’ll be missed during your year of non-touring, Carrie, but we’ll be happy to know you’re healing and feeling at peace with yourself again during 2016. Our best to Danny and a biscuit and pat on the head for Miss Lucy too (don’t mix those up!). Oh, and a special shout out to Ms. Loebe if you see her. We love ya’, Carrie! Jerry and Lisa and McGwinn

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  4. Dear Carrie,

    I just came across your blog and learned of your father’s passing. It’s remarkable to realize that we watched you perform in Northampton, Massachusetts just nine days before your Dad died.

    It makes me happy that I was able to bring you and Sam and company fresh strawberries from our farm and that they might have been some solace for your imminent loss. For the past couple of years your music and singing has provided a sustaining reflection on my 72 year old life . When you have completed your well-earned sabbatical from performing, I truly hope that you and Sam will travel our way again.
    Best to you and Danny,
    Michael Idoine, Wendell, Massachusetts

    A poem that I first heard 52 years ago:

    Days

    What are days for?
    Days are where we live.
    They come, they wake us
    Time and time over.
    They are to be happy in:
    Where can we live but days?

    Ah, solving that question
    Brings the priest and the doctor
    In their long coats
    Running over the fields.

    By Philip Larkin

    You should find this poem familiar: https://youtu.be/5pi4eb9mU1M
    One of my favorite performances.

    The Bustle in a House (1108)

    The Bustle in a House
    The Morning after Death
    Is solemnest of industries
    Enacted upon Earth –

    The Sweeping up the Heart
    And putting Love away
    We shall not want to use again
    Until Eternity –

    By Emily Dickinson

    Charlie King read this in memory of his wife, Karen Brandow

    “There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Furthermore, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”

    ….Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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  5. Dear Carrie have read a lot of your postings. Spoke with your dad shortly before his passing. Trying to reconnect with a lot of the family. He told me a lot about you, so proud. We are related. Bill and I spent time with Josie and some of the family here in Pa. If u ever get this way would love to meet you. Have a granddaughter that also sings, nothing like you but one can hope.

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  6. I so want to join you on your writing retreat! I have so many plans and ideas for my blog, I could write and write and write! And I also want to join you on your April. Cooking for yourself, just being home, having time for friends and self and nurture and care. I don’t travel anywhere near as much as you, but rushing back and forth to work every day still makes me dream of the slower sense of time you describe. Savor it, girl. And congrats to you and Danny. I still remember how powerful it was when you saw the resemblance to your fertility on that painting in your bedroom. 🙂 What a journey you’ve been on and that you’ll take now. Yeha!

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