When you step into the woods and the month is October, you can be sure a ghostly and surreal mood will climb up your spine. I treasure the feeling. It reminds me that I was born. I carry a thermos filled to the brim with hot chocolate and I sit where the steam rises and tiny clouds of breath appear as I mumble words to myself. For a moment, I am the only human being left in this world until a joggers footsteps appear in the slushy snow. They say hello. I say hello. Everything is how it should be. I am not thinking about tomorrow or the summers passing - I can only see fog and the delight that comes with absolute solitude. I want to stay here for awhile, not because I have nowhere else to be, but because it is important for a lover of the woods to stay where trees are tall and the fog is hanging low. If I rush and run home to a world of buzzing and lit screens, I will have failed myself and a bad mood might follow. It is better for me stay put - listening for the cooing owl or the pheasant rustling through the brush - to feel the chill of October air on my cheeks is to be born again.
Music has been everywhere as of late. Over the weekend, I played a festival and it caused me to grin ear to ear. I got a standing ovation after playing a full set of my songs -- as it happened, I felt like I could have broken down crying. Never in my life did I anticipate a stranger could stand up for me and applaud to the air, almost as if they were saying "don't ever stop." If you're an artist yourself, you know the quiet battle that we tread on. We constantly ricochet between yes and no, good and bad, right place and wrong place, all in one day. We love what we do, but mostly, we need to do what we do. It is our food, our breath, and our livelihood. There are days where I want to lay the banjo in a case and stay in bed. There are shows where I return home feeling defeated, but for every moment of cursing the stars for being who we are, there are moments like these and they remind us of something so easily lost in the hullabaloo of life. Art matters. It keeps our insides from dying or being hooked up to a machine. Nothing should stop us from creating and being strange in our pursuits. If I can do it, this is a call to an art maker's arms and it says "don't ever stop."
I have only a few moments in a day where I can be quiet in the woods. It fills me with the right kind of joy and understanding. I return home as one who found a compass leading to the meaning of life would. I remain strange and my life is greater because of it.