Sunday, June 04, 2006

Joyful Pilgrimage

Sitting at my computer yesterday, waiting for the rain to stop so that I could get outside, I remembered the good times I had Saturday with family. I thought about relevance. I thought about, and am always thinking about, what I want, what I need, what I am. My pilgrimage continues.

I am incredibly fortunate for the family I have and try not to pass up an opportunity to spend more time with them. The more time I spend with my older brothers, the older I feel they believe me to be. I'll always be one of the baby sisters, but as life closes in and the stories about our lives and our parents reach greater dept and truth, the gap in age has begun to shrink, and we enjoy each other on new levels.

One of the things that no doubt influenced me the greatest degree was my brothers' fondness of and involvement in music. I've written before that they had a band, "Filet of Soul" (you don't get much cornier than that, but hey, it did the job), and played covers of the greatest R&B hits of the late 60s. My parents both loved music and my mother played the guitar a little. My dad just enjoyed listening, although he did have a nice singing voice and could whistle better than most folks. So when I look back at my life and how I grew up, I'm overcome with a sense of gratefulness for this wonderful cocoon that surrounded me with all kinds of music, almost all of the time.

So now I'm a grownup, a single working mom with a love of music and a deep desire to pass it on. But these days it's different. Working in a field that I love but that does not directly connect me with my passion has me wondering whether I should continue or try a new path. Working and trying to cultivate the kinds of connections that will lead to that new path, or to opportunities to play, sing, and promote music is a difficult balance to strike. I find myself in a bit of a schizophrenic world. Few people really know me well outside of my family, and I'm disconnected from those few who do by distance, occupation, or life circumstance.

So, how do I close the gap? This is the question that most certainly governs my thoughts these days. The answer is of course to spend my time on a worthwhile project that will in some way benefit our disconnected community of fans and musicians in our little corner of the world. We need more of that cameraderie, community. When I'm at an music festival or other event alone or with my children, the connection is deep. Political and religious views fall largely to the wayside, and music takes over the conversation. I'm thinking this must be what my beloved Shannon senses when he and Lynne and others are ensconced at a craps table, everyone cheering on against the House. (Click his link to read the most eloquent Guide to Gambling I have ever read, even if it is the ONLY guide to gambling I have ever read, written by my friend Lynne, who will celebrate her 40th in Vegas later this year.)

A sense of belonging is important. I'd like to have the sense of belonging in my own community that I experience in my family, or when I'm surrounded by musicians or instrument makers or presenters or writers. I'm sure there are others who feel as I do, that there's always room to learn, teach, play, and share more traditional and bluegrass music. I could pick up and move to a part of the country where it's everywhere and I could find exactly what I need in every sense. But the joy would be multiplied and shared if I could create opportunities for more people to come together and enjoy it here.

The answer is so often in the question. Gap? What gap? I didn't notice any gap.

Click here if you want to know about some of what's going on in Northeast Ohio and where you can gig in June.

Are you an Ohio picker? E-mail me if you think a "roving picking party" sounds like fun.

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