The Secret Life of a Folk Singer

Back home for a week after a wonderful tour, we begin to reacquaint ourselves with our static community. The one in Greenville. The one that is relatively constant and unchanging, tied to a locale. It seems odd. Stranger than the ever-changing, intermittent, geographically vast community of the road. We have become more comfortable out there than right here.

I imagine that is a hard concept for some people. Folks like roots, find comfort in some routines, like to see seasonal changes from the same vantage point. I can appreciate all of those things. Perhaps with an inside look at life on the road, you might glimpse some of the joy we find out there.

First, the numbers. 3661 miles, 25 days, 8 sidetrips, 2 donuts, 1 snow day. Doesn’t look very special in those terms, but if I break it down you’ll see.

3,661 miles. That is a lot of windshield time. I love that. It is quiet, meditative time, lyric forming time, reflecting on the last encounter, reliving the joy of a show. On small roads there is the chance of discovery, on highways a chance to connect on email, phone, etc. We listen to surprisingly little music while in transit, but we do write in the car. Driving south we saw spring from the first appearance of buds to full on flowers and leaves all in one day.

25 days. A long time to be away from our physical home. To be comfortable with that we need to have a really good concept of what home feels like and we need to take those essential components with us. Over the years we have paired it down to a few essentials; a few good books, some comfort food, a planned work schedule (written down), clothing for every possible weather condition. We also have to take stock of what our community means to us and make sure we have that on the road. On this trip we were lucky to see an abundance of friends and the warmest, kindest audiences. Our visits with friends tend to be brief, but however long or short, those visits really matter. I continue to be amazed at the community that exists without borders and without constant contact. Do we provide that for other travelers? I hope so. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have someone to count on back home. I know that neighbors who pass by and would notice if something was amiss. I learned that I can call a friend and ask her to crawl under our bed to retrieve CDs and send them to us. How to express the thanks for that?

8 side trips. A cool mural painted under a bridge, a tree carved into a candle and the word peace, a tour of the Harley Davidson factory, a house shaped like a shoe, a behind the scenes tour of Goddard Space Flight Center, a metal teepee, a great display of yard art with a kind of creepy appeal, an old graveyard. We live for this stuff. Really. We also got in a couple of really nice hikes in Maryland and Pennsylvania, good climbs, waterfalls, wildlife. It is an interesting contrast to the man-made quirkiness of the side trips.

2 donuts. Before this trip I cannot remember the last time I ate a donut. Probably when we still lived in NYC. Some part of every journey should be indulgent.

1 snow day. Cooperstown NY April 23. Its good to be surprised sometimes.

Tune in next week, I will post photos of all the side trips.

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