We crawled up the fat belly of the Ozarks at twilight, listening to the reckless, stompy singalongs of native sons, Mountain Sprout, just to catch the mood. The fog thickened as the winding road took us higher and closer to Yonder Mountain Harvest Fest.
I was wrestling my own heart and having a hard time taking my own advice. (“two minds made up, both belong to me…”) Upon arriving, the rain had already turned every step to thick mud and I was stuck in it from the start, spinning my wheels. (this happened both literally and figuratively). My inner vision was as foggy as the horizon.
Moments like this always make me wonder – am I mimicking the environment or is it mimicking me? Am I manifesting this weather or is the weather stirring up my personal storm? Or is it all unrelated? The winds began to pick up and I shivered as I passed a car with the radio on. Paul Simon crooned, “You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip sliding away…”
So on one of the great old mountains, surrounded by ominous clouds and banjo music, I found myself slipping.
It wasn’t the weather, but I will spare you the details, as I always do when it comes to the specifics of my pity party.
Walking like a ghost, I stumbled on a young band of boys playing in a tent. I listened and I heard some wisdom carried by a warm voice, so I stayed. A lyric needled through my fog – “It’s not where you are, it’s what you find.” I felt a little lift, a sip of fresh air, and started looking outward instead of inward. Maybe I will find something.
I held on to this thought but the weather persisted. Later I was backstage (in a larger tent) getting ready to sit in with some friends. I heard the announcement that things were shutting down. The storm was gonna hit hard and fast; “40-60 mph winds”, they said; “take shelter in your vehicles”, they said. “we’re gonna have to evacuate this tent”, they said. I had no vehicle nearby and I overheard my friends discussing how they didn’t have room in their vehicles for all the “extra” people that were there. (I was one of those “extra” people). Splosh! My heart sank.
In hindsight, it was ridiculous for me to feel so scared and lonely. It was the slip sliding that made me forget to look up and around me. God had not suddenly abandoned me to be carried away in a storm! My friends were not about to close their doors saying, “sorry! No room for you!”. How did I go from enlightened, trusting, brave and unshakable to this quivering, cowardly, frail little thing? Slip sliding.
My friend Amberlee (who was dressed up like a bee and who also didn’t have a vehicle) called me over to sit beside her on a tarp on the ground. She put her arms around me. I said, “where are we gonna go?”. She looked at me thoughtfully and said “Just be.”. I took a breath, and a moment later I realized her joke. (she said “Just BEE.”) and we both started laughing out loud. For such a cheesy pun I probably laughed too hard, but it felt good. And that’s what shook me out of my funk.
My husband Randall, drummer Loren and our friend Ryan suddenly showed up (“we found you!!”), a kind fella let us all into his RV, the storm came and passed (nothing compared to the threat), the lights came back on and the music started back up again.
I said something in my first “Happiness Project” entry about being more consistent in my practices. But consistency isn’t truly possible. The practices build a strong core that draws me back into balance when I’m out of whack. But I get by with a little help from my friends.
-This is Amberlee, Andrew (from Wookiefoot) and I, waiting for the storm