My 3 Things - October 2016

My 3 Things FAQ 

1. LISTENING: John Coltrane's "Blues to Elvin"
It's not about the saxophone. For me, this song is all about Elvin Jones's drumming, specifically his ride cymbal. Elvin's feel at this tempo is so great -- a buttery, luscious, savory earful. But I am a total sucker for these oh-so-slow tempos. Take your time with this one.


2. OFF-THE-GRID-ing: Backpacking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming

This was my view last week.

I was backpacking for five days in the Winds (how the locals say it) with a friend.

That brings my total days off-the-grid to 18 for the year. (In June, I sailed around Svalbard, Norway and was off-the-grid for 13 days.)

Eighteen days that I couldn't reach or be reached via the internet or a cell phone. Thank goodness.

Sure, I'm happy that I racked up that many. But another part of me, the B.S. detector in my head, says : "Seriously? WTF! Only 18 days?? That's nothing. You know your soul needs more downtime than that!"

And that voice is right.  

Here's what I notice when I'm deep in the wilderness, way out-of-touch: it's completely different from opting-out. 

I regularly opt-out of email and texts for a few hours or a half a day. If I've got a songwriting deadline, the phone goes off and and the laptop gets closed and put in a drawer.

But here's the thing: those screens are still right there, just across the room. I can turn them on any damn time I want. It's as easy as reaching over, powering up, and just like that I am sucked into the vortex again, checking texts and skating around the web at the same time. 

When you're off-the-grid, with absolutely no way to connect (my phone went into a zip lock bag in the top of my backpack and pretty much stayed there after we left the trailhead), something different happens to your mind.

The noun "sedimentation" gets close to the feeling: "the natural process in which material is carried to the bottom of a body of water." My thoughts settle. The worries drift downward. The chatter quiets. And the longer I'm off-the-grid, the more everything in my head gets clearer.

With the trail sticking to my boots last week (a September storm had left snow in the shadows and the long, brown path very soupy), each step away from the trailhead and civilization was one step towards clarity. 

Here's hoping I can turn 18 days off-the-grid into 20 or more by the end of 2016.  

3. LOOKING: Artist Sheila Hicks's first show in Canada at the Textile Museum
If I was within striking distance of Toronto this month, I'd run (not walk) to see this show.

Sheila Hicks is a master of "colour, texture, space, and scale," redefining fiber art and influencing a generation (and counting) of contemporary artists. 

It was her quiet, intimate textile works that first beguiled me. But, further down the rabbit hole, her entire wide world opened up: global weaving traditions, the history of painting and sculpture, architecture and much more.

The show is up until February. But I wouldn't wait. Go now. Then write me and tell me how much I am missing. 

//\\// OUTRO //\\//
Thanks so much reading. I'm super grateful for your attention. 

Here's what you do next ...
1) Send me an email saying Hi. Just hit reply and get in touch! I read every email you send.

2) Leave a comment in the box below. Other awesome readers like you like to post their 3 things in the comment box (what their listening to, what's inspiring them, what they're reading, etc.) Get creative and share what things make you feel good this month.

Wanna make my day ... a few days from now?
On October 13 around 8pm EST -- if the internet gods are with me -- I'll be doing another Facebook Live concert.  It'll be happening on my "official" Music Page.

Can't wait for it! It is going to be a bit of a doozy (my Mom died a year ago on October 13 so I will be playing for her.)  I hope to see you there. Until then ...

Big, huge love,