The world can be a heavy dark place. Every day we turn on the news to hear stories of inequality, sexual assault, political clusterfuckedness, global warming, threats of war, shootings, you name it. It’s all out. THere’s no hiding anymore. Our skeletons are being laundered and it’s the fucking spin cycle. Add Scorpio season (10/23-11/21) and you’ve got a recipe for everything you have ever wanted to ignore right in your face.
I’m feeling it. The dense, shadowed energy of the world at large combined with the excavation and revisiting of old wounds and stories. I’ve been IN BETWEEN, not overly content but waiting in the unknown.
Driving to school today my son asked “Hey mom, can I play a song for you. I really like it”
“Ok bud, go for it.”
The song: Big Country by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. The result: ALL THE FEELS.
I teared up on the first pluck of the banjo strings. Music hits me like this. It starts as something other than me, outside. Then seeps into my skin and tissues, searching for the place in my heart that knows all is well and always will be. It works its way beneath my wounds and stories to the part of me that is whole and only love.
“Oh man buddy. This is one of my favorites. How did you know I needed this today? Thank you.”
We jammed in silence for a moment, appreciating what the music was giving us.
“Did I ever tell you about the first time I saw Bela Fleck?” I said.
“WHAT!?!?! WAIT! Mom, you saw Bela Fleck?”
“Yes a few times.”
“Do they still perform?”
“I think so, I’ll keep a look out and get us tickets if I can.”
“That’d be cool Mom, what happened?”
“I saw Bela at the first Bonnaroo, a huge music festival, four days long and thousands of people come. They called for rain all weekend. Aunt Manda and I knew Bela was playing and headed to the main stage. It started to rain. The sky was dark and ominous all morning. We thought we were in for it. We heard the band before we saw them. They were playing Big Country. Our feet found the music and lead the way. When we stepped onto the grassy field we saw bodies in various shades of tie-die and patchwork on the ground, some taking cover from the rain, some dancing. We saw the band, Bela, Victor,”
Lawson interrupted “Victor Wooten is so good mom.”
“He’s the man. The band kept playing in what everyone thought was sure to be a downpour. About a minute in the sun burst through the clouds and the rain subsided to a drizzle. Aunt Manda and I thanked God for the sunlight with twirls and hugs. The sky only got more clear and bright. The joy and energy of the music and fans too immense for the clouds to withstand. I twirled around and around, laughing and hugging strangers, each one meeting me with the ecstasy of gratitude and love. I lifted my head and felt the last few raindrops for the day sprinkle my face. An honest to God rainbow appeared. “This is it.” I thought. “This is everything.”
I heard this song today and found myself barefoot in Manchester, Tennessee. I relived the joy of that day, those precious moments of my life when I literally had no care in the world.
I’ve got hundreds of memories just like this. For a summer my sister and I made patchwork skirts and purses and traded them for gooballs and mushrooms up and down the east coast. Magic found us in the mud, dirty, high, 100’s of miles from home and surrounded by strangers, but people that were our people. People that only cared about the music and the vibe. People seeking magic.
That summer I intentionally sought joy. My life is different now, I’m a mom. I’ve got responsibilities. The world is a zoo. Things are exponentially more complicated for this 35 year old woman than they were for that barefoot, smelly 21 year old girl. But she is still me. And joy is still available. I just have to seek it. I just have to remember. I only have to dance and thank God with twirls and hugs.
Joy is always there for you. When you give yourself permission to settle in and remember, She is waiting with open arms to bring you home. In these maddening times it’s nearly impossible to not not remember. We forget. But now, more than ever, we have to remember. Now is the time to dance, and sing, to write and read poetry; to bake pies and play Scrabble and hold our loved ones tightly. Now is the time to show up, willing and alive in the face of uncertainty and discourse. Now is the time to seek magic, to find joy and remember that only we have the power to determine who we are and the quality of lives.
And you won’t have to look far, because you are magic itself.
But, if you need a jump start I recommend Big Country by Bela Fleck.