Archive for February, 2011

Home turf, home surf

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

[IMAGE] South beach

…click to listen:

…about the music

Music from home.

It’s been too long since I’ve posted, and it’s certainly time I got back on the blogwagon now that I’ve found my land legs again. It took a few days after we docked for them to finally wash up on the Atlantic seaboard, and then a few more days to wring them out and get ‘em functional again. It’s hard to walk with soggy legs, and yep, after 12 days at sea, that’s actually what they felt like. My body had become so used to adjusting to the constant motion of the ship that on solid ground I continued to sway gently side to side, giving me the official look of the drunken madwoman people suspect I really am when no one’s looking.

The happy buzz of the cruise stayed with me even longer than those wiggly legs, and the glow of those unique, physically off-kilter music-making experiences with so many lovely people remains, always. Now I’ve traded the frigate birds that fascinated me in the Caribbean…

[IMAGE] Frigate bird

…for the bald eagles that compel me here in the San Juans…

[IMAGE] bald eagle

…and the work pace the moment I opened the studio door has been non-stop.

Immediately upon returning, I was thrown into the gleeful chaos of juggling a heck of a lot of Things That Can’t Wait. We all have them, those Things That Can’t Wait, and they are often attached to Very Nice People Who Need Things Now. And those very nice people have paid good money for Those Things that they Need Now. Those of you curious for a snapshot of the professional side of my existence can click over to the bevy of all updated info for a short scroll down a long page.

I, being a respons-ible Type A type, always meet these demands with a Pavlovian response of… responsibility. As such, I sleep a lot less some weeks than many saner people. I begin ardent work around 11am, do all the things that require interfacing with live people via phone and Skype throughout the afternoon, and then get my best energy in the late evening. By 2am I’m in the thick of the most productive part of my day. Uh, night. I’ll often hit the hay around 6am and then I’m up again in the mid morning, eager to get back to what I’d left just hours earlier. Everyone has their own natural rhythms, and once discovered, they can be a great source of order in an otherwise free-wheeling existence. Obey thy natural rhythms whenever possible!

I’ve admitted before that in daylight hours, the constant activity surrounding me is quite a happy distraction. It’s amazing I get done all that I do, since it seems as though between every email response my hand is reaching for a camera. But when darkness finally returns, the world and my relationship to it turn inward.

[IMAGE] dawn

At night, there are only two distinct things I can see out my window: an intermittent “please don’t bash into the rocks” beacon off the tip of Canada’s Saturna island, and an intermittent “we told you before, watch the friggin’ rocks” beacon off the tip of the U.S.’s Spieden island, winking at each other in a polyrhythmic secret handshake (that’s ‘cos they know where the dangerous rocks are and the boaters don’t). There’s often a pale glow in the sky above the beautiful city of Vancouver, hiding from view behind Spieden. And Sidney’s town lights can twinkle at me in the distance north of Victoria on a clear evening. The visual stimuli of my finned, winged, tentacled and pawed neighbors is no longer present, replaced some evenings only by the subtle sound of their bodies gliding through the water, or their voices skimming across its natural amplification. But people? Buildings? Cars? Nope. Not one. No planes in the sky, either.

I realize that for some folks, I’ve just described hell. How could anyone possibly enjoy being so alone? What kind of sociopathic nutcase would choose this isolation? Yup, you’re reading her blog. It’s insane enough that you can’t even drive off the damn island to get a little humanity fix– but heck, you can’t drive from the top of the island to the bottom anytime after, say, 9:43pm on a winter weeknight, and even pass another car on the road.

Looking out across the dark sea late at night, I love to imagine that the rest of the world doesn’t exist, and that I’ve just landed on some lunar-but-pleasantly-warm planet to call my own. Ah, yes! I admit it: I’m a megalomaniacal composer! [cue: sinister laugh]. Lemme tell ya, this ain’t a profession that lends itself to such delusions, so ok, it’s official: I’m especially strange.

My only sense of the surroundings comes from the faint outline of the moonlit islands. And when there is no moon, there is near-total, wonderfully disorienting darkness for many, many miles.
Heaven.
Stepping outside to the front of the house and staring into 30 uninhabited acres of trees and open meadow without a single house in sight?
Heaven Pro 2011, Version 3.5.

[IMAGE] nightfall

There’s something about the lack of human vibration where I am that plays an essential role in my sense of peace and calm amidst a busy schedule. Fair readers of this bloglet know I travel a great deal, and those travels virtually always involve Large Gatherings of Humans to Whom I Speak Many Words. My sanity (yes, I still have a little left, but supplies are limited so I have to act fast) is balanced by the artist retreat of this rock. I’ve created a happily bifurcated life between the highly public and the highly private. And in each case, I can remain highly connected to others via the web.

But despite the lack of humanity, there’s still a lot of vibration here that comes from elsewhere: the wildlife, the wind, the water… scroll backward through these pixelsonic pages and you’ll see hundreds of photos that are alllllll about vibration, none of it man-made. I’m never alone, that’s for sure, and I feel well protected. This week’s photos are a summation of my security detail, which included this comical pair of oyster-catchers:

[IMAGE] Oyster catchers
No, I did not Photoshop the color of these beaks.

And this otterly adorable guy:

[IMAGE] River otter

[IMAGE] Otter tail

And ok, two man-made entries:

[IMAGE] US. Coast Guard
Could the U. S. Coast Guard look more poetic, with the Coast Range of Canada’s mainland in the distance, and a bunch of golden Steller sea lions hauled out on the point?

[IMAGE] Canadian Coast Guard
And here comes the Canadian Coast Guard!

Because I guess everyone needs someone with a little vibration to watch over the home turf!