Monday, August 30, 2010

Burnt Norton Abbey

To the lonesome harmonica’s introduction to Wright’s “Prodigal Hope”, we drove away from another visit to Burnt Norton Abbey. On this second year – and despite schedules which would curl your feet under themselves – we managed to make time. “You make time for what you put first,” would be that mother’s statement forged of guilt. The great responsibility is then to “put first” that which is most important; in belief and faith synonymous with the passing of one’s days and doings, Aaron would quote this as “human being.”

He also used the term “business.” It is my understanding that dialogue must begin with a mutual agreement in language; it is also my understanding that this activity is a trick by method and most often prolongs discourse ad infinitum.

However, when he said “business,” in regards to faith, community, and “good (as referring to a common good or truth),” it was as if I suddenly looked down at my hand to reveal a splinter which had long skinned over, a microscopic chuck of wood which at the time could not be easily removed by tweezers or pins, of that my wonder imagines other wooden masses like the remaining rotted planks of a boat which had been long stranded. The wood is moist and flakes off to the touch exposing mold, cob-webbery, and beetle bugs – an infestation of infinitesimal organisms breaking down the integrity of the structure long after the vessel’s purpose lost proper function.

I would claw at the shard, but I am resigned to recall its place notwithstanding its lingering hazard – and to scratch and dig it out in plain view would surely repel my neighbors, distracting them from the simple introductions taking place.

But I think to myself, “He cannot mean business.”

Referencing Thoreau and Tolstoy, the latter seeming a more appropriate source, I would pose the pieces of this question: is it business to clothe the world, or rather to clothe only those involved in the business of clothing the world? When I think of the word business, I see busy-ness – you see now that which Aaron and assumedly Tolstoy would refer to as our universal lack of labor. Our work, of which has the utmost impact on our individual well being, has been long disenfranchised. We are most certainly busy, but what are we busy with? What are we busy doing, daily? And as an effect, what are we busy being?

The negative connotation of “business” would then be the latter end of the initial question. The effect of business would be singular gain, reducing community to a fuel. I have become highly sensitive to this term in regards to art and tend to be the most defensive, sprung to action, and ultimately, scared.

“I put down my sword and shield, down by the riverside.”

The final piece of Burnt Norton this year was a conversation I had late last night with a friend who now resides in Santa Fe New Mexico. “Divine,” must be we, in motive, practice, and thought. In our doings, we must be responsible for those in our community – through our being, we must not mistake one word for another, because in doing so is the significant difference between us, as artists, as human beings.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Celebration of Life

Every year for the last four or five we have gone to a Celebration of Life in Barre, MA. It is a free event hosted by our friend Dylan Clark and his family on their farm that includes live music, vegan potlucking and camping with some of the greatest people you might ever meet. We asked Dylan once why he wanted to host such an event and he replied it was because he wanted for all his friends to hang out together long enough to become friends and want to help each other. This kind of camaraderie between musicians is usually only present when among those who consider or have gone touring. Most years the ratio of bands to music listeners leans heavily towards bands. Some bands come all the way from Georgia just to play in a basement filled with excited listeners who may or may not give them the "Barre-O".

Every year the CoL consistently improves mostly due to the Clark Family. Aside from being gracious hosts they tend to improve something each year esthetically or with furniture or various other things to share that they came across throughout the year. This year for example more space and seating for the show was provided by reorganizing an enormous wood supply and by building simple benches out of pine boards and cinder blocks. Also the stage was surrounded by flowing curtains with irises on them to disguise the basement walls behind. The field has always been hayed to make way for an impromptu wiffle ball game or campers. The grass is always mowed. The fire is always ready.

Every year at CoL I hear new music that I probably would not have otherwise heard!! I am so grateful that this festival has a consistent delivery of new music and performance. Not all festivals can boast this same legacy.This years show included an on stage engagement!

The renewal this event provides for many of it's participants is unmatched.

Gratefulness for the sharing, the beauty and good company washes over me and coats my mind. I will carry this feeling for the next year until we all can celebrate again.
shown from left to right Mark Mandeville, Raianne Richards, Hannah Peckham and her Mack
Photo: Paul Gandy