This song was written on one of my trips to visit my oldest friend Ali. I have known her for 30 years, since kindergarten. We both grew up in Forest Knolls, (West Marin, CA). I recorded this video in the warm late afternoon light in my studio on the hill, only blocks away from where Ali and I grew up together.
Her study of dance took her north to Seattle after High school – our friendship kept alive by letters and yearly visits. Flying always makes me reflect on and feel whatever is going on more deeply and intensely, something about being above those godly billowing formations where humans are not meant to be. It was my first day there and I was sitting on Ali’s deck with her old guitar (it was up on Capital Hill and you could see the city, the sky needle, the ocean…) and this song came out in full. It was a surrender to my history, my faults, my character flaws, the oldest stories I was holding onto. Knowing somewhere that one creates either a loving universe or a hostile universe, and being stuck in the former. (The feeling like you aren’t getting what you need from someone/the world, when really it just means you aren’t giving it to yourself and the frustration within that realization.) The acceptance that you have to work out the themes your parents passed down to you no matter how hard you try to out run them.
The “$50 for a new tattoo” line: I did have an appointment to get my “om” tattoo on my wrist but chickened out. I thought if I got a tattoo it should be in a really good space feeling empowered. (and I did get it finally last year)
high fog blanket
inching in west over the sky
dune grass flirting with the skin on my bare legs and feet
beside this ocean of grit and salt
that cleans all wounds
all excess and endings are consumed
ground down into smooth skulls
soft curves and pleasing lines
white and amber sand
i remember wearing seaweed like hair
in that pink and white ruffled suit
and even before then
i was first collected up into this body of form
given a name in the earliest of mornings
the sun is soft fill now
i throw down my will
now, as we cross the bridge over the dried up estuary.
Live at The Woods EP is being released today. It is an acoustic set in its entirety from a show I played one year ago in Mill Valley. I am coming back to these songs after a long break. I love these recordings because the songs were still fresh and new and I inhabited them fully that night. I like the fact the recordings have room noise: coughs and chairs scraping against the wooden floor, digital cameras beeping. I like the imperfection and immediacy of the live recording. There is no fixing mistakes, no editing, no hiding our imperfections. It’s commitment to the truth of the moment. (It’s what is often missing from the studio album for me.)
In this space and rest I have turned to other mediums: I bought a polaroid camera. I have been inspired by Matt who shoots a lot of medium format film and polaroids. He has a way of catching people off guard in this raw and awkward moment in between the pose and the picture; it makes me feel less alone in my own human vulnerability. I feel comforted by the immediate and physical proof of the pictures: proof I’m alive and creating even without music the way it used to be.
My musical outlet is obscured right now. I will find my way back by not trying I think, but it is uncomfortable after such an intense long period that was all encompassing. I am looking for peace within the ambiguity.
Yesterday was Trev and Carissa’s wedding. They exchanged their vows while the sun set and the “super moon” rose, it was a striking and beautiful moment. (more pics to come of the wedding and island, only can upload shots from my phone right now) I cried through the whole thing like a very proud and joyful big sister…I played “Lucky in Love” on the Uke for the ceremony, and danced and swam with the wedding party late into the surreal, starry, moonlit night.
Antigua is breathtakingly beautiful — the white sand and clear warm water is out of some glossy travel magazine. Jolly Harbor where we are all staying is pretty touristy, and now the wedding is over I want to try to get out and see the rest of the island. I have gotten to meet and talk to a lot of locals– Our cabbie Leon gave us a little mini tour as he drove us from the airport to our place and told us some of the facts: Antigua has a beach for every day of the year, and the island is only 12 miles by 8 miles so every one knows everyone (He would honk often as we past people on the streets…) He was born here and has not traveled anywhere — When I asked where he would travel, he told me somewhere very cold and snowy like Colorado! Terry who runs the little coffee shop called Starfish I go to every morning to get coffee and check email, gives me tips on taking the bus into St. Johns (the capital) and stories about Eric Clapton who owns a house right near where we are…
The currency here is EC (Eastern Caribbean) but every place takes US currency. The island seems very geared towards tourism and Sailing/Cruise ship visitors…We drive our little golf carts around within the villa area, avoiding the occasional “island squirrel” that runs into the road (the mongoose, which looks like a cross between a squirrel and a ferret) Nights are sweaty and hot and I lay in bed listening to the night birds that sound like a squeaky swing set. But over all it is not unbearably hot…There are always some clouds floating around keeping a nice breeze going, and even a few little warm rain showers here and there.
While I am enjoying the break from my usual life and loving the island, I still feel the dull ache of everything going on in the Japan, in Libya, the U.S — and feel an uneasiness at the obvious legacy of slavery and exploitation here on the isalnd, and the larger theme of exploitation in the larger world community that causes so much suffering. But I am trying to be in the moment and appreciate what is at hand. One moment at a time.
The quote I used in my wedding toast resonates in my mind today:
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is a spiritual experience of living every moment with love, grace, and gratitude.” (Denis Waitley)
I wish that for Trev and Carissa as they embark on their life together, I wish it for the whole world, I wish it for myself… I sign off with a big full heart, I miss everyone! I have more reflections and pictures to post…Soon! LOVE Brindl
My last night in Victoria. Hit up the Victoria Folk Music Society, really nice scene…A super talented bass player joins in on a few tunes. Nice to have some musical conversation after playing solo for two weeks. It is a great way to end the tour. I go to sleep with a big smile and a big heart. Wishing I could stay longer in Victoria, but ready to sleep in my own bed and in my own room with out numerous Germans sharing bunk beds.
…smooth ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria. Booked into the little hostel right downtown. I walk the streets for hours and immediately fall in love with this place. Victoria is right on the water and it reminds me of Cali and San Francisco. I feel at home here. Will’s birthday is saturday so we go out to a breakfast of blueberry french toast and I happily explore cobbled side streets and little shops before our gig.
Our last official gig is at the Cornerstone cafe in Fernwood, right outside downtown Victoria. As we play the summer afternoon turns into hot rain, lighting – sky lit on fire with the most unusual and beautiful purple, red, orange sunset. The dramatic weather gets me back in touch with the sense connection and integration with all these forces around me; having a place in the natural pattern.
Later at the hostel I find on the bookshelf one of those “choose your own adventure” books…Feeling the adventure in my own life fully. Feeling the energy gathering around this direction I am moving in. And underneath the general physical exhaustion of the trip, there is an even stronger current of excitement, resolution, faith…love.Me and Will getting fish n’ chips by the wharf before our last gig in Victoria BC.
Rain in July. Thrust into the dizzy electric downtown of Vancouver. Streets are torn up, construction everywhere in anticipation of the Olympics in 2010. Wandering through the outrageously dressed club hoppers and construction paraphernalia. Midnight…it feels like 2030…a set of a sci-fi movie. foreign. confusion. music is not happening tonight. Sleep only sporadically between the sirens and street sounds. Off to the ferry and Victoria.
Seattle. Haze of tiredness. I play at this little cafe in Ballard, every song seems to have this extra emotional weight to it today…all usual defenses are worn down into the raw immediate experiences of each day. I sleep on my friend Emma’s couch high up on Capital Hill, lulled to sleep by the cool air, the tallest trees and the faint sounds of the city. I don’t play Seattle Song, but the lyrics are in my head: