i’m on the road just now with minor empire, touring folk festivals and other venues in western canada. and during this tour i am spending a lot of time not playing music (which is mostly what touring is sometimes, for those of you that don’t know).
i struggle with this—touring in general, and particularly when there are too many days off, is very taxing in many ways. there is the going from 0 (waiting around all day) to 100 (being onstage in front of an audience), there is the not so nice hotel room, there is the having to spend energy meeting people, etc.
i am reminded of something that i was told while on a 10 day silent meditation retreat in bodhgaya. there was no hot water available to us during the retreat, and taking a shower was a major mental event because of this. and the teacher offered us an insight that a previous retreat attendee shared with him: “if i resist”, he said, “i suffer. but if i accept, all that i am doing is taking a cold shower.”
i’m trying to take a cold shower. but i miss my girls.
the 7000 oaks project (knuckleduster version) is underway. a re-mount/-imagining/-mix of the original joseph beuys installation in kassel, we decided to make it a part of the knuckleduster haus der kulturen der welt concert commission we recently did. the concert series was part of the programming HKW was doing around sustainability, and the 7000 project was meant to be part of our concept/contribution to the program, along with our concert and video.
a nice idea—interesting concept, long term life, etc., etc. fine. a minor part of our life as a band, something to keep track of and occasionally do. one of the many small things that we as artists take on in our practice—a responsibility, but not a pressing one. occasionally irritating, often neglected. not one that makes a huge difference but worth keeping alive.
until we planted the first tree.
going out into the urban wilderness, dragging our seedlings, a small shovel. some water. moving through the weeds and broken bottles, my daughter in tow. finding a place, somewhat sheltered for the little plants, but with enough room for them to grow. digging in the dirt, soil under our fingernails. the rich black colour of the earth, the smell of it. and then the trees, nestled under the bushes, drinking in the water and sun and air and our hopes that they grow and shade many small children. the trees carriers of our future hopes.
this could be one of the most important things i ever do.