Ben made chiles rellenos and Julia read our natal charts. Ben’s a Leo, but his moon is in Scorpio, so there you go. Chris is an Aquarius, which makes sense too, I guess. As for me, I have a difficult relationship with my sun sign, Taurus. I don’t think of myself as stubborn, or as a homebody, or as particularly focused on material pleasures. I want to think of myself as an artistic, adventurous free spirit. I used to go around claiming I was on the Aries-Taurus cusp, trying to claim a bit of that fire energy, but it isn’t really true. I’m pretty much a Taurus.
My moon is in Gemini, which does balance the slowness of Taurus with some speed and impulsiveness; Gemini is also verbal and intellectual. “This is the most restless and fickle of the Taurus combinations,” quoth some website. So there’s that. And Cancer is ascendant: apparently people with this combination “love nature, draw strength from it, and get a lot from sleep.”
This is interesting reading for a summer spent continuously on the move. The amount of energy one spends on tour just doing basic maintenance: (1) keep all my shit in the same place, don’t lose anything; (2) sleep; (3) drink water; (4) eat decently; (5) exercise?; is enormous. Higher-level thinking was very difficult to achieve amidst all this.
It turns out, besides the familiar sun, moon, and planets, there are also these difficultly explained North and South Nodes, which represent one’s karmic past-life background and current lifetime’s direction. Guess what? More Taurus. Supposedly I come out of Scorpio — weird shit, black magic — and my whole goal in this lifetime is pointing toward the great bull, just to keep a nice house, water the plants, eat good food, have a nice glass of wine. I was so confused by this that I called my mom to make sure I wasn’t wrong about my birth time.
But maybe the confusion is about my sense of comfort versus my sense of aspiration. When the river is wide enough, it can be challenging to remember which way is source and which is mouth.
Bath Dance Works is a beautiful old room with a dark old wood floor on the upper level of a beautiful old building in old downtown Bath, Maine. We didn’t want to damage the floor, so we lifted the heavy old piano onto an old rug and slid it across the room to set up the performance space.
People in Maine do not have air conditioning. Not yet, anyway.
We were double booked with a zen meditation group. During sound check they began wandering into the space, looking quite confused to discover that their regular weekly meetup had been replaced. But being zen meditators and all, they were awfully gracious about the whole thing, and a few of them even stayed for the show. One of them claimed to enjoy our songs, especially the ones in 4/4. He likes Oscar Peterson. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the jazz-influenced number he was referring to toward the end of the set was actually in 12/8. He also made mention of some of our more experimental material, accusing us of playing in 9/14, which we good-naturedly took as a challenge.
It’s a lovely thing to cast yourself out in the world and place your reliance on the kindness not solely of strangers, but of old friends not recently seen, relatives not well enough kept up with, acquaintances who you’re not quite comfortable asking to crash at their place but do it anyway. You learn that people are cool, have interesting books on their shelves, know where to point you for a morning trail run, have decent bagel places around the corner, and really want to come hear you play, you know, if it works in and among the present wildness of their lives. All the new meetings and overdue reunions were a powerful reward from the effort of touring.
It’s absolutely exhausting and absolutely worth it. Time to get my Taurus on: time to make some meals, read some books, get some sleep. Finishing the summer this week with a visit to see some old friends on the Oregon coast. These friends are coffee-brewing and bread-baking experts who also surf every day. Enjoying losing myself in the mist for a few days before it all starts up again.
• Gone Walkabout
• Music as Drama
• Crossroads II
• 10 Best of 2014
• January: Wyoming and the Open
• February: New Mexico and the Holes
• Coming Up
• Notes on The Accounts
• Crossroad Blues