Woodshedding for Hiver

Prepared for a week of collaborating with musicians and other artists by stacking one more heaping pickup’s worth of firewood with my younger daughter this morning. As with many intergenerational endeavors, it began in silence and wound up a jabberfest. You hope with every chunk of wood you’re stacking a foundation beneath the future.

I’ll be in over my head artistically over the course of this coming week. There will be times I can’t keep up. There will be things not to my taste. Not up my alley. There will be groovy stuff that goes right over my head. There will be things I don’t “get.” But there will also be moments where I can’t believe a woodsplitter like me gets to share the rare air of creation, that moment when you and the other artists and the audience hit the same stride or feel the same soulful hit. As a farm boy who snuck in the back door, lemme tell ya, the pressure to “get” art is just another means of dividing us. I enjoy a good county fair demolition derby. Do I “get” demolition derbies? Wrong question. It is also perfectly acceptable to experience something, declare, “That wasn’t for me,” and still move on richer for the time spent. Not everything has to be expressed in terms of thumbs up or thumbs down. Zero to five stars ain’t much of a sliding scale. Our experiences aren’t fixed in time. Whether it’s a demolition derby or an oddball art festival, what you’ve got is humans getting together and saying, Let’s pause the day-to-day, throw some things together, and see what happens.

Anyways. We got a whole bunch of firewood set to keep us warm this winter. It’s off to meet the artists. In between the rehearsals and the abstractions and the improvisations there will be chores and school pick-ups and drop–offs and dishes and deadlines and the fire to start every morning to keep the heart of our home warm, where I just hope my kid “gets” the idea that sometimes hard work is beauty, and sometimes beauty arrives in a form we cannot name…and why would we?

P.S. and when it’s all over I’m goin’ deer huntin’.

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