Sometimes, you have opportunities come up that are so strange, you have no choice but to say… “Um, well, sure!”. We got an email a few months ago asking if we would come to Parsonsfield, Maine (where the heck…) to play in a yurt (what the heck…). It all just sounded too cool & weird to be true, so we went with it. Halfway through our 3 hour drive through the middle of nowhere, we finally asked, “Wait. What exactly did we say yes to???”
It was the kind of quiet in Parsonsfield that makes you panic a bit. We drove down a bumpy dirt road and pulled onto the property; mountain bikes and a uniquely-built wooden house were our first views. Our second view was the sweetest black lab, Watson, who gently & excitedly greeted us, following beside our car so closely we were afraid he’d be hit. After parking and sitting in the stillness and silence for a moment, we saw Cliff running down the hill. A mountain-bike enthusiast and outdoor excursion leader, he expressed his excitement that we were there and shared his vision of turning his little yurt into a concert venue. And we set off to do just that.
As night fell, we truly began to realize how loud our little city is back home. I sat stunned in the quiet for at least 30 minutes to let my brain adjust while Eric ran cables around the back of the yurt, setting up for the show. We ran a few sound checks and had dinner with Cliff and his partner, Lynn. Squash, fresh from the garden. Pesto veggies, fresh from the garden. Fish that Cliff caught just the other day. The freshness that you find in Maine is only rivaled by its stillness. The smells, the sweetness of the vegetables, the crunch beneath your feet. If you’ve never been to Maine, it is truly a completely unique and special opportunity to capture serenity in a very pure form.
We played our songs for a small audience, getting to explain in a natural & intimate way about the music. What inspired us to write Every Seed Must Die (a new song that will be on our second album). What we experienced when Eric’s Meme passed away, how Mary-Ann came to be. The love story behind Your Beauty. Our audience talked back, thanking us for a certain tune, or expressing their enjoyment of the harmonies on a particular part. I believe it’s important for musicians to have these kinds of shows every once in awhile. To remember exactly why we do it. It is the personal connection with other human souls that make this vocation so special. A man shared with Eric a horrible story about the passing of his infant son, saying our songs about death really impacted him. Reminded him of bearing a shovel to bury his own child. We talked to Cliff about the wildness of pursuing your passion. Opening a Mountain Bike Excursion company sounds about as tricky as being an independent musician. Crazy and completely faith-based, at times.
We slept in the serene cabin, smelling only wood and Sweet Annie. Hearing only crickets and our own breath. Enjoyed a breakfast of homemade granola and apple butter. (Again, if you’ve never visited Maine – what are you waiting for?) Sat in the company of two young couples who were just staying and learning how to mountain bike around Cliff’s trails for the weekend. One came all the way from Minnesota, the other just from a few towns over in Maine, enjoying their first weekend away without their 11-month old baby.
There are moments in this life where we ask ourselves, What the heck are we doing? Where are we going? Why are we driving to Maine on a whim to play in a yurt? What’s happening? It is quite funny to reflect on those moments in light of the magic and joy that come from taking risks and faithfully following the call that we find on our hearts. To let our music lead us to unknown corners is sometimes a daunting and odd task. Mostly, however, it brings us to intensely beautiful connection. Connection to quiet, to ourselves, to each other, to strangers walking journeys we get to visit for a brief moment. To an intimacy and communion with folks whose paths we never would have crossed otherwise, but with whom we get to walk hand-in-hand for just a step or two. What a wonderfully magical thing.