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Last weekend, my friend Bernice Martin and I had the honor of sharing and teaching from our Heart Songs & Circle Songs repertoire at the annual Song Village gathering that takes place every year (except for 2020) in the Santa Cruz mountains. To be invited alongside such great song leaders as Laurence Cole, Heather Houston, Roberta Kirn, Laura Sandage, and so many others in the singing community was quite thrilling. I can’t even begin to describe how much I rejoiced in being able to hear and really feel the singing of others again. I could write so much about this experience, and yet there is a part of me that wants to keep letting it marinate, keep holding the whole thing close to my tender heart, and let both the joy and the overwhelm continue to wash over me until I can make more sense of it with my music and words.

One of the most surprising and amazing moments came just after Song Village was over. We moved to a campsite on the edge of the Henry Cowell State Park, and in our wanderings among the many fairy rings of redwoods, we encountered an old stump, just a few hundred yards from our campsite.

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but this stump was ENORMOUS. The largest tree stump I’d ever seen. This stump, and the tree that it once supported, has been in this forest for many centuries, perhaps millennia. And to think that we got to sit inside of it, all four of us, and admire it from the inside, to ponder its life and its death, to marvel at the ring of descendants who stand around it, as if protecting and bearing witness to its continued presence in the awareness of any and all who pass by.

So, of course, we sang inside a tree. How could we not?

There is a video of one of the songs sung from inside this stump. Another one will follow soon.

What a joy to share our songs with fellow humans once again, and then to bring that joy out onto the land and continue the sharing and stumble upon such inspiration.