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This past Saturday night was the first of the last Acoustic Trio shows, and it was a big deal for us – Caffe Lena, the legendary listening room in Saratoga Springs, NY. We’d played there before, and it is always special there.

I’ve been experiencing a strange mix of excitement and dread recently. The sudden return to what feels like the normal I remember of ‘B.C.’ – driving, setting up, soundchecking, playing, greeting friends and fans, sleeping, rinse lather repeat – has been the driving force behind this recent emotional tug of war. The pandemic is still very much here, and still leaving 400ish dead each day, on track to 100k Americans dead each year.

So, I’ve been making friends with anxiety again.

Part of normal touring life is staying in cheap motels, and also with friends of friends and friendly strangers. I’ve always enjoyed this aspect. But as I put fingers to keyboard recently and put out feelers for housing, I was fully aware of what a huge ask this is. Putting on in-person shows and getting butts in seats is hard enough in these strange ‘pandemic-is-kinda-over-but-not-really’ times – but asking some friend of a friend of a friend if you can sleep in their guest room? It’s a big deal.

So, as I was connected with a friend of friend, I felt so grateful – and also super anxious.

The show was great – the friends and fans who came out, and the venue staff and volunteers, were all beautiful.

Shawn and I got the last of the gear loaded up, and navigated to the friendly stranger’s house. And I was feeling nervous. The street was dark and quiet. We didn’t even know which door to go to.

I’ve forgotten how to do this, I thought.

Then, there was the light on at the side door and the two friendly smiling faces (human and dog) to greet us as warmly as you could hope. And there, just in front of her kitchen door – a message of hope and trust written in chalk: ‘Welcome Heather & pals.’

And in a flash, I felt so much more at ease.

As we made our way in with our gear, I briefly expressed my anxiousness to our host, who understood completely and responded by putting the kettle on for tea. She showed us around the house, and then excused herself to bed.

Perfection.

The next morning, we all shoved off in our respective directions, all feeling a bit more hopeful and trusting in a future that has always been uncertain, even before the pandemic.

And the coffee was delicious.

More road adventures await this weekend, and for the rest of this month. I’m taking it all one mile and one moment at a time.

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