Kissing Cairns and Strumming Strings for Strangers

(not the best video, definitely couldn’t hold the camera still for the life of me when I saw the goats…I was tired. My friend, Minnesota, made a good video model though).

When I started my summer adventure I left two of my best friends behind: my dog and my guitar.  On my down time I couldn’t do much but miss them, until last weekend–when I went home and got my guitar (and spooned with my dog).  While I was home I played for my mom and her boyfriend for the first time.  I was a little nervous, but I did it!  And they seemed to like what they heard.  When I left home I figured I would just play my guitar while I was alone and camping, I never thought I would be playing for an audience.  In my daydreams, sure, I play for thousands of people…my adoring fans; but until two days ago I have never had the guts to sing for strangers in reality!

My Minnesota partner in crime and I decided to head toward Vail, after climbing Holy Cross together, where we found a lake nearby with a sandy beach to sprawl out on and recover.  There were lots of people out on the water paddle boarding and plenty more people laying out to tan.  I brought my guitar along and played alone in the shade for a while, then I decided to go play for some people who were enjoying their lunch under a nearby tree.  I was nervous, but I pulled myself together and sang one of my songs.  They didn’t seem revolted or embarrassed for me, they actually seemed to like it!  I played for a few other groups of people that day, a few people pulled out their phones and took videos.  One group requested for me to come over and play for them.  WHAT!?  When did I get so brave?  When did my voice decide to stop quivering with fear?  When did my hands stop shaking with nervousness?  I’ve wanted to be able to do this for so long, but I never thought I would have the guts!  I can’t explain the gratification, the happiness, the elation that playing guitar for people brings to me.

Later that night, Minnesota and I went to a brewery–where we spotted a strapping fellow.  Minnesota said, “go get your guitar!”  I did!  And I played a song out on the patio, when I was finished the strapping fellow looked up and said, “Your voice is really good.”  He eventually sat with us and I played more songs, he recorded a few of them on his phone.  He and Minnesota chatted about various topics and dreams they had, while I continued to pick strings and strum quietly.  By the end of the night I felt like I was walking on a cloud!  I had played for multiple audiences, and though they were just small groups, I felt like another dream had become a reality this summer!  I could’ve cried a river of joyful tears!  Did the Angels that fly over Holy Cross sprinkle fairy dust on my vocal chords?  That must have been it!  To them, I am eternally and inexplicably grateful!  Maybe I’ll write a song for them!

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The next day Minnesota and I climbed Harvard and Columbia together.  It was a long and arduous journey–a true test of our fortitude, but we did it.  We lost our route a few times and every time I saw a cairn I felt like kissing it!  I did kiss one at the end of the day, just so I’d be able to say I did it.  Maybe that isn’t something to brag about though?  By the end of the night…(yes, night!  It took us that long–we did start late though) we were ready to hit they hay!  We both slept in our cars in the parking lot of a Motel 8.

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Somebody fixed the sign…whoever you are…Thanks!

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sign for Harvard’s Trail

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Sign for Columbia’s Trail

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somebody fixed it!

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Minnesota and I made goat calls, but they all ignored us!

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on the way to Columbia after dropping down the gully

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Clouds forming in the distance

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SPARKY! You did it buddy!

What a great week!  What a great summer!  What a great privilege it is to be ALIVE!  I am so lucky.  I feel so happy, for the first time in a long time!  The world used to seem foggy and unwelcoming, now it is sunny and clear!  I can see that there is purpose in everything, that there are no accidents!  I’m not delusional, I know that things aren’t always going to be this good.  But somehow I feel restored–like I have faith in the universe!  I used to wonder why I had such a hard time talking to people, but my inability to speak confidently encouraged me to: play guitar, write songs, and write this blog.  All of those things fill me with cheer!  The source of my weakness, ended up being the source of my strength.  I have made a wonderful new mountain climbing partner in crime: Minnesota, thank you for climbing with me!  I LOVE my family so much, I LOVE my friends so much!  I owe so much to all of you!  Sorry it took me so long to say that word, “LOVE!”  Now it just feels wrong not to say it!

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