- I left Toronto on October 31st.
- Drove to Pennsylvania (8hrs), slept 1 night, then drove to Warrenton, VA (3hrs).
- Learned a bazillion fiddle tunes for one week.
- Drove to Elkins, WV (4hrs)
- Learned a bazillion fiddle tunes and clog steps for 4 days.
- Drove to Kerhonkson, NY(8hrs) for the NERFA Conference for 4 days.
- Drove back to Elkins WV (8hrs).
- Learned a bazillion more fiddle tunes and clog steps for 1 week.
- Drove to DC for their incredible square dance (4hours)
- Some idiot smashed my passenger door window while at the dance.
- The next day, fixed the passenger door window and drove to Norfolk VA (3.3hrs)
As good luck would have it, the day after I arrived in Norfolk, the weather turned unseasonably warm, and I was able to enjoy a sunny day on the beach in bare feet. It was perfect. I extended my stay in Norfolk by 2 nights, just to bask in that temperate climate, and unwind. (See the last blog post for photos of the glorious beach trip.)
Once I was good and rested, we headed out to the farm. I've been here for a week, and I'm happy to report that things feel nice and relaxed- and at the same time, I'm also learning a ton.
I'm staying in a house with Aaron Olwell, Heather Coiner and Ben Stowe- all are phenomenal musicians, and all are passionately curious about learning. Every day, at some point, each of us separately retreat to practise our fiddles (or piano or clarinet or banjo...), and every day, at some point, we all seem to naturally come together to share new tunes or play the old ones. On Thanksgiving, the house was full with guests from out of town, and we played music literally all day long and into the night. The next day was much of the same. The day after that, we drove into Charlottesville to play tunes with a new batch of friends...and it goes on.
I've had a formal lesson with Aaron on fiddle, with many more planned, and this week and next I'll be learning songs and tunes from Sabra Guzman and Jim Childress too. But here it feels very much as though the formal lessons, and the informal role of music in our daily lives are equally valid. It's starting to feel natural to pick up my fiddle a few times a day, and it's starting to feel normal to hike up these mountain roads.
When I wrote my grant proposal, I wrote that I wanted to live in the land where this music was from and to experience the music as part of this daily world. It's happening people. And it's really cool.
For those of you who are reading this and potentially seething with jealousy: It's not all sunshine and roses- and I've come to realize that this blog often makes it seem so. You know, my dog contracted fleas, my back went out for 2 days (and is still out), and there have been other bumps along the way (driving with a fever from Toronto to PA, repairing that window in DC...). But I know...it's pretty good living right now, and if you want to kick me in the shins, I don't blame you. I want to kick me too. Uh, don't though, please.