Confession- I did not grow up listening to bluegrass music.
Almost five years ago now I was asked to be in a bluegrass band. I started listening to some of the classics- Earl Scruggs, Tony Rice, Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs..
And don't get me wrong- I've always been attracted to acoustic music... folk music... roots!
Let me tell you....
Becoming part of the bluegrass family here in the Midwest these last few years, it's been the most incredible experience.
The bluegrass community is loving, welcoming, artistic, exciting, and generally.. lovers of fun.
This past weekend we spent at Swamp N Grass in Elkhart Lake, WI. This festival has been running over twenty years. Set in the dead of winter, it was the first time I had seen many festival goers since the summer time. And we were all quite ready to have a good time playing, singing, and sharing space together.
So many smiles, the late night picking in the hotel rooms and corridors, the laughter, the dancing, the vibe that grew throughout the course of the three days there.. the friendships that start to feel like family after a while.. watching people grow, watching musicians grow in their playing and their writing...
One of the biggest highlights of the weekend was watching Art Stevenson & Highwater Band. Being present with them as they played their music was a learning experience. I could feel their humble happiness... Art's grinning face! I could feel myself harmonizing along with them unintentionally- stilling my soul.
And once again I'm left with this feeling of gratitude that affirms what sometimes feels like the MOUNTAIN we have been trying to climb. And I'm reminded that there really is no destination, no mountain top, no real place we we are trying to get to that we don't have already within ourselves. Just like those dancers who are moving but not for the sake of getting anywhere... Just like the songs that build and build... and end, leaving traces of what was only real in the moment.. or real all the time.