It is the final day of Project Wild bootcamp. Has it ever flown by. It was such a great opportunity to take a step back and take this program in; to hone in, refine, and grow as an artist. The guest speakers here have challenged me to think beyond the fringes of who I am, and I have been so inspired to keep pushing outwards.
With so much information to sit with, I needed a moment to take it all in. After lunch I joined up with Justin, Skinny, and Josh to head out on a much-needed hike. Pinnacle peak had been beckoning me all week so now seemed the time to do it. Heading up the winding path, we traveled through the trees that sheltered us from the afternoon heat. We chatted a bit about the week, and sometimes said nothing, listening to the soft shimmer of the creek flowing beside us. The trail soon moved past the treeline and turned to a scramble (the satisfying shade behind us), leaving us exposed to the sun beaming down on us. It is an oddly satisfying feeling to push through the last stretch of a mountain – sweat running down your brow, feeling the “burn” in your hamstrings, and carefully placing each step as to not slip on the loose rocks.
Something about hiking peaks in the backcountry never gets old. Looking around from the stark ridge we scanned a stunning view of the other mountains around us. We stood for a while and imagined ourselves climbing the higher mountains – “well maybe a person could go up the treeline to get around that steep scramble…” or “maybe the other side has a better way up.” Some mountains seemed quite challenging to ascend and it seemed a fitting metaphor for the life as a musician – enjoy the climb, and celebrate the victories along the way, but never allow yourself to get too comfortable as to overlook higher mountains to be climbed.
Hiking mountains in the backcountry always served as a humbling experience for me. There is always something that the natural world has to say and for me, looking around, I know I have a lot of mountains to climb in my career. It would be a dangerous thought to think that this winning this competition is how a person “makes it.” Perhaps it is better to think of it as just a route to higher mountain peaks. If there is one thing that this program offers best, it is that perspective. Whatever the outcome, I am ready to climb.
“Would you guys mind if I read a poem?” Justin said, holding up his phone. “I took a picture of it earlier.” A little poetry on a mountain peak felt like a great way to book-end an immersive week here at RockRidge Canyon. Justin began to read – it was a Charles Bukowski poem from The Last Night of The Earth Poems called “air and light and time and space.”
“– you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to
no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
We sat with that sentiment for a while and let it sink in. I remembered a line from Steven Coveys 7th Habit that said “We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.” I’m so glad that this program gave us the opportunity to take a quick break from sawing to spend a little time honing. It is a never-ending pursuit, this life of music. Climb a mountain, go back down. Re-group. Climb again. Climb, higher. Time to go back down this mountain and head back to camp – tomorrow I will be heading off, and I’ll be ready for another climb. This time a little sharper than before.