May 25, 2017. Reflecting on a year's anniversary, with love to cousin Lee and a toast to Aunt Margaret

I am flying into the sunrise, soon to land in Dublin. Sometime during this crossing of the Atlantic we have crossed midnight and into tomorrow. It strikes me here at nearly 40,000 feet above this blue ball, that this morning marks exactly a year since a significant milestone - one that more or less led to this trip with my parents and sister.

My cousin Lee and I met in person for the first time last April near Nashville....

Along with tons of other plants over the decades, Grandma gave a rose bush to my parents some 40 years ago. A few years back, my sister rescued its scraggly and dying self where it was shaded by a now full-grown tree in my parents yard. She transplanted it in her yard at home in Maine, where it had an unfortunate run-in with a roto-tiller....

For those with absolutely no interest in coaxing green things out of dark dirt and wonder "why do they do it?" as well as those with green thumbs or obsessive orchid disorder.

May 1st is always a bit of a personal pivot point for me. I'm often on the road for large chunks of March and April, and my absence usually results in weeds choking my gardens. They impose their chaotic unruliness over my carefully tended beds like an army of Orcs pillaging the good green Shire. Adding to that, deer come and graze on the new shoots of the bulbs I've stuck in the ground. I often walk around with my morning coffee looking for small signs of hope in the carnage, emulating the Michael Jackson look with a single glove for tugging at a strand of ground ivy here and bedstraw there. The proverbial equivalent of peeing in the ocean, but to clear a few square inches of precious garden space from the marauders somehow does my psyche good in spite of the magnitude of the discontinuity....

So today is #DNADay. We live in amazing times. In the 1950s Watson and Crick first described the crazy macro molecule that carries everything about living species wrapped up in a double helix. A few years ago a massive effort finished mapping out the entire human genome...

I've always loved lilacs. We used to have a large lilac bush at our old place on Snickersville Turnpike. I've been known to clip a couple when I've been on the road and stick them in a water bottle to freshen up the van during a spring tour, even once or twice without permission (see "The Great Lincoln Lilac Larceny")....

Plain and simple, my life might have been a whole lot different without Chuck Berry.

Chuck Berry passed away last month. It is bittersweet for me to acknowledge both the influence of my childhood mentors decades later and the realization that they too have aged and will not live forever. Chuck Berry certainly didn't get cheated by the vagaries of time at least, finally ending his final encore at age 90 and releasing a new recording too!

It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that Chuck Berry taught me how to play guitar...

A solo artist marvels at the intimate machinations of a large performing arts production, and some special kids who bring it to life.

The stage life of a performing singer/songwriter is usually fairly solitary. There is of course always the audience, and the interaction and energy between performer and audience makes each show unique. The sound engineer and the stage lighting crew play vital roles in shaping the experience. But ultimately, the performer plans the presentation in some fashion, and a like a one-person show, rolls it on stage and delivers.

From my background, theater is a totally different animal...

I think I've found something upon which most of us can agree.

Bacon - just about everybody loves it. The #1 food vegetarians say they miss. The smell of bacon cooking drives us nuts, and drives most every other cogent thought from the brain. Bacon. Mmmmm.

I think I've figured out what's wrong with our country, and more importantly, how to fix it...

As we Americans experience another period of societal and cultural upheaval (aka change), a few reflections on the lasting legacy of a few committed individuals who were also determined to change the status quo.

I spent more than a few miles on this tour reflecting on all the natural splendors I've visited in the southeast - swamps, maritime forests, barrier islands, salt marshes and other natural and geological oddities. Over twenty years I have amassed quite a passport book of out-of-the-way treasures of the southeast and south Atlantic coast, even when I leave out the many stunning lands in the southern Appalachians, a region where I have spent considerable time on repeated visits.

There is of course a maelstrom going on right now in Washington on several dozen different important issues, some of which will have profound impacts for many years to come...

Once again reveling in and revisiting the odd rituals that come with the New Year, and reflecting on how strange the journey is turning out to be, now that I've turned a few.

In case you missed it, in the Western world the calendar has flipped again. Our annual revolution around our beloved nearby star has reached this particular spot in the heavens, and because we draw 12 pages with an odd number of boxes on each, we must have a starting point for each of those collections. Thus, January arrives, heralding a New Year, and toting along all of the assorted rituals that we have tethered to it.

I'm not big on resolutions, but I do like to check my progress (or lack thereof) in a variety of ways, and of course count my blessings - including the ones that I might overlook...

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Tour Dates

  • 10/25/2017
    The Music Cafe - Damascus, MD
     
  • 10/29/2017
    Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Greater Cumberland - Cumberland, MD
     
  • 10/29/2017
    Tree of Life Yoga Studio - Bedford, PA
     
  • 10/30/2017
    Institute of Musical Traditions, Saint Mark Presbyterian Church - Rockville, MD
     
  • 11/02/2017
    The Blue Side - Frederick, MD
     

HAPPENINGS

SPECIAL THANKS

Andrew is a grateful Endorsing Artist for Elixir Strings and Fairbuilt Guitars, and a member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Artist Roster. He also is a member of The Standing "O" Project and Concerts in Your Home.

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