Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Hibernation?

Many musicians tour all summer and stay home in the winter writing and recording and storing up energy for the next busy Summer, but Summer is when I want to be home. When my garden is growing and producing flowers and food. When I want to cook dinner on the grill and have friends over for the evening or the weekend. When the sun comes up early and stays up til 9pm, so I don't mind sitting in my bright office working at 8am with coffee or 6pm with a Mojito. Summer is when the Berkshires are full of activity and people and events, so I can pedal my bike to the Guthrie Center and hear some folk music or take a picnic to Jacob's Pillow for a dance performance. This is when I get inspired to sit on the porch and practice my banjo or open all the windows and play beginner piano for all the neighborhood to hear. Summer is when I want to spread out an old blanket on the grass (well, clover) in the backyard and read a book. And if I fall asleep and don't wake up until Mr. Ding-a-ling comes by with his truck full of frozen treats, not to worry. That's what summer is for. Any given week in July, 20% of the country on is vacation anyway, so you usually get a break if you don't respond to email right away.

When I complain about winter, the dark, the cold, the stillness, most people tell me to embrace it. They say I should take the opportunity to rest, plan for the warm seasons, write music, read, take up skiing, knit, sleep. And that does sound really nice. I like all those things. But there is something chemical that happens to me, to lots of people, and it just feels sad to stay home. And I start to get a little crazy. I want to go the bed early, like at 7pm. And if I'm not in bed then, I might be whining and crying and generally freaking out. And most of the world is still out there working, so it doesn't really do to completely shut down for 4 months.

Years ago, when I was waiting tables in Maine, I learned that if I kept busy during those early evening hours, life was a lot better. I'd go to work around 4, just as the sun was setting and run around serving mussels and pinot noir until about 10. Before I had a chance to look up, I'd made it through the difficult part of the day and it actually was time to go to bed.

It's really unusual for me to have a whole month of no shows, but I'm right in the middle of that. It is kind of unsettling, I tend to forget who I am and what I do when I'm not performing for so long, but I am enjoying a gorgeous summer. And more importantly, I have the time to completely fill up my Fall and Winter calendar. I want as few off nights as possible in those cold dark months. I want to take trips to Florida, Texas and California and thumb my nose at Winter.

Seasons are nice. I like natural rhythms and all that. It's been such fun watching my garden grow and change, but I just can't do the winter hibernation thing. I'm a disaster in the dark and cold. I've got to keep moving, keep myself under those artificial stage lights, and trick my body into thinking it's the growing season. And then if I need to rest, I'll invest in a hammock for next summer.

Off to search for a list of winter festivals in the South.... I think I'll just do that with a Push-Up.