I know, it has been awhile. Seasons come and go, you know. I last wrote a blog post on September 8. Here I am on November 25. Since starting this blog in 2016, I don’t think I’ve ever taken such a long break. But, the last post was called Press Pause, so…
Last week I had the urge to start writing in a longer form again. I do write for my Instagram account, but that’s usually just 100-200 words. Even though I felt the urge to write rising in me, I didn’t know what I wanted to write about. Now that I’m not as concerned about writing to a particular audience in preparation for a book, the possibilities of topics are endless, like they were when I started this blog. That feels freeing!
However, I do want to keep coming back to this concept of Living in the Midst that I’ve honed in on over the last year or so. I think there’s something really important about it — especially now. Pay attention. Notice. Name. These three actions have helped me through a lot of tough situations over the last year… and really for much longer than that.
I know, I’ll write about a quilt
But still, what to write about? I was looking around my space and spotted a quilt under my legs. We use it to cover the ottoman as Steve likes to lay on it and look out the front window. With the quilt folded, we only see the plain backing. But, when I open it, though, there is a whole world inside! So, I’m going to write about that quilt. Perhaps you’ll learn a new thing or two about me as well!
This is the first t-shirt quilt I ever made. I’m actually surprised at how well it’s put together. Back then I didn’t have any of the tools I have now. I just used a cardboard cut out for the square ruler and regular old scissors to cut the shirts. I didn’t know that it’s better to sew with the t-shirts facing down to prevent stretching and getting slowed down by the decal. I didn’t know any of that, and yet the quilt still looks pretty good, IMHO.
But, I’m not really interested in the techniques or quality… it’s what these shirts represent. This is a whole era of my life that in some ways feels like a different person. And yet, this is part of me!
My first music festival
In 2005 I went to my first and only Bonnaroo Music Festival, but that’s only because there were so many other festivals to choose from! My friends and I took a rented RV down to Manchester, TN for the long weekend, though my boyfriend and I slept in a tent. That was mostly okay until the torrential downpours one night. We laid there with our hands and feet in the air trying to keep the tent from completely collapsing on us!
There I listened to Allison Krauss, Trey Anastasio, Dave Matthews and so many more. I didn’t shower for days. I felt proud of my dirt covered feet and stinky pits! One evening a friend and I were trying to find our way back to our campsite in the dark. We dodged so many tent strings, until we didn’t and my friend toppled over. There were so many amazing moments during that weekend, including our discovery that Pizza Rolls taste really good over a charcoal grill!
Once I got a taste for festival life, I didn’t want to stop. Later that fall we rented a car and drove out to Vegas with several beautiful stops along the way. This time we went to Vegoose in Sam Boyd Stadium. This had a very different feel from Bonnaroo. We stayed in a hotel, danced in stadium bleachers and gambled on the way home. It was here that I saw the Blue Man Group, alongside Jack Johnson, Widespread Panic and North Mississippi Allstars. The talent was unbelievable. Equally as unbelievable? The evening our friends put their relationship on the line at a slot machine and ended up at a wedding chapel. I was the maid of honor in my flowy skirt and cowboy hat. I cannot make this stuff up!
They stayed the night at my house!
The following spring my boyfriend and I packed up our recently purchased RV and drove to Alaska (that’s a post for another day!). On the way back home later that summer, we stopped at the 10KLF (10,000 Lakes Festival) in Minnesota. Some friends met us there — what a reunion after several months away! That first night we sat outside the RV catching up with friends when a group set up their tent next to us. They set up a fire pit, pulled out their instruments and started playing.
I’m not sure what time we went to bed that night (I mean, morning). We stayed up for hours listening to them play and singing along. It turns out they were playing on one of the side stages. The next day we found them and felt a little special when they waved and acknowledged us from the stage (and by stage, I mean a piece of wood on the ground). We ended up back in Minnesota for the same festival the following year and they were on a bigger stage.
And then, get this… another year or so later they were playing a show just a few blocks from our house, so of course we went. It was great to catch up with them. After the show we asked where they were staying and they didn’t know. Before you know it, they spread themselves out all over the house (with one guy sleeping in the van in our driveway). It’s kind of cool to be able to say I’ve had a band sleep in my house.
Seasons come and go
Oh my goodness… there are so many more stories, not all I want floating around on the internet! Rothbury Music Festival in Michigan, Austin City Limits Music Festival, and countless concerts. I have no idea how many artists I’ve seen over the years. When I start to add them up I’m amazed at all the experiences I’ve had.
The music festival season of my life was a good one. It was hard too. I easily found myself lost in those around me. I wasn’t always clear about what I loved versus what my boyfriend loved. I slid back and forth between a hippy dancing girl and seminary student/youth minister. I often felt like I was living two different lives — and in some ways I guess I was.
But the memories created… I wouldn’t trade them for anything. The freedom I felt standing in a crowd, all of us singing and swaying to the music. The excitement I felt when the band came on stage for the first time. I’m so glad I saved these shirts. This quilt will hold those memories for me for the rest of my life.