** For an entire month this Fall (2011), Deborah Henson-Conant and I threw ourselves into a joint traveling adventure of performances, workshops, and the ongoing development / implementation of fantastical ideas and dreams. **
It was 41 degrees Fahrenheit when I pulled the harp out of the car today.
This wasn't a surprise -- I was prepared for this outdoor wedding, unlike the other one. It's why a huge heater was set up on the covered bridge and I had the prized seat right next to it. And it's why my hands were cloaked in awesome fingerless gloves (thank you Tammy of Red Panty -- yeah, that's what I said!), and why I donned my big black coat over my dress clothes. It's why the harp was tuned to itself and not to the digital perfection of a formal mechanism.
Prepared vs. panicking. There is a fine line between being ready to meet head-on whatever might be thrown at you, and having so many "just in case" resources available you're literally drowning in them.
Purge vs. pile. I won't say what was which & when during the tour, I'll just lay out the facts. The van was stuffed with possibility -- interpret that as you like. We lost many items in it, and gleefully and repeatedly "found" others. We unexpectedly "gifted" items in random places. When we sold out of product *twice* at the same show, raking in more $$ than ever thought possible, high-speed high-heeled black boot sprinting after intermission yielded quickly-replenished stock. When a venue's sound system wound up being unable to handle a Camac 32-string "DHC" electric harp accompanied by looping and distortion pedals, we had a thoroughly road-tested Fishman "Loudbox" amplifier and Fishman SA220 (Solo Professional system) we could set up in minutes that more than fit the bill.
We had bags of food supplies, including dozens of containers in which to store what we didn't throw out (fermenting bananas and apples, anyone?). We left one back seat in the van for napping, but never had time nor the space to use it that way; instead, it became the home of the SKB. At the beginning of the tour, we were overwhelmed. By the end of the tour, we had a system and a process. We had both mess and perfection.
That isn't to say we didn't occasionally slide into terror over what was (not) happening. Why do each of our fifty thousand maps tell us to go a completely different way? Why are all the doors we so crucially need to pass through right now hopelessly locked? Where is the pre-prepared promised food when we're famished? Why, when tired and halfway hungry at the foot of the mountains, the very last peach yogurt we saved tastes "like a blanket"?
Sometimes, you have no choice to go in trusting you will have exactly what you need, at exactly the right time. You find the apple knife. You locate the third hand-held recorder and there's room on it for another brief but imperative documentary. You are stuck on the floor and Trista both gets it on video AND helps you up.
Sometimes, the "Do Not Enter" is exactly the place you must go.
You go in cold. You come out warmed by knowing, hey, that was a temporary hell, but it all worked out. Again.
Other tour posts (in non-chronological order):
Firsts -- How the Tour Began
Sense of Place
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Another imperfect post, this time accompanied by:
Vampire Weekend's "Giving Up the Gun"