Last week, I laid down in a field for a half hour.

I just grabbed a coat, headed out, found a dry spot, put on some music, and looked at the stars because they were there.

I didn’t go looking for something, I went to leave a lot of things behind.  See, I don’t take time for myself, I don’t slow down.  I live a fast life, I juggle perceptions and try to keep everyone happy, I pull all-nighters to get shit done, I keep a full calendar, and I make a lot of phone calls.  It used to be that when all those things piled up, I would write songs as a vehicle for transcendence — but then, music has a business side as well, with all the pressures of academia.  So, for me, this was an act of profound meaning — I set aside time to let everything drift.

I discovered something that night: decisions aren’t out there waiting to be unearthed or chiseled out of other people.  They are inside us, brooding and unnoticed.  How often do we ignore what we actually want because of safety?

When friends come to me with hard decisions, the first thing I ask is: “What do YOU want?”  I usually hear, “I just don’t know.”  And after my half hour under the sky, I’m done accepting that, because it’s a lie.  You DO know, you know exactly how you would have it if you could, but you’re afraid to take the risks that might make it that way.  I used to think I was so introspective that it had to be poisonous, but in reality, introspection wasn’t the toxin — the toxin was that I refused to take my own intrinsic wants at face value.  Introspection is healthy, but you must take it in its rawest form.  Trust yourself.  Don’t say, “No, that must not be how I feel,” instead say, “Whoa, no shit, I guess I have to act on this.”

If I keep living the way I have been, I will end up ninety years old, wishing I would have had the courage to step outside of this walled-in world and express all the things I feel right now.  I refuse to become that, don’t you?  I’m going to Nottingham for a year because I want to do it — I want to see the world and talk with an accent and drink foreign microbrews and cook my own damn meals.  I want to tell people what they mean to me because my plane could go down, and I want to live without fear because in two hundred years, nobody will remember the times I embarrassed myself.  I want to step on the stage and know that I have a story to tell, and replace nerves with love and community.  And my deepest wish: to ignore all the boundaries that get in the way of people knowing I love them.  Those are the boundaries that ruin humanity.

I don’t know about you, but I love the lessons that risks bring.  The fields and rooftops and car hoods are out there, waiting for you to lay down on them and listen to yourself.


P.S. A cool backlit photo of us performing Bon Iver’s cover of Lovin’s For Fools, originally by Sarah Siskind.  This is the sense of community I live for.  Photo taken by Kelsey Olson at Club Pyramid in Decorah, IA on April 9th, 2010.

4.9.2010 - Lovin's For Fools


~ by hewhonever on April 12, 2010.

2 Responses to “Fields”

  1. That was fantastic. Don’t ever lose sight of that line of thought because it is going to get you to exactly where you want to be.

    P.S. That concert was incredible, Lovin’s For Fools made me cry it was so good.

  2. I adore you.

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