Saturday, August 2, 2014


I know, I know. You're thinking "What the heck does gardening have to do with music?" Well, for me it has everything to do with it. Let me count the ways...well that could take many posts so I'll just keep it simple for now.

Nature inspires me. It inspires me in ways I can't really put into words. And thus, it inspires my music. The times when I feel closest to the divine are not in a church or place of worship. It's not from reading books or going to classes. I feel the presence of the Divine most when I am among the trees, singing to the rhythms of Earth. Harmonizing with the wind. Feeling the passion of a campfire. Letting my emotions flow with the rivers and rain. Letting my spirit rise and fall with the sun and moon.

I am a nature's child through and through. For as long as I can remember I have had a kinship with trees and plants and dirt. You know the bumper sticker "Tree hugging dirt worshiper."? Yeah...that's me. Growing up I would spend hours upon hours outside in my mountain hometown playing with rocks, and talking to the trees (yes literally.) I had deep connections with certain trees and plants and was devastated if one had to be cut down or was diseased etc. I still do. Everywhere you went nature was abundant and permeated everything. I really think I started learning how to sing by listening to birds outside my window and finding the rhythms in the woodpecker's hammering. When still enough and in the right head space away from the craziness of humanity, I can hear Mother Earth's drone. The low hum of foundation that is the basis for all of life's melodies.

The first song I ever wrote was randomly on a hike in woody hills outside of Santa Cruz. I was there for a semi-annual women's retreat I go to and walking back from a labyrinth that sits above the camp. The rhythm of my feet and the wind in the trees suddenly inspired me out of nowhere. I brought the small simple chant back to the circle that evening and taught it to the other women.

She is earth and sky and sea
All we are and wish to be
She is you and you are me
She is all we see!

Before I knew it, they had turned this quiet simple chant into an incredible round, right in front of me! It was one of THE most magical experiences I've ever been a part of. My creation seeded in the hearts of my sisters and flowered into something I never thought possible.

This is the inspiration that nature places with me so it really isn't a wonder why my musical "spark" kind of withered away when I was living in the concrete jungle. Surrounded by noisy cars and smog and loud obnoxiousness I got numb and my muse got buried under the soot. I longed to be in nature but wasn't in a place to be out very often. I hurt my back and could hardly leave my bedroom for several months. Thing after thing just kept me from being in the trees.

Finally, last year we were given the opportunity to finally get out of the abyss of an apartment we were living in. Our dear friend Anne had space in her unit and needed roommate/s. It was small, and a little out of the way, but it was safe and quiet. And the big plus for me? A backyard with an overgrown garden space that was just begging to be cultivated. We were accepted onto the lease and with it given permission to do pretty much whatever we wanted to the yard as long as it was taken care of. We are also right on the edge of the San Pablo Reservoir and many trails and wilderness areas. We can hear coyotes up on the hill at night, and often I walk out to the hoots of owls in the early hours of dawn when I leave for work. Happy doesn't begin to describe my state of mind. It's where my soul needed to be.

Over the last few months I have made a garden. My back prevents me from doing all the work I'd like to do, but I do have helpful minions and the best thing of all is I now have a sacred quiet space that I have cultivated and grown from seed into tomato plants, herbs and beautiful flowers. I've watched it grow and new things pop up every day that just astound me. Beautiful flowers I've never seen before, colors that I didn't know existed and food that nourishes me in ways I never thought. I marvel at the intricacies of each leaf, each flower and each fruit. Eating food that I've grown is one of the most satisfying feelings! I am able to spend time there just about every day either tending or just enjoying the space surrounded by living things that I have fostered and raised!

And guess what? My inspiration has come back! My muse is flowering with marvel I see each and every day in the nature that surrounds my new home. And with the cultivation of my plants, I am in turn cultivating my music as well. I've started writing! Actually fully writing music! The spark that ignited my desire to write music at Clockwork is now being sustained. I don't know where it's headed, and it's a LONG way from being anything solid like an album or anything, but I'm CREATING again!