So here I am, this artist / seeker of a meaningful life in the mountains of southwestern Virginia near a town called Floyd. Tonight is first Friday, night of the gallery openings and the Friday night jamboree that has been going on every Friday for some hundred plus years.
The town is packed with tourists, hippies and their offspring, the old timers down from the hills up from the hollers, moonshine still in their vanes and on their breath.
It’s the real deal here, these mountain musicians have played on the porches as youngens with there grand folks for generations. I gotta hand it to these folks there is a soul that is so deep and rich and it pours right out of those fingers and tongues in the form of heart felt mountain music.
Back a little further where my cabin sits, I have some neighbors down towards the river, I’ll call them Dig and Chi. Chi doesn’t wear shoes, doesn’t believe in them, lives close to the land, real close, grows or finds or catches his food makes candles for light, his fridge is a dug out room in the side of the hill, smart as all get out. Eyes as soft as a dear, a heart of gold with a fierce perspective of the human rat race. Dig well, he found me changing my flat tire yesterday asked if I needed a hand. I said I had the spare on and was taking the flat into town to get it fixed, he said “up here on the mountain by golly we fix em ourselves” and sure enough he grabbed his tools and gave me a couple of his hours and fixed that flat, no charge just the neighborly thing to do.
It gets pretty windy up here and there’s allot of trees. Today I actually saw an old pine tree fall and yes it did make a sound a starteling one at that. I’m always greatful when they don’t fall on my cabin as that would change my reality in a hurry. Back in Northern California when people heard I was a sculptor and worked in wood they would ask if I make those bears and dolphins, the ones that the amazing freewheeling chainsaw artist do. Well that’s not me in fact I never used a chainsaw until I landed here. Now I cut fallen trees out of the road or off the paths and wonder what my bear might be like. That tool opens up a whole forest full of potential. Yes! The power of steel and gas mixes well with my testosterone.
I like my solitude out here, I like that I see no other light at night other then the stars and the moon, the sounds are of animals mostly insects, I like the taste of the water the scent of the air and most my food is grown within a few miles or in my front yard. It was a good summer for mushrooms many meals found on my daily walks in the woods. Dig’s been showing me a bit of what’s eatable out there, I trust him most of the time but not all the time, that’s what I’m learning out here trust is good but blind trust can kill ya.
It used to be lonely real lonely, making friends with the insects kind of lonely. That was this time last year, something shifted and when loneliness became solitude, I found I was actually enjoying the time alone. My friendships with the bugs have sustained and do my best not to kill any of my friends. I am always honored when the bigger mammal types or the feathered ones show up to give me a view of their beautiful beingness.
Well it’s time for dreamtime it’s my form of relaxed visual entertainment, no TV up hear on the mountain just that fantastic inside screen with a profoundly mysterious projectionist.