A road trip is a score, a set a of limits in which an unknown adventure can unfold, as quilt maker and improvisor Cinzia Allocca commented on my last post about flow:
…by accepting limits (chosen by me) I am removing distractions from the path I have set out for myself and my quilt. I am creating freely within a “safe zone”. The safe zone acts as a safety net.
The beauty of traveling across country on a performance/book tour is that all other distractions of daily life are removed and the primary goal is to arrive safely and on time, do your thing, and repeat. Often there wasn’t much time to spend in the actual cities I visited. Most of the time was spent on the road.
Within these narrow limits however, there was a sweet surrender to the score of the ROAD itself and it’s adventures. My traveling partner and I said YES AND to the unexpected. We took as many back roads as possible and stopped along the way when we saw something that interested us.
–eating local – yes those are good ole’ southern grits.
— enjoying the scenery as we sped by.
— a man with a tractor trailer of vintage thrift items on a lonesome country crossroad.
— in the small town of Havana Illinois where I was warmly welcomed by the mayor and the local quilt shop Ma’s Got’a Notion that specializes in civil war reproduction quilting.
— we were driving a rental truck so I said YES AND to this sewing machine bargain also in Havana Illinois.
— discovering the Mite Society’s quilting bee space, also in Lamoni Iowa, behind the community thrift store. Founded in 1883 the Mite Society is the oldest quilting society in the state of Iowa.
— rescuing a large snapping turtle crossing the road in rural Nebraska. Then realizing a large snapping turtle was harder to rescue than you might think! Luckily a local stopped by to help us help the turtle. He simply picked the beast up by his very tough tail and flung him back into the grass. (Sorry – no pictures of this!)
— stopping for views.
— hiking in Zion
The last stop of my cross country road tour was in St. George Utah. I arrived the afternoon and night before the event scheduled at Scrap Apple Quilts early the following morning –a rare occasion to relax and enjoy the place. Besides swimming in the hotel pool I attended a free concert in the park –a John Denver tribute performance. It was a beautiful thing –a warm, dry evening, the lawn spacious and strewn with older people and a few families here and there– everyone enjoying the easy and uplifting message of the music.
I was hooked! And some of John Denver’s songs I can’t get out of my mind, including this one which speaks so eloquently about the unexpected flow of life and the joy of surrendering to all that happens. Please listen!
When I arrived home in Oakland things had changed, another relationship hoped for came to an end, and the words of Sweet Surrender have been ringing true more than ever:
Lost and alone on some forgotten highway, traveled by many, remembered by few.
Looking for something that I can believe in,
looking for something that I’d like to do with my life.
There’s nothing behind me and nothing that ties me to
something that might have been true yesterday.
Tomorrow is open and right now it seems to be more than enough
To just be here today, and I don’t know what the future is holding in store,
I don’t know where I’m going, I’m not sure where I’ve been.
There’s a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me,
my life is worth the living, I don’t need to see the end.
Sweet, sweet surrender, live, live without care,
like a fish in the water, like a bird in the air.
This song so easily applies to the process of improvisational patchwork – don’t you think? —I don’t know what the future (of this patchwork) has in store, I don’t know where I’m going and I’m not sure where I’ve been. But there is a spirit (internal cues) that guide me, a light that shines for me (the patchwork itself), this (patchwork is worth the making) and I don’t need to see the end!!!
Ps… my story telling is not linear. There are more road tales to come!