Tuesday, February 10, 2009

faking grace

That photo perfectly sums up my night. I spent it right there, camped out in front of the fireplace on quilts and blankets. My bare feet warming against the sputtering flames as I strummed my new banjo for hours. It was bliss.

Yes folks, after months without a pot to play, your girl Jenna has reunited with a fine banjo. My new best friend is a Morgan Monroe Bean Blossom Hobo—a modest beginner 5-string open back. She arrived today from Tennessee, delivered right to the office in a giant cardboard box. Her much anticipated arrival back to Cold Antler was announced by me as I got out of the car. The verdict being...the dogs remain apathetic, the sheep have no comment, the chickens blinked, and I am falling in love all over again, this time in double C tuning.

After weeks of setting aside cash, I found a bargain online and had it sent here to Vermont. Tonight I rushed through my farm chores, fed the dogs, and then lit a fire and didn't leave it's side for hours. Like a conversation with an old college rommmate, slowly it all came back to me. The clawhammer frail, the hammer-ons, the beautiful slow songs that made me smitten with mountain music in the first place. After a while my fingers throbbed, and my stomach growled (I forgot to make dinner in all the hootenanny) but I pressed on. You gotta work at the things you love, son.

Now it's late for this farmer to still be up. I can't help it. While going to bed would be wonderful, it wouldn't be nearly as wonderful as leaning my back into the fireplace grate, and mindlessly, instictivly, playing a waltz till I'm half asleep. Currently the tune in heavy rotation is Down in the Willow Gardens, and it is beautiful. I love a good waltz more than most.

So tonight, I am a very content little girl in a cabin in the woods. With my fire, and my kind dogs, and a fairly optimistic outlook abut all this 2009 business - I feel okay. I wish everyone ended their days closing their eyes to a mountain waltz. If we did, the world would be a better place. A place that can occasionally temper our collective exhaustion with the heartbeat pace of 3/3 timing.

I have no idea how anyone gets through this life without music. Without making it, without breathing it in, without listening to it like it's the homily of the all. Which is exactly what it is. These songs that I've been playing all night take me far away, back to humid southern summer nights where I could spin around in a skirt and bare feet. During a country waltz, even I can be caught faking grace. So with that thought keeping a stupid smile on my face, I am going to bed. Probably.

Probably not. GCGCD.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Tony said...

Congrats Jenna!!!

Glad you and your old banjo friend have been reunited once again!

Tony

February 10, 2009 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger Chance said...

And what a great night it was here in Vermont for some mountain tunes...just came across your blog, love it, and I'll be back. Thanks for making me think music so early in the morning.

February 11, 2009 at 6:27 AM  
Blogger Vermonster said...

Hi Jenna,

I was speaking to my Husband the other day and told him that I thought I would like to learn how to play the fiddle. Learning from your blog you know how to play, what is your advice? When did you start playing? Regale us with the tale of how you learned to play the fiddle please.

Vermonster

February 11, 2009 at 7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations - isn't it a wonderful feeling when we finally get to enjoy something we have been saving for for a long time? Makes it even more enjoyable to know we trul earned it!
Wendy A

February 11, 2009 at 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

Congrats on your new banjo! I am envious. Play one for those of us here in Iowa.

February 11, 2009 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Banjo tunes! Congratulations! Maybe someday you can record a song for us to hear? Plinky Plinky Plink! (That's a banjo I guess?)

February 11, 2009 at 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats on getting your banjo. did you ever get to sleep last night?

February 11, 2009 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

hey vermonster - i'll write up a post about the fiddle soon. It'll explain a bunch, you can totaly handle learning it yourself, the fiddle is sooo easu, really.

i got about 4 hours of sleep the last two nights..

February 12, 2009 at 6:11 AM  
OpenID steelkitten said...

It sounds like you had a beautiful, soul-satisfying evening. Will you do a podcast of you playing one day so we can hear? I can't remember the last time I heard a banjo...

February 12, 2009 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

i'm going to try and record some stuff tonight actually. if it sounds okay, i will post it!

February 12, 2009 at 5:26 PM  

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