Posts Tagged ‘nebraska’

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Choose Your Own Adventure pt. 1

March 13, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010 3:00 PM

   Yo Yo Yo.  I should have sat down days ago to write this, but that which kept me away from my computer is the essence that is central to the theme of this story.

     Last Saturday, we played a show in Sioux Falls, SD. It was a great show with an enthusiastic audience at a very nice venue (Latitude 44). After the show, the band gathered in the van to have a discussion as how to spend the following two days where we didn’t have any shows planned. We discuss everything in great detail on every move we make as a band, and while each conversation is important and beneficial, I am so grateful for this one in particular and for the profound impact it has had on my perspective.

     We have a good friend named Gary Shawver who we stayed with earlier in the tour while in Omaha, NE. While staying there, we were able to keep hard at work on both our musical responsibilities of rehearsing and writing, as well as the ever-increasing business end of the operation, which requires us using every path of communication the 21st century has to offer. With two successive days open on our calendar, it made a lot of sense to drive back south to Gary’s and keep our nose(s) to the grindstone. So I was surprised when the suggestion was made by Cara (who never ceases working on both managerial operations as well as setting and fulfilling the sustainability goals for the band) to head west early for our show on Tuesday in Boulder, CO in the spirit of adventure. We now had two clear choices: Prudence or Adventure.

     Anyone who knows me will know that my initial reaction was to head for Omaha. I rely on my habits, and whenever I have any free time, I fill it with practicing my violin, running/exercising, and reading. In Omaha, I felt we could really keep the ball rolling through rehearsal and office work, and I was certainly not alone in this view (Todd and E. are as prodigious as booking agents as they are on the stage, and between laptops and cell phones, the world is their office). But the mere description of the potential sights we would see if we traveled west to Colorado via South Dakota and Wyoming wet my appetite, and I could feel the collective consciousness of the band shift westward. As simple as that, we chose adventure.

We got an early start the following morning and headed for the Badlands. The promise of new sights and the novelty of being in a new state were enough for me to tolerate the never-ending sea of the great plains that set the stage for the start to our adventure ( I’m not sure why I even felt that affected by this; I was born in Cincinnati and raised in the Chicago suburbs—flat land is my home). Anyway, before long we reached Badlands National Park. It was a cold day to begin with, and the force with which the wind hit me as I stepped out of the van almost knocked me over. But within 2 seconds of looking out I didn’t care. I kept saying, “how was this formed? How was this made?” and other nonsensical questions whose answers I hoped would balance out the awe that I felt. It was actually perfect that there was a little bit of old snow on the ground because it accented every ridge of the giant basin and highlighted the infinite details of the landscape. I don’t know how long or short we stayed, and this distortion of time has stayed with me for the days since then. And I like it.

     From there, we pressed on to see the Crazy Horse memorial monument in the Black Hills. It is hard to fathom just how gigantic this mountain sculpture will be upon its completion. Everything about it is larger than my imagination can comprehend, especially the mind that created it: Korzack Ziolkowski. Because we got to the park just as it was closing, we couldn’t spend much time learning about the monument, so E. bought the documentary “Carving Crazy Horse” (which he had seen before and loved) for us to watch in the van. If you can, get this DVD from your library or order it. I loved watching the larger-than-life imagination and work ethic of Ziolkowski on film. The man and the monument are sources of endless inspiration and I can’t believe I knew nothing of either prior to this trip.

     For the sake of thoroughness, I should say we visited Mt. Rushmore after Crazy Horse. There’s no doubt it’s a cool monument, but the sheer magnitude of Crazy Horse had me feeling a little desensitized when I gazed up at the four faces of our forefathers. And I really have to laugh at that; One of our country’s most treasured patriotic symbols literally cannot measure up to an unfinished project (honoring a race of people that our government all but erased) that has refused every cent of state and federal funding that has ever been offered. We stayed about 10 minutes before regrouping and heading westward.

     The only thing left to say about that Sunday is that as we passed the state border of Wyoming in the middle of the night, we got out of the van and literally stepped into another world. I had no vocabulary to speak about what I was looking at, so I just laughed. We couldn’t see 10 feet into the pitch black night in front of our faces, yet above us was an inverted bowl of light. What could I do but laugh? With that view of stars upon constellations upon heavenly bodies upon galaxies, my cognition crashed and we all ran around on the desolate highway yelling into the solid black night like little children with no cares in the whole wide world.
End of pt. 1

Phil