The end of summer is strange. If you don’t have kids, you don’t have the hectic running around for school supplies, new clothes, meeting teachers, helping them figure out classes. Nevertheless my cells get tingly at the end of August. It’s embedded. 

I only went to summer camp twice; once when we were living in South Africa for six months building a new boat. My sister and I were enrolled in school in Cape Town, and my mom was excited for us to have the camp experiences she’d had growing up: she had visions of us singing songs around the campfire, roasting s’mores, making friends. 

My sister and I feeding deer in a park outside of Cape Town, NOT Camp SOS!

The camp was called, wait for it, Camp SOS. I kid you not. That huge red flag aside, and the fact that it was one of the few things we participated in that was not integrated (this was still during Apartheid), off we went for a week of what turned out to be more like forced labor camp. We marched in drills, had to drink either coffee or tea at meals (I was eight years old). The counselors would burst into cabins after lights out to do toothbrush checks. If one toothbrush wasn’t wet, the whole cabin was forced to go outside and run laps in their pajamas. In the dark. Raining or not. 

The two things I remember most about that week were that I didn’t change my socks even once because I was so distressed, and that my sister came to check on me any chance she could (she was in a different section because she was older). Oh, and there was sheep poop everywhere. Needless to say I was unimpressed.

About to board the train for Santa Cruz with my buddy (I’m the short one).

I had a MUCH better camp experience when I was 11 at a place in the mountains above Santa Cruz, California. I was there for three weeks with two of my best friends from 6th grade. The camp was full of horseback riding and hiking, archery, ceramics, yes there were s’mores, the counselors were great, I was homesick but had a lot of fun, and we sang songs every night. My mom was vindicated. The memory of SOS faded.

This summer has been interesting. Park City is lovely. The mountains are green. The aspens shake and shimmy and the pines smell sweet and like sunbaked bark. People are nice. But it hasn’t felt like home. We both missed our pillows. And our coffeemaker.

I’m fortunate to still have my parents with me, but I worry about them now like they worried about me when I was at camp so long ago. There have been some mishaps and scrapes and Denise and I decided to come home early. So the other morning we packed up our suitcases, dog toys, food, monitors, laptops, books, guitar, one huge wooden bowl embedded with crushed turquoise we bought at an art fair and all kinds of other stuff I don’t remember having when we drove up, and headed 670 miles south to our home in Phoenix. Throughout the day we came upon the aftermath of massive thunderstorms, always after the flash floods had subsided and the roads were muddy and steaming. The skies were swollen with clouds and light. We passed around and between Bryce Canyon and Zion, weaving through cattle pastures and Navajo Nation, below the dam that separates Lake Powell from the Colorado River with the Grand Canyon on our right, through Flagstaff, down past Sedona and Bloody Basin Road and Horse Thief Basin and into our city. 

Jolene and Teddy were underwhelmed with the beauty.

There are those who say that being alive is like being in school, that you never stop studying and learning and when you graduate from one big lesson you get a rest and then it’s back to school again. I’m inclined to agree. 

So it’s back to school. Camp is over and September is peeking around the corner. Change is in the air, and the crickets are out in force tonight making noise about it all.

I wonder what classes I’ll get. I hope I like my teachers.

walking_smallbwWhen, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to write something about opening back up after being closed up, about the search for connection, and the thrill and fear of the ride and the push pull and how cautious and reckless we are…It might sound a little something like this. This of course being a rough demo in preparation for some serious recording in a couple weeks! (In other words, be careful what you say. Ahhh–see what I did there?) xox Be Careful What You Say Be Careful What You Say (Take it Easy) Wednesday night ain’t nobody’s fault We didn’t think it was gonna be like this We all thought it was gonna be a whole lot easier Instead it turned out to be more like a near miss Somebody asked me if you tell the truth more when you’re drunk I say it doesn’t make a difference either way If you gotta get a bellyful just to say something to somebody Odds are the night’s gonna end with someone walking away Be careful what you say Be careful what you say Be careful what you say Take it easy I spent years and years waiting on the truth A truth that never got told You spend that long waiting around for something you never gonna get baby You gonna walk away feeling good and old Yeah you think I’m a grown up woman You look at the lines on my face You say right there there’s your proof Uh uh don’t get fooled by it Ain’t nothing but a little girl in this place Be careful what you say Be careful what you say Be careful what you say Take it easy And all of the things we say The reasons why we run away Are mostly just to make us feel Like somehow we are Safe And all this experience leaves us somewhere In between the old ways and the change We get to choose which way we head from here baby We get to figure out what things we want to rearrange I might come a long long way just to meet you I might leave with a smile on my face I might be devastated, blown away just to see you It might be the hardest thing to walk away Be careful what you say Be careful what you say Be careful what you say Take it easy

walking-smallJohn Lennon famously said that songwriting was like cockroaches in your kitchen in the middle of the night–you turn on the light and they all scatter. (Clearly, he lived in New York.) The point (I think) was that often, like lots of parts of life, we don’t understand exactly what we’re getting when we’re getting it, or where it comes from or where it will go. We have to trust what comes in when it does, and understand that if we shine too bright a light on the process it all might disappear. To that end, I’m getting ready to record a new EP (yippee!). I was putting some demos together, which lead to combing through some older stuff, and I came across this song I wrote 4 or 5 years ago called “Come Undone”. The song came in quickly, and then I promptly set it aside, because I was scared of what it was saying. The thing is, now I just like it. For what it was, for what it is, and for what it did. Funny thing, those cockroaches… xox Listen: Come Undone Lyrics: Sometimes I manage to raise my head sometimes I don’t Some days I manage to make the bed, some days I won’t Sometimes I love you so much it’s all I can do To keep from falling falling falling down on you Hey you know I love you Hey loving you is so fun Hey although I love you Hey sometimes I’m scared my love will come undone And in the morning when the sun is shining It’s hard to believe that anyone could lie We all seek and search and want the truth but When it comes down to it what we need is proof Hey you know I love you Hey loving you is so fun Hey although I love you Hey sometimes I’m scared my love will come undone And in the darkness when I just can’t sleep I slip away baby I crawl I creep I never know if it will be all right Or if I’ll come back at the end of the night When it comes down to it what we want is love When it comes down to it we all push and shove When it comes down to it we’re all on a cliff Shouting screaming falling what if what if what if Hey you know I love you Hey loving you is so fun Hey although I love you Hey sometimes I’m scared my love will come undone