As the dragon eats miles with wheels,
we are seasoned by places and steeped in communal time,
state lines crossing
Frontier lands expanding
As we manifest our anticipated dream
From the Mojave desert to the swamps and the mighty Mississippi, from the powdery white sands of the gulf coast to the red hills of Oklahoma, our eyes witness the landscape. Large semi trucks rattle and hiss, cows clutter in stalls, refineries glimmer, familiar brands reappear at truck stops, the map cannot tell how sight deepens into the complex process of moving and processing all that becomes human life in the post industrial age.
So much magnificent water. Rivers and bays are now the vehicles for transporting barges full of products and our waste. Still, the trees stand in the swamps and maintain life and beauty. Egrets perch and hawks soar, Ravens blessing us with their presence and a feather.
My heart is sore from opening with joy of the adventure, compassion for the sensitivity of my dear friends, learning to let go of resentment when I feel like I’m “doing more” than other people, realizing we all have our part to contribute and grateful for the deepening teamwork and threads of communication, even when the lessons come the hard way.
The band’s sound has evolved as our coexistence coagulates, our groove is more confident as we share the shows with hundreds over the internet. Local characters in the bars like Virgil, Jeff, Grace, Rowdy, RJ, Harry, Katie, “loudmouth”…make playing music worth it, even if only a few people are there on a Monday night… southern yells can count for triple! We know we have touched people with our music, so in some ways we have already reached our destination.
The Dragon makes for a fine home, sheltering us day and night. People see him/her on the road and their eyes shine with delight! The bus hums steadily on the interstates, a grind and a jump into and out of gear, pulsing stops and a shudder before coming to rest. Perhaps this is all his/her dream to see the country? We’re glad to oblige, and Billy, Nick and Anthony have taken the wheel and the steps on the pedals and clutches to steer our music into places across the country.
Pretty epic when I think about it.
Though the miles can feel monotonous, the countryside and culture changes so much every several hundred miles, and it’s such a great way to travel when we can move around and have our own space and not have to be confined to sitting all the time!
It may be epic to be on the road, but it’s also humbling when your pockets are empty and you have to pee on the grass next to the asphalt. Comfort is found even in the white and orange lights of rest and truck stops and the intermittent whining hum of the interstate.
Fireworks, cracklins, tumbleweed…
After Thanksgiving the soundtrack in rest stops becomes Christmas…in Winslow AZ they start even earlier with the annual parade the week beforehand. Fry bread, hand crafted art, herbs, and balloons, bubbles, and toy guns!
Anthony took the wheel to bring our drivers up to three, he also bought us Pizza hut in Sonora…on top of playing drums on a shaking stage in Houston…
Nick live streamed our shows to hundreds of people, and stepped up to the bus driving plate with confidence and ease… becoming an electrician while the bus was on the move so we could have power to charge our phones and play music through a speaker…
Kai Lana and Robyn made a delicious medicinal soup outside of El Paso while the guys got the dragon moving again after he needed more fuel…a blessed occurrence considering we may have gone down the road and gotten stuck, but luckily we figured out we’d run out of fuel at the Xpress filling station…
Billy created bunks for all of us to sleep in, taught the gentle road wizardry of dragon driving, unloaded equipment and ran sound for most of our shows…
Jeremy climbed in and out of the belly of the beast to unload equipment, played Pokemon with passion, kept us going with the jams, and navigated the ways even through illness…
Kai Lana held space with grace, taking photos and videos, uplifting our spirits during the shows, shared advice on the road, and helped us sell much merch…
Dis the tripod slept with all of us, showing us how to get rest on the road, and showed the love by refraining to eat our stuff. She met her match with Daqs and the dogs at Emily’s house in Florida, making friends and getting her fill of running and play. Such a sweetheart, she’s growing into the ultimate road dog.
I learned how to surf the dragon while cooking and making coffee…balancing pots of boiling water in my hand and moving with the bumps and curves! Though I’m not tall enough to reach the pedals of the bus, or strong enough to maneuver without power steering, I was able to book shows for us that turned music into money into fuel for the journey.
The experience of witnessing a father-daughter reunion and sharing Thanksgiving with friends and relations new and old was worth it; making it all the way to Florida for special moments and Billy schooling us at the pool table!
We have all gotten our “sea legs” as the majority of the days we’ve been driving and riding the waves of traffic and rivers of interstates and highways; the worst day was being bogged down in the swamp of a standstill in Louisiana …it took us 12 hours to go 300 miles…
We’ve been time traveling as we cross state lines, from Pacific to Eastern, most shows we arrived on time, except for Houston, but we still rocked the White Swan! (Note to self: never drive West on I-10 the Sunday after Thanksgiving!)
I’ve learned that giving away without expectations is of benefit to all and so it benefits the one who gives, and to trust that we’re all doing the best we can.
I’ve learned that grief comes in many forms, that something small to one may be something big to another. Choosing kindness and gentleness can be difficult in the moment when time and tempers feel short, but these moments together are really all we have. This point in space and time will never be repeated in the same way. So I’m going to strive to choose kind words and gentle actions, especially with those I love. What benefits one benefits one another.
Being in a traveling band is so much more than just playing music together, though it’s being in the service of music that moves us. We have all contributed to manifesting this dream, like feathers on a wing supporting flight. We have depended on each other, given of ourselves, and trusted in what is possible. We may have lost some things along the way, through tears, missed words, passed opportunities, or egoic pride, but that just leaves more space for what we have gained in love, understanding, compassion, and collective consciousness.
The landscape is as vast, wild, varied, and manmade as our hearts. We have traveled uncharted lands across both.
Thank you for reading these words I wrote while we were on tour! <3 Robyn