When I first moved to California, my late mother in law, a lifelong Californian, once remarked around this time of year that she could tell fall was close by the way the light fell through the windows. In my young, proud New Englanders mind, this struck me as nothing more than a weak substitute for the mountains exploding in color, the mercury swinging between freezing and boiling, the shared sense of hunkering down for the onslaught of natural punishment, a weak trade for a life where every conversation was a side-bet on the length of the coming dark,cold months of collective one-upmanship of Us vs Nature.
Now, half a decade after moving here, my opinion is more nuanced. I see that the visceral experience of watching the world die around you, only to be reborn many months later (if all goes as it has before…), is our oldest and most evocative human experience. So ingrained in us that a Southern California native like Gayle that grew up without fall and winter coming at you with the fury of cold, bitter darkness, would still find a way to connect with the natural world no matter how subtle the change. And out here, instead of the 4 storybook seasons of my childhood (or 5, if you count Mud Season), the natural world lives and dies around us in a different, but no less inspiring way.
Watching the sunlight come through the bedroom windows this morning, I knew what she meant — the light hits the curtains in a different way. The Earth tilts, the wind kicks up, the days grow shorter, the ocean more furious and beautiful. And people we love leave this world for us to try to understand.
The fall I’m heading back east to share music with some of my best friends both onstage and off, an undeniable perk of every project I’ve been involved with, and a lovely by-product of doing work that is meaningful to me, no matter the season.
If you plan to be at any of the shows below, or if you’ll be at CMJ in New York, please reach out, I’d love to say hello. If you’re making plans for 2014 and wonder if we might make some plans together, that’s also a great reason to get in touch.