A few days ago, I felt the nudge to call my good friend Andrew McFarlane, who I hadn’t spoken to in a while. To my pleasant surprise, he let me know he was going to be in my hood in a couple of days so we agreed to get together and catch up in person. Before ending the call, he casually mentioned “I got a new camera I’d love to mess around with. Let’s shoot some videos of you playing music.”
As I have continued to experience the magic that beautiful Ojai has to offer and discovering its little nooks in nature, I’ve been wishing for just that. Capturing some of my inspired musical moments on my own has been fun and I’ve also been desiring the energy and flow that comes from collaboration. I had almost forgotten how good my co-creative chemistry with Andrew was, which began when I first moved out to Cali a two years ago. Around that time, we spent a solid month jamming on music and all kinds of crazy ideas for hours at a time, along with our other brother from another mother Pat Sperry. A few listens to some of the rough recordings of those special moments of discovery and we were right back where we had left off.
In the same way he had been then, Andrew very masterfully and unassumingly played the role of creative space holder, orchestrator and muse of sorts. Only this time, it was from behind the camera. Our first attempt at a capture was somewhat intentional. We headed down one of my favorite trails in Ojai in a vast, open, pristine landscape with the mountain in the backdrop and we agreed the setting lent itself nicely to a cover of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” I’d been having fun with.
We broke a sweat and picked up a few scrapes and scratches venturing off the trail to find a specific hidden spot I’d had stumbled onto previously with a friend. We couldn’t find it… After a couple hours of searching for the best spots and a number of takes that served to help us loosen up and make a few technical adjustments i.e. avoiding the sweet breeze that unfortunately does not lend itself well to good audio (don’t worry, there’s still a little bit of that charm on this one), we decided to relocate this time with no destination in mind. We drove around a little and finally arrived at a quiet little park with one majestic, beautiful tree standing tall, all alone in the middle of the open space. It’s bark had a very distinct pattern and colour on it that we both agreed kind of reminded us of a peacock feather.
Throughout the day and in between takes, Andrew would make subtle little suggestions to draw me out of my habitual modes of playing the song and into greater presence. A beacon of presence and talented artist himself, he kept reminding me of where my true and most engaging gifts reside, not in my “talent” which he graciously accused me of leaning on too much at times, but in my ability to FEEL and share my discovery of a one of a kind moment through spontaneous expression. I gratefully received each little nugget, silently appreciating the gift of his reflections and perspective, and the enhancement that each suggestion brought to my experience of the moment and the song I’d been playing somewhat too comfortably at this point.
After all the plotting and ploy’ing, i felt a deep sense of ease and relief when I sat down at the base of the sturdy peacock tree and leaned up against it with my bare feet on the grass. After one take of the same-ish rendition of the Louis classic I’d been doing all day, Andrew asked, “What would happen if you played it totally differently than you have been?”
Here is what followed and what, to us, was the most enJOYable two minutes of our creative exploration for the day. Mostly because we were able to get out of the way just enough to let something unexpected happen that felt alive and exciting to both of us. You can tell by the smile on my face. Andrew was also smiling smile emoticon
Hope it makes you smile too. And wishing you a playful day of getting your hands (or feet) dirty, trying something new and feeling the gift of aliveness.
Thanks for reading and watching.
#HeadphonesRecommended #BackToLove #WhatAWonderfulWorld #GodIsAnArtist #YesThankYouMorePlease #MusicMakesMeFeelGood
#IWontDie #Presence #Imperfect #Feel #Fun #Enjoy #PeackockTree #Ojai #YesThatIsGumby