I'll share a little secret
Updated: Jul 5
There are no strangers here, only friends you haven't met. - William Butler Yeats
Hey Travelers (whether of the heart, mind or body),
We are well into our 2023 Tour season! James led his first solo tour with those who joined Chuck Brodsky's Music Tour last month. He did a fantastic job! This group was amazing and I know he misses them already. Steve and I got to meet them on their last night for their group dinner and we hope to see every single one of them again!
After that final group dinner, we greeted Tom Kimmel's first Scotland music tour participants the next day.
Each and every tour is special, different, carries its own personality. I go into them with an open mind and heart. I never know what is to come. After months or more likely a year plus of planning, double checking, rearranging, confirming, I still don't know what to expect. This is what keeps it all new and exciting, if not a wee bit nerve-wracking.
I'll share a little secret.
On the last night of tours, after the final group dinner, when all is finished and goodbyes are said, I play a game with myself and choose one word to describe the past ten days. In some way, it helps me to process, release and remember. Previous words I've used have been funny, grateful, adventurous, lovely, trying, compassionate, surprising, healing, etc.
On May 10th as I began to fall asleep with the sweetest memories and faces of new friends, I knew the word was "sacred." It may seem like a strong word for a music tour. I even questioned it for half a minute. I remembered the hike with this lovely group through the Birks of Aberfeldy. We had offered an easier option for those with mobility issues but no one chose it....instead, they walked along a path of moss-covered trees and clear water running over ancient rocks. They climbed to the tops of waterfalls, took photos of each other, but also walked in solitude for the time their souls needed. They breathed in the sweetest air and reconnected with a land they somehow recognized, a land that seemed to have been saving something just for them.
I also thought of the walk through Birnam wood, which inspired Shakespeare on his visit there in 1599. The ancient Birnam Oak and its neighbor, the Birnam Sycamore, are thought to be the sole surviving trees of the great forest that once straddled the banks and hillsides of the River Tay. They were awe-inspiring, and grounded our own group into a timeless space where all is well and everything is connected.
And, the music! Could there be anything more sacred? From the purity of Karine Polwart to the heart stirring power of Tim Edey and Ross Ainslie, the hallowed ground created right under our feet by Brian Ó hEadhra and Fionnag NicChoinnich and, of course, the masterful tunes of Tom Kimmel, and everything in between.
We were blessed by the rhythm.
There were late night stories, a fire along the banks of the River Tay, impromptu song, inspired dance; all various versions of spontaneous '"prayer" in the moment. There was laughter and some tears and an ease with one another that deepened each day. We became family without the drama that sometimes comes with a past. Did I mention there was laughter? This was a very funny bunch.
How can an experience on this level happen in ten days? Truthfully, we see it more often than not, and that's really a question for the rational mind that knows no rest from inquiry. My inner voice reminds me, How could it not? "Sacred" is the thread that binds us all. That's what I'll remember and carry with me when I return in less than four weeks for the Sacred Scotland tour. What will come to fill our open minds and hearts? I have no idea, but I'll keep you posted.
Two on our most recent tours have already booked for next year, before their bags were even unpacked. Four others are on the verge. We are moved and grateful to continue the journey together. There are more tours coming soon, so stay tuned, and the journeys already posted are filling fast. The most frequent emails I receive are the ones that say something like "I waited too long. Will you add me to the cancellation list?"
As Robert Burns said, "Now's the day and now's the hour."
Thank you again to our first two Music Tours of 2023, hosted by Chuck and Tom. We hope to see you all in the near future. Your depth of sharing and sense of adventure, your ability to take each moment as it comes and compassion for each other have set a precedence and created a container for all those to follow 🙂.
Until next time,