Feb 192012

Live Like the Wind

For those that don’t know, in addition to being a sailor, I’m also a musician. I arranged and recorded “Live like the wind” in 2010. The lyrics are from an obscure poem by a man named Countee Cullen, written in the late 1800′s, but the music is mine.

Me practicing my claw-hammer skills on the banjo!I originally found the poem published in “Loving and Leaving the Good Life” by Helen Nearing, a woman who moved from NYC to Vermont with her husband Scott in the 1920′s to establish a homestead. She and Scott are often described as “the original back-to-the-landers”. She wrote about a dozen books describing their lifestyle in detail, and she was a lover and collector of quotes.

From the moment I first read it, the sentiment of this poem resonated for me. It speaks of two people in love, each firmly independent, but joined together by the invisible bonds of mutual respect and freedom.

Six years later I re-discovered it, and just as easily as reading it, it fell into a song. I remember walking down the streets of Worcester humming the melody to myself, reworking the words in slight ways, and refining the harmony. I have no idea if descendents of Countee Cullen exist, but I give credit to him and thank him for producing such a simple and poignant tribute to partnership without ownership.

“Live like the wind,” he said, “unfettered
And love me while you can,
And when you will and can be bettered,
Go to the better man.

“For you may grow weary sleeping
So long a time with me
Like this, there’ll be no cause for weeping.
The wind is always free.”

“Go when you please” he would be saying,
His mouth hard on her own.
That’s why she stayed and loved the staying
Contented to the bone.

If you liked this, you can find more of my music here:

Jan 032012

Well, I’m heading to Windeward Bound today to meet my new crew and boat. We’re leaving for our first overnight voyage tomorrow. It’s a five day cruise, and my understanding is that we’ll be taking a group of young people out for a sail-training experience. I’m feeling excited and nervous, knowing that I’m heading out into the “Roaring Forties”, the waters between 40 and 50 degrees South, known for their rough weather. I’m glad I’ll be on a boat that is built so rugged, and sails these waters all of the time, with experienced crew. I’ll have so much to learn!

I’ve pre-written some posts that will automatically upload while I’m gone. But for today, take a minute to listen to my second “audio collage”, Hobart Medley, which I stayed up late last night putting together. Well, it’s my first real attempt at such a thing, so I hope that it will at least give you a different kind of glimpse into this new place. Enjoy, and thanks for following!

Dec 262011

Just three full days before I fly to Tasmania. How did this happen? Got most of my final shopping done today, and Christmas brought me some nice surprises too. The best unexpected gift was from my step-dad Greg, who is a HAM radio operator. He gave me a battery-crank-solar powered radio that in addition to AM/FM, tunes in Short Wave radio and local weather stations. Awesome!

And as I sat on the floor amidst the wrapping paper with my new toy pressed against my ear, listening for something either with meaning or mystery, I suddenly understood the obsession with radio. Modern communications technology is a wonderful thing, but there’s something tragic about being so saturated by it that you cease to feel thrilled by it. There is magic in the simple fact that some stranger somewhere on the globe is broadcasting his message to the world, or perhaps to someone specific, very far away. Message in a bottle. It’s when you turn on the radio, and turn the dial to just the right spot that you become that someone.

Here is a little experimental piece made up of snippets from the Short Wave this evening. Weirdest mix-tape I’ve ever made.




The super warm balaclava

Tretorn very comfy, fuzzy-lined rubber boots