We just went to the Michigan Upper Peninsula with my Sweetie. It is the land of the cold and harsh winter. It is the land of the frozen trees where summer heat is just a respite before the snow covers it all. By the end of September they expect the warm temperature to pack it up and the snow tires to be fitted on their cars.

We were camping there. We got a rooftop tent. Nice. Four clamps, four little pushes, and flop, you’ve got yourself a 5 stars hotel room. Very easy, very convenient. We are new at the game, first time we go out there and rely solely on it for more than two days.

It was great! Now, don’t misunderstand me: it was absolutely awful, it takes a half hour to make your morning tea because you’ve got to make a fire before anything else. It’s a nice tent, no doubt, and it’s extremely well made, but it’s a tent nonetheless. It’s cramped, it gets wet with condensation, it’s not high enough, not wide enough, not long enough, you need to contort yourself to take your jacket off, your shoes on your feet are always too far to reach, you grunt when you move. Outside it’s cold, there is no WIFI which means no iPad, no YouTube videos, no Google News which is basicallyno meaning of life. You’re left on your own to define your own personality, your own thoughts, your own opinion, your own days. Like I said: awful.

And yet…

And yet, it was wonderful. For the first time in 40 years, I wasn’t pressed by any agenda. I could sit outside at night and be crushed by a sky gorged with stars. I could contemplate the depth of nothing in the small hours of the morning as the light was brightening. I could let the wind tell me mysterious stories through the leaves of the trees. I could chose to have a busy day or a lazy day. Same for my mind.

I came back full of the silence of the North, with wide spaces cleared up in my head, like spring cleaning that happened in September. I am ready to fill up that clean headspace with noises of my choice, whether I will be teaching or playing. In another word: I am ready for music.