May 5 2008
I'm sitting on the sidewalk outside the internet cafe in Merritt, BC. The place is closed, but its signal is still broadcasting and I have half an hour left on my laptop battery, so what the hell. Today was day one of my month-long mini-season and return to the treeplanting life. The camp is in a great location, normally the campground of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, now dormant save the planters who just moved in. My tent is on a sandbar a stone's throw from the bank of the river. In my mind there is no better sound to fall asleep to, but the days are not quite so tranquil. Sweat and dirt and frozen ground that shovels cannot penetrate were the order of day one. Still, I managed to put in 1600 seedlings even working on three different blocks, and the nuances of the job have not escaped me in my four-year hiatus. What has escaped me is my physical fitness, ouch.
I always had a bad habit of planting on auto-pilot while letting my mind wander, reciting or composing lyrics in my head or playing out scenarios, daydreams, plots and schemes. Today I practiced focusing on my breathing and on the motions required to put each tree into the ground with minimum effort. I recently finished reading Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth", which was sometimes irritatingly nebulous, but it also contained some truly useful tips and techniques for focusing and being present, even with difficult experiences.
It's also hard not to drift into the future. At the end of May I'll fly this coop and proceed directly to the Sunrise Celebration in Western England. The plane will land at Heathrow at 6 a.m., and I'll make my way to Somerset directly, where I'm performing with Mud Sun (for the first time!) that same night.
For now though, my ride is leaving shortly to take me back to camp, and tomorrow we have a massive gravy block, all furrows (some still frozen). From the cool breezes of Merritt at night, salut.