My first memories are of being outside in the wilderness. My family would go camping pretty much all year round and we would spend days upon days wandering around the in the forest in Washington State. These are the memories I hold so close to my heart, maybe it is because lately I have returned to those days of splendor. When I turned 18 I lived in Portland, Oregon and the days of being outside where gone. The city drew me in and when I started playing music around town, well I thought the brighter the lights the better. I was lucky to play around a lot and the city was my playground. I remember later in my twenties I would run around from bar to bar and dinners here and dinners there watching the sunrise as I was calling it a "night." What was it? The status? possibly. I mean when your in the thick of your youth it is exciting to show the folks around you what you can do and have done. Little did I know that those lights would quickly fade to darkness due to sheer boredom of a routine that wasn't satisfying my soul. I remember the night I decided that maybe I needed to change a couple things in my life. I was at a bar watching a friends band play and all I could feel was that I was starting to see the cracks in my character as the music scene I was in (if you even want to call it that) was getting less interesting to me. It wasn't about the art anymore but rather how many people you can bring to a bar or who you were seen hanging out with. All the songs started sounding the same and the reality that no one was listening seemed to only hit me harder with every mundane lyric being sung. Maybe I saw myself that night.
Shortly after I got married I started an internal evaluation of what and who I wanted to be. The thing that kept coming back to me is living more simply. I got tired of being around faces that were always trying to be something or someone else. The "hey look at me" attitude had worn me out and people wanting steak dinners and fancy wine just repulsed me. That is when I knew I had to go back. I took a trip up the mountain alone shortly after these feelings started and that is when the process began. I was talking to a friend the other day about just this moment. I struggle with a lot of things and it is amazing when your down and out how quickly people go away. Family, friends, it didn't matter, they fled like the seasons change. It is amazing how everyone wants to keep in touch with your running marathons and playing shows or can take them to the nicest places around town, but the moment you say fuck it, this is not who I am or ever wanted to be ... oh how quickly the run.
You see when you have place that can satisfy your deeper desire for living, everything else falls away. That is what I came back to and continue to come back to. It's been a process for me that has taken years and a lot of self evaluation, and in reality is never really over. The wilderness has a way of showing you yourself in the most honest light and that is the space where I want to be. In my family now with my wife, that is the most important part of our foundation. We try to be out there in the simplicity of nature where only the real questions can be asked and honest answers be heard. I have realized how much I do not need or how much I hold onto in my day to day life. Living simply sounds cliche but I can tell you that when I do I am the happiest I have ever been. Not everyone understands it, in fact society sees it as failure, but I guarantee that it is a process that you will never regret.
Now when I play music or create art, it comes from a different place. An honest place. I am less concerned what people think of it but rather what they feel when they experience it. The honesty will transcend if my heart is in the right place. I am on this journey, committed to the process as painfully honest as it has to be, I am running head on into the fire. I do not want to live my life worried about status, or the things I have. I do not want to create a direct path to that world for our future kids. I want to be able to be in awe and I want the trees and mountains and rivers to lead me there. Just as sure as the wilderness changes, it never loses its beauty. That is how I want to live.. in splendor.