Sunday, September 9, 2012

Most summers we take a vacation… or two. Several years ago after learning about the journey of the Pilgrims we explored Plimoth Plantation. Last year we headed south and explored Gettysburg and Antietam, which just so happens to have perfectly tied into our American History lessons concerning the Civil War. The year before hit on the Revolutionary War with a trip that began in the Berkshires of MA and ended up in Boston walking the Freedom Trail.

Burnside Bridge, Antietam Maryland
Antietam, Maryland

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (2011)
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
We have, for as long as I can remember, gone camping for a week at our favorite campground. We read. And we walk. And we nap. A lot. Seven days and nights of total relaxation (except for all of the cooking that I do!) that has us moving at a super slow pace and spending as much time by the magical ocean-side as we can manage.

Charlestown Beach, Rhode Island (2011)
Burlingame Campground, Rhode Island (2011)
But this year we had a slight change of plans. Back in January when I finally relented to the endless probing and pressure of Jordan and Riley Mae we ended up with two new additions to our household. Then three. And four. We stopped at five… somehow. The addition of 5 fuzzy ferrets to our family meant that this year we skipped an extended vacation, instead opting for a summer of day trips and smaller scale adventures. I will readily admit that I really enjoyed it, thoroughly actually. I thought I might miss the change of scenery , but a break from the planning of vacation was actually pretty sweet. As Jason Mraz says  ~ “You don’t need a vacation, when there’s nothing to escape from.”

Floyd ~ couldn't you just eat him up??? Figuratively, of course. ;) 
And speaking of Mr. Mraz, it just so happens that he was one of our summer adventures. The girls and I have spent the last couple of months playing his new cd (Love is a Four Letter Word) virtually daily, singing along at the top of our lungs, memorizing lyric after lyric. So when my hubby heard he’d be in Ct… it was pretty much a no-brainer.

I’m not a big concert-goer. They really don’t hold much appeal for me; the artist has to really make my heart sing to make it worth the hassle. Getting in and out of the parking lot is an ordeal in and of itself. But the music of Jason speaks to me. His choice of words whisper of  a fellow human on a journey of awakening, which in turn speaks to the awakening of my own spirit. Initially I decided that I would keep the destination a secret when I told the girls that Scotty and I had planned another adventure. Yup, a secret. Well, that lasted less than 24 hours before I broke down and spilled the beans. ;)

Jordan and Riley Mae waiting patiently for Jason to come on out. Our snack of choice? Garlic roasted sunflower seeds!
It was a delicious late summer eve with super mild temps which was perfect since we were parking our fannies on the lawn for a good four hours.  The show opened with Christina Perri, whom I also happen to think is simply fabulous. Her song “A Thousand Years” gave me chills the first time I heard it. I adore her crooked bottom teeth, they make me want to hug her. I hope she doesn't conform to our society’s crazy expectations of ‘perfection’ and fix those wayward chompers, she is totally adorable as she is. Not to mention amazingly talented.

Christina Perri jammin' on the guitar
Christian Perri
Jason Mraz took the stage and I could feel my whole body relax. I may have stopped breathing, I know I stopped moving as my eyes fixed on his face and I absorbed the power and joy of his songs. By the end of the night my whole body was sore, I even had a slight headache, but I felt none of it. I wanted him to sing and sing and sing forever. My favorite songs were the two when the band got really soft and you could hear the whole lawn singing along, it was truly magical. So much so that we even discussed getting tickets to another show close by in a week or two, ridiculous, right? ;)

Of course leaving the grounds could have been a nightmare, but somehow this time it was perfectly okay. His positive, loving lyrics had lifted me high above the annoyance of aggressive drivers and impatient patrons and kept me firmly there until I slipped exhausted into bed that night, many hours past my bedtime.

I believe we find guidance in many ways, through many avenues and music always seems to be a biggie. From the time we're small we sing songs, wiggle to music and are soothed by the soft melody of a lullaby. As we grow older the angst of teen years is reflected in the popular songs of the day, and an old favorite can trigger warm and fuzzy memories in a heartbeat. I have much admiration for musicians that use their talent to lift the world to better and more loving places. Jason Mraz does just that for me, and I expect to find myself  seated once again on a lawn, immersed in a sea of strangers, swaying and singing along to the songs in his heart. 

Have a happy, happy day friends