“What are you doing this summer?” I’ve heard this question all over town from friends and acquaintances. As school comes to a close, my teacher friends tell each other their plans. “Sleeping!” “Relaxing!” “Reading!” We teachers nod knowingly.  Recharging. It’s how we continue teaching year after year, giving ourselves time to recover after a challenging ten months.

Bluegrass Greetings!

Several nights ago, I stood waiting for the singing group I’m With Her to perform at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Three women, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan, took the stage instruments in hand, and I truly mean took the stage. They entered and owned their places up there. They commandeered the audience to go where they wanted us to go, to become more alive with their music, to feel it deeply in our hearts and minds. And the magic that happened that evening!  Mystical energy became reciprocal between the musician-singers and the audience, each feeding the other until it rose higher and higher and they not only had the stage, but they had us as well.

Have you ever been carried away by someone’s talent? Swept away by the colors and design of a painting? Enthralled by a dancer’s movements? Transported somewhere else entirely by a writer’s words? The suspension of the daily detritus and the entrance into the sacred space of that moment of compelling creativity is art’s gift to us.

But, wait, there’s more! When we are in that creative place ourselves, and we are channeling from deep within, that is art’s gift as well. Immersed in the place where there is no time, only creation, we open ourselves to find what is contained inside. Then we look at the clock and it’s past dinnertime, or suddenly the kids are home from school (already?), or a phone jangles us out of our focus.

I always resent those interruptions and long to go back to the making. I like to think of it as “taking my stage.” I know that there is much within me that wants to bloom, and I want the confidence to build a stage for it to show itself.

How about you?  What does your stage look like?  Do you need some nurturing in order to take it or are you already on it?  Dream it, build it, bring forth your music and empower yourself to get carried away.

There's always another corner
Makes me wonder how
How much longer is it gonna be?
Before I get where I'm going
Get what I need
You gotta give to get
You gotta be game to lose

- I’m With Her, “Game to Lose”

Cori Austin

"An ekphrastic poem is like a jolt of electricity surging through a work of art."
- Patricia Smith, ARTLines2

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