Jam like all the sweet stuff

Did Blue Sky Folk Festival yesterday. It’s at my mom’s church, East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirtland. The objective is to help foster folk music appreciation and participation in Northeast Ohio.

In addition to scheduled acts, anyone could bring an instrument to the festival and play. So there were four areas where people were jamming. Not just a couple people, but like, a dozen, maybe, in each spot. At one jam spot a dozen guitarists strumming along together… other spots with people playing the fiddle. Some dancing and dulcimer. I’d not seen anything like it in my life before, so many people just coming together to make jam.

Jam like preserves sometimes especially when recorded. Jam like all the sweet stuff. Jam is like honey. Jam is a honey, too. Jam can have honey in it. Bees make honey and bees make fruit, and humans make jam from fruit from bees.

Jam not being jammed in terms of not being impeded. Jam rather something about taking the fruit of the moment and making it last a while. Making it so that you can open it up again later. Music recordings. Opening of the talents into the jam like opening a jam jar and tasting it together.

I mean, there might be someĀ impedanceĀ  too, in that. But not like something being stuck. Not that kind of jam. Unless being stuck is like taking the muck and doing something good with it, that kind of stuck. But not like your truck stuck in muck. Not that kind of jam, not a jam that blocks, not a jam that shuts, not a jam like that.

Jam like something that is cultivated, too. Like you bring the bootstrap of yourself up to the community, the thing that flung you here, and the thing you’ve been working on, which is your proficiency in your skill, whatever that skill might be, and you make jam with it–you blunt it up and strum it up and jut it up–that’s jamming. You harmonize and synchronize, that’s jamming, too.

. . .

I was tired… I stayed for half of it. I felt guilty as I left the festival, feeling that I should have stayed for the entire day to better support what we’d worked so hard on (our family business did lots of volunteer work). Which makes me think of the pace of modern life. How are we to do these things, these folk festivals, etc., which are supposed to be emblematic of a slower, richer lifestyle, and really be able to relax at them and get to the marrow of what they are about? That marrow jam?

I felt like a toe dipper, like was was in heaven but as a tourist. Here were all these people with cultivated skills, and here I was with my ears and attention span and my ability to sit or stand or dance. I don’t really play a musical instrument anymore though… was this festival for me? Are ears enough?

How can I slow down and actually enjoy these uberly-heavenly spots when I encounter them? These jam spots? I would like to do that. I got a big brimmed hat for it.

You know what? I think all I need is a big brimmed hat, my husband and a blanket for these things. I can set a blanket by the musicians’ tents next year. I can set there and I can play my ears.

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2 Responses to Jam like all the sweet stuff

  1. Jerie Green says:

    Y’know, one of the feelings I had as I left the festival last night (as one of the organizers) totally wiped out and done in, was that of great loneliness. It persisted this morning. We all are in our own bubbles, at the center of our own stage. But I remembered, too, the feeling of relaxation as music and sunshine and people warmed me for many moments yesterday. And this morning I came to the happy conclusion that music transcends loneliness. It is something we share, either as we make music together or as we listen to it.

    • lady says:

      Aw… you’ll never be completely alone, Mommy. You have me and a whole bunch of people and animals and nature.

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