Thursday, March 15, 2007

I have come here to lose the smog

This summer is the twentieth anniversary of CabinStock, and everyone who hears is asked to spread the word to anyone else who's been there that this year is a big year and they should make the effort to attend. Children are welcome and there will be some kind of arrangement for them (maybe a Kid Corral, so they don't run off into the woods?).

The first three times I went to the cabin Phil took me in the winter and late spring, when there was snow all around. The cabin was built by Phil's father for summer use, and one January our toothbrushes froze to the counter top. There are only two right angles in this Alice-In-Wonderland building, the water coming directly from the creek, the heat from the fireplace and the wood stove. It's in an absolutely beautiful setting, facing Mount Elbert, and I've been there so many times, in each season, that I've seen the trees every color, and the creek high, low, and frozen; the first time I saw snow fall was at the cabin in 1987.

Also, Phil's ashes are buried there, where they belong.

We climbed cathedral mountains, we saw silver clouds below
We saw everything as far as you can see

And they say we got crazy once, and we tried to touch the sun
And we lost a friend but kept his memory

CabinStock is an annual three or four day music jam/party in the mountains, at a summer cabin at about 1,000 feet below Independence Pass in Colorado. I went in 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 2002 (and maybe another time, I can't remember). It is looking likely I will go this summer as well. The music starts in the morning - when I was going, there was one guy who would start every day at 9am playing "Wake Up, Little Susie" (you can hear part of it here). Most people did not sleep in the cabin, since it is small, and would crawl out of their tents for refritos, tortillas, scrambled eggs, pancakes, and "coffee with." The music ends late, and one night some of us sang all night long.

I love singing, I love live music, and I love the spontaneity of people noodling around on their guitars and keyboards until they land on a song. Johnny Half-Song is famous for making up new second and third verses to songs to which everyone knows the chorus. So many songs get played in "G" that it's becomeknown as "the key of Gene" after one of the original band
members. I've led people into the
"Sesame Street" theme instead of the Rolling Stones. I learned how to harmonize at CabinStock. The set-up has been pretty sophisticated, with a soundboard as well as amplifiers and a drum set, and there have been an electrified violin, harmonicas, and a trumpet. Whoever's on the deck is playing or singing or just passing through, bringing a beer or a light to the rotating roster of the band.

There are people there I know and like and have a history with now. We can pick up and be buddies again even though we haven't talked in two or three years. I decided to marry Zirpu while I was there, talking about him with Johnny Half-Song and his wife. I have friendships in the mountains, deep and full of smiles, into which I dip once every few years.

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