The Revival Officially Begins

I walked up the hill still dressed for bed and promptly made some cowboy coffee with Kasidy and Tyler. It was just what the doctor ordered. Rick Gerber (Badfeather) walked through the green room with the good vibe of the day in his stride, and before too long some of the other talent started showing up.

Kasidy Baker and Meagan Coy were in charge of the hospitality in the green room, and I want to make certain I thank them for all their hard work. Their job was thankless and challenging nearly every minute of the Revival, but they smiled and persevered. They made me and my family feel at home, and their interactions with other green room guests was professional and friendly. Thank you both for all your efforts (you, too, Scott Swaby). The Revival would not have been the same without your determination.

Jon Olschewski (Stonefed) and I shared a hug and the agreed if they’d play their great original song “Kindly” tonight, then I’d feed him some of my home cooking. Guarantee I get the better end of the deal because that song is flat out awesome.

Promptly at 1:40 p.m. the Revival kicked off with local Beaver, UT country-western band Loose Connection opening with a very spirited rendition of “Somebody to Love”. I spoke with guitarist Chris Williams and he had to chuckle about being the first band, again, essentially filling the role of a live sound-check band.

I asked what he meant when he said “again”, and he explained they’d just come from the 45th Anniversary of the Summer of Love in Monterrey, CA where they’d also been invited to play, you guessed it, first. He made no bones about their presence in Monterrey: live sound-check. I chuckled, but hear this: Loose Connection are a considerably better band than perhaps he led on (and he knows that, too), but it was still great chatting with him for a few minutes after their upbeat, dance-worthy set. The Revival was definitely off to a great start and folks everywhere on the mountain were already dancing!

TKeysTalia Keys live-looped for about an hour and absolutely brought it from first note to taking a bow. I had a chance to chop it up with her after her set. She spoke about the familial nature of the bands and musicians assembled for the Revival and how it’s difficult for performing and touring artists to get to their friends’ shows because of scheduling conflicts. But the Revival, by design, was built around the open schedules of every artist so everyone can see everyone else perform. That’s family. Busy most days in their own lives, but definitely available when it really matters. So far, this has been my experience, too.

SixImpossibleThingsSix Impossible Things followed Talia, and my ears say they played six impossible songs. Truly, they were fantastic. I hate using the word “haunting” to describe female vocals, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll just say the combined efforts Secily Saunders, Heidi Nedreberg, and special guest Kate Anderson was tonally complex and rich with harmony. Super effort, and Revival goers responded enthusiastically. Finally, we can believe in impossible things.

Christian Mills (Tony Holiday Band) filled in on bass and looked right at home, just like he always does. Affable guy, truly. Thanks for offering to buy me a beer!

SamanthaLipstickVinyl Tapestries, led by dedicated frontwoman Samantha Calmes, gladly gave up a few minutes of their main-stage time to Michelle Moonshine who, due to no fault of her own, was running late and missed her time slot on the stage at the Globe Theater. A gracious gesture to be sure.

I have to admit I wasn’t fully prepared for what I heard when Vinyl Tapestries started their set. The first time I heard Samantha sing was at the Woodstock Tribute as presented by Talia Keys. I admit I wasn’t overwhelmed with her singing and sadly took little note of her and her band until the Revival.

The band created a totally psychedelic atmosphere and it was powerful. I am a fan of psychedelic music and was captivated, start to finish. Their sound is fresh and serious.

I had a chance to speak with Samantha after their set, meeting her for just the first time. I shared with her the story of the first time I heard her sing, and she held no hard feelings over my stupidity. She explained at the time “White Rabbit” was simply not in her vocal wheelhouse but gave it the old college try all the same and felt enriched by the challenging experience.

We continued to chat for quite a while, and I was totally captivated by Samantha. We hit it off very well, and for that I’m grateful. It’s safe to say Vinyl Tapestries, led by the very capable Samantha Calmes, is destined to make a mark on the music scene.

GritsGreenI’ve never been a real fan of hip hop, and there’s no reason for that, I just haven’t been. I was, however, anxious to see Grits Green. In fact, they were on my list of “must see” bands at the Revival.

The last time I’d seen them was at Talia’s Halloween Party at the State Room back in 2014. I was totally blown away at that time by their stage presence, their playful attitudes, their totally inappropriate songs, and their interaction with their audience. I’ve been a huge fan ever since, and they brought it hard at the Revival.

Ran into co-front man Rhagenetix sometime after their show, and then again here and there throughout the weekend, and we hit it off right out of the gate. I also caught up with bassist Greg Shaw (billing himself as Uncle Greg along with Jenna Talbott from Lunar Eclits who was billing herself as Aunt Jenna), and I was able to share with both of them how much I love everything about Grits Green and how much I appreciated the effort they brought that night. Can’t wait to see you guys, again!

I’ve been friends with the guys from Stonefed for a while, and slowly but surely I’d started seeing them around the mountain. Jon earlier in the day; David Mealey a bit later that afternoon; Jasper Groff a tad later than that, but where’s Ed Stone?

The sun had set, a chill was in the air, and start time was approaching when Ed finally showed up, and Stonefed were reunited with their drummer. That was good news for the midnight timeslot because the gathering of music lovers was ready to party and Stonefed’s brand of original funk was exactly what we wanted! It was good news, also, because we were quite concerned about him.

BadfeatherMeantime, Badfeather put together one the of best hard rock jams I’ve heard in a very long time. Lots of long songs, extended guitar work, and a great vibe had the crowd dancing to every note. Front man Rick Gerber was terrific tonight, and absolutely at his vocal best when he found himself in the middle of an extended jam that included Jasper Groff and Spencer Kellogg. The crowd was totally engaged from start to finish.

Guitarist Jeremy Whitesides was as good as I’ve ever heard him, and that’s saying a lot. They were definitely feeling it tonight, and so was the crowd. Very solid set and thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. Thanks, guys, for bringing it hard!

StonefedStonefed had the midnight slot, which actually started around 1am. No matter, everyone was ready to party and willing to go until dawn. They played a ruckus “Trombone Philly”, which is one of my favorite Stonefed songs. Actually, I don’t want to sell that song short. It’s one of my favorite songs by any artist. They played a flawless set, which is no small miracle given the chilly temperatures.

David Meservy (Wisebird) by way of Austin, TX by way of Flagstaff, AZ by way of Salt Lake City, UT joined the Moab-based quartet on keyboards, a role he’s jumped into recently. He adds an element of depth to already sophisticated music, and is a terrific improvisational keyboardist. I dig why they’re not a permanent quintet, but damned if they aren’t something special when they are.

My wife and son took a nap so they could see Stonefed play and then promptly didn’t wake up until morning. I think it’s this high mountain air that has them sleepier than normal. It’s a good thing they play a second set at the Revival. Rex really loves to watch Jasper play, but to date, largely because he’s only five-years-old, he’s only seen him in videos. I’ll make certain he gets to see them tomorrow night.

TonyHolidayThe Tony Holiday Band (billed as Tony Holiday and the Velvetones) were incredibly tight. After Badfeather and Stonefed, the gathered crowd—still into the hundreds—was ready for more, a lot more. Both Tony and bassist Christian Mills played to their audience, and it really paid off. The crowd was loud and full of dance throughout their set.

By request and a little convincing, Tony decided the band would play a song it doesn’t normally play, and the crowd responded with an explosive roar from the very first note of “Hip Shakin'”. You’re a stand-up guy, Tony! Thanks for playing that song. It took the Revival to a whole new level of excitement!

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The Globe Theater

20150719_234436Friday was an incredible day on the smaller stage of the Globe Theater. I caught three incredible sets, and I think Simply B and Nick Romer (Scenic Byway) played in each of them! What a treat, right?

SimplyBI caught both sets by Simply B (Brandon Barker). There is something about his particular brand of singing, playing, and looping that speaks to me. It’s complex, it requires real skills, and an immense amount of practice and rehearsal to make it all come together. Brandon is a genuine talent and a great guy. He and I hung out a bit, shared a cookie or two, and I let him know how much I appreciate his art.

Later, I went down to see my friend Michael Dallin play. His sweet, reliable voice is the real show here, but who did I see on stage with him? Yup. Simply B and Nick Romer. It was a great set but I only caught a couple of songs. Michael and I have some common interests, and I always appreciate his take on things and got to hang out quite a bit during the revival. I’m glad for that.

GeorgeLifeThe last act I caught at the Globe Theater was hip hop artists extraordinaire, GeorgeLife (gLife, DJ Pookie, Master Qball). These guys deliver some of the most innovative, DJ-oriented music I’ve ever heard. And who do I see on stage? Yup. Simply B on bass and Nick Romer blowing the horn like he’s in a Kansas City roadhouse!

Very nicely done, guys. It was a real treat to see each of you perform individually and collectively. Hope to see each of you performing at a venue near me, soon!

Day Two

FaeryFolkDay two of the Revival started right on time—roughly an hour late—but Faery Folk representing Portland, OR didn’t even seem to notice. If they got as much sleep as the rest of us did last night, then I’m sure they didn’t mind the extra few minutes to chase it away.

They’re a young group who show promise, and I pretty much said those words to Miles, Chris, and Morgan, the competent trio who are slowly finding their sea legs. Props for traveling all the way from the PacNorWest. I’m grateful for your effort.

The theme of the day was definitely rain, rain, and more rain, but that didn’t stop Scenic Byway from delivering the goods. Sadly, I only heard it and I was distracted through a lot of it with talk of moving everything to an indoor location. A serious storm was on its way and we would not be able to withstand its force, complete with marble-size hail.

ScenicBywaySpeaking of Scenic Byway, every time I turned around trumpeter Nick Romer was sitting in with another band! This is one of the things I’ve totally enjoyed as I’ve become more and more familiar with many of the bands and musicians appearing at the Revival. Everyone seems quite willing to sit in for a few songs, act as temporary replacement when a regular band member is absent, and overall just play whenever and wherever they can. It’s this level of dedication that separates the pros from the wannabes.

Like I always tell Rex, a lot more “be” and a lot less “wanna” and you’ll go far in life.

Nick Boyer from Puddle Mountain Ramblers introducing himself to me in the green room, having recognized my big black hat from my Facebook page! Sadly, I didn’t get to see his band play, but Nick and I saw each other a few times here and there and chatted a bit, including way into the wee hours of Monday morning while  Triggers & Slips was playing. Appreciate the time, Nick.

The rain has forced a delay in the Revival. Plenty of musicians hanging out in the green room tent, staying dry. With any luck at all an impromptu acoustic jam will happen. Got my fingers crossed.

Ran into my friend Melahn Atkinson in the green room. She helps me see the world a little differently, and to stop and think about the things I’m about to say and do. Example: Today, she was looking for a place to stash a backpack, more out of the way than anything. I made a crack about placing it near me so I could keep an eye on it, although I doubted anyone would take it. She told me she was just going to put it out there that someone taking it wasn’t even really part of the equation.

She’s a very conscientious person who means the things she says. It’s an admirable trait, and her friendship has often given me pause to assess if what I’m about to say is really what I mean, or—sadly that I even have to check myself on this—even want to be saying. I’m working toward more clear and positive communication, and the example Melahn sets for me is a big part of that equation.

AdventHorizonI have been a fan of progressive rock for a very long time, and because of that I was in high anticipation of Advent Horizon delivering their exceptional variety. They were one of the bands I had circled on the calendar. I’d seen them a time or two before, but had listened to plenty of their songs by way of the Interwebs.

Their scheduled performance time was in jeopardy because of the severe summer rain and hail storm that seemingly was not going to let up. Fortunately, it cleared and they were able to throw down for a little more than an hour and wow was it sure worth the wait!

They played an incredible rendition of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” in 40-degree weather, and Jimmy Lauscher (Marinade) and I commented to each other how impressed we were with the fingering skills of both Rylee and Levi on that particular song. I know it was epic because the entire crowd went nuts when the song ended, not just me and Jimmy.

I had a chance to speak with Rylee after their show (thanks for comping Zen your latest CD, we’ll definitely come see you guys play again) and learned a bit more about the band, the direction, and the strong suits of each member. He told me he is a large part of the “prog” of the Advent Horizon equation, and how each musician brings something a bit different to the table to add to the progressive mix.

I feel like I have a new group of friends who have totally dedicated themselves to deliver something honest and unique, or nothing at all. Progressive rock will definitely live on through the ambitious musical vision of Advent Horizon.

MarinadeDay two was a very long day for all parties involved, including mine. The show had moved indoors at this point because of treacherous weather, and most Revival goers showed up to continue the party. Zen, Rex, and I stayed out as long as we could, but learned our witching hour is 4 a.m. and not a minute longer. Still, we got to see quite a bit of Talia Keys and Marinade for what will be our last time, and it was emotional for me.

They opened their show with Matt Pizza on percussion and Tony Holiday on harmonica, and it was fantastic. Jimmy had told me they were going to start their set like a shot from a cannon and he wasn’t fooling. The indoor crowd was ready for their brand of fun, which included one of my favorite songs, “Politicks”.

Talia, Jimmy, Spencer, James, and I’m going to throw Dana Shaw and Melahn Atkinson into the mix here, are individually and collectively my friends and I think their band has always delivered the genuine article. I’m sad I won’t be able to see them at Mystic Hot Springs, but I won’t dwell over what could be. Enjoying the here and now works just fine.

Day two ended with both me and Jasper Groff as no-shows when it wrapped. The only difference is no one cared I wasn’t there! LOL! Stonefed-Minus-One played until sunrise, and from what I’ve heard it was a right proper jam. What else could it have been, right? My only real regret is Rex missed seeing Jasper, again. He did, however, have a blast with Lenore’s dog, whom he called “Beast”, on account of its minuscule size.

Day Three

SomethingSacredThe rain has subsided, but the sky looks ominuts. You heard me, not ominous, ominuts. Not sure how it’s going to all shake out today, but Christopher David and his gathered friends collectively known as Something Sacred did their part to bless the area with the honesty that only their particular flavor of heartfelt music can deliver. Thank you Christopher and companions. It was the only way the day could have started and made any sense.

I’ve noticed a change in my approach to writing this since I arrived, Thursday morning. Originally, I was going to be the consummate journalist and interview every band, bust out my voice recorder, ask some tough questions, and make this as boring and clinical as possible.

What I’d gradually been doing, upon self-reflection while eating a cookie, was a lot less of the formal and a lot more of the personal. I was very much into my surroundings, the music, and the people who were all there for a personal as well as a collective experience. I was glad I’d made this subtle shift in how I was writing this, because it was now becoming the personal piece it always should have been about my experiences at the Revival rather than just blow-by-blow coverage.

TheBadWeathersIt was quickly pointed out to Spencer Kellogg The Bad Weathers should change their name to The Good Weathers. In turn, I went to bat for them and said they should use the word “bad” the same way the kids use it, therefore they’re already The Good Weathers. Yeah, they’re bad, just like the kids say. Loved every minute of their set, which was my first time seeing them perform.

Loved the political song, “Krazy”, that guitarist and vocalist Golden Hatch wrote when he was just 16. The message still resonates today and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Zen and Rex met Sunflower and her young daughter Aurora Dandelion. They totally embodied the spirit and nature of the Revival. They shared some babysitting and some food and discovered quickly they were kindred sisters. Zen is typically a bit reserved and I’m glad whenever she finds anyone with whom she can connect.

It’s funny when you run into people who know people you know, but who aren’t otherwise connected with anything going on here. Our new friend Tony Holiday (Tony Holiday Band, billed as Tony Holiday and the Velvetones at the Revival) knows some old friends of ours whom we love dearly, and learning that stood to make our worlds just a little smaller. We prefer very few degrees of separation.

Thank you, Tony and Camille, for hanging out with us in the green room and sharing in my and my family’s experiences atop the mountain. Rex has his own harmonica, and every time you pulled one out or played it just a little, he thought that was awesome. He really loves that instrument and the sounds it can produce.

I have been waiting all weekend to find out if Lunar Eclits (Jenna Talbott and Emily Ahrendt) are going to perform or not, and as of this writing (2pm) it’s still up in the air. They were due to delight us on Day 2 at the Globe Theater, but the weather makers had other plans.

Update: A couple of hours later, Lunar Eclits got to perform. Yay! Each of their voices is truly special, but together they seem to create an impossible number of notes. It was wonderful just closing my eyes and listening. Their music penetrates and makes itself at home, and I was very glad they finally got some stage time.

DustpanMagicDustpan Magic sounding great, but contending with more rain and hail. Not the worst we’ve seen, but I feel for them. Losing half the PA in the middle of a set—middle of a song—is never great news when the music is this terrific. Ultimately, they were able to press on, and wrapped a lively set of groovy groove jams.

I had met front man Timmy Anderson for the first time just ahead of their set, and then caught up with him after to let him know how much I loved their music. Weather and equipment challenges aside, it is clear they are a tight, well-rehearsed band. Timmy halfway joked with me that singing on a Sunday afternoon isn’t a great choice after partying in the mountains for the four days leading up to his set. He promised to make a mental note for next Revival to either perform earlier or show up later! LOL!

Around 2:30 the sun poked out its head. Honestly, it was a nice even if it was only going to last a few minutes. I’m a sunshine kind of guy. Two hours later and the sun is still out. Got my fingers crossed!

Ashlee K and Gentri Watson entertained us all with their beautiful brand of singer-songwriter poetry. Unfortunately, I only got to hear most of it from my nearby campsite because I was busy with important family matters, like what’s for lunch, where’s that one bag, and Rex insisting there still wasn’t too much mud on his boots. He won.

I did manage to make my way to the front of the stage to catch her encore. It was a fun song about the lack of snowfall in Utah this past February and then, as luck always has it says Ashlee, a blizzard hit just four days later!

Rex didn’t seem quite as interested in dancing today as he did yesterday, but he said he was still having a great time. But I did catch him on the sly moving to the beat. It’s in his blood and I’m glad he feels like he can get into the music like that. He likes knowing daddy’s friends, so I’m always game to introduce him when I can. But to those of you who know Rex, and to the many of you have introduced yourself to him, I think that’s awesome. Thank you for taking an interest in me and my family.

Rex threw me for a loop a bit later. As we walked past the Sacred Heart, he said he wanted to make certain I had some good pictures of it. I did, but there was no reason to not take more. As I walked up the hill toward the Tee-Pee after getting my pictures, I turned and noticed Rex still standing down by the heart. I asked him what was up, and he said he just wanted to stand there and think for a while.

I’ll never ask him what that was about, and since he’s five he could have been doing nothing more than admiring all the shiny pennies placed around the beautiful artwork, but it also could have been a whole lot more. He’s an interesting boy with a big vocabulary and an interesting perspective on most things, including death (he told me not too long ago that when we run out of calendar days we go live in the ground).

Talia introduced me to Ashlee K and Gentri Watson. It’s sometimes easy for me to place some people on a pedestal and assume they’re unapproachable, aren’t interested in talking to me, or whatever. Human nature, right? Well, it’s at least mine. They were both so awesome and down to earth I think I was internally embarrassed for myself for letting my occasional shyness get the best of me, especially after they started looking for a place to pitch their tent.

Talia and I have known each other for perhaps a little more than a year, now. We became fast friends and have interacted quite a bit with each other over that short span of time. Even though we laugh and party and have a good time, she brings out the serious side in me. We’ve had many frank discussions about many different things. I have always appreciated her candor and the ownership she takes over her career and have said so to her on many occasions.

We had lots of little conversations here and there throughout the weekend, she introduced me to some of the musicians I didn’t know, and made certain to engage with Zen and Rex whenever she saw them. Thanks, T., for being my friend. Here’s hoping we can do some things together.

AshleeI heard some time later that Ashlee K and Gentri were going to play at the Globe Theater. I promptly made my way down there. Their first set on the main stage was awesome, but I’d only heard most of it from my tent except for the last two songs. I felt the whole time they played how I wish I could see them play in a much more intimate setting, like inside the green room, etc.

The stage at the Globe Theater was so the perfect setting. I stood off to the right of the stage and watched a thoroughly entertaining show. Individually their voices are remarkable. Together, however, they create a gentle harmony that brought chills down my spine more than once. Beautiful, truly.

They shared some personal stories that I’m sure you’d love to hear, but I’m of the mind they were meant just for us.  Plus, it’s really none of your business what happened to Ashlee and Gentri up in Park City, back in the day. 😉

Ashlee is such a warm, genuine performer. She digs deep and has total control over an incredibly complex voice. I was touched, emotionally, during a song she sang alone and suddenly knew the answers to two questions I didn’t know I was asking. I shouldn’t let the moment get away from me and sell it short, so I’ll use the word epiphany.

The first, the title: One Degree of Separation. In that moment, at the Globe Theater, listening to Ashlee sing with a delicate touch in just the right places, I decided I want to personally know everyone, or at least everyone who comes to these festivals. I don’t ever want to say no when asked if I know someone. I want that for everyone. I want no more than one degree of separation between all of us. Imagine if that happened. We’d never again ask if someone knows someone else because we’d already know they do. It’s not so much to ask.

The second answer I received I’ll just have to reveal later, after I see how Zen and Rex feel about it.

Gigi

Gigi asked me to introduce her and her band tonight and I panicked. I have a real fear of being a public voice like that. But worse, for me, is that I feel like I let her down, if only in a small way. I know that isn’t true, and she told me so, but sometimes I feel like that and that’s on me.

She wound up introducing herself and I felt even more like a goat. How can I call myself part of this family if I can’t take myself to a scary place and battle through it, right? Maybe next year I’ll say yes and then just grin and bear it.

Anyway, I was able to watch her entire set and it was great. Peter actually lost the bass stack and had to route through the main system (with no monitor), and still delivered on every note. Fans were able to catch a brand new acoustic solo by Gigi called “Angel Devil” and it was really great. I have always loved the singer-songwriter in Gigi and this song was the perfect addition (and I’d like to hear it a few dozen more times!)

Of significant note for me, however, was her song, “Lenore”. The song is about a good woman devoted to her rock and roll man, and who’s able to stay well out of the fray of the drama, politics, and gossip of the industry. It’s a good message for all of us and reminder it’s about the music. Very nicely done, Gigi, Peter, and Spencer. Your personal music and message resonates with me, and by the looks of the Revival, the crowd as well.

Nicki Bluhm has arrived and now I have questions! Will she interact with the other talent? Will she hang out after her gig and listen to the others? Will she perform in a family jam? I don’t know the answers to these questions…sigh. Guess I’ll find out before too long as Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers take the main stage shortly.

NickiBluhmSometimes a technical glitch can lead to great things. Midway through one of their original songs, the PA decided it’d had enough and suddenly it was an acoustic set. The consummate professional she is, Nicki quickly gathered the growing crowd close to the stage and the entire band performed the perfect song for the now-intimate locale: “Faith” by George Michael. The crowd loved it and sang along with virtually every word. It truly was a mesmerizing moment for the Revival.

After their show, I sat in the green room and kept to myself as Nicki mingled a bit. Of personal note was seeing bassist Steve Adams (Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers; ALO) eating a hot dog and some chips, and me telling myself how good that looked and how hungry I was, again. Anyone knows me knows I love a good hot dog or two with every meal.

T&SGigi introduced me to Morgan Snow (Triggers & Slips), who stood to shake my hand just ahead of their midnight set, and I felt terrible about it because he looked like he was really, really comfortable on that plush couch. Even mentioned it to him.

I was out in front of the stage when they shifted gears from a real barn-dance of a honky-tonk song to their slow, sexy hard rock ballad called “Aftermath” (off the self-titled Triggers & Slips EP), and suddenly I was in a very cool place. It was a great shift in pace for me because that’s the kind of song that makes me pay attention, particularly when it’s coming out of instruments that had most recently played a country theme.

The crowd was way into it, too, stepping down in pace to a sultry, body-swaying tempo. The red lights bathing the stage had me feeling like we were in a David Lynch film, and set the mood perfectly for the rest of their show.

“Aftermath” is powerful and persuasive, I’ve listened to it several times since leaving the Revival, and I’m thrilled to have something this cool to listen to. Very nicely done, guys.

The Show Wraps

I thought I might end this by starting to thank people for this and that, and then realized the only thing I’d do is leave out someone really close to me (it’s inevitable) and add a thousand more words to an already long bit of writing. I’m in favor of neither, so here’s where I stand on thanking everyone: If I spoke with you, I thank you for your time. If you made me, Zen, and Rex feel like family, I thank you.

Finally, I have always wanted all of my friends to also be friends, and each of us to know only the same people. One degree of separation is possible, and for many it is a reality. But, like all ambitious endeavors it requires a willing heart and an ability to step out of one’s comfort zone. I’ve got the heart, and I’m working on broadening my horizons. Thank you, one and all, for graciously including yourselves in my beautiful experience.

My Final Thoughts

I thought I might end this by starting to thank people for this and that, and then realized the only thing I’d do is leave out someone really close to me (it’s inevitable) and add a thousand more words to an already long bit of writing. I’m in favor of neither, so here’s where I stand on thanking everyone: If I spoke with you, I thank you for your time. If you made me, Zen, and Rex feel like family, I thank you.

Finally, I have always wanted all of my friends to also be friends, and each of us to know only the same people. One degree of separation is possible, and for many it is a reality. But, like all ambitious endeavors it requires a willing heart and an ability to step out of one’s comfort zone. I’ve got the heart, and I’m working on broadening my horizons. Thank you, one and all, for graciously including yourselves in my beautiful experience.