Some life seasons are short, some long. Some seasons in life are smooth, others rocky. Some seasons simply fade into the next season without us really ever noticing. And some seasons have bookends — they end the way they started. That’s where I find myself today about to put the bookend on two big seasons.
More than 10 years ago, the Blood:Water journey began on a tour bus with Jars of Clay. I, the only girl, climbed aboard to a bus load of musicians into a world I knew nothing about. I cherish those memories.
Tomorrow wraps up 20-day journey across the country touring for my new memoir, “One Thousand Wells.” This time, only one of those musicians was with me - Dan Haseltine, the lead singer of Jars of Clay and Blood:Water co-founder. He and our two Blood:Water colleagues, Audrey and Kristin, piled into a beat up, maroon minivan with me — and hit the road to tour. With maintenance lights shining bright and dents edging the sides, the minivan was a far cry from the tour bus days of 10 years ago. But as Dan drove, I sat in the passenger seat driving next to a friend of 10+ years who has carried a vision into the world that only he could see and launch out.
As we traveled from Knoxville, Tenn., through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Charlotte, N.C., I looked out toward the landscape and soaked in the views and the memories of the last decade. With Spotify as a chest of sounds and memories, I was somehow inspired to open the door to the Jars of Clay discography - and I indulged, with Dan by my side, in the lyrics and songs that had served as the most consistent soundtrack of my life. For an hour, or maybe two, I picked songs from the annals of the Jars of Clay library and played through the ones that mattered most to me. “Redemption,” “Faith Enough,” “This Road,” “Water Under the Bridge,” “Light Gives Heat,” “Waiting for the World to Fall” — whatever the song — it brought me back to a particular moment, to a feeling that had somehow shaped me. And, I got to tell Dan as much. He, too, hadn’t heard many of these songs in years and heard them with new ears.
I felt such gratitude for an artist who had given me words and music to live by from 12 to 32, whose vision was big enough to let a 22 year old to take hold of it and opened the door of his platform, relationships, and dreams to let me in.
A few days later when we drove back to Nashville late after an event in Atlanta, Dan and I sang through an endless stream of songs - this time through albums of the Indigo Girls - which happen to both be favorites of ours, despite how different our life stages were when the songs were released. We duetted our way home, which was both hilarious and sweet.
Jars of Clay songs made way for the Blood:Water story. And through this 20-day journey Jars of Clay songs have ushered me into the new season of book touring. That’s bookend number one. As for bookend number two, that’s a post for another day, one I promise to share.
By the way, Dan wrote a guest post for my blog on what it has been like touring with me (he references our road trip music habits, too). If you haven’t read it, click here.
Thank you to everyone who has joined me at bookstores and coffee shops across the country these past 20 days. I am honored to have met each and every one of you.