Sunday, September 21, 2008


© 2008 Oona McOuat

Photo by Leigh Hilbert

The first leaves fall, letting go of their branches, surrendering to darkness and decay. Today there is a muted quality to the light - pearly grey, autumnal, retreating.

Photo by Wilda

Out come the wool sweaters, in comes the wood, and on goes the wood-stove. There's soup in the pot - carrots, peppers, the last of the basil, the first of the red kuri squash. All day I feel sleepy, like I want to curl up and dream…

But there is so much to do. My album is the first priority. But there's a kids choir to pull together for an environmental fundraiser next month. I have been asked to prepare this same yet nonexistent children's choir to sing on the soundtrack of a documentary on Jade Bell being produced by Nettwerk Records' Ash Sood. I will be performing with Victoria based Puente Theater as a a part of their multicultural storytelling troupe in October. I am the guest artist for Salt Spring based Stagecoach Theater's 2008-2009 season. There is talk of creating an original play from my lyrics.....

Last night the stag returned, ambling rather ungracefully - for a deer - through my rock garden, not at all perturbed by my presence. (He had after all stood munching apples two feet from my window for hours last fall, wondering what strange music my fingers were typing and why I was so mesmerized by a small, illuminated box.)

"Welcome back," I call, "I see this year you have bigger antlers." His haunches are powerful, his air ambivalent; he smells of musk and turning leaves.

Photo by Leigh Hilbert

The first part of September was golden, and in response to the warmth the lemon balm and nettles have put out new shoots. Each morning, dressed in my nightgown, I gather them for tea, stuffing juicy blackberries in my mouth as I go.

Now, as I pull a second sweater on over the first, it's hard to believe that after a long session in the studio I jumped in the lake last night. The water was warmer than the air, soft and smooth as silk.

Yes, I am birthing a new CD, at long last. It was finally time, or I finally decided - this is the time - and everything fell into place. It takes energy, this process of creating - energy and trust, focus and a willingness to grow. Laying down the harp tracks is arduous and amusing as I watch an aspect of self that is rigid yet expects catastrophe try to take over the show.

Performing with Iridescence Dance Theater: Photo by Leigh Hilbert

"Watch out for those finger buzzes!" she hollers. "Don't play too dynamically or the notes will jump out!" "Keep it even, stick to that click track." "Remember the 12 measure instrumental and don't forget to go back to the bridge." "What ever you do, don't make a mistake or we'll have to go through this whole ordeal all over again…"

At some point, I let go, drop in, allow my fingers to do what they know, what they will, without the interference of fear and worry. I surrender.

As I bring this project to life and sink into the womb, the cave (the ground floor studio I'm working in is like a hobbit house from Middle Earth), I feel removed from the world around me and yet simultaneously deeply connected to the place I am meant to fill, highly tuned to the currents and energies that want to move through me, that want to be born. 

As I think about beats and intonation, cellos and drums, part of me sinks into the universal flow of pure essence, while another part sits watching, waiting, profoundly aware of the critical place we humans dwell in on this planet at this time.

Photo by Leigh Hilbert

Once again, the US election falls near my birthday, and I wonder how the cards will fall, what will unfold as a result of the choices made on November 4th. A wise yet worldly presence inside me doubts that those who would practice electoral sleight of hand will let a heartfelt leader win the day. 

And if not, then what? We can't just roll back the tape, take it from the bridge and fade to finish. Any way I feel it, sense it, big things are coming. We need to think about gardens and goodness, about living from love and learning from the children. We need to release our sense of how things should be, our fear of how they could be, and trust our hands will find the right notes.


Each of our individual, authentic songs matter more now than ever before. We need to do our dream, live our purpose as fully and courageously as possible, allowing our rivers to flow and feed, renewing and revitalizing the collective stream and dream.

Performing with Iridescence Dance Theater: Photo by Leigh Hilbert

As our individual songs weave in and out of one another, their dissonance and harmony, playfulness, and power will lead us skipping, swirling, and hip hopping all the way home. Home to our hearts; to the collective heart which holds us, and yet allows us to free-fall and to land, unscathed, in a place of perfect, peaceful surrender.

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