Have you ever given any thought to your “home?” Not the place where they keep sending all the bills and the smoke detectors start beeping at 3:00AM. I’m talking about the place where you are comfortable and safe to explore your mind and your soul without fear of judgment. You lose yourself because time doesn’t really move there. It’s where your heart, mind, and soul all converge allowing you to form questions and discover answers because it’s the place where the world and all its mysteries come into focus leaving you exhausted, but somehow simultaneously refreshed. That is home.
I’ve spent the last week in a recording studio in the middle of South Carolina (Greer Castle Recording Room). I’m fortunate in having access to a really nice one. If you’ve never been in one, it can be a little intimidating. There are cables running everywhere and instruments of every conceivable purpose, shape, and size adorning the walls. Microphones of various shapes and sizes occupy stands and surround the room as if sentries standing watch over all who enter. It’s big, busy, full of energy and for me...a place that feels like home. It’s here I and those who share my musical passion are free to create. It sets my soul on fire to see people take a song I brought into this world and give it life. Ideas are hatched and begin to move through the room slowly gaining momentum as each person feeds it along the way. The wave of energy spreads like wildfire across everyone in the room. I try to find my way to the studio once a year. I try to go home. Or so I thought...
I usually find a few hours throughout my annual stay to be in the studio all alone. Man, it’s amazing! Guitars and amps at my disposal to get acquainted are within arms reach at every turn! Some I’ve met on previous trips and now they are close friends. Others I’m just discovering and making the proper introductions! I put on a fresh pot of coffee, dim the lights, plug in and turn up! It’s magical. It was on one of these lone visits this past week I began to realize it wasn’t the studio that was “home.” It was the part of my soul and heart that became unlocked when I was there. The studio was merely where I felt free to open the door. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I am able to actually come “home” more often than I think. Home isn’t a building or location at all; it’s a state of mind.
Sometimes “home” is a quiet Sunday with the house to myself where I can explore that melody or repeating hook I’ve been carrying in my ear all week. It’s the lone quiet car ride several hours away discovering music a friend thinks I will like and realizing they have given me a gift by simply knowing me so well. Home can even be those few moments in a hammock when my next song comes to me from watching a kid play or hearing a train in the distance. Home is the clear mind that opens the pathway I crave as a songwriter and gives me the gift of a song.
I think coming to this conclusion was a bit of an eye opener because I realized I can take home with me wherever I go. It’s the reason I and most musicians always throw a guitar in the backseat if we are we going to be gone longer than 24 hours. I realized I only needed to open my mind and my heart to find home. Don’t get me wrong, the environment can make that place easier to reach, but the point is I’m not constrained by a physical structure or building. My “home” lives in my heart and in my mind and when I decide I want to go there, I simply need to open the door.
So where’s home for you? Is it a trail covered by a canopy of tall pines along a clear stream? A small flat bottom boat on the backwater of an unknown tributary known only to you? Your neighborhood library in a dimly lit corner with your favorite author? Maybe it’s a park bench that gives you a wide angle view of your children on the local playground laughing out loud as they conquer their fears and enjoy the exhilaration of a swing set that can almost reach the sky. Where does your mind, heart, and soul feel most at ease and work in perfect harmony with one another? If you know, you’ve found home. If you don’t, I’d invite you to explore the corners of your heart and see what you find. You can thank me later.
We all have a home. Some of us have discovered it and we are truly blessed. For me, home is that place in my soul where music is born. It’s where my feelings, ideas, observations, and imagination slowly take root and begin to produce the sweet sweet fruit that will become a song. It will become a song that may never be heard by more than a dozen friends and loved ones, but will live for eternity in this world always declaring I WAS HERE! Home. May we all find ours and spend as much time there as we can afford to in our very very busy lives. You’ll be glad you did and so will those who love you. Love y’all!