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February 2000 Musings: The Rolling of the Wheels

Life continues rolling on at an awesome pace. My road schedule this winter has been pretty daunting. Reminds me of the saying “be careful what you wish for.” I’m finding, though, that it’s most daunting just before I leave on tour, with all the logistics to take care of. I wear so many hats it can be a monster to keep on top of them all. Oops, maybe that should be under them all. Once I get out on the road, the concerts are the focus, and my job’s pretty well defined: it’s mostly reduced to eat-sleep-shower-drive-sing, with a little visiting with my hosts thrown in. I love getting on a roll playing music day after day, and even the rolling of the wheels over the miles is a quiet pleasure for me, time for my mind to ramble. It is what I’ve wished for, and it’s rewarding, and I’m incredibly grateful for the hard work and real caring of my agent and dear friend Pam Rivers, who makes it possible for me to do this work I love.

My travels this month took me to near where I grew up in Vermont, where I sang for my mom and dad, among others, then to Greenfield, Mass, close to my present home, where I sang for friends and fellow dancers and musicians from the thriving contradance and old-time community here in the Valley. Next it was down to Florida for the first time ever. Landing in Orlando I had the feeling that somewhere underneath all the glitz and asphalt there was a real Florida waiting to be discovered. I had very little down time between gigs, but I did manage to take a side road somebody at my concert in Tampa had suggested. Never did find the nature preserve he mentioned, but I did see flock after flock of snowy white cattle egrets. So striking, the first flock I saw took my breath away.

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying school programs I’ve been giving between evening concerts, singing for kids from Baltimore to Philadelphia to Florida. And Ursa (my bear puppet) is good company on the road too—when I can keep her awake. She has this strange habit of sleeping all winter. That and telling bad jokes. I couldn’t believe my ears when she started giving a grammar lesson at the Cushman School (Miami, your-ami, his-ami, her-ami …). And I thought I was bad.

The season has progressed here in this hilltown despite my repeated and extended absences. It seemed like whenever I was away another big storm would hit, and I’d have to shovel my way into the house again when I returned. But the thaw arrived at about the same time as I flew in from Florida – good thing, since I’d gotten accustomed to 80 degree weather! Within a day or two, a half foot layer of snow had slid off the woodshed roof to land in a huge pile beneath its edge. And now a good bit of the snow on the ground has melted; even that huge pile is diminishing fast. This afternoon, for the first time since my touring took off in mid-January, I finally strapped on my snowshoes and made it down to the woods. It was absolutely beautiful there today, the stream is running very high and noisy with all the melt. And my neighbor’s daughter came over yesterday with sap from the maple trees she’s tapped. I won’t fool myself into believing it’s here now, but spring may actually arrive before I know it, even up here in the hilltowns. Now I’m finishing up whatever I can here at home before heading out for the long drive to Wisconsin and then on to Minnesota—hope I see you out there somewhere!

Warmly, Lui
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Lui Collins
137 Main Street Apt C
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

Posted in Musings

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