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Day old baby wrens. 
If you're mainly looking for upcoming live streaming shows and want to skip ahead, click here.

Last night I was about seven minutes away from hitting send on the newsletter that follows this first paragraph when my phone screen lit up in the dim light of the porch. It was a New York Times notification. The end of the sentence was cut off, but I saw his name and his picture and I knew. I opened it to confirm and I cried on the couch, as I know so many others were in that moment. The world has lost a man who knew how to hold a mirror up to us all and hold our gaze with his words. In the words that follow, I was trying to find light in the fact that nature wins every time. I was writing them while the dark truth of that statement was unfolding. Thank you for everything John Prine. 


There’s a woodpecker across the pasture to the east, sounding like a ringing rotary phone in a cartoon. Quick, steady, punctuated and hollow. Other birds are calling--wrens, cardinals, crows--greeting another day. I’m unsure of what day it is. Time seems to be stretching and shrinking, like silly putty being balled up and then pulled apart and then balled up again. I keep pressing it to paper to try to get something to stick.

How are you doing? Are your days feeling like silly putty? Like all of us, I have no idea how things will go. I move among the stages of grief daily it seems like, in a non-linear path. I oscillate between having creative energy and crying, between feeling grateful and feeling guilty, between being kind to myself by allowing rest and scolding myself for not doing enough with this time while others are on the frontlines risking so much. 

When I see a  block of time, my brain wants to plan it, fill it, somehow feel like I’m not wasting it. This usually ends up creating unrealistic expectations--the more time, the more unrealistic. As a species we are pretty bad at estimating how long it actually takes to do things. So this “block” of time with an ever-moving end, well...reports from the frontal cortex say I’ll be playing 3 new instruments and have 5 new albums of songs by then end of all this. Reports from the porch are conflicting.

Planning doesn’t equal doing, no matter how “productive” it can feel. I know this, but I often still get stuck in planning mode anyway. Just like I know I need to look to my right, THEN my left when crossing a street with a median in Australia, but I do the opposite at first...brains are hard to re-wire. It’s the nature of things, and nature wins every time. 

There is a small cedar box attached to our wooden fence, about twenty-something feet from the porch. It was silent on Sunday, but started talking yesterday. Barely feathered baby wrens found their way through speckled eggshells. They are blind but getting what they need from a hard-working mama. On the opposite side of the property, along the hurricane fence on the west side, draped like leftover wedding decorations, there are four yellow roses blooming from a plant we didn’t even put in the ground, much less water or tend to. Nature wins every time. 

A few days after arriving home from our shortened Australia tour, I was starting to feel the weight of everything fall heavy in my chest, hurting for all the people hurting, scared of all the uncertainty. I was starting to be paralyzed by so much time without known specific tasks to fill it. But when I just sat and let be what was, and stopped trying to be productive for a moment, words came to me. I wrote them down. Then more came, then a melody. I wrote what I knew in that moment. It became a song called Once Upon a Time, as it’s our nature to use stories we know to find hope, and nature wins every time. 

Our patrons over at Patreon (thank you!) got a sneak peak of this song last week with an exclusive video. We decided this felt like the right song to submit as our NPR Tiny Desk Contest entry, so a new public video is available right here. 

// Music & Merch //

Latest video: Once Upon a Time

We’ll be singing this song and others a few times this month via livestreams, starting this Thursday. Details below.
Learn about early & exclusive access at Patreon
We've expanded our web store!

In addition to our CDs and poetry books, you can now order T-shirts, tote bags, and personalized handwritten lyrics.

Cow and calf neighbors, Carla's stamp of approval for our construction efforts on our "tiny desk" made out of old fencing, and makeshift firepit thanks to my dad's ingenuity. 
OE Unedited
This is the section where we share an unedited journal entry or object write. 
(Object writing is a daily 10 minute writing exercise, where you write to a particular object in a sensory stream of consciousness kind of way. You can read more about it here.)
Object write topic: birdhouse

single shingle roof
single room the size of a kleenex box
fading cedar in the morning sun
mama wren whispering on the nearby fence
daddy wren yelling from the cypress
carpenter bees providing the background buzz
of this wildlife city out in the country
tilt of her tail, tilt of her head
then into the golf ball sized hole
that is her front door
for a moment i forget everything else
for a moment i know the joy of a kid
that can filter out the fray
for a moment i am thinking of another being
without the blanket of dread wrapped around my body
trailing on the dusty wooden porch slats
for a moment i see perseverance
for a moment i see nature
for a moment i am not tired
Note: For fans of this section, my poetry book Words to Read is available here

Americana Highways - Live from the Quarantine
Thur, April 9th, 7:00pm EDT
, 30 min set - FB event is here
This is hosted by the Americana Highways FB page, so we will be streaming from their page. LIKE or FOLLOW their page so you'll know when it starts.

Fleming Fest
Sun, April 12th, 6:00pm EDT
, 30 min set - YouTube Live link is here (you can set it to remind you)
This is part of the 2-day event Fleming Fest, being put on by our booking agency, so there will be lots of other great artists. The full schedule can be found here. 

Shut In & Sing
Sun, April 26th, 1:30pm EDT
, 30 min set - Stage It Link is here (you can purchase pay-what-you-can "ticket" now)
The line-up for this day also includes Ana Egge, Giri & Uma Peters, The Lowest Pair, Kirby Brown, and Connor Garvey, but this is an ongoing festival with many other artists. The full schedule can be found here

Hopefully we can see you in person again soon!
As always, feel free to hit reply and say hello, or let us know if there is something in particular you'd like to see in our newsletters. Thank you for your support!

See you down the road, 
Crystal & Pete (who is walking to the mailbox, but sends his love)
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