We three kings of Amherst, MA
Our stay in Amherst broadened my connotations of the word couchsurfing. We arrived at the fantastic forest home of Bobby, an accomplished gentleman who had dinner prepared and a spark in his eye. The house was set back off of a dirt road north of Amherst, and a conglomeration of whimsical roof lines resting atop wooden siding rose from a lush tangle of diverse gardens. A peace sign hung in the window above the hand-made wooden front door, and a large turret extended from the far wing of the house.
Bobby showed us our rooms, there were three of them with beds all made, one of them in the lower floor of the meditation tower. We convened on the back deck overlooking the aquatic gardens and got to talking. Now in some sense it does not matter, but I am compelled to relate that Bobby is almost as old as the three of us combined. This is only important because his energy, curiosity, engagement, and humor are ageless. We all related the brief histories of our lives and headed inside to eat instead of being eaten, since the Massachusetts mosquitoes are several times the size of our Virginia vampires.
We talked late into the evening and then headed out to meet up with some friends of Cole's. A couple days earlier I had been imagining an establishment that I might actually want to own, and it was some combination music store, venue, lutherie shop, and bar. We parked right next to the Luthier's Co-op, my business dream having been shared and manifested before I was even able to discover it. Next door, we met up with Libby who was hanging out in the second floor of the loudest apartment I've entered in recent memory. There was a five or six person electric jam session in full swing, with two drum sets and exclusively left hand guitarists really tearing it up. Son jumped in for a couple of sets, getting to exercise his impressive facility on bass, weaving intricate rhythmic strengths and complications into a very fluid and dynamic jam. The music was amazing, if a bit loud for my folky ears.
The next day we busked in Northampton for several hours, playing a mix of bluegrass, Cole's tunes, and some sweet improvised blues. People's eyes light up when they realize we don't even know what we're about to be singing about, but that they are included because we are acting as a mirror to our environment. Very fun. Also, Cole blows a pretty sick kazoo solo. You've probably never heard kazoo this good. Just saying.
After busking, we met up with Libby again and brought her back to Bobby's for a pleasant evening of catching up in a quieter environment, watching some soccer, practicing acro-yoga, and playing music in the incredibly resonant meditation tower.
I hope to see Bobby and Libby in the future. Until then, we're headed to Burlington.