A Day in the Life of Jeff of Paige: In Love With Nature in a Whole New Way
Click below to listen to the tune that inspired the title of this post and the theme of our show at The Rayback, this Sunday February 10th
In 2005 I (Jeff) was set to enter graduate school for Environmental Education filled with indignation for the way our species behaves on this planet. It’s also the year I started Meadow Music. During the school year I traveled on a biodiesel school bus with 25 other students (one of whom would turn out to be my wife and lifelong partner in both business and family) learning from environmental activists, park rangers and teachers across the country. But during the summers I’d come to Boulder, Colorado hike the trails and sing songs with kids and parents in Chautauqua Meadow.
This past week I listened to our 1st album Jeff and Paige album “Rocky Mountain Tunes for Rocky Mountain Kids.” While we still sell copies of the album at our live shows I confess I haven’t listened to it in nearly half a decade! By doing this so this past Wednesday I reconnected with the 27-year-old Jeff who wrote and recorded those songs.
This was a man who wanted to escape “Into the Alpine” and take my bicycle and ride to the periphery. This was a man who wanted to disconnect from the human community in order to delve deeper into the natural world. Now, at the age of 39, with a 4-year old of my own and a new little one on the way, I’m way more likely to take a short walk in the field behind our house with Paige and Wolf than to explore those alpine valleys where wildflowers grow. I do miss those endless Rocky Mountain rambles in search of a nature connection. And I even miss the passion and urgency which spawned our 3rd album “21st Century Energy Superheroes.” But I don’t miss the sense of doom and the self-reproach for being human.
It’s a humbling experience to try and teach our son about saving energy, water conservation and appreciation for other species while also making sure he gets to preschool on-time on a cold January morning and that our fridge is well stocked with healthy food. So I’ve had to learn to forgive myself when I don’t always “Eat Local” or ride our “Bicycles Instead,” when I fail to live out all the lessons in the music I’ve written.
But there is a peaceful beauty that has taken root in recent years, a reconciliation which allows me to steer away from animosity towards our species and exist with reverence and gratitude for nature and to pass that love of nature on to my kids, and to the kids in the magical Jeff and Paige community.
These days I’m far more likely to write a song about the incredible adaptations of owls (stay tuned!) or the fascinating science of density than the pressing (and very real) need to decrease our use of fossil fuels. For better or worse I’ve softened. We are a complicated species and can embrace the genuine need for environmental change alongside a staggering appreciation to be alive, a part (not “apart”) of this earth.
I am deeply grateful for this crazy career, writing and performing kids’ music about nature and science. When I entered graduate school for Environmental Education I never dreamed my work would consist of putting on a cramped pair of snakeskin tights and rocking out like a rattlesnake. Doing this work keeps me goofy, youthful and connected to nature in an easy way I never knew possible. And so I remain, “In Love With Nature” and pass that love on to my own kids, and hopefully yours too. Come see us at the Rayback in Boulder, Colorado, for a love themed show this Sunday February 10th.