Early summer in Colorado is always pure magic. The meadows are green, the creeks are swollen and the wildflowers return one by one in their familiar, reassuring order. As I hike Boulder’s Anne U. White Trail I whisper their common names to myself: “Golden Banner,” “Chickweed,” “Solomon’s Seal,” “Penstemon,” “Western Wallflower.” Each one is a reminder of life in continuum.
It’s that time of year in the Front Range when I remember the Wax Currant (I forget about it every winter.) and the sagelike scent of its leaves when I rub my fingers on them. That time of year when the leaves of the Oregon Grape are almost fluffy and definitely not too pointy/prickly. Why even the Poison Ivy looks downright huggable!
But this year early summer feels even more vivacious. The doors of our favorite shops and restaurants are wide open. Friends are ready for plans. Masks lower and we no longer have to guess if the faces they’ve guarded for the past year and a half are smiling. And live music? Amazingly, euphorically, it’s coming back!
I can’t fully describe what it’s like to see you and your family returning to our in-person events. In part it’s because I just don’t have the words but also because the feeling is still growing and evolving as I remember little things I’ve missed. I didn’t realize how much I enjoy carrying a set of 15″ speakers from car to stage. Or the sting of sweat in my eyes as I play my guitar to an audience in full summer sun. Or the joy of sneaking backstage and throwing my hats, shoes and wigs high up in the air during a mid-show costume change. There are many.
And the very best part about performing live once again – no surprise – it’s you – your kids in their rainbow leggings and monarch wings, the families rolling up on all sorts of cool cargo bikes and tag-alongs, the kids front and center joining in the utter goofiness of big-legged Ooh Ah Ahs and blowing collective kisses to the mountains we reference in our skits and songs, the frenetic, post-concert “micro-conversations” with Dads who have young kids like me or kids who are the same age as my son or daughter.
I used to think that Jeff & Paige was all about singing of sustainability and teaching kids the wonders of the natural world. And there is that for sure. But what we do, and what we’ve missed so much over the past year, is encourage a community of families. Our kids and we grown-ups who look after them have all been on a journey of adapting to the little (and sometime big) things we’ve lost over the past year. I know that you have shown up heroically time and time again for the little ones in your lives during COVID.
So it’s no shocker that this year as community concerts return for Jeff & Paige that it comes with an added elation, the same sort of spontaneous joy that I feel as I hike out of Anne U. White and have an unplanned, trailside conversation with a stranger who helped build the Colorado Trail. Our first handful of live shows are rife with the ever-present reminder that – despite the sweat, the heavy lifting and the pre-registration processes – we are opening, remembering and returning to life.
And finally, this is why this new song below called “Spring Canyon” has felt like our early summer anthem – the awakening of the natural world mimicking our own reanimation.