Blustery Busking Day, Chalk, and Playing for Odin
Yesterday's gig "busking" was so very interesting. Busking is in quotes, because the city of Tampa gives out busking contracts for specific dates and times, and they even pay a bit. No complaints here ... I never have to worry about being chased away from my spot as I sing my heart out during my assigned lunch hour and a half in the lovely Lykes Gaslight Square Park at the heart of downtown Tampa. The bicycle police ride by and smile and keep an eye out for me. And I get to watch some people smile and nod, and other folks squirm as they try to figure out how to react to a live musician pouring her heart out. It's really a sweet way to spend an afternoon.
As I arrived yesterday, I kept an eye on the weather app on my phone ... rain was coming, and it was going to be a close call. I found a very close parking space to my preferred spot in the park - Huzzah! - and unloaded my guitar and bit of equipment. I watched as a gentleman staggered over to a trash can and pulled out a paper plate with a bit of food, and began to eat what someone else had discarded. You just can't watch that without doing something, right? $5 still isn't much to me ... I handed it to him silently and acknowledged his whispered "God bless" ... I hope it meant some food that hadn't yet seen the inside of a trash can for him. He stumbled off, but not before finishing the "meal" that he had scrounged. What a way to start my busking gig ... a reminder of just how freakin' fortunate I am.
I set up, checked my sound, and pulled out my giant blue chalk ... I chalked that walk with my website info. And as I began to play, realized that perhaps no one would stop and listen today. I had not quite anticipated the dropping temperature or the wind that tore through the park while I played. The wind blew so hard, that the beautiful oak tree that would shade me any other day, was dropping branches, and finally, with a great CRACK, dropped a couple of very large limbs not five feet behind me. I laughed and sang to the wind ... never realized quite how many lines I've written that speak to or about the wind ... and silently begged that tree to please not drop anything on my head or on my guitar.
It was simply too cold and windy for most folks to do anything but walk briskly through the park yesterday. Though I did watch them alter their rhythm to step in time to the music as they passed. I did have one very attentive visitor. As I sang, I watched him walk across the park, climb upon the bench before me, and nod along to the music. At one point, he got down on his knees upon the sidewalk, and began to testify. I was singing "Ravens of the Nine Worlds" when I realized that the old man had one eye completely swollen shut, and I wondered if, indeed, Odin had stumbled upon my little busking gig. "Odin" stayed for about 4 songs, then apologized that he didn't have any money to put in my drum, and reeled slowly away. You can be sure that I played as if I were performing for Odin himself ... just in case.
Grateful that I spent an afternoon doing what I LOVE, touching people's souls even when it seems accidental. Thankful for an afternoon under a beautiful sky and a powerful breeze that sang right along with me, and sincerely happy that those big branches did not fall on me!
Yup, I do #lovemylife
Now, go DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE!