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  • Writer's pictureChristina Stroeh

The Gift of St Mary's Space and Scotland

"Wonder takes a willingness to be uncertain." Stephen Jenkinson

I had just read the book Morning Alters by Day Schildkret before I left for Scotland at the end of April. I had been collecting "things" my whole life and this book only reinforced my love of natural things, outside beauty on the ground, in the trees, waiting to be discovered. So the timing of this trip, back to the land of my ancestors, was exactly right. I found myself in a natural, beautiful place that was as familiar to me as my own home. Everything I saw, touched and heard, was familiar and comforting. And also enchanting, new and absolutely magical!

Finding treasures, seeking answers and feeling inspired, moment by moment, was what I had hoped for and what I found on this trip. I went to remember what it was like to play and write music. I wanted to create something new. I wanted to begin something that I had no idea what its ending would be like or feel like. I felt drawn to St Mary's Space knowing that it would overwhelm me in the best of ways, with art, color, texture, sound, feeling. My dreams were vivid whether awake or asleep. My feelings were deep, sad, still, and beautifully open and euphoric.

I knew that I would come back changed and here I am. Different. Resolute. Clear. And READY. To leave and come back with new eyes is a gift. And a relief. To know that I am not jaded, or cynical or have given up. I am not too tired to miss all of this. Let's not miss the messages, and the discoveries and the relief that comes with knowing that it is all going to be ok. The art will come. The inspiration and the muses will present themselves. We will all find a way to come together at the right moment to present all those ideas that have been waiting to say hello.

Recording requires: Flexibility, patience, ease, letting go of fear and perfection, embracing everything - new sounds, sounds I didn't expect, connection with another musician, reading minds, knowing. (Who knew I loved the mandolin so much?)

Scotland requires: That we listen to birdsong. That we breathe in fresh air. That we gather our wisdom in baskets to share. That we SEE and take in the beauty under our feet, on our land. Our land.

My hands were stiff and somewhat swollen each day we were recording. I think a bit of arthritis is starting to creep in. But I felt strong and lean and powerful those days at St Mary's Space. I felt wildly alive and capable and knowing. My hands that were slow on the piano keys, only reminded me to take my time and savor every moment. What a gift.

What a joy to share this with all of you! Christina

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