Healing in the hills

I nearly didn't make it to Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival. Two days before my departure date I'd begun typing an email, full of regret, informing the festival director that I would not be able to perform. After four weeks of dealing with a range of debilitating health issues - including a bout of acid reflux which stole my voice from me - I was exhausted. It felt like my body and spirit had been broken.

Thankfully I did not send the email. Instead, with a bag full of supplements, lotions and potions - I hopped in a car with my bass player, Tim, and we drove down to Dorrigo.

I'm not sure what exactly was responsible for the healing....

Maybe it was the country hospitality shown by our hosts who allowed us to stay in their beautiful homestead on a hill, surrounded by rose bushes and friendly cows.

Maybe it was their neighbour who dropped around a bunch of freshly picked lemon and aniseed myrtle for me - or their other neighbour who picked me up one morning and drove me to the most spectacular lookout.

Maybe it was the caretaker of a train museum who, as the sun slid behind the ranges, spoke of the ghosts who lingered in his empty carriages.

Maybe it was the festival performers who took to the stage with banjos, mandolins and bluegrass charm.

Or maybe it was the conversations I had with Tim, Steve and Caroline - each with their own stories of feeling broken - and the moment, halfway through performing 'Arva', that our souls became one on stage.


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