Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cowboy Poetry Gathering ~ Day 2

Bounced out of bed at 6am and hit the showers, 5 hours sleep and fresh as daisies. As we head to breakfast we're thinking heatwave, who needs a down jacket, it's up to 24 degrees this morning! The dry cold of the desert creates beautiful ice patterns on the Jeep windshield. Definitely not the wiper strangling sticky mush we get with frost in northern California, but we still need to crank up the seat heaters and defroster and patiently wait until we can get a move on. The strategy for tomorrow ~ park on the side of the hotel that gets first sun. Wise women learn quickly!

"Morning Ice Crystals"

Coffee and breakfast then we're off the the Great Basin College Theater to spend the morning at the "Song Swap" with Paul Zarzyski and Wylie Gustafson.


We're entertained with stories, poetry, music and how the collaborative process works. Wylie's new album "Raven on the Wind" features a number of lyrics written by Paul. The audience was brought into a discussion of how to keep the Gathering, and this genre of poetry and music alive. One woman asked if either artist was mentoring young performers, another suggested bringing stories, songs and poetry to the schools to expose students to a way of life most only read about. It's powerful to have those you admire listen to you and take an idea into consideration that may become part of a solution.


Our afternoon was spent at the Elko Convention Center for recitals, lectures and readings. Each of the presenters reeled in their audiences hook, line and sinker: making us think and leaving us with a desire to learn more. 
After a relaxing dinner we head out to the G Three Bar Theater at the Western Folklife Center. The best venue so far and two great shows: at 6:30 Acoustic Poetry with Paul and Wylie (can you tell we love these guys) and at 8:30 a triple threat: young and talented singer/songwriter Adrian, cowboy poet and story teller Leon Flick and singer/songwriter Dave Stamey. Both shows bring the house down. 

After the concerts we toddle back to the hotel, to wired to sleep we entertain ourselves on the visitor friendly penny slots. Too much fun!

So are you starting to get the picture? It's been a 10-12 hour marathon and we've come away more energized than when we started. We run into friends from around the West at the different venues. The contacts are "more drive bys than visits" according to my friend Margo, but we all understand, it's the nature of this event. The gathering is hard to explain, it just needs to be experienced. Put it on your bucket list!

Oh, did I mention it was going to be 80 degrees in Sonoma County today. This is early February, right?